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January 11, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

Ronald Roy — January 11, 2012

Lessons are best learned from costly mistakes; the costlier the mistake, the greater the lessons. Mistakes and lessons come in cycles that are needed for human reform and development. There can be no hope without despair, relief without pain, light without darkness, rebuilding without destruction.

That is what I meant in my last article titled Reborn, when I wrote that

“… God help us to deal with the forthcoming catharsis of destruction, for only from the rubble will rise a democracy reborn.”

America became one nation after a holocaustic civil war between the North and the South that ended in the year 1865. When will we become one nation?

We need to be devastated, truly devastated, by this curious political enterprise called impeachment. Devastation can come if the already-battered-black-and-blue Chief Justice Renato Corona decides to thwart his impeachers to the finish, tooth and nail, whether guilty or not.

And should he be guilty, but is exonerated by some quirky political happenstance where political prosecutors argue with his defenders before a political court, let us all welcome the disgusting political verdict as a triumph of the Rule of Law! For, such is the eccentric nature of the Rule of Law— a legal canon masterfully crafted by mortals, only to be delimited by their own foibles and mistakes!

Alas, in the end, it is not farfetched that Mr. Corona will be acquitted by the impeachment court because we, the Sovereign, made a mistake electing Benigno Aquino III President of the Republic! We, the Sovereign, are imperfect after all, driven by selfish ends that hinder the growth of our democracy.

Years ago, when I was a columnist for another paper, I explained to a reader my concept of a “purely democratic vote,” as one that is cast not for any other reason than that the candidate is deemed by the voter to be the best qualified for the position even if, for instance, he/she is considered to be the weakest aspirant in the field.

Frankly, I cannot recall any election in the past that was not hooted down as fraudulent and irregular. Losing candidates are known to complain even if they have themselves broken election laws.

And what really beats me is why we continue the immature practice of selling our votes to the highest bidder, or joining the bandwagon of a good-looking candidate, or otherwise allowing ourselves to be motivated by idiotic reasons to vote idiots into public office. These are the lamentable customs I referred to in Reborn, when I described the sovereign Filipino people as a “pugad ng mga tanga”– literally meaning: a nest of idiots.

Neither are the representatives from the lower house perfect—they who are reputedly the upright exemplars for discharging sacred roles as impeachers—given the pork barrel’s tried and tested tool as a carrot for rewarding servility to the President’s marching orders to railroad the impeachment process.

The mistakes of Prosecuting Team Head, Rep. Neil Tupas validly raise the point that he and his team are not competent enough to perform their roles in the trial of the Chief Justice, and their blunders may well pave the way for his acquittal.

Thanks to them, by violating Rule XVIII of the Rules of Impeachment, they have elevated Mr. Corona to the level of an underdog in a sloppily miscalculated trial by publicity.

Likewise, even two lawyer-kibitzers have managed to muddle up the issues by incorrectly postulating that the verification of a pleading is a jurisdictional requirement, and that, therefore, an unverified pleading is  but a scrap of paper! Really now, pañeros!!!

In Spouses Melchor, et al., vs. Ronald B. Bernal, et al., G.R. No 169336, March 18. 2010, the Supreme Court ruled:

“xxx…The Court of Appeals’ dismissal of petitioners’ petition on purely technical grounds was unwarranted. We agree with petitioners that the late filing and service of copy of the petition to the RTC was not a substantial infirmity that should cause the outright dismissal of the petition.

Likewise, the verification of a pleading is only a formal, not jurisdictional, requirement. The purpose of requiring verification is to secure an assurance that the allegations in the petition are true and correct, not merely speculative. This requirement is simply a condition affecting the form of pleadings, and non-compliance therewith does not necessarily render the pleading fatally defective.”

The dismissal of the petition on purely technical grounds is frowned upon, for it is far better for the courts to excuse a technical lapse and afford the parties a review of the case on the merits to attain the ends of justice. …xxx”

Likewise, in Median Container Corporation, Petitioner vs.Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company, Repondent, G.R. No. 166904, August 11, 2008, the high tribunal issued the same pronouncements.

That’s just the trouble! Toms, Dicks and Harrys from supposedly authoritative quarters have charged up the atmosphere with unfounded statements that tend to confuse, rather than clarify, matters appurtenant to the impeachment process,

What we now hear doing the rounds in coffee shops are such questions as “What happens if Corona resigns, will Carpio take over?” Or, “What if he does not resign, how will P-Noy force the issue, if he is inclined to do so?” Or, “How many Supreme Court Associate Justices can be impeached at one time?”

For my own amusement, I recently wagered with Henry Khan (for all the cookies and drinks you can take in one sitting) that Corona “will never, never resign, preferring to see it through”. I explained that with very substantial support from judges, bar associations and lawyers all over the country, he would have nothing to gain if he resigned since anyway he would be criminally charged in court at the behest of what he believes to be a vindictive president.

Henry disagreed, insisting that mounting evidence would eventually produce the kind of heat that any family-loving hombre would not be able to stand. An enthralled Oca Orbos who was witness to this bet is assured of consuming the stipulated fare, free of charge.

Triccie Cepeda Sison was seething all the while, promising she would start denouncing the Ateneo de Manila law school before returning to the streets “if that guy Corona is exonerated! Grrr!!”

A sober Bettina Legarda, Concerned Citizens Movement Chair, whispered to me “we might meet soon to discuss militant options.” By replying “uh-huh” to her, I wonder if I made a— mistake.

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