MANILA — In the “spirit of liberality”, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Monday allowed the prosecution team to rearrange the sequence of presentation of evidence on the eight articles of impeachment.
The prosecution team filed a manifestation to arrange the sequence as follows: Article II, III, VII, I, VIII, IV, V, and VI.
“It has been deeply entrenched in our jurisprudence that the order of presentation of prosecution witnesses is the prerogative of the prosecutor; neither the respondent nor the court may interfere with it,” the manifestation signed by lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. and private prosecutor Mario Bautista read.
The prosecutors started the trial with Article II or Chief Justice Renato Corona’s non-disclosure of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Article III is Corona’s failure to meet Article VIII, Section 7 (3) of the Constitution whereby a member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence after flip-flopping in final and executory cases. Lauro Vizconde is expected to testify in Article III.
Tupas explained that the new sequence will allow the orderly presentation of evidence since Article II deals with the supposed dishonesty of the Chief Justice while Article III is about Corona’s moral fitness.
The seventh article of impeachment meanwhile is Corona’s alleged partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favor of former President Arroyo and former First Gentleman Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo.
Next to Article VII is Article I, which questions Corona’s track record in cases involving the Arroyo administration.
Article VIII – which deals with the Chief Justice’s refusal to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and Special Allowance for the Judiciary collections – will follow thereafter. Article IV is next on the list after Article VIII. The fourth article deals with the blatant disregard of the principle of separation of powers by issuing a status quo order against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
Seventh article to be discussed is Article V – consistently disregarding the principle of res judicata and in deciding in favor of Gerry-Mandering in the cases involving the 16 newly-created cities and the promotion of Dinagat Island into a province.
Last to be presented is Article VI – the improper investigation of an alleged erring member of the SC, particularly SC justice Mariano del Castillo. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)