Here are some excerpts from each of the 23 Senator-judges as they explained their vote for Article II of the impeachment complaint filed by the House of Representatives against of now-former Chief Justice Renato Corona. It was Day 44, the final day, of the impeachment trial.
Sen. Edgardo Angara voted guilty.
Given CJ’s broad experience and practice, the willful omissions [in his SALNs] equal culpable violation.
Sen. Joker Arroyo voted not guilty.
I can’t imagine removing a Chief Justice on account of his SALN. No one can stop us if we cannot stop ourselves.
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano voted guilty.
Iba’t iba ang interpretasyon ng batas sa mayaman at mahirap. ‘Di ko matanggap ang interpretasyon ng Chief Justice [sa batas]. (There are different interpretations of the law for the rich and the poor. I cannot accept the interpretation of the Chief Justice [on the law].)
[However,] by signing the waiver, the CJ has set a new standard. We should all follow this standard. Transparency is good.
Sen. Pia Cayetano voted guilty.
Failure to declare $2.4-M and P80-M [in SALN] is not a minor offense.
Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago voted not guilty.
Burden of proof is on the Prosecution. I have adopted the standard of overwhelming preponderance of evidence.
If the Chief Justice didn’t want his accounts to be discovered, he would have used a different name.
[On anonymous sources,] three times is too much. Are you for real, prosecution? In the Philippines, anything can be manufactured.
Ang daming loopholes sa SALN, bakit ngayon lang kayo umaksyon? (There were a lot of loopholes in the SALN laws, why had you addressed it just now?)
Sen. Franklin Drilon voted guilty.
The enormity of Corona’s undeclared assets are scandalous.
This is a “prima facie” case of ill-gotten wealth; the P 180million “res ipsa loquitur”, the thing speaks for itself.
Sen. Francis Escudero voted guilty.
Do not judge others, for the measure that you used to judge will be used against you.
Panahon na para itaas ang pamantayan ng mga naninilbihan sa gov’t. Dapat pantay ang pamantayang ito. (It’s now time to raise the standards to measure of government officials. This standard should be egalitarian.)
Kung ayaw niyo ideklara [ang inyong properties], huwag kayong tumakbo sa kahit anong puwesto sa gobyerno. (If you do not want to declare your properties, do not run for any public office in government.)
Pagkatapos nito, let’s move forward. Pagtuunan natin ng pansin ang ibang mas mahahalagang problema. (After this, let’s move forward. Let’s focus our energies on more pressing problems.)
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada voted guilty.
This trial is a historic redemption of our justice system.This same process failed for my own father [who was impeached in 2000].
I am not convinced because the Chief Justice is a learned man of the law.
Sen. Teofisto Guingona III voted guilty.
Ang ating Saligang Batas ay sagrado. Walang sinumang kapangyarihan sa bansa ay mas mataas dito.(Our Constitution is sacred. No one in the country is higher than it.)
Idedeklara lang ba ang assets kung kailan niya gugustuhin? (Would assets be declared only when he wants to do so?)
Sen. Gregorio Honasan voted guilty.
Is CJ’s understanding of law absolute as his position demands? Did he speak vs injustice?
Sen. Panfilo Lacson voted guilty.
An error of judgment is unacceptable in this trial because it is final and irreversible.
I do not believe his testimony that he does not understand accounting.
Sen. Lito Lapid voted guilty.
Ang ginagamit ko po ay ang aking konsensya. (I am using my conscience.)
‘Yung pinresenta ni Cong. Fariñas ay malinaw na malinaw na si CJ Corona ay lumabag sa batas.(What Cong. Fariñas presented made it very clear that CJ Corona broke the law.)
Hindi po ako isang abogado. Representante po ako ng mahihirap. (I am not a lawyer. I am a representative of the poor.)
Sen. Loren Legarda voted guilty.
SALN is the way government officials earn public trust.
Wala ako nakikitang dahilan para hindi ipatupad ang batas na ito (SALN laws and FCDA) sa Punong Mahistrado. (I see no reason the two laws do not apply to the Chief Justice.)
If we acquit the CJ, we’d lift the floodgate for public suspicion and widespread distrust of the Supreme Court.
Sen. Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. voted not guilty.
Information was grossly exaggerated with the apparent intention to predispose the public mind against the Chief Justice.
Not all omissions and misdeclarations in the SALN amount to dishonesty.
On the ground that the presumption of innocence has not been overcome, I vote to acquit the Chief Justice.
Sen. Serge Osmeña voted guilty.
Justice must be applied equally to the rich and the poor. The Senate must reinstate the people’s state in the judicial system.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan voted guilty.
Kung sa malinis na paraan nakuha ang mga ito, ano ang masama na ideklara niya ang mga ito [sa SALN]? (If the properties were obtained through proper means, what is wrong in declaring it [in the SALN]?)
Sen. Aquilino Pimentel III voted guilty.
Ang batas para kay Juan ay batas rin para kay Renato. (The law that applies to Juan dela Cruz also applies to Renato Corona.)
Sen. Ralph Recto voted guilty.
In an impeachment complaint, length is not strength. Haste makes waste.
The way evidence is produced left a bad taste in the mouth. There is no such thing as SALN that is statistically perfect.
It is easy to impeach one man but it is hard to impeach hunger and poverty.
Sen. Ramon Revilla, Jr. voted guilty. (Guilty votes reached 16 at this point.)
[Bilang Chief Justice,] ang kanyang panunungkulan ay dapat walang bahid, kahit katiting. ([As Chief Justice,] his term should have no hint of misdeeds.)
Sen. Vicente Sotto III voted guilty.
Ang tunay na hukom sa paglilitis na ito ay ang taong bayan. (The true judges of this trial are the people.)
Sen. Antonio Trillanes III voted guilty.
From now on, no one is untouchable [by law].
Sen. Manuel Villar voted guilty.
Ang desisyon ko po ay base sa inamin niya po na kanyang pag-aari. (My decision is based on what Corona admitted as his properties.)
Ako ay naawa sa kanya. Hindi pa man po siya guilty ay parang mayroon nang conlusion. (I pity him. He is not yet guilty, yet it seems that there is already a conclusion on his guilt.)
Sana huwag na mangyari sa susunod ang pagkuha ng ilegal na ebidensya ay binabalewala natin. (I wish that obtaining illegal evidence and ignoring this act would not happen again.)
Senate Pres. Juan Ponce Enrile voted guilty.
As a lawyer, I was frustrated by the loose and hasty crafting of the articles of impeachment.
Prudence and justice dictate that in determining the guilt of the CJ, we must confine ourselves to the documents and testimonial evidence presented before this court.
I reiterate, the CJ does not stand accused of having amassed any illegal wealth before this impeachment court.
I am convinced that the defense was able to establish that there was no ill intention of the CJ to understate the value of his properties.
Regrettably, both the prosecution and the defense failed to present the bank officers.
The defense did not present any such evidence to refute the data presented by the Ombudsman. The Impeachment Court could only rely on the documents of the Ombudsman.
The respondent was still duty bound under our laws to declare [embattled peso and dollar accounts] under his SALN.
Assuming that any part of such deposits in truth belong to third parties, the respondent should have indicated it as liabilities in his SALN.
With all due respect, the CJ reliance to absolute confidentiality to RA 6426 is grossly misplaced.
Surely the CJ knows the local value of his dollar deposits to declare it in his SALN.
Principle of public accountability under Article XI of the Constitution overrides the absolute confidentiality in the Foreign Currency Deposit Law.
Why should the CJ be held accountable for an offense whose other officials in the government are guilty of?
If we are to agree with the CJ that he is correct, can we ever expect any SALN to be filed by public officials, no matter how high or how low, to be more accurate than today? I do not think so.