Back to GMA | The Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor

Back to GMA | The Daily Tribune – Without Fear or Favor.

Armida Siguion-Reyna


It was a double whammy, yesterday. We had kababayans hit by a 6.8 earthquake in Negros Occidental and Oriental, with seven dead as this is written. And 60 percent of respondents in an informal survey conducted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer believed that the Senate would not do Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona in.

Our disaster relief councils quickly sprang to action. It’s sad to have to acknowledge it took practice to make perfect, that we’ve been hit by floods and other calamities in quick succession kaya doon na tayo natuto, with this again, so soon after tropical storm “Sendong.” Yet, it is a tender mercy to no longer hear about calamity funds pocketed by the unscrupulous, may it forever be this way.

The Philippine National Red Cross was quick to respond to calls for help. Whatever critics of the newly-reelected PNRC Chairman Dick Gordon have got to say against him, it can’t be denied the man is quick to be first on the job. Worthy of praise as well, is media’s calm and collected tone, you aren’t driven to panic or worry about relatives in the places hit by the quake, you are simply relieved that people are being attended to by the correct agencies.

As to why a greater number of the survey respondents believe Corona won’t be impeached by the senator-judges in the current impeachment trials at the Senate isn’t clear to this usyosera. I understand the defense lawyers are elated by the numbers, still I say huwag silang pakasiguro. It ain’t over until the fat lady sings.

A close friend so unabashedly pro-Corona tells me the public does not care anymore, that very few are watching the proceedings, that what used to be the hardest ticket to get in its first week is now halos ipinamimigay na, wala nang nanonood, the networks are supposedly worried about the plummeting of news and public affairs ratings, so malapit nang matigil ang live coverage.

What do the pro-impeachment sectors say?

Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes Jr. admits, “There is truth to survey results that public interest is waning in the impeachment trial either because the prosecution has not been effective in presenting its case, or that the defense and Senate are making it difficult for the truth to come out.”

When Reyes says “The prosecution (must) go back to the issue of GMA and her relation to the Chief of Justice. That is the sure way of reviving and mustering public interest and support for the trial. It was the Chief Justice’s favoring of GMA, which made the public support the impeachment trial in the first place. That is the missing element in the ongoing trial,” I agree. Oh, absolutely.

I am told that along with the Gloria Panagutin! Movement, Bayan is supporting moves to make public bank records of not only Corona but all other justices of the SC. I do not know if this is legally possible, pero kung puwede, why not?

Sure, this prosecution ain’t the greatest to ever have argued a case in this country’s history. And yet, even Juan de la Cruz will be able to tell if there’s something the defense lawyers are keeping from us with the way they are ensuring, by hook or by crook, that no one gets to even peek into available bank records.

I’ve said it here in this same space one time too many. The real issue is Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In my e-mail, I also get brickbats, such as “You keep on hitting CJ Corona, what about the properties that your new buddy, Rep. Niel Tupaz (sic) owns, and the mansion he’s putting up?”

Believe it or not, I have nothing personal against Corona, we’ve had dinners and shared jokes, we both sat together in perhaps the first Appeals Committee ever convened as the “court of last instance” of sorts for the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board following the “x-“ing of Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List, during the presidency of Fidel V. Ramos.

It’s really how the man seems to go out of his way to accommodate GMA, at all costs, that I find worrisome. About Rep. Tupas, o, e ‘di sige, find evidence about whatever it is you say he’s up to, and then bring him to court. But there’s a procedure to follow for all these. Kung sino ang unang may kaso sa korte, iyon na muna ang unahin. You maintain Tupas to be guilty over whatever, then, he, too, shall have his day in court.

Right now, it’s the Chief Justice who is currently on trial, tapusin na muna ito. And then bring to court whomever you guys say you’ve got evidence against.

Also in my e-mail box, I get “forwards” from readers who pick up items from bloggers, notably Raissa Robles, who noted that “Almost a year ago, the Supreme Court led by Renato Corona affirmed the conviction and jail sentence of Rosalio Galeos for making ‘false’ and ‘incomplete’ declarations in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and net worth (SALn) for four successive years.

“Galeos’ case and that of his co-accused, former Naga, Cebu mayor Paulino Ong, are particularly important to the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona. It set a legal precedent in how the Supreme Court views SALns and how the magistrates give weight to the truthfulness and completeness of SALn disclosures.”

That there went a little over my head, I understand it to mean that if the Corona-led SC sees it wrong for one person to make “false” and “incomplete declarations in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities networth, then that means them guys in the SC must be ready to be criticized for their own false and incomplete declarations.

From one Rene to another, I’ve been hoping to have lunch or dinner with former Sen. Rene Saguisag on the issues facing his namesake. But Sundays, Rene the “symbol” says is reserved for his “APOStolate,” meaning his grandchildren, so I only get to read bits and pieces about his take on current issues from his own column, and when he sends me personal e-mail.

Atty. Saguisag, hey. If you’re reading this, can we meet sometime, somewhere, for chika, on what’s presently going on? My treat, ayaw ka pa ba?

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