Never had there been in history an ouster of a government official. So far, two big names have been impeached in the Lower House but the process was never finished in the Senate because of their abrupt leaves: the former President Joseph Estrada, who left his position because of the 2nd People Power Revolution and the former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who resigned before the Senate trial took place. Now, another big name is going to be on the Senate impeachment trial on Monday: the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.
We Filipino journalists had taken a keen interest in this case, mostly when the President himself began ranting against supposed alleges on the CJ’s actions late last year. One is his position as a “midnight appointee” of the former president, his non-disclosure of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net-Worth or SALN, and other judicial blunders in issuing “unjustifiable” decisions in big cases.
It’s something to be anticipated for the fact that it’s the second impeachment trial that had reached the Senate grounds (Estrada’s impeachment case was the first). Another is because it involves a high-ranking official – namely the head of the judiciary. Some people view this moment as too political, as this stemmed from the President’s disappointment on the judiciary. But I see this moment as an exercise of balance in the government. There is no such thing as a “constitutional crisis” as some perceive it (because of the “word war” between members of the executive and of the judiciary). I saw that no one is above the law, not even the President himself.
If there is a constitutional crisis, then there should be no impeachment trial and CJ Corona would have just been abolished suddenly. Alright, most of the 188 congressmen who voted the CJ out last December were allies of the President. But now that it has reached the Senate grounds, I can say that this time, there is no presidential or judicial ally issue here. The Senators are of mixed backgrounds, and I believe they will judge with fairness. The fight between the house prosecutors and the defense team will surely be listened to by the acting judges. The process was still followed. No martial law was issued. Fairness ensured.
And Monday will be no ordinary Monday for me.
While every media entity would be on watch, there are huge chances that this would be sensationalized. Sometimes, it is in the matter of delivery. Sometimes, it’s in the matter on how the public was fed by the information. The word war that happened was due because these personalities had to answer our questions. We, as media people, had to deliver their statements as accurately as they should be.
People have the tendency to react immediately without weighing it. With the public being the judge, our approval or disapproval can create a variety of reactions. This upcoming trial is now creating a flurry of thoughts to the public, how much more on the trial days?
But however the results are, may we present it as clear and as accurately as it should be. We don’t want sensationalism. We just want to present the truth. We support in keeping a record of another historical moment.
We’ll be on the watch. One day to go before the action sets in…