Defense sees ‘the light of day’

Natashya Gutierrez

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The prosecution's plea for more liberal rules indicates they're struggling with evidence, say defense lawyers

MANILA, Philippines – To the defense team, day 5 of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial worked in their favor.

“We are beginning to see the light of day,” defense counsel Ramon Esguerra told Rappler. “The proceedings today speak for themselves.”

On Tuesday, the prosecution requested for more flexible proceedings, a sign, Esguerra says, that the prosecution is struggling.

“Ask who self-destruct[s] with that plea on liberality? It is very clear they are experiencing difficulty in presenting their evidence,” said Esguerra.

“I thought that was a ridiculous thing to even put on the table,” echoed defense lawyer Jose “Judd” Roy III. “It’s not even as if they’re in a tight bind.”

In a press conference after the hearing, the defense said they agree with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile’s take on the prosecution’s request. Enrile said during the trial that the proceedings’ rules can be changed if so wished by the senator-judges and if offered acceptable alternatives by the prosecution, but that misleading and argumentative questions, as well as hearsay evidence will not be allowed.

The defense emphasized the need to stick to specific court rules that will ensure the constitutional rights of the respondent, such as his right to due process. 

They said they will continue to insist on the memorandum they submitted to the senate impeachment court, that rejects the validity of the prosecution’s accusations of the respondent having amassed ill-gotten wealth.

Happy with pace

Kareno Jimeno, a spokesperson for the defense, noted that the defense has been blamed for delaying procedures but she pointed out that the prosecution’s unpreparedness on the other hand, have slowed down the trial.

We are satisfied with the pace of the trial. For our part, we have done everything to hasten it,” said Jimeno. “We have never been the cause of delay.”

To the defense, day 5 exposed the prosecution’s weaknesses, and what Roy calls “a political stunt.”

“This whole thing [the trial] is a Liberal Party charade,” said Roy. “We are ready to go to battle to every point. Today’s outcome is not necessarily our doing, it is their failing. I’m glad the public can see this.”

Esguerra agrees. “It betrays the truth that we have been saying all along. They filed the impeachment complaint with undue haste and in a  breakneck manner, simply hoping that thereafter some credible evidence will be found or surface during the trial.” –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.