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Republic of the Philippines
Record of the Senate
Sitting As An Impeachment Court
Thursday, February 23, 2012
AT 2:19 P.M., THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN PONCE ENRILE, CALLED THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL TO ORDER. The Presiding Officer. The continuation of the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order. We shall be led in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Aurora, Sen. Edgardo J. Angara. Senator Angara. Lord, We convene here in search of truth and justice. May wrongs be made right through the legitimate processes of law, not through men who, in their folly, think they can wield it. May fairness never be sacrificed in our search for what is just and true. Remind us, Lord, that we would have to live with the decisions we make long after this court has adjourned, and our country would have to live with these decisions long after we have gone. May the legacy we leave not be of rancor, but of unity. And with one mind and heart, may we rebuild our nation based on genuine justice and equity. Amen. The Presiding Officer. The Secretary will please call the roll.
The Secretary, reading:
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Senator Edgardo J. Angara ............................................................... Present Senator Joker P. Arroyo ................................................................... Present Senator Alan Peter “Compañero” S. Cayetano ................................. Present* Senator Pia S. Cayetano ................................................................... Present Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago .................................................... Present Senator Franklin M. Drilon ................................................................ Present Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada ....................................................... Present Senator Francis G. Escudero ............................................................. Present Senator Teofisto L. Guingona III ....................................................... Present Senator Gregorio B. Honasan ............................................................ Present Senator Panfilo M. Lacson ................................................................ Present Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid ....................................................... Present Senator Loren Legarda ...................................................................... Present Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. .................................. Present Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III ........................................................... Present Senator Francis N. Pangilinan ............................................................ Present Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III ........................................................ Present Senator Ralph G. Recto .................................................................... Present Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. ..................................................... Present Senator Vicente C. Sotto III ............................................................. Present Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV ........................................... Present Senator Manny Villar ......................................................................... Present The President ..................................................................................... Present The Presiding Officer. With 22 Senator-Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum. The Majority Leader is recognized. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make the proclamation. The Presiding Officer. The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make the proclamation. The Sergeant-at-Arms. All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting in trial on the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. The Presiding Officer. The Secretary will please call the case. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer.The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. May I move that we dispense with the reading of the February 22, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court and consider the same as approved. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the February 22, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court is hereby approved.
______________ *Arrived after the roll call
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The Secretary will now call the case. The Secretary. Case No. 002-2011, In the matter of the Impeachment Trial of Hon. Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. The Presiding Officer. Appearances, Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Yes. For the Prosecution, Mr. President. Representative Tupas. Good afternoon, Mr. President. For the Prosecution panel, the House of Representatives, same appearances. The Presiding Officer. It is noted. The Defense. Mr. Cuevas. For the Defense, Your Honor, the same appearance. The Presiding Officer. It is noted. Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, before the business for today which is the continuation of the crossexamination of the witness, may we recognize Sen. Joker Arroyo for a manifestation. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Makati and Bicol has the floor. Senator Arroyo. Thank you, Mr. President. Just a cautionary note. Yesterday, I asked the Prosecution whether Attorney Manuel, what is the family name? Marlon Manuel is the lawyer of PALEA. Well, I ask this, anyone can answer, this is not inquisitorial. Representative Colmenares. Yes, Your Honor, Attorney Manuel is here, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. No. I am asking whether he is the lawyer of PALEA because you enlisted his help. Representative Colmenares. Your Honor, one of the prosecutors of Article III, Representative “Kaka” Bag-ao, will be able to answer your query. Senator Arroyo. No, no. My question is that there was a lawyer who appeared for the first time to ask questions on Article III, more particularly when Mr. Javier of PAL took the witness stand. Representative Colmenares. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. So, my question is, whether that lawyer whom I remember as Atty. Marlon Manuel is a lawyer of PALEA? Representative Colmenares. Frankly, Your Honor, I personally do not know the answer. That is Article III, so we are asking Prosecutor “Kaka” Bag-ao. Senator Arroyo. I am not talking about Article III, that is why I said this is a cautionary note. Representative Colmenares. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. And I will say it now so that.... Representative Colmenares. Thank you, Your Honor.
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Senator Arroyo. I have been told by some respectable officials in the Department of Labor, of course, confidentially that—you know this proceeding is being watched in the national TV. Oh, he is here. Is he not the one? Representative Colmenares. Yes, Congresswoman “Kaka” Bag-ao, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. No, you better ask him. Representative Colmenares. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. You ask him now. I am just going to ask.... That is a simple question. Representative Colmenares. Presiding Officer, Mr. Marlon Manuel, Your Honor. Senator Arroyo. No, the question is whether he is the lawyer.... Representative Bag-ao. Yes, Your Honor. He is the lawyer for PALEA. Senator Arroyo. All right. Now, the Prosecution asked for subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum for the Supreme Court to produce and for some officers to testify on the PAL case involving the labor union, FASAP. The Supreme Court filed a return saying, in effect, that, “We cannot do it because the case is pending and also because there are some confidential matters which cannot be disclosed.” Now, when you hire, when you retain private counsel, perhaps it would be a better part of discretion that you do not enlist lawyers who have vested interests, who have interests other than prosecuting the case. If the Supreme Court brought the documents, then the lawyer of the labor union against PAL will see it while PAL will not have access to it. That is what I am saying. You know, I have been in the prosecution. Before we retain lawyers, we screen them and I think you have been doing that. But, in this case, we accept, subject to the objection of the defense, any subpoena, application for a subpoena. We do it and produce it if the subject agrees. So, I am just making a cautionary note because we do not know whether we are on the homestretch or we will still go a long way. But that, in the case of lawyers being retained by the Prosecution, please screen them so that there will be no statements or suspicions. That is all. I am not going to say that you have been remiss or perhaps that is oversight. But, please be careful next time. Representative Bag-ao. Your Honor, may I explain. Senator Arroyo. Go ahead. Representative Bag-ao. This is not an oversight, Your Honor. First, let me tell this Honorable Court that Atty. Marlon Manuel is not a counsel for FASAP. He is a counsel for PALEA and those are two different labor unions. FASAP has its own set of lawyers and PALEA is not involved in this case. Second, Your Honor, we are very conscious of that fact. When we invited lawyers to be part of the Prosecution team, we are very mindful of all these considerations. But we do not see any conflict in terms of Atty. Marlon Manuel being part of the Prosecution, specifically to handle Article III of this Impeachment Complaint. Senator Arroyo. You do not see it but I see it. Because that is an obscurantist position. The fact is that Attorney Manuel’s position is hostile to PAL whatever the case is. So, please, please be careful next time. Thank you.
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The Presiding Officer. PALEA is Philippine Airlines Employees Association? Representative Bag-ao. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And the FASAP is.... Representative Bag-ao. Your Honor. Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines,
The Presiding Officer. They have no affiliation? Representative Bag-ao. No, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Thank you. Mr. President, may we now continue with the cross-examination of witness, Secretary Leila De Lima. The Presiding Officer. May we request the good Secretary of Justice to come to the witness stand and testify under the same oath for cross-examination. Thank you, Madam Secretary. The Defense Counsel has the floor. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. And with the kind permission of the Honorable Court, may we be allowed to proceed. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Cuevas. Good afternoon, Madam Secretary. Ms. De Lima. Good afternoon, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Now, yesterday, you dealt very lengthily on the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Cuevas. And in the course of your testimony, you dealt on a lot of alleged infirmities or irregularities in the matter of issuing the restraining order involved in the case decided by them? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir, not just the issuance but also the legal status or efficacy of the TRO. Mr. Cuevas. And will you be kind enough with the permission of the Honorable Court to kindly state again those infirmities that you found in the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir, but in doing so, can I also have the copies of the dissenting opinions? The Presiding Officer. You may refer to the copy of the dissenting opinions. Ms. De Lima. Thank you. I beg your indulgence of me being a little lengthy. And I thank you for your question, Sir, to provide me or give me an opportunity to further expound on what I was talking about yesterday. Clearly, the November 15 TRO was conditional because there were three conditions stated therein. So that the time that it was issued, that was before six o’clock in the evening of November 15, there has been no compliance yet. Not even with respect to the payment of the bond and even with respect
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to the appointment of a legal representative with the corresponding SPA. But it was issued even before that—clearly conditional TRO. But it was made to appear that it was already immediately executory. And that is why, in the evening of the same day, the former President wanted to leave. It was announced by the spokesperson that, “....there is this TRO, the former President could already leave” Now, well, that is one. Mr. Cuevas. That is one. All right, the second one is? Ms. De Lima. Because the spokesperson had the apparent authority from the Chief Justice to already announce those things. The next.... Mr. Cuevas. No, but I am referring, with your permission, Madam Secretary, I was referring to the alleged infirmity or irregularity that you picked up from the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor. I am just laying down these things so that it would be clearer. November 18, they met again. Now, remember, November 18 is a Friday or was a Friday and they do not ordinarily hold a hearing or a session, but it was called precisely to tackle the matter about the nonimplementation of the TRO, since the TRO was not honored by us on account of the reasons that I stated yesterday: no formal notice yet as of November 15 and no compliance yet with the three conditions. They had to tackle that immediately on November 18 and there was this special session on a Friday. Now, it would appear, Your Honor, from the letter of Justice Carpio to the Chief Justice that the very important points discussed on November 18 were never reflected in the November 18 Resolution which was also immediately released on the same day. That is why, there was, again, an announcement that the former President would be leaving, would try to leave again the country. Mr. Cuevas. No, may I interrupt you, Madam Secretary. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor. Mr. Cuevas. I am only asking you about the various enumerations that you stated you found in the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno. I am not asking for an explanation, Your Honor. Ms. De Lima. May I beg your indulgence, Sir, and Your Honor, that for a clearer picture, I need to say this first, to narrate these things. Mr. Cuevas. The picture is very clear to us. All we wanted to know is what are those alleged infirmities that you found based on the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. We will ask you about your explanation and probably about your justification if we need it. But in the meanwhile, we are limiting ourselves to the alleged infirmities and irregularities which you said you found in the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. One of them is, as you mentioned, there was a TRO issued, given? Ms. De Lima. This is a conditional TRO but it was made to appear that it could already be implemented on November 15. Mr. Cuevas. The second one is? Ms. De Lima. The second one is the exact voting on the matters voted upon on November 18 were not duly reflected in November 18.
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Mr. Cuevas. And the third one is? Ms. De Lima. The third is, they wanted to—well, because of that, Justice Carpio asked for a Clarificatory Resolution in order to clarify the November 18 Resolution because it was never stated in the November 18 Resolution that there was no compliance yet of the conditions and that it is not deemed, or it is deemed suspended until compliance with the condition. Mr. Cuevas. Now, with your permission, I am not referring to the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio. I am limiting myself to the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. Ms. De Lima. That matter is.... Mr. Cuevas. The third one is? Ms. De Lima. Let me just answer, Sir. That matter was reflected in the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno. In fact, Justice Sereno quoted verbatim the letter of Justice Carpio. Mr. Cuevas. So that is the third one. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Any other infirmity that you discovered upon a perusal of the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. The supposed Clarificatory Resolution of November 18, the Clarificatory Resolution of November 22 as assigned to Justice Velasco for the drafting and again, Justice Carpio noted that instead of clarifying the exact voting and matters voted upon on November 18, it only served to compound the error because the Chief Justice produced his own version of the November 22 Clarificatory Resolution which did not reflect the correct voting. Mr. Cuevas. Be that as it may, Madam Secretary, are there other observations that you discovered in that alleged dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno? Ms. De Lima. Yes, the attempt to suppress, or the suppression, in fact, of the December 2 dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno. Mr. Cuevas. I see. And what else, if there are any? Nothing more? Ms. De Lima. There are more, if only I have the opportunity to really explain. Mr. Cuevas. You are not prepared to deal with them as of today? Ms. De Lima. I can deal with them. Mr. Cuevas. Please do so. With the permission of the Honorable Juror.
The Presiding Officer. Proceed, Madam Secretary. Ms. De Lima. Well, as I was saying.... Representative Daza. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes? Representative Daza. May I request that the witness be given a couple of minutes to go over the thick dissenting opinion to which the distinguished Defense Counsel refers and on which the Defense Counsel bases his question.
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Mr. Cuevas. I will have no objection, Your Honor, if request to that effect is made. But I was on the assumption that the brilliant Secretary of Justice is very much in a position to go ahead or proceed with her testimony. The Presiding Officer. If Madam Secretary will request it, I will give her all the time. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Madam Secretary? Ms. De Lima. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. How many minutes do you need to.... Ms. De Lima. Two minutes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. You have five minutes. The Presiding Officer. The trial is suspended for five minutes if there no objection. [There was none.] The trial was suspended at 2:36 p.m. At 2:37 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The trial is resumed. Ms. De Lima. Thank you, Your Honor. Another questionable or irregular act on the part of the Respondent Chief Justice Corona is the failure to correct all the misleading and inaccurate disclosures of the spokesperson, including the misrepresentation that the voting was 9-4, when, in fact, it was 7-6; including the misrepresentation that as of November 15, and even as of November 18, the TRO was not yet effective. Mr. Cuevas. This is on the basis of your examination, or reading of the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno. Ms. De Lima. Of the Honorable Justice Sereno and Justice Carpio. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. No, I am limiting myself only to Justice Sereno’s dissenting. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir.
Mr. Cuevas. Anything more? Something that is substantial. Ms. De Lima. These are very substantial. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. Ms. De Lima. Especially, the changing of the draft from the drafter of the November 22, the alteration of the draft of the November 22 Resolution, from the statement that “there was no compliance of the conditional TRO” to “there was substantial compliance with the conditions of the conditional TRO.” Mr. Cuevas. Are you now through? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir.
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Mr. Cuevas. My understanding based from your answer.... The Presiding Officer. Just to clarify. Who was the drafter in particular? Ms. De Lima. It was assigned, Your Honor, to Justice Velasco by Chief Justice. The Presiding Officer. And he drafted the resolution. Ms. De Lima. He drafted the November 22. The Presiding Officer. Resolution. Ms. De Lima. Resolution. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And there were changes. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor.
Mr. Cuevas. May I now proceed, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. You may proceed. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Now, based on your answer now, I gather the impression that all the matters you stated a while ago came from your perusal or reading of Justice Sereno’s dissenting opinion. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. So much so that they are not from your own personal knowledge. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. I am not a member of the Supreme Court. Mr. Cuevas. In other words, what you have told us insofar as you are concerned are merely purely hearsay because they do not come from your own personal knowledge. Representative Daza. Objection, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. What is the ground for the objection? Representative Daza. The question is misleading. The dissenting opinion is a matter of judicial notice. In fact, we have marked this dissenting opinion as an exhibit for the Prosecution. Mr. Cuevas. That is not the subject of the examination, Your Honor. Go ahead, please, I am sorry. Representative Daza. The question is leading in form but it is misleading in substance because the question is, “all that you have said or what you have testified to is hearsay,” which is not so, which is misleading because as she testified and as the question called for, she was reading from the dissenting opinion which, as I said, is a matter of judicial notice. Mr. Cuevas. That is precisely the basis of my question. What the witness told the Court is merely what she gathered from the dissenting opinion and not from her own personal knowledge. The Presiding Officer. The Secretary may answer. Ms. De Lima. Based on an official document officially released to the parties.
Mr. Cuevas. All right.
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The Presiding Officer. I would like to clarify the reason for this ruling so that the people will not misunderstand because we are dealing with the rules of evidence. The Secretary, indeed, read the dissenting opinion, and by reading that dissenting opinion she has knowledge of the facts stated in that dissenting opinion. But to the extent of the truth or falsity of what is being stated in that dissenting opinion, if there is any falsehood is hearsay as far as the witness is concerned because she is not present in the proceedings of the Supreme Court. That is why I allowed the Secretary to answer. Representative Daza. Mr. President, I only objected to the use of the word “hearsay.” The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Daza. I objected to it because.... Mr. Cuevas. Sa Tagalog hindi galing sa inyong sariling kaalaman. Because you said hearsay, so I am elucidating on that. Representative Daza. No, I just objected, tumutol po ako, Ginoong Pangulo, doon sa paggamit ng Kgg. na Tagapagtanggol ng salitang “hearsay” sapagkat ang hearsay po ay may kahulugan sang-ayon sa ating rules of evidence. The Presiding Officer. Naiintindihan po ng Presiding Officer iyan. Pero ang ating testigo dito ay hindi pangkaraniwang testigo. Siya ay tanyag na abogado, alam niya ang ibig sabihin ng “hearsay” at intelihenteng testigo ang ating Kalihim. Puwede niyang sagutin iyon, kaya ang ruling ng Presiding Officer: She must answer. [The Presiding Officer banging the gavel.] Representative Daza. Tinatanggap po namin iyon, Ginoong Pangulo. Mr. Cuevas. May we be allowed to proceed, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Cuevas. All right. Now, you also made us understand that the basis of the information you revealed to this Honorable Court on the issue of alleged infirmity or irregularity is solely on the basis of the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno, am I right? Ms. De Lima. On the basis of the dissenting opinions, not just of Justice Sereno but of Justice Carpio, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. You are referring to the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir, also.... Mr. Cuevas. I have read the dissent of Justice Carpio and Justice Carpio never mentioned about the dates you had mentioned. For instance, the schedule of oral argument, the deliberation made, the voting and so on. His dissent is solely on the basis of the character or the conditions imposed. According to him, since they were not complied with, then the restraining order should not be made effective or enforceable. Am I not right? Ms. De Lima. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. There is nothing in his dissenting opinion which deals with the matters dealt with in the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno as you have narrated to this Court.
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The Presiding Officer. Counsel for the Defense, I think to be fair to the witness, if you have the dissenting opinion of Justice Carpio, this is an effort to confront the witness, then I think it is only fair that the document, as a basis of confrontation, must be shown to her. Mr. Cuevas. I would have done that, Your Honor. But I was given the impression that the Honorable Secretary of Justice had them in her possession. Ms. De Lima. I have a copy, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right, she has a copy. The Secretary may answer. Mr. Cuevas. Will you kindly indicate that particular portion in that dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Carpio dealing with the dates you mentioned, the irregularity and in the infirmity which was the subject of his dissent? (Witness examining document). Ms. De Lima. Not on those matters directly because, as you correctly stated, Sir, his dissenting opinion primarily dealt on the character of the TRO. But there is also a portion towards the end of his dissenting opinion about the issuance of the TRO that was issued or released to the petitioners before six o’clock in the evening of November 15, even before petitioner’s compliance with the first two (2) conditions. Mr. Cuevas. So, there is nothing mentioned there about the alleged deliberation, the lack of oral argument, the lack of notice and so on? Ms. De Lima. It is not in the dissent of Justice Carpio. Mr. Cuevas. I am very sure that you must have also gone over the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Reyes, the other dissenter. You must have gone over his dissenting opinion also. Ms. De Lima. For the November, is it the December 13? Mr. Cuevas. No. With respect to the grant of the restraining order which was the subject of… Ms. De Lima. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. And I have examined it. Will you kindly go over it and tell us in what particular portion of that dissenting opinion had the dates, the lack of notice and the irregularities you mentioned before the Court were incorporated because I do not find any, for your information, Madam Secretary. Ms. De Lima. There is none, Sir, because the dissenting opinion of Justice Reyes is the dissenting opinion of November 15 or the dissenting opinion to the TRO itself where the very issue on the legal status or efficacy was not yet there because we do not have the facts yet—the inside facts. Mr. Cuevas. So, the basis of his dissent is that if the court acts on the application for the restraining order, one way or the other, it will render moot and academic the principal issue in this case. That is the substance of his dissent. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you. If that is so, why have you laid too much an emphasis on the dissenting opinion of the Honorable Justice Sereno? Will you kindly tell the Honorable Court the reason for your giving too much emphasis and why you highly gravitate on that dissenting opinion?
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Ms. De Lima. I would gladly do that, Sir. I have given importance or I am highlighting the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno not because of the discussion there on the merits of her dissent to the grant of the TRO. It is not actually about being the dissenting opinion or is not the dissenting opinion per se but on the various disclosures or revelations that she had made, which gave us the picture of the irregularities that were committed within the court insofar as the issuance of the TRO as well as the interpretation of the legal status or effect of the TRO. Mr. Cuevas. And these matters are now pending consideration before the Honorable Supreme Court? Ms. De Lima. The main petition, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Correct. Ms. De Lima. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. Together with the alleged errors or irregularities attendant to the grant of the restraining order. Am I right? Ms. De Lima. I am not sure if it is still being discussed or being deliberated upon by the Supreme Court—the alleged irregularities. Mr. Cuevas. I am telling you now that it is one of the issues involved in that case and it is because of the citation against the Honorable Secretary of Justice for contempt for having violated the order of the Honorable Supreme Court in connection with the grant of a restraining order. Am I not correct? Ms. De Lima. In a sense, Sir, yes, you are correct. Mr. Cuevas. In what sense am I wrong? Ms. De Lima. Because if you are referring, Sir, to my compliance to the show-cause order and the grounds I cited there: (1) the lack of notice; and (2) is a conditional TRO, then the irregularities within the Supreme Court on the interpretation of the legal status would not really have much bearing on the issue of my noncompliance because, in the first place, when I submitted my compliance of the show-cause order, I was not aware yet of those irregularities— Mr. Cuevas. Correct. Ms. De Lima. —until I saw the dissenting opinion in December 13 of Justice Sereno. Mr. Cuevas. That is correct. And that was why I asked you the question, whether without having come across with the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno, you would have not known all these irregularities that you mentioned in your direct examination. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. All right. Thank you. Now, apparently, you gave us the impression in this Honorable Court that—permit the language— you swallowed hook, line and sinker the truth of what is alleged or incorporated in that dissenting opinion. Am I right or I am wrong? Ms. De Lima. I am giving it credence, serious credence because it was never disputed or denied by any other member of the court.
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Mr. Cuevas. But it remains to be a dissenting opinion up to now unless modified or reversed by the Supreme Court in the final adjudication of a case. Ms. De Lima. It is a dissenting opinion on the very issue at hand, which is the issuance of the TRO on the propriety of a TRO. But it is not an ordinary dissenting opinion because it dwells on those other matters. Mr. Cuevas. And it almost exempts you from criminal liability for being declared or being asked to show cause why you should not be punished for contempt. Ms. De Lima. If that is your interpretation, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, it saves you from the trouble of being made liable for having allegedly disobeyed the order of the honorable Supreme Court because there is a restraining order, you issued an order almost countermanding that order, is it not? Ms. De Lima. The issue of my alleged defiance, Sir, would still be there notwithstanding or even in the absence of these disclosures or revelations of internal matters. Mr. Cuevas. All right, thank you. So, let us get this clear then. Without going further into examining the depth and the width of the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno, you would not be able to tell the Court whether what were stated in there, based on your testimony, are true, correct and accurate representation of the actual facts, am I right? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Sir. So that your testimony therefore is solely based on what you have read from that dissenting opinion. Ms. De Lima. My testimony on those irregularities, yes, Sir. Mr. Cuevas. All right. Did you bother to look into the other opinions incorporated in the decision on the issue of the grant of the restraining order in order to verify the truth, the accuracy and the authenticity of the statement of facts made by the honorable Justice Sereno? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Sir, I did. The Presiding Officer. Counsel, were there other opinions? Mr. Cuevas. There were also. The Presiding Officer. Apart from the main decision, there were concurrent opinions? Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor, there was the opinion of Justice Brion; there was also the opinion of Justice Velasco; and also the Rejoinder that he made for not having been able to answer the issues raised in the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno. The Presiding Officer. Rejoinder of whom? Mr. Cuevas. Pardon, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Rejoinder of whom? Mr. Cuevas. By Justice Velasco, Your Honor, the ponente of the case.
Now, may I be permitted to go to another....
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In that case, I will move, much to my regret, for the striking out of the entirety of the testimony of the Witness on the ground that the same is hearsay insofar as the accuracy, the truth and the alleged authenticity of what is alleged as basic facts for the dissenting opinion, Your Honor. I regret to do that, Your Honor, but the rules of evidence and procedures compel me to do so. I am not questioning that there is such a dissenting opinion. But I am not in conformity with what was stated in there, together with the statement of facts made because they are controverted by the other facts obtaining in this case, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. What is the pleasure.... Representative Daza. Yes, Mr. President. We would like to be heard. As I understand, the Defense Counsel is moving to strike the testimony of the Witness on the ground that her testimony is hearsay. The Court.... The Presiding Officer. No, no. I think the Counsel is saying that to the extent of the truth or falsity of what Justice Sereno said in her dissenting opinion, that is the matter that is being covered by the motion of the Counsel for the Defense. Mr. Cuevas. Correct, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. As far as the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno is concerned, as far as what she said in her dissenting opinion, that is within the competence of the Witness to state in her answers to the questions of the Defense Counsel. Representative Daza. In other words, the basis of the motion to strike or the object of the motion to strike is the portion of the testimony of the Witness on the irregularities. The Presiding Officer. To the extent of the truth— Representative Daza. Yes. The Presiding Officer. —or falsity of what was said by Justice Sereno in her dissenting opinion. But as far as what Justice Sereno said in her dissenting opinion stays into the record as a part of the testimony of the Witness. Representative Daza. Yes. We vigorously object to the motion, Mr. President, firstly, because the dissenting opinion is, in fact, a matter of judicial notice. The Presiding Officer. That is correct. Representative Daza. And the facts that are stated therein in regard to the irregularities are part of the dissenting opinion. Firstly, Mr. President, these portions of the dissenting opinion are matters stated in the opinion by a public official. Therefore, unless proven otherwise, they are entitled to a presumption of truth and regularity. The Presiding Officer. I will posit the question this way. Whether what the Witness said as irregular is indeed irregular, they want to be stricken off the record. But as far as the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno is concerned, what she stated in that dissenting opinion will remain in the record as a part of the testimony of the Witness.
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Am I correct in understanding your position? Mr. Cuevas. That is correct, Your Honor. We are not in anyway disputing the existence of the dissenting opinion together with what is stated in there. The Presiding Officer. In other words, the Counsel for the Defense said to the Court, “Please disregard the claim of the irregularity attributed to others by the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno because the Witness was not present when those acts were done and when they came to the knowledge of Justice Sereno.” Representative Daza. In which case, Mr. President, these statements in the minority opinion, apart from the fact that they are entitled to the presumption of truth and regularity, the fact is that those statements are in their own right independently relevant statements made by a Justice of the Supreme Court who herself was speaking of her own personal knowledge. Secondly.... The Presiding Officer. Anyway, this is sufficiently argued. The Chair will make a ruling unless a Member of the Senate, sitting as an Impeachment Court, would want to discuss this matter. Mr. Cuevas. But before the ruling of the Honorable Court is made, may I be allowed one or two minutes for a rebuttal, Your Honor. Representative Daza. Mr. President, I am not finished. The Presiding Officer. Let us allow the Prosecutor to finish. Representative Daza. Secondly, it is plain to us that the motion is actually in substance raising an issue either of weight or defense. Now, whether it is a matter of weight or defense, Mr. President, it is not a ground to strike whatever portion of the testimony has been made. If it is a matter of weight, it is for the discretion of the Court to decide on whether to give it weight; and if it is a matter of weight, how heavy the weight should be; and if it is a matter of defense, the Defense will have its turn to present evidence to impeach, discredit or overthrow the statements on irregularities contained in the minority opinion. Now, thirdly, Mr. President, I have read the concurring opinions myself, just like the Defense Counsel, and it is there shown that these statements on irregularities or disclosures made by Justice Sereno were not treated or met in those concurring opinions. There was silence in their opinions. And we know that in a court of justice when such imputations are made, which are serious as against others, there is silence, there is a presumption of truth. I mean, as they say in Spanish, no disputa, se accepta. If you do not dispute, you accept. The other justices never disputed in their concurring opinions these regulations made by Justice Sereno. Mr. Cuevas. If the Counsel is through, Your Honor, may I be allowed a one-minute rebuttal? The Presiding Officer. Just a minute. Is the gentleman from the Prosecution through? Representative Daza. Yes, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Defense Counsel. Mr. Cuevas. If, Your Honor, please. The Honorable Court would notice that we have predicated our motion to strike out on the basis of the admission made by the Honorable Secretary of Justice that she has no personal knowledge of all these irregularities and infirmities and that this knowledge came to her by reason of going over the dissenting opinion.
The Presiding Officer. By reading the dissenting opinion.
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Mr. Cuevas. Correct, Your Honor. That is why we made the statement that all she testified to in connection with the alleged irregularities or infirmities did not come from her own personal knowledge but merely from a reading of the dissenting opinion. The Presiding Officer. That was accepted by the Witness. Mr. Cuevas. Yes. So, the presumption of regularity and the fact that the dissenting opinion exists, we never questioned that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Cuevas. We never questioned that. We were limiting ourselves to the character of the evidence being elicited from the Witness, Your Honor, which in accordance with the evidence and law, is decidedly hearsay. And if it is hearsay, then it may be the subject of motion to strike out. The Presiding Officer. All right. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago wants to be recognized— The Presiding Officer. The gentle lady from Iloilo is recognized. Senator Sotto. —before you make the ruling. Senator Defensor Santiago. Mr. President, I am responding to your call for the Senator-Judges, if any, to make an input on this question before you issue your ruling. My first comment is this. Under the complaint, Article VII, the Defendant is charged with betraying the public trust and I am reading now: “Through his partiality in granting a TRO in favor of the President and her husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo,” et cetera. So, the question under Article VII, simply is: Did the Chief Justice show any partiality when the Temporary Restraining Order was granted, not by the Chief Justice alone, but by his colleagues in the Supreme Court? That is the question today before us. Now, I have a copy of the Internal Rules of the Supreme Court. Rule XII is entitled “Voting Requirements” and it is self-explanatory; and Rule XIII is entitled “Decision-making Process.” It appears from what the Witness has said so far that she has never personally participated in either counting the votes or in the decision-making process of the Supreme Court. In fact, she has said she has no personal knowledge. She has admitted that. Now, according to the Rules of Court, Rule 130 on Rules of Admissibility, Section 36: “Testimony Generally Confined to Personal Knowledge, Hearsay Excluded. A witness can testify only to those facts which he knows of his own personal knowledge, that is, which are derived from his own perception except thus otherwise provided in these rules.” If she was absent, how could she have personal knowledge? She is, in effect, therefore, offering to us her opinion. But I have already said several times in this Session Hall that no opinion is allowed by the rules of evidence unless the expert has first been qualified as an expert witness. She has not been so
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qualified. She was not present when these so-called irregularities or discrepancies were taking place. So, how can she be a witness on this instance, on the particular point of fact of whether the Chief Justice took an active role in issuing the TRO all by himself when according to the Witness herself, according to the internal rules of the Supreme Court, which are available to lawyers like us, no one justice is allowed to issue the TRO all by himself? So, Defense is correct in invoking the hearsay rule. There are exceptions to the hearsay rule. There are one to 11 exceptions. Which of these exceptions is the Prosecution trying to ground its position on? The general rule of evidence is “no hearsay.” Only eyewitness can testify except one to 11. What exception is being quoted? Why are we splitting hairs? It is very, very clear. A witness can only testify as to what he perceived himself, except that there are 11 of these exceptions and none of them is being cited by the Prosecution panel. So, in effect, what we have been hearing is a series of opinions extrapolated or explained to us by the witness but we have already seen that a witness is not allowed to express an opinion unless she has been qualified as an expert witness. And there are rules for qualifying her. Let me quote only one case, just one case, decided only this month, February 1, 2012, the case of Malayan Insurance Company v. Reyes. Here is the Supreme Court: “Concomitantly, a witness may not testify on matters which he or she merely learned from others either because said witness was told or read or heard those matters. Such testimony is considered hearsay and may not be received as proof of the truth of what the witness has learned.” This is known as the hearsay rule. Maybe just one other case, Estrada v. Desierto, 2001. But notice that what I cited was a case issued only this month by the Supreme Court, educating all of us in the law profession and in the general public. Estrada v. Desierto: “There are three reasons for excluding hearsay evidence: 1) absence of cross examination; 2) absence of demeanor evidence; and 3) absence of the oath.” The Witness insists that her opinions are well grounded on the dissenting opinion of a singular Justice of the Supreme Court. So, we are now faced with the issue of what is the weight of a dissenting opinion. The Supreme Court itself said in the 2008 case concerning Mr. Amado Macasaet. The Supreme Court stated that: “Elementary decision-making teaches that we cite the majority opinion as precedent, not lonely dissenting opinions.” Another case, 2006, GSIS v. Kapisanan: “It is the majority opinion and not the dissenting opinion that is the controlling jurisprudence.” These are accepted facts in law school. Why do we have to debate these topics? We cannot simply take them for granted. So, to return to Article VII, our quest here is factual in nature. Was the Chief Justice personally and individually responsible for what are perceived deficiencies or irregularities in the issuance of the TRO? The TRO is the subject matter and the target of this particular Article VII is the Chief Justice, the Respondent. The issue therefore is: Can one judge be held liable for the decision of a collegial body? Here is the Supreme Court speaking in an administrative case filed by an individual against certain justices of the Supreme Court. And here is what the Supreme Court said: “Although the Chief Justice is primus inter pares, first among equals, he cannot legally decide a case on his own because of the Court’s nature as a collegial body; neither can the Chief Justice, by himself, overturn the decision of the Court whether by division or the en banc, whether by division or by the entire Supreme Court.” And here is an excerpt from the book Judicial Opinion Writing by Joyce George in its 4th Edition as early as 1993: “In writing an opinion, the writing judge is involved in a joint venture. The end-product is not his opinion alone but rather that of all the members of the panel who formed the majority.”
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So, I return to the issue at hand. The issue at hand is simply this: Is the witness qualified, under the Rules of Court, to testify on this particular matter? The answer is “no.” She said “no” herself. She said, “I am not a member of the court, I have not been there, I was not present. I was just reading the dissenting opinion of one of the dissenting justices.” That is what she said. So, she is not testifying according to her own personal knowledge. That falls under the hearsay rule. As I said, I admit that there are 11 exceptions to the hearsay rule. Therefore, Prosecutor has the burden of showing that at least one of the 11 exceptions to the hearsay rule applies. Otherwise, there is no point belaboring this issue. We can move on. Let us move on, Counsel. Thank you, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Thank you. Representative Daza. Mr. President, may I react to the distinguished lady Senator, and now international jurist? The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Senator Defensor Santiago. Mr. President, point of order. He will engage on a colloquy with me, a Judge. The Judge has spoken. Now, the Judge is taking time to deliberate on what she has just told the Court. I do not think this is proper. You should debate among yourselves. You do not debate with a Judge. The Presiding Officer. Counsel, I am sorry, a Member of the Court objects to any further discussion. So, I will make a ruling. Representative Daza. Mr. President, may I just add for two minutes a remark? Well, one of the 11 exceptions to the hearsay rule, under Rule 130 is Section 44. The Presiding Officer. And which says.... Representative Daza. Yes, let me read that. It says, Section 44, Rule 130. One of the 11 exceptions to the hearsay rule. And it says: “Entries in Official Records. Entries in official records made in the performance of his duty by a public officer of the Philippines or by a person in the performance of a duty especially enjoined by law are prima facie evidence of the facts therein stated.” This is an exception to the hearsay rule. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Daza. And therefore, the burden of persuasion is shifted. We have exercised our burden— Senator Defensor Santiago. Mr. President. Representative Daza. —then the burden is shifted to the Defense to point and demonstrate to the Court that we do not fall within this exception. The Presiding Officer. May I beg the indulgence of the lady Senator from Iloilo to let the counsel finish and then I will recognize her. Senator Defensor Santiago. Thank you. The Presiding Officer. Yes, proceed. Representative Daza. Yes, I am finished with my statement.
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Senator Defensor Santiago. That does not apply, Counsel. Let me educate you. When an official custodian or other representatives qualified by that office or authorized by that office to issue an official record does so, then the presumption applies that what is stated in the official record is correct, to that extent. Therefore, there is an exception to the hearsay rule. That person or that custodian or that record keeper does not have to explain why his record is that way. You just have to take it on its face. That is the meaning of that. But we are talking of a dissenting opinion by a collegiate body, the Supreme Court. So, if the dissenting opinion contains certain narrations of fact which, in fact, are intended to dispute what the majority opinion has issued, you cannot prima facie presume that the dissenting opinion is correct and the majority opinion is wrong. That is why I read you those cases where the Supreme Court repeatedly said: “You rely on the majority opinion, not on the dissenting opinion.” That is why I was warning you already, do not engage in a colloquy with the Judge. That is not allowed by the Rules of the Impeachment Court. Put it in your memorandum. The Presiding Officer. All right. May the Presiding Officer now make a ruling? Is there any objection? All right. It is the ruling of the Chair that to the extent of the facts narrated by the Witness on the basis of the dissenting opinion, let them remain as a part of her testimony. Let them remain as a part of the record as a consequence and part of her testimony here as a witness. But to the extent of the truth or falsity of what the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno contains, to the extent of those facts whether they are true or not that the Chief Justice influenced this or the Chief Justice did that or somebody else did something else, then to that extent, it is hearsay, because the Witness was not present when those things were being done or being said. And so, I will allow the testimony of the Witness to remain into the Record and suggest to the Court to disregard whether the statement of the Chief Justice or what he did or other Justices did in the course of their deliberation because those are not within the competence of the Witness to testify on. So therefore, those are hearsay. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. I was about to make a short manifestation, Your Honor, as to the effect of a declaration of statement being considered as hearsay. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. Because there are plenty of jurisprudence to the effect that whether objected to or not, if the testimony is hearsay, it shall not and must not be considered by the Court in rendering a decision, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Yes, but we must remember that we are not trying a criminal case. We are trying an impeachment case. Although there is a penalty, the only penalty is not loss of freedom or infliction of an economic burden but the removal of the Respondent from his position and his disqualification. And therefore, the hearsay rule contained in our rules of evidence does not apply strictly in impeachment cases as far as I could remember what I read about the experience of the United States in impeachment cases. It is true that in a strictly criminal case, the hearsay rule is very strictly adhered to as a rule of evidence but not in an impeachment case. That is why I made a distinction between the truth or falsity of what was related by Justice Sereno in her dissenting opinion and what the Witness now said based on what was contained or the information being presented to her on the basis of the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno.
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To that extent and to the extent of the dissenting opinion, let it stay as a part of the testimony of the Witness. So ordered. Mr. Cuevas. I am heavily thankful, Your Honor, for the announcement made by the Honorable Presiding Justice but I am also thankful for being allowed to make that manifestation of record because that is a rule not only applicable to civil, criminal and other cases, Your Honor. And I am searching in vain a ruling or a rule of procedure insofar as the Impeachment Court is concerned relative to hearsay evidence. If we examine the rules of procedure, there is nothing in there, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Counsel, I am going to ask you to read the book of Charles, the one written by Charles Black. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And also the book written by Raoul Berger of Harvard. These two books will tell you that the hearsay rule is not adhered to strictly in impeachment cases. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. If you want, I can bring them here. I think I have them in my office upstairs. Mr. Cuevas. I have gone over the first book, by Black, Your Honor, but the second one I have not seen it. I do not know. Thank you for the information. The Presiding Officer. Raoul Berger is a Harvard man who wrote a very extensive study on impeachment trials in America. And he cited a lot of authorities to say that hearsay rule does not strictly apply in impeachment cases. And so I understand your position but we are not proving the guilt of the Respondent beyond reasonable doubt. We are going to decide this case on the basis of the quantum of evidence that we think is best to be used in determining whether he is guilty or not guilty, not beyond reasonable doubt because this is not a criminal case. It is akin to a criminal case but not really a criminal case. And that is why I made that ruling and so let it remain as a ruling of the Court. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. I am through with the Witness. Thank you, Madam Secretary. The Presiding Officer. Okay. Let us now discharge the distinguished Secretary of Justice. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, there are a number of Senators who have made reservations to ask questions to the witness. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Senator Sotto. So, may we move to suspend the trial for 15 minutes before we proceed? The Presiding Officer. All right. Madam Secretary, can you bear us out, bear with us rather? Okay. The trial is suspended for 15 minutes.
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The trial was suspended at 3:22 p.m. At 3:45 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The trial is resumed. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. Now that the cross-examination has finished, there are a number of Senator-Judges who wish to pose questions to the Witness. So, may we start off with Sen. Panfilo Lacson. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Cavite has the floor. Senator Lacson. Thank you, Mr. President. Before I ask my questions to the Witness, I would like to address the Prosecution panel. If you will allow me to do a Senator Miriam, I will just do or make some lecture. It is true, I fully support the ruling of the Chair that as to the truthfulness and accurateness of the contents of the documents marked as Exhibits “TTTTTTTTT”, “UUUUUUUUU”, “VVVVVVVVV”, talagang hindi po pupuwede kasi hearsay because Secretary De Lima admitted that she was not present during the en banc deliberation. But, if I may suggest, why do you not do it another way? Assuming that Justice Sereno—because we have already ruled unanimously not to issue a subpoena to any of the Associate Justices, that is foregone, wala na po iyon. But, for all you know, she brought with her a clerk or her chief of staff or whatever. Baka naman po present siya during the en banc and she would have personal knowledge, bakit hindi niyo alamin and then submit a motion to the Court na mag-issue ng subpoena to the person concerned at baka mapayagan kayo? So, at least, somebody, not Secretary De Lima, who has no personal knowledge on the contents or the truthfulness of what transpired during the en banc sessions, the three en banc sessions of the Supreme Court, ay baka naman makakuha kayo ng mayroong personal knowledge. It is just a suggestion just to ferret out the truth, not for anything else. Representative Daza. Maganda po sana iyan, Ginoong Senador. Kaya lamang ang balakid ay ganito. Ang Korte Suprema, noong Valentine’s Day, birthday ng ating Pangulo, naglabas ng isang resolution na kung saan ipinagbawal ng Korte Suprema na kahit na mayroong subpoena na manggagaling dito sa Senado, sa Impeachment Court, para sa isang Mahistrado o isang empleyado ng Korte Suprema na dito ay pumunta upang magbigay ng saysay. Ang sabi po doon sa resolution na iyon, may mga bagay na ang tawag ng Korte Suprema ay internal, na hindi puwedeng ibunyag kahit dito po sa Impeachment Court. At saklaw po riyan hindi lamang isang Mahistrado kung hindi ang kaniyang mga empleyado. Ngayon, kung ibig o kagustuhan ng isang Mahistrado na sa kanyang ganang sarili ay pumunta rito at magsaysay, ang sabi po noong resolution na iyon, kailangan humingi ng waiver or clearance sa husgado iyong Mahistradong iyon. Senator Lacson. If I may. Representative Daza. Yes. Senator Lacson. We are not there yet. Assuming that there is a memo issued even to the employees, not just an internal arrangement among the Justices of the Supreme Court, wala pa po tayo doon because it is up to the Court, this Court, to determine if, when we ask questions or you ask, and
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the Defense panel will ask their questions, it is up to us to decide whether or not he or she can decline to answer the question. Representative Daza. Ginoong Senador, ang akin pong iniisip na talagang ang may personal knowledge dito ay si Justice Sereno. Kaya nga po iyon po ang.... Senator Lacson. That is accepted po. Pero, for all you know, hindi lang naman si Justice Sereno ang present doon. Baka mayroon siyang bitbit na Supreme Court employee, one member of her staff na puwede ninyong— Representative Daza. Saklaw po iyong sa resolution ng Korte Suprema, pati mga empleyado saklaw doon sa pagbabawal. Senator Lacson. Well, I will say it again. This is an Impeachment Court, sui generis po ito. Ito po ay supreme din on its own. Anyway, I will not belabor the issue. Representative Daza. Baka po naman sa sariling kusa ni Justice Sereno dahil dito sa ating usaping ito, ay baka naman sa kanyang kusa ay humingi siya ng waiver at harinawa mabigyan ng waiver or clearance ng Korte Suprema at dito magbigay ng kanyang salaysay. Senator Lacson. Anyway, Sir, that is just a side issue. I will now proceed to my main issue. Tatanungin ko na po si Secretary De Lima. Representative Daza. Maraming salamat po sa inyong payo, susubukin po namin iyan, baka naman po maawa si Justice Sereno sa ngalan ng bayan na pumunta rito para magbigay ng kanyang sariling salaysay. Senator Lacson. But if you are waiting for the Impeachment Court to issue a subpoena— Representative Daza. Hindi po. Senator Lacson. –-wala na po iyon because we have unanimously supported the Presiding Officer that we will not issue a subpoena to any Associate Justice of the Supreme Court. Representative Daza. Alam po namin na ganoon. Senator Lacson. Now, Madam Witness, magandang hapon po. Ms. De Lima. Magandang hapon din po, Your Honor. Senator Lacson. When did you first learn—kailan ninyo po unang nalaman na mayroong TRO? Ayon po sa inyong salaysay mga one o’clock ng hapon ng November 15, tama po ba iyon? Ms. De Lima. Opo, noong nag-press con po si G. Midas Marquez. Senator Lacson. Now, when did you first learn about the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court? Ms. De Lima. Ah, nabanggit din ho iyon, kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, parang binasa po iyon, binasa po iyon ni Midas Marquez. Senator Lacson. Pero ayon din sa inyong pag-testify dito, una ninyong natanggap iyong kopya ninyo around 8:16 a.m., the following day, November 16? Ms. De Lima. Opo, 8:25 o 8:26.
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Senator Lacson. Kailan ninyo po unang nalaman na mayroong irregularities, mayroong hindi pagsunod doon sa mga conditions na na-impose? Ms. De Lima. Noong natanggap ko na po iyong November 18 Resolution po. Senator Lacson. November 18 Resolution? Ms. De Lima. Opo, na natanggap—kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, on the same day, November 18. Senator Lacson. Kailan ninyo po pinagbawalan si Ginoong Arroyo na umalis ng bansa papuntang—kung saan mang lupalop iyon? Ms. De Lima. Iyong attempt niya po noong November 15 ng gabi. Senator Lacson. In other words, noong hindi ninyo siya pinayagan na umalis e hindi ninyo pa alam na may mga kondisyon na hindi na-fulfill doon sa TRO? Ms. De Lima. Hindi ko pa po alam kung talagang na-fulfill na iyong mga conditions as of that time. Kasi ang alam ko po, Your Honor, is that pag mayroon pong mga condition ang isang order, kailangan mayroon hong confirmatory order iyong korte na itong mga conditions na nakasaad dito ay na-comply na noong party concerned. Senator Lacson. Pero hindi ninyo alam na mayroong condition, iyong condition no. 2, requirement no. 2, iyong pag-assign ng legal representative ay hindi pala na-comply dahil mali iyong isunumite noong kanyang lawyer, si Ferdinand Topacio, hindi ba? Ms. De Lima. Opo, iyong gabi pong iyon, hindi ko po alam kung ano sa mga kundisyon na iyon ang na-fulfill na. Maski nga po iyong bond, hindi ko pa rin ho iyon alam kung naibigay na iyon noong araw na iyon. Senator Lacson. So that prompted you to order the immigration officers at the airport including the personnel of the NAIA Authority not to allow her to leave the country that evening? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Lacson. Ano po ba ang diperensya ng WLO at saka ng HDO? Ms. De Lima. Ang HDO po, Hold Departure Order ay pinagbabawalan na umalis ang isang either nasasakdal or respondent in a preliminary investigation case at ito ay may duration na limang taon, five years, unless lifted or revoked. Iyong WLO naman po, Watchlist Order ay essentially, ang effect ay hindi basta-basta makakaalis unless makakuha rin po ng Lifting Order o Allow Departure Order pero ito po ay only for a period of 60 days and not five (5) years. Senator Lacson. An HDO is issued by the Court, by the Regional Trial Court. Kapag nai-file ang information, whether or not naisyuhan ng warrant of arrest, iyong korte po ay may kapangyarihan sa ilalim ng batas na mag-issue ng Hold Departure Order. Ms. De Lima. Opo, ang korte po ay may kapangyarihan na mag-issue ng HDO at iyong Department of Justice din po, under Department Circular No. 41, ay mayroon din pong kapangyarihan. Senator Lacson. Mayroon ding kapangyarihan?
Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Lacson. Watchlist Order?
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Sino po ang nagbigay ng kapangyarihan sa DOJ na mag-issue ng
Ms. De Lima. Nasa Circular po iyan, No. 41, ito po ang basehan po nito, kasi ang Circular No. 41 po ay kagaya ng sinabi ko po kahapon, ang nagpalabas po niyan ay iyong dating Secretary of Justice, Alberto Agra, at iyong mga dati rin pong mga circulars before Circular No. 41 ay mayroon din po doon tungkol sa HDO, so iyong mga dating circulars in-issue rin po ng mga dating Secretary of Justice. Ang batayan po ay iyong sa Administrative Code na kung saan.... Senator Lacson. 292? E.O. No. 292? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Executive Order No. 292 po. Senator Lacson. Pero basahin po natin iyong pinagkopyahan, iyong cited dito which is Circular No. 18. Hindi po ba, iyon yata ang pinanggalingan nito eh. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Lacson. Department Circular No. 18. At ang sinasabi doon, binibigyan ng—wala iyong notes ko—binibigyan ng kapangyarihan ang Secretary of Justice para utusan ang Immigration. Pero kapag sinabing Immigration, iyon po ay patungkol lamang sa naturalization. Sa mga naturalized at saka sa mga aliens, hindi po ba? Ms. De Lima. Basically, opo. Senator Lacson. So, ang sinabi niyo po kahapon sa mga pagtatanong ng aking kaprobinsiya na si Sen. Bong Revilla, mayroong effects of a law ang Circular No. 41? Ms. De Lima. Opo. It has force and effects of a law. Senator Lacson. But it is not a law? Ms. De Lima. It is not strictly a law. Senator Lacson. Is there a law that authorizes Circular No. 41? Ms. De Lima. Iyong batas po.... Senator Lacson. Mr. President, marami po akong mga katanungan. The Presiding Officer. You can go on. Senator Lacson. Thank you po. Ms. De Lima. Wala pong batas expressly authorizing the Department of Justice, the Secretary of Justice na mag-issue ng Hold Departure Order or Watchlist Order pero ang batayan po diyan ay iyong aming mandato under the Administrative Code at ito po under the rule-making powers din po ng department for the effective implementation of mandate, of its mandate at saka po iyong exercise ng police power. Senator Lacson. May an agency, in this case the DOJ, grant to itself by issuing a circular that power? Hindi po ba self-serving iyon kapag kayo mismo ang nag-grant ng power sa sarili ninyo sa pamamagitan ng isang sirkular? Hindi po ba nararapat lamang, it is basic for that agency in this case, again, the DOJ, to seek the support of Congress by way of an enactment, hindi po ba?
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Ms. De Lima. Iyan ho ang ideal situation. Kung mayroon po sana talagang batas na talagang directly, expressly, categorically granting us that power, mas maganda po sana iyon. Pero all these years nga po, wala pa, hindi pa po iyan binibigay o hindi pa po iyan pinapalabas ng Kongreso pero mayroon po kaming batayan, iyong sinasabi ko po kanina sa Administrative Code, mayroon po kaming kapangyarihan na mag-issue ng mga rules and regulations na sa tingin namin ay makakatulong para talaga magawa namin nang maayos ang aming mandato which is to administer the criminal justice system, investigate crimes and prosecute criminal offenders. Senator Lacson. Have you even attempted to ask Congress to enact a law para mabigyan kayo ng ganoong kapangyarihan sa ilalim ng ating batas? Ms. De Lima. Mayroon pong mga ginagawa ngayon na mga bills o mga drafts na isa-submit po namin na proposal sa Kongreso. At alam ko po na mayroon din mga pending bills tungkol diyan, pero hindi ko po alam kung ano na pong pinaka-status, kung nakumpleto na po yung bill. Senator Lacson. But in the meantime that there is no law, you cannot implement Circular No. 41. Hindi po ba? Kasi hindi po kayo puwedeng mag-grant ng power sa inyong sarili at pagkatapos kayo rin ang magpapa-implement. Parang wala po sa ating Saligang Batas iyan. Ms. De Lima. Recognized po iyan, na kung mayroon po kaming rule-making power sa aming paggawa ng aming mandato ay puwede po, and then police power. Kasi iyong police power po ay nasa Kongreso nga po iyan, but it can be delegated. And it can be delegated through the power of the agency concerned to issue rules, or to promulgate rules and regulations para mapadali ang trabaho. At iyong pagbibigay o pag-i-issue po ng HDOs and WLOs ay long recognized institutional practice na po iyan ng DOJ. Mula’t sapol pa po ay iyong mga dati pong mga secretaries of Justice, kasama na rin po iyong lahat na mga secretaries of Justice na ina-appoint ng dating Pangulo, they have been issuing Hold Departure Orders and Watchlist Orders bago pa man po iyong Circular No. 41. Senator Lacson. Alam ko po iyon dahil ginamit po ito ni dating Pangulong Arroyo to go against her perceived political enemies. Hindi po ba? Kasi, noong minsan, naabutan ko si Cong. Satur Ocampo, kawawa. Nandoon sa isang kuwarto doon sa Immigration, at ang dahilan lamang kung bakit hindi siya paalisin ay mayroon Watchlist Order. Sa akin pong pagkaintindi as the name connotes, or as the nomenclature indicates, watchlist, parang ang connotation lamang, bantayan ninyo iyan, alamin ninyo kung saan pupunta, alamin ninyo kung kailan babalik, and nothing more. Hindi naman puwedeng pag-watchlist ay sasamahan na ng hold. Kaya nga mayroon tayong tinatawag na “Hold Departure Order” at mayroon tayong tinatawag na “Watchlist Order,” kasi magkaiba po iyong dalawa. Kanina, tinanong ko sa inyo, anong diperensiya. Sa inyong paliwanag, wala akong nakitang diperensiya. The difference is the same. Ms. De Lima. It is just the period. Iyong epekto po ay parang.... Senator Lacson. Pati iyong epekto po dahil hino-hold iyong Filipino para hindi makaalis ng bansa by virtue of a Watchlist Order. Ms. De Lima. Iyong nga po ang nasabi ko kanina na Watchlist Order, pero iyong epekto po ay halos pareho in the sense na hindi ho basta-basta makakaalis na hindi muna magpaalam
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sa Department of Justice sa pamamagitan ng pagkuha ng Lifting Order o ng Allow Departure Order, and ang epekto nga po, ang duration is 60 days instead of the longer period kapag HDO na five (5) years. Doon po sa sinasabi ninyo yung ginagamit po ng dating Pangulo against perceived enemies, well, maaaring naabuso nga po yong poder na iyan. But an abuse.... Senator Lacson. At ngayon naman po, ginagamit naman natin doon sa ating perceived political enemy rin. The same Circular. Ms. De Lima. Sa akin po, you do not have to worry about that, Sir. Senator Lacson. Pero nangyari po, eh. Ms. De Lima. I do not use my power for any improper motive, especially for any, as you say, political vendetta. I do not do that. Senator Lacson. Hindi po ba maliwanag sa ating Saligang Batas, Article III, Section 6, na iyong right to travel ay dapat nating i-uphold. Maliwanag po iyon dahil hindi ko na po kailangan basahin iyong provision, dahil alam ninyo naman po iyon. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Mayroon ho talagang right to travel— Senator Lacson. May mga exception lang. Ms. De Lima. —just like any other rights, mayroon pong mga exception. It is not unlimited. Senator Lacson. Yang national security, public health, and public safety. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Lacson. Saan po pumasok si Ginang Arroyo doon sa tatlo na exception? Ms. De Lima. Doon sa tatlo po, strictly speaking, hindi ho natin puwedeng itugma iyon. But ang argument po naming doon sa kaso naming sa Supreme Court is that, it is not meant to be an exclusive enumeration of those exceptions. Kasi mayroon nga pong mga recognized exceptions ngayon. The fact that the court itself, the regular court can issue HDOs in cases pending before them, kahit wala doon sa tatlong stated exceptions ay puwede. Senator Lacson. by law.” Ms. De Lima. Iyong sa korte, kasi ang sinabi ng Konstitusyon “as may be provided Opo.
Senator Lacson. Ito po bang Circular 41, meron po bang batas, tulad ng tanong ko kanina, is there a law authorizing it? Ms. De Lima. Wala po. Senator Lacson. Wala po. Ms. De Lima. Wala po, pero mayroon po tayong mga jurisprudence katulad po noong tungkol sa power ng PCGG. Ang isang kaso po, Kant Kwong case, ay hindi nila pinakialaman iyong power of the PCGG to issue Hold Departure Order kahit wala po iyan sa batas ng PCGG. At iyong batas po ng PCGG is Executive Order No. 1. Pero meron pong ilang kaso, iyong isa nga po ay nakarating sa Supreme Court na in-affirm po nila ang power ng PCGG to issue HDO kahit wala pong batas na nagsasabi tungkol doon. Another example po iyong mga travel ban. In another
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case, PASEI v. then Secretary Drilon, in-affirm po iyon, the authority to impose travel ban. Now, travel ban po, that is tantamount to restraining the right to travel. May ilan-ilan pa pong example. Senator Lacson. Nabanggit po ninyo ang E.O. No. 292. Ito po iyong sinasabing probisyon. Babasahin ko po para maliwanag, para lamang maiparating ko sa inyo na hindi ninyo puwedeng gawing basehan iyon. Ang pinagbasehan dito ay iyong Circular No. 18, which in part cited Section 3, paragraph (1), subparagraphs (2) and (6), Chapter I, Title 3, Book 4 of E.O. No. 292. Iyon ang source ng authority ng Department Circular No. 41, tama po ba? Ms. De Lima. Opo, I do not have the.... Senator Lacson. Ang sinasabi po ng Section 3, paragraph (6): “It authorizes the DOJ to provide immigration and naturalization services and implement the laws governing citizenship and the admission of stay of aliens.” Eh, hindi naman po alien si Ginang Arroyo. Ms. De Lima. Mayroon pa hong mga ibang basehan iyong Circular No. 41. Senator Lacson. For my education, puwede ninyo po bang banggitin. Ang kinu-quote ko po dito ay si Fr. Bernas. Baka nakalimutan niyang isulat iyong sinasabi ninyong ibang.... Ms. De Lima. Mayroon pa hong ibang basehan iyong Circular No. 41. Iyong mga probisyon po tungkol doon sa mga mandato, sa mga powers and functions of DOJ, lalo na po iyong tungkol sa the DOJ administers the criminal justice system, in accordance with the accepted processes; investigate crimes and prosecute criminal offenders, et cetera. Now, because of that mandate mayroon din po kami under the EO, under the Administrative Code, in another provision of the Administrative Code, the rule-making powers. So, doon po namin ipinasok o doon ipinasok nung mga nag-draft ng Circular No. 41 iyong the power to issue rules and regulations. Ito nga po Circular No. 41, the power to issue HDO and WLO for the effective discharge of the mandate of the powers and functions of the DOJ under the Administrative Code. Senator Lacson. Rule-making power of the DOJ, tama po iyon. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Lacson. Pero dapat po ay may pinagbabasehang batas iyon. Kung hindi man Saligang Batas ay batas na ipinasa ng Kongreso. Sa ngayon po, ayon sa inyong pagsang-ayon kanina ay wala naman pong lumalabas pang batas ang Kongreso, bakit naglabas na kayo ng Department Circular No. 41? Hindi ko po sinasabing hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa inyo na napigilan si Mrs. Arroyo. Maliwanag po iyon. Sumasang-ayon po ako sa inyo, pero hindi ako sumasang-ayon sa ligalidad ng inyong ginawa. Ms. De Lima. Iyong Circular No. 41 po, gusto ko pong ulitin na hindi ko po iyan gawagawa. Pagdating ko po sa Department of Justice nandiyan na po iyan and nakita ko naman po na malaking tulong iyong pag-i-issue ng HDOs and WLOs and, sa tingin ko po, it enjoys the presumption of constitutionality and validity. So, until otherwise declared, until declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional or invalid, we should assume that Circular No. 41 is a valid exercise of the rule-making powers of the DOJ and also the exercise of police power of the State through the Executive department. Senator Lacson. You cited national interest. Correct me if I am wrong, pero iyon ang narinig ko sa interview ninyo na you cited national interest as your justification para pigilan si Mrs. Arroyo at i-implement iyong WLO.
Ms. De Lima. Isa po iyan sa mga nabanggit ko dati.
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Senator Lacson. Pero wala naman po sa Constitution iyong national interest kasi tatlo lamang po ang nakalahad doon. Kung gusto nating i-expand na isama iyong national interest baka po puwedeng pag-usapan natin sa Kongreso—Lower House and Upper House—para ma-expand kung gusto nitong….Basta’t hindi lamang contrary sa provision ng Constitution, baka puwede nating gawing isang justification. But in the meantime that it is limited to three— public safety, public health at saka national security— ay wala po tayong magagawa kundi sundin iyong Article III, Section 6 ng Constitution at sundin iyong mga umiiral na batas tungkol dito. Ms. De Lima. Meron po tayong Circular No. 41 at iyan po ay…. Senator Lacson. Hindi nga po batas iyon, Ginang Secretary. Nagkasundo na po tayo doon. Hindi po batas iyon at walang batas authorizing Circular No. 41. Ms. De Lima. Administrative issuance po iyan. Kahit hindi po siya batas but it also enjoys the presumption of constitutionality and validity dahil, sa tingin po namin, sakop po iyan talaga ng kapangyarihan ng DOJ under E.O. No. 292 and it is actually in the exercise of police power. Now, iyong delegated authority po ng isang ahensiya ng gobyerno na ipatupad ang isang batas, provided na may mga reasonable standard na nakalagay diyan sa batas at doon din sa administrative issuance, iyon po ang posisyon namin—official position—na ipinaglalaban namin sa Supreme Court dito sa consolidated cases. Senator Lacson. Balik po tayo doon sa hindi ninyo pagsunod sa TRO. So, noong November 15, maliwanag na hindi pa ninyo alam iyong mga kondisyon na na-violate or one of the conditions that was not fulfilled anyway. Just the same, sinuway ninyo iyong TRO. So, can you now confirm that you defied the TRO issued by the Supreme Court? Ms. De Lima. Whether or not it will be called as defiance, I am not… Senator Lacson. Okay. You did not follow. Ms. De Lima. Yes. Senator Lacson. You did not abide by the TRO. Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Lacson. Nagkakasundo po tayo doon? Ms. De Lima. Hindi po namin sinunod iyong TRO dahil nga po noong oras na iyon, noong gabi po na magtangkang umalis iyong dating Pangulo, wala pa kaming official copy noong TRO. At pangalawa po, since alam ko noong in-announce nga po ni Midas Marquez na may mga kondisyon, hindi ko pa rin alam, hindi pa rin namin alam kung natupad na iyong conditions na iyon. Senator Lacson. Maraming salamat po. Thank you, Mr. President. Ms. De Lima. Salamat din po. The Presiding Officer. Thank you. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Senator Santiago has withdrawn, Mr. President. Senator Drilon wishes to be recognized aside from Senators Legarda and Estrada.
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The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Iloilo, Senator Drilon. Senator Sotto. And then Senators Legarda and Estrada. Senator Drilon. Madam Witness, correct me if my recollection is wrong, but I seem to recall that in yesterday’s hearing, in response to a question on why you are holding the Chief Justice responsible on what appears to be a collegial decision, you substantially answered that the Chief Justice has some ascendancy over the Justices. Is my recollection correct? Ms. De Lima. In so many words, yes, po. Senator Drilon. Yes. Because I have not reviewed the transcript. But is my recollection of your answer correct? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Drilon. Can you elaborate on what exactly do you mean by this because, really, if it was a collegial decision, there seems to be a basis on its face on the assertion that you cannot blame the Chief Justice on a collegial decision. Can you elaborate on this? Ms. De Lima. Salamat po, Your Honor. Iyon nga po ang sinasabi ko kanina during the cross na medyo mahaba-haba nga pong kuwento, although I did not exactly mention the word “ascendancy” or something but I was saying that sa pagdi-desisyon po, isang boto nga lamang po ang Chief Justice. Sa pagdi-desisyon. Pero meron pong mga bagay-bagay, meron pong matters, sa workings ng Korte Suprema na since si Chief Justice po, siya ay primus inter pares, at siya rin iyong puwede nating matawag na Chief Executive or Administrative Officer ng Korte, siya lamang ang puwedeng mag-utos. Binasa ko po iyong internal rules ng Supreme Court at ilan po sa mga bagay na siya lamang ang puwedeng gumawa ay iyong katulad po ng pagpapalagay, iyong directing the immediate inclusion of any matter in the agenda. So, kung meron po siyang gustong ipa-special raffle, siya po ang puwedeng magpagawa niyan. Kung meron po siyang gustong matter na iti-take up o ipapasingit sa agenda, siya po iyan. Ang sabi po ng internal rules, siya rin po ang nagbibigay sa Clerk of Court ng kaniyang mga notes on the actions taken by the Court. Siya iyong nagti-take down ng notes. At iyong copy ng agenda na naglalaman ng handwritten notes ng Chief Justice, iyan ang magsisilbing basehan doon sa preparasyon ng minutes. Binabasa ko po iyong relevant portions ng internal rules, tinatagalog ko lamang po. Iyan po ang magiging basehan ng preparasyon ng minutes ng proceedings. Siya rin po ang nag-a-approve ng draft minutes at siya ang nagbibigay ng final approval doon sa paglalabas ng mga resolusyon kasama na diyan iyong minute resolutions and extended unsigned resolutions. Now, kailangan po kasing matandaan natin ang mga function na iyan o kapangyarihan na iyan ng Chief Justice sa internal workings ng Supreme Court dahil nga po doon sa mga nalaman natin na mga iregularidad na ibinunyag ni Justice Sereno. Kasi nga po, kung ang Chief Justice, at siya lamang ang mag-a-approve finally ng pagpapalabas ng isang resolusyon, siya iyong nakakaalam kung tama o hindi iyong ilalabas na resolusyon, lalo na po, based din po sa internal rules, at sinabi din po iyan, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, sa parehong dissenting opinions ni Justice Sereno and Justice Carpio, ay iyong unsigned extended resolutions at saka minute resolutions, hindi na ito pinapaikot sa kanila, sa other members of the Court bago ito pinapalabas. Klarado po iyan.
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Now, iyong TRO, November 15, klarado po na subject to conditions. At sabi po sa dissenting opinion ni Justice Carpio, may isang portion, iyong November 15 TRO, doon sa number one condition, isang portion po doon, I am just looking po, Your Honor, for the TRO. Ito po ang number one condition: The PETITIONERS SHALL post a cash bond of two million pesos (P2,000,000.00) payable to this Court within five (5) days from notice hereof. Failure to post the bond within the aforesaid period will result in the automatic lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order. Iyong pangalawang sentence po, sabi ni Justice Carpio sa kaniyang dissenting opinion noong December 13, wala daw po iyan, iyong “failure to post the bond within the aforesaid period will result in the automatic lifting of the Temporary Restraining Order.” Hindi daw po iyan na-discuss pero bakit ho nandito sa November 15 TRO? Number two, iyong November 18 naman po. November 18, it was a Friday, since hindi nga po nakalusot iyong TRO in the sense na hindi ho namin sinunod dahil nga iyong mga kondisyon hindi pa klarado kung na-comply na, so nagpatawag po ng special session. Now, iyong sa special session, mayroong mga ilang bagay na pinag-usapan at pinagbotohan ng Supreme Court. Ang sabi uli doon sa dissenting opinion ni Justice Sereno at saka sa sulat ni Justice Carpio sa Punong Mahistrado noong November 24—Now, ang sabi po, noong November 18 po, pinag-botohan iyong nagkaroon ba ng compliance doon sa conditions. That is one of the matters. Isa pa po, iyong naging resulta ho pala doon sa question na iyon, mayroon bang compliance? Ang sabi po ng Korte,”by a vote of 7-6, walang compliance.” So, dahil walang compliance, ano ho ba ang ibig sabihin noon? That is another issue na pinagbotohan nila. Suspended ba iyong effectivity ng TRO dahil nga walang compliance? Ang sabi nila Justice Sereno at Justice Carpio, ang malinaw na naging resulta ng botohan doon by a vote of 7-6 is that, hindi na lamang nila sasabihin iyon na suspended siya dahil iyon naman talaga ang ibig sabihin ng isang conditional TRO. But mayroon ho kasi isang Justice na sinabi, “Common sense naman iyan, understood na iyan by any lawyer, kaya dapat hindi na lamang natin iyan categorically na sabihin.” Parang it is a vote of silence na lamang—the 7-6. Kaya lamang po iyong November 18 resolution na pinalabas noong araw din pong iyon, wala pong nakalagay doon iyong dalawang punto na iyan. Iyong pinag-usapan nila at pinagbotohan na, number one, hindi pa natupad iyong mga condition; number two, deemed suspended iyan pero hindi na lamang natin iyan sasabihin. Nothing there. Ang nakalagay lamang po sa November 18 is, pinapa-submit uli iyong mga petitioner, through their lawyers, iyong compliance na tumutupad doon sa Condition No. 2. Ang sabi ko po kanina, under the internal rules, ang reso po, hindi iyan basta-basta makakalabas kung hindi muna dumaan o i-approve ng Chief Justice. Napansin po iyong depekto na iyan doon sa November 18 resolution ni Justice Carpio, according to him and according to Justice Sereno, kaya sumulat po siya o ni-request po niya na pagusapan iyon noong November 22 at i-clarify iyong naging botohan noong November 18. In-assign po ni Chief Justice iyong pagsulat o pag-prepare noong clarificatory resolution kay Justice Velasco, in consultation or in coordination with Justice Carpio.
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So, the next day, dinala o ibinigay kay Justice Carpio iyong draft resolution, clarificatory resolution from Justice Velasco. Nagkasundo sila sa No. 1, na tama nga iyon na hindi pa nakapagcomply doon sa mga condition. Pero iyong No. 2, medyo hindi sila nag-agree. Ang sabi ni Justice Velasco daw po, hindi ko masyadong nakuha iyong nuance o iyong naging agreement natin na huwag na natin diretsong sabihin kasi understood naman, common sense naman. Ang sabi ni Justice Carpio, he was insisting daw na hindi. Very clear iyong naging usapan po natin na kasi common sense kaya puwedeng hindi na sabihin. Ang problema po, nagpadala si Chief Justice ng kaniyang version noong clarificatory resolution of November 22, iyong kina-clarify nga nila iyong November 18. At napansin ni Justice Carpio na mas mali iyong nakasaad doon, iyong version na galing kay Chief Justice. Kasi po ang nakasabi doon sa version na galing kay Chief Justice ay, “There was substantial compliance with the conditions.” And, No. 2, “The TRO was not deemed suspended.” So, dalawa na po iyong mali. So, ito ay galing kay Chief Justice. Kung hindi po napigilan ni Justice Carpio—kasi nga ni-request niya na pag-usapan uli kasi mali—siguro lumabas iyon noong November 22, after November 22, kaya kailangan nilang magbotohan uli noong November 29. So, November 29, ganoon pa rin iyong botohan—7-6, in favor of no compliance doon sa unang tanong. Sa pangalawang tanong, medyo nabaligtad na po, instead of 7-6 na deemed suspended— but let us just keep silent—naging not suspended, dahil mayroon pong isang miyembro na bumaligtad. So, ang ibig pong sabihin, siya ang talagang may karapatan o may poder na nagpapalabas ng ganyang mga resolution, may mga mali po na ipinapalabas. Now, isa pa po roon, iyong spokesperson na sabi ni Justice Sereno is clothed with the apparent authority by the Chief Justice to be announcing these things, mali-mali rin po ang mga na-announce, katulad noong immediately, puwede na, executory na raw po. And noong November 15, puwede nang makaalis iyong dating Pangulo. Noong November 18 naman, klarado roon sa botohan noong November 18 na deemed suspended iyon, pina-announce rin po iyon. Kasi noong November 18, kung natatandaan ninyo po, aalis na naman dapat iyong dating Pangulo. So, iyong mga ganoon po, sa tingin ko, maneuvering of the internal actions of the Supreme Court para lamang mapaboran ang isang party ng kaso. Senator Drilon. Thank you very much. I did not expect that my simple question would merit a very long explanation. Ms. De Lima. Pasensya na po. Senator Drilon. Opo. Ms. De Lima. Para po maintindihan. Senator Drilon. I have no more questions. The Presiding Officer. Thank you very much. Senator Marcos. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes, the gentleman from Ilocos Norte. Senator Marcos. I just like to make an inquiry to the Chair. The witness has just testified in the narrative on events that happened within the Supreme Court. Therefore, does the character of that
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narrative that we just heard from the witness fall into the category of hearsay in like fashion as what we had heard previously? The Presiding Officer. We are all intelligent Members of this Court. I think we will know how to appreciate the testimony of the Witness. Senator Marcos. I understand your answer, Mr. President. Thank you very much. And we will exercise our own.... The Presiding Officer. Let the Witness answer. Ms. De Lima. May I just add something po. Yes, primarily or predominantly or, by and large, my testimony on those internal matters is indeed hearsay. Senator Marcos. Thank you. Ms. De Lima. Because I was never present. Senator Marcos. Yes. Ms. De Lima. But let us also take note of the fact.... Okay. These decisions or these resolutions or dissenting opinions are a matter of judicial notice. And there are aspects of the accounts of Justice Sereno which I can say I have personal knowledge. For example, when she stated.... Senator Marcos. Madam Witness, thank you very much. I think you have covered those points in the narrative that you made. And again, by your own categorization, they are hearsay. So, I just wanted to know how to handle that narrative that we just heard. Thank you, Madam Witness. Thank you, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Let us allow the witness to finish her statement. Ms. De Lima. Thank you, Your Honor. As I was saying, there are aspects of the account of Justice Sereno of which I can claim personal knowledge. For example, when Justice Sereno said that the spokesperson, Midas Marquez, misrepresented on the voting on those issues that I mentioned, especially the issue of whether the TRO is deemed suspended. The announcement of the spokesperson was it was 9-4 instead of 7-6 and in other disclosures. So, in a sense, I have personal knowledge. Also, when she said that she has a December 2 dissenting opinion but was suppressed or was not allowed to be promulgated or released. The Secretary of Justice, as a party respondent, indeed did not receive any such dissenting opinion of December 2. Kasi pinigilan nga daw po. So, in a sense, I have personal knowledge about that. The Presiding Officer. We take note of the statement of the Witness that sabi niya, “pinigilan nga daw po.” So, nandiyan iyan. Senator Marcos. Those points are well-taken, Madam Witness. And again, as the President has advised all the Senator-Judges, we will apply our intelligence in discerning what is the wheat and what is the chaff in this narrative. Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may we recognize Sen. Gregorio Honasan. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Sorsogon, Senator Honasan, is recognized. Senator Honasan. Thank you, Mr. President.
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Madam Secretary, magandang hapon po. Ms. De Lima. Magandang hapon po. Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, hindi na po sana ako magtatanong kaya lang bihira lang po kami magkaroon ng testigo na Kalihim kaya lahat po ito ay paglilinaw lamang at sana po ay pagbigyan ninyo kami. Kanina po, gusto ko lang sanang susugin iyong mga issue na ni-raise ni Kagalang-galang Senator Lacson. Itatanong ko lang kung hindi batas ang naging basehan ng pagpipigil noong pag-alis ng balak akusahan at sabi nga po ninyo itong Department Circular No. 41, Madam Secretary, ito po ba ay na-publish para alam ng mga apektadong ahensya? Ms. De Lima. Opo, Circular No. 41. Senator Honasan. Na-publish po ito? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Salamat po. Pangalawa po, kung ito ang ginamit, kung itong Circular No. 41 ang ginamit para pigilin iyong pag-alis ng magiging akusado sa pamamagitan ng Watch List Order na nagpigil sa paglisan, kailangan po bang probable cause para i-apply ito? Ms. De Lima. Hindi po under Circular No. 41, kasi.... Senator Honasan. Hindi nga po nakasama sa Section 2 ng Circular 41. Ms. De Lima. Not necessarily, dahil nga po one of the instances na puwede po kami magissue ng HD or WLO is kapag ang isang respondent ay undergoing preliminary investigation. So, kung hindi pa po tapos ang preliminary investigation, wala pa pong determination of probable cause. Senator Honasan. I will take your word for it. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, kuwan po ito ano, alam ninyo naman, hindi tayo abogado. Alam naman ninyo kung saan tayo nanggaling. Kapag nag-order ang Korte Suprema, at ibig nitong masunod iyong order niya at hindi sinunod, ano ang gagawin ng isang Korte Suprema? Saan siya tatakbo? Saan siya dudulog? Ms. De Lima. Mayroon pong mga inherent and implied powers or even express powers ang Korte Suprema na puwede nga pong ipa-contempt ang isang litigant na hindi sumusunod sa kautusan ng Korte. Senator Honasan. Pero, iyon po, I am not trying to beat the issue to death. Pero, medyo protracted po iyon, matagal bago mapatupad dahil maraming proseso na dadaanan. Is that an accurate statement? Ms. De Lima. Opo, dahil kasi nga po, siyempre, ipapa-explain muna iyong litigant concerned na hindi sumunod, so, may due process din po. Senator Honasan. In short, sa madaling salita po, medyo matagal. Ms. De Lima. Depende po iyan sa action. Senator Honasan. Okay. Compared to, kapag kayo ang nag-utos at ibig ninyong ipatupad,
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obviously, hindi ho nakaalis iyong akusado. In other words, iyong option sa inyo bilang Kalihim ng Department of Justice, mas mabilis nasusunod kaysa doon sa utos ng Korte Suprema. From a layman’s point of view, puwede hong ipaliwanag ninyo kung papaano ko ito iintindihin o uunawain? Ms. De Lima. Opo, tama po kayo, tama po iyong punto ninyo kasi siyempre kapag nagbibigay din ng mga kautusan ang Secretary of Justice katulad nga po ng HDO o WLO, iyan ay ipinaaalam kaagad sa Bureau of Immigration. At kung ano pa hong puwedeng gawin, the Secretary of Justice, having control and supervision over not only the Department of Justice proper, but also the attached agencies, and therefore, puwede hong natutupad kaagad iyong ipinag-uutos ng Secretary of Justice. Senator Honasan. Opo. Anyway po, ang na-invoke natin doon is national interest, which is very clear naman. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Ngayon po, Madam Secretary, I will go to what I really want to ask you. Alam ninyo po, talagang sinamantala ko ang pagkakataon na ito dahil dati kayo ang Chairman ng Commission on Human Rights. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Okay. Actually, Secretary, pareho iyong pinanggalingan natin, kaya lamang ako doon sa kabila. I was on the receiving end. At kailangan po, huwag natin itong makalimutan dahil it will be tragic if we forget. Tulad po, in your case, as chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, sa inyo tumatakbo iyong mga biktima ng extrajudicial killings, iyong mga involuntary disappearances, hanggang ngayon ho dala ninyo iyan sa inyong isip at puso. Iyong karanasan ninyo bilang chairman ng Commission on Human Rights, doon sa mga tumatakbo, iyong mga walang matakbuhan. Ms. De Lima. Opo, I remain to be a human rights advocate and defender up to this very day. Senator Honasan. Hindi ho nawawala sa pagkatao ninyo iyan. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Ako naman po, iba. Alam ninyo, kapag nag-imbento ng intelligence report—this is just my opinion—there is no known legal defense against a fabricated or inaccurate intelligence report lalo na kung ii-invoke iyong national security. Kulong ka muna bago ka bigyan ng pagkakataong magpaliwanag, kung bibigyan ka ng pagkakataong magpaliwanag. Ganoon po ang karanasan ko. Iyon nga ho, kinausap ko lamang sila Senator Trillanes with my National Recovery Program, minasama na iyon. But, that is behind us now. Dito po sa Constitution, wala naman akong ibang mabasa dahil nahihirapan akong magbasa at umunawa. Iyong Article I, after the Preamble, nakalagay National Territory; Article II, Declaration of Principles and State Policies; Article III, Bill of Rights kaagad. Dito ho, in fact, iyong isang prinsipyo na itinanong ko sa Prosecution at sa Defense, sabi ko, “Dito ba sa trial na ito kahit na sui generis ito, political process, tayo ba ay magkakasundo na isa sa mga prinsipyo na hindi natin dapat bitiwan ay iyong presumption of innocence?” Pumayag naman sila. Kayo po? Ms. De Lima. Yes, there is always a constitutional presumption of innocence.
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Senator Honasan. Okay na po iyon, dahil ito po, Section 14, iyon pong presumption of innocence, Section 14. Pero iyong probable cause ay Section 2. In other words, sa priority, ayon sa aking pagka-unawa, dito ho lahat umiikot. Ngayon po, itatanong ko lamang. Madam Secretary, malinaw naman sa inyo na itong kaganapan ngayon, itong prosesong ito, ang naguudyok dito, hindi paghihiganti. Ms. De Lima. Opo.
Senator Honasan. Okay. Hustisya. Ms. De Lima. Opo.
Senator Honasan. Rule of law. Dahil kung ang nag-uudyok dito ay paghihiganti, ang rule natin is no rules. Ms. De Lima. Definitely. Senator Honasan. Free for all. Ms. De Lima. Opo.
Senator Honasan. You can say or do anything you want. Sa paghahanap natin ng katotohanan at hustisya, hindi ho pwedeng either/or ito, ano, gusto nating parusahan yung mga nagkasala noong nakaraan pero gusto rin natin na huwag na itong maulit. Yun po ba ay tama? Ms. De Lima. Opo.
Senator Honasan. Hindi ho ito either/or, ano. Ms. De Lima. Yes, sir. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Honasan. Alin ho dito ang mas matimbang? Dahil political process nga ito, well, hindi lang political process kundi sui generis pa. Ms. De Lima. Ang palagi hong matimbang sa aking perspektiba bilang Secretary of Justice ay yung mga prinsipyo ng truth, justice and accountability. Yan po palagi. Senator Honasan. Ano ba ang pinagkaiba, sa inyong pananaw, ng paghihiganti at hustisya? Hindi ho yung technical definition. Kaya ho ba natin, sa Korteng ito, mahimay, mabasa yung nasa puso at pag-iisip nung nasasakdal, nung Prosecution at Defense kung nasusunod pa ang linyang ito that distinguishes between revenge (paghihiganti) at hustisya? Ms. De Lima. Siguro po naman….
Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, alam ninyo po kasi, ang hirap-hirap para sa ating lahat, lalo na yung Senator-Judges, na pagdaanan ang prosesong ito, di ba? Kayo ho, hindi ho ba kayo nabibigatan? Ms. De Lima. Talaga naman hong— Ang hirap ano na—
Ms. De Lima. –napaka-importante nitong proseso na ito. This is historical. Ngayon lang po tayo nagkaroon ng ganitong proceedings involving a chief justice at kaya nga po nandiyan ang proseso, nandiyan ang Constitution, at nandiyan po kayo as Senator-Judges, and ang mga facts po ay naibibigay sa inyo, and nandiyan po ang Articles of Impeachment.
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Kung ano po ang mga nakukuha natin na mga ebidensiya ngayon o mga pananaw natin, yun po ang magiging basehan and, of course, yung nga ho, pag-uusapan ninyo pa kung ano ang magiging quantum of evidence, although nalinaw na po yan ng Presiding Officer na hindi ho ito puwedeng proof beyond reasonable doubt dahil hindi nga po ito criminal case. Dapat ho mas mababa ang batayan. Now, so, talaga hong mabigat itong proseso na ito. Very critical. Senator Honasan. Opo. Kaya ko ho ito sinabi, kaya ko tinanong kung nabibigatan din kayo dahil okay lang po kung, procedurally, we divide the House. Majority rules. Eh, ang problema ho eh para bang we are dividing the country already. That is what…. Ms. De Lima. Hindi po.
Senator Honasan. Well, that is good that you feel that way. Dahil in order to avoid any perception that the ultimate objective of this trial is other than the rendition of justice, kahit na liberal ang pag-apply ng rules, huwag lang nating galawin o pakialaman yung ultimate rule which is the Constitution. Do you agree? Ms. De Lima. Opo.
Senator Honasan. Okay. Dito po sa parteng ito, gusto ko lang i-inject yung sinabi ni former Pres. Ronald Reagan, of course, sabihin natin na Amerikano yon, wala naman siyang kinalaman dito, pero he was considered the great communicator. In fact, he is the only president I know, former president, for whom an aircraft carrier was named while he was still alive. So kailangan ho kahit papaano, tingnan natin kung may mapupulot tayong aral. Sabi niya—sabi niya ho ito, ano: “Protecting the rights of even the least among us is basically the only excuse the government has for even existing.” Isang karapatan ng isang pinakamaliit sa atin. Yun lang ang buong dahilan para manatili ang pamahalaan. Would you, more or less, agree to this? Ms. De Lima. I would generally subscribe to that. Senator Honasan. Oho. Ms. De Lima. Each—every citizen has rights. Lahat ho tayo may karapatan. Indibidwal na karapatan. Ang Estado po, meron ding mga karapatan. So, may mga usapin po na kailangan po nga natin binabalanse, ‘yung mga individual rights or individual interests as against the higher interest of the State. Kadalasan, hindi po madaling sagutin ang—hindi ho madali ang pagbabalanse. Senator Honasan. Opo. But as a constitutional principle when you invoke the balancing of interest, kayo na rin ang nagsabi kahapon, pag in-invoke iyong the right to life, happy lahat, tama ho ba iyon? Ms. De Lima. That is the highest form of right under the Bill of Rights and under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Senator Honasan. Tama ho iyan. So, you agree? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Okay. Kaya naman sa Section 1 ng Article III, “No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property.” If you notice po, Madam Secretary, the sequence, ano, “No person shall be deprived of life,” second, “liberty, property.”
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May itatanong lang po ako, tinanong ko na rin ito¯presumption of innocence. What about presumption of honor? Iyon bang may akusado. Pero bakit naman pati iyong mga anak at apo ay tinatamaan na rin? Iyon ba ay katanggap-tanggap sa atin? Sa iyo po, bilang Secretary of Justice, okey lang ba iyan? Papaano po? I mentioned this because I think once upon a time, you and I have been exposed to this. Pag dumulog sa iyo iyong walang kalaban-laban, di ba¯hindi mahanap iyong anak, hindi mahanap iyong family member, hindi ba life ang pinag-uusapan dito? So, gusto ko lang sariwain iyong alaala natin para hindi natin ito makalimutan. So, ano ho ba ang pananaw ninyo rito? Dapat ho bang idawit dito sa pagnanasa natin na mahanap iyong katotohanan at hustisya? Ms. De Lima. Well, meron nga hong presumption of innocence. Senator Honasan. Oho. Ms. De Lima. At kaya nga po dumadaan tayo sa ganitong proseso, kaya nga po iyong Prosekusyon ay nagpi-present ng ebidensiya. So, iyong presumption of honor naman po, dignity—Well, dignity and honor is also within every person. But when you lose that honor— The Presiding Officer. You are dead. Ms. De Lima. Honor is— Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, in a previous lifetime, I think in your profession also, honor is more precious than life. And recent history has taught us that people sometimes take their own lives when their honor is jeopardized and the future of their children and grandchildren are put in jeopardy. Do you agree? Ms. De Lima. One hundred percent, Your Honor. Senator Honasan. Okay. Ms. De Lima. Honor really is more important than life. Senator Honasan. Opo. Last question, Madam Secretary. So, let us just put this on record. Sa tingin ho ninyo so far, Prosecution pa lamang po ang nagpi-prisenta, ito hong prinsipyo ng probable cause ay nasusunod naman? Ibig kong sabihin, hindi natin binaliktad. Hindi ko ho pinupuna ang Prosecution dito, hindi pa naman nagpi-prisenta ang Defense. Ibig sabihin, sa kaloob-looban ng puso natin, applying all our standards ultimately leading to an application of a judgment call which we call “calibrating our moral compass or conscience,” naniniwala tayo na probably, may probability nga ho, probable cause ano, malamang may krimen na naganap. Hindi natin iyong halughugin muna natin lahat baka sakaling may matagpuan tayo na probable cause or ebidensiya. Hindi ho natin binaliktad ito. So, I am asking you, Madam Secretary, Secretary of Justice, former chairman of the Commission on Human Rights na so far sa proseso, sa inyong obserbasyon, sa pagdalo ninyo rito bilang testigo, nasusunod ba itong nasa Section 2 na “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects against unreasonable searches of whatever nature and for any purpose” and so on and so forth, “except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination” and so on and so forth? Naniniwala po kayo na ito ay nasusunod at hindi nilalabag?
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Ms. De Lima. Mahirap po iyang tanong ninyo, ano po? Because you are citing that provision and, therefore, it relates technically or legally to searches and seizures and, therefore, there must be a probable cause. Now, baka po ang ibig ninyong sabihin yung mga pangyayari o yung mga developments po dun sa pag-tackle ng Article III or Article II na yung mga certain issues that arose because of objections to how certain evidence—no, not evidence but certain paper as attached to the request for subpoena and the sensitive matters with the principles or the rule of non-disclosure of deposits. Now, hindi ho natin—wala ho tayong pinag-uusapan na search and seizure dito. I am not sure if that is what—kasi mahirap ho nga—very, very broad nga po yung tanong ninyo. Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, pasensya na ho kayo dahil hindi ko ho ito tinatanong para sa sarili ko, tinatanong ko ito para sa napakaraming nanunuod na nagsusumikap na maintindihan at maunawaan itong proseso. So, generally po, timbangin na lang ninyo. Naniniwala kayo na itong… devoid of all the legal and technical aspects, nasusunod pa naman ito, sa tingin ninyo? Ms. De Lima. Nasusunod pa po yan, sa tingin ko po. The Presiding Officer. With the permission of the gentleman, Madam Secretary, palagay ko ang tendency nung tanong ay the inviolability of persons, papers and effects thus guaranteed by the article or section mentioned by the distinguished Senator-Judge. Ms. De Lima. Yung isyu ho kasi kung whether or not na-violate nga po yung secrecy or confidentiality ng mga bank records ay hindi pa ho natin yan puwedeng—hindi ho ako puwedeng makapagsabi nuon, ano po. Hindi pa naman ho malinaw eh. Hindi ko naman ho kasi masyado talagang namo-monitor po yun dito sa impeachment. But yung tungkol nga po dun sa paano nalaman o paano nakuha yung papel na yun na nakaattach dun sa request for subpoena, and, therefore, it would go into the issue of the admissibility. Eh ang subpoena po, sa pagkakaalam ko po, ay hindi naman kailangan na mayroong attachment ka o may batayan ka. And especially if we consider the fact na because of that principle or the rule of confidentiality of bank records or bank accounts, hindi mo naman puwede talagang matukoy kung ano ang mga accounts na yun. So, if there is that such a piece of paper na kinu-question o pinaghihinalaan yung source ay ibang usapin po yun, not with respect to whether or not we can admit the evidence obtained on account of—or obtained through the search warrant—ah, not search warrant—through the subpoena. Wala ho tayong search warrant na pinag-uusapan dito. It is the subpoena. Senator Honasan. Madam Secretary, ito, panghuling tanong na lang po. Pasensya na ho kayo dahil—tinanong ko po yun dahil tungkulin ng Department of Justice, sa pamamagitan ng inyong mga subordinates ang alamin o i-determine yung probable cause bago ito i-file sa korte. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Kaya napakabigat po nito dahil once may probable cause na, tuloy na. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Honasan. Opo. Madam Secretary, maraming salamat po sa pasensya ninyo. Thank you, Mr. President.
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The Presiding Officer. Thank you. Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Ejercito Estrada. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from San Juan, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Senator Jinggoy Estrada. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Thank you. Maraming salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo. Ang aking katanungan lang po ay para sa Prosecution panel, kay Congressman Daza. Congressman Daza, magandang hapon po. Representative Daza. Magandang hapon po, Ginoong President Pro Tempore. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Congressman, matapos ko pong basahin ang Article VII, tama ho bang sabihin na ang nais ninyo pong patunayan dito ay iyong hindi patas iyong pagdedesisyon ng Punong Mahistrado sa mga kaso ng mga Arroyo na inihain sa Korte Suprema, partikular na po ang Temporary Restraining Order na pinag-uusapan ngayon? Representative Daza. Opo. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Nagtataka lamang po ako dahil doon sa Article I na ipinayl (file) ninyo po rito sa amin ay halos may similarity, halos may pagkakahawig. Sapagkat ayon sa Article I, “Respondent betrayed the public trust through his track record marked by partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo administration from the time of his appointment as Supreme Court Justice which continued to his dubious appointment as a midnight Chief Justice and up to the present.” Bakit hindi ninyo na lamang po pinagkaisa ang bahaging ito sa mga alegasyon sa ilalim ng Article I, eh iyong pinag-uusapan rin natin dito ay iyong mga desisyon ng Punong Mahistrado pabor sa mga Arroyo? Representative Daza. Dahil po sa iyong dalawang petisyon o usaping iniharap laban sa Kalihim ng Katarungan ay hindi pa po nadedesisyonan on the merits. Doon po sa Article I ang pinag-uusapan po ay ang boto ng Chief Justice sa mga ibang asuntong nadesisyonan na magmula nang sila ay maupo sa Korte Suprema na sa aming paratang ay nagpapakita ng kanyang partiality. Iyon po. Hindi pa po kasi nadedesisyonan mismo iyong dalawang petisyon kaya inihiwalay po ito, napunta po sa Article VII. Dahil ang Article VII po ay tungkol lamang doon sa mga nangyari o mga bagay-bagay na nauukol sa Temporary Restraining Order. Senator Ejercito Estrada. May plano ba ho kayong magprisinta ng mga witnesses sa Article I o ihihinto ninyo na rito sa Article VII? Representative Daza. Pag-uusapan pa po namin iyan. Pinag-uusapan po namin iyan. Wala pa po kaming kapasyahan tungkol sa bagay na iyan. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Okay. Noong aprubahan po ng Korte ang nasabing TRO, pangilang beses ang pagkakataon na iyon na nagdesisyon ang Punong Mahistrado na pabor sa mga Arroyo? Mayroon ho ba kayong datos na dala kung ilan iyong—Mayroon ba ho kayong voting pattern na dala ngayon kung ilang beses na bumoto si CJ Corona na pabor sa mga Arroyo? Representative Daza. Iyan po ay nasasaad nga doon sa mga dissenting opinions. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Oo.
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Representative Daza. Sapagkat kung ano man ang sasabihin ko ay tatayo po kaagad ang magiting na— Senator Ejercito Estrada. Hindi, ngayon ay hindi ho siya puwedeng tumayo ngayon. Representative Daza. of its contents.” Sasabihin po ay, “the dissenting opinion is the best evidence
Senator Ejercito Estrada. Ang tanong ko ho sa inyo—let us be specific on this matter. Ilan ho ang mga kaso ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo na pinaboran ni Chief Justice Corona? Representative Daza. Doon po sa aming kaalaman, doon po sa research na ginawa ng aming pangkat ay lumalabas po na mas y menos, mga 31. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Mga 31 ang kaso po ni Ginang Arroyo? Representative Daza. Opo. At ang percentage kung hindi po ako nagkakamali ay pumapabor po ng mahigit sa 80% mas y menos ang individual vote po ng Chief Justice. Senator Ejercito Estrada. So 80% ang pabor, 20% ang dispabor? Representative Daza. Ganyan po. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Ganoon po ba? Representative Daza. Mas y menos, sabi nga nila. Senator Ejercito Estrada. All right. Sa aking pagkakaintindi, nais ninyo rin pong patunayan sa Article na ito na sadyang minadali at napakabilis ng pagkakaloob ng TRO para sa mga Arroyo. Tama po ba ako? Representative Daza. Opo. Halimbawa po, meron isang usapin na nasa Korte Suprema na nauukol kay Mr. Genuino. Nagsampa po siya ng isang usapin laban sa Kagawaran ng Katarungan kung saan siya po ay humingi ng TRO. Ang pagkaalam ko po nauna po itong usaping ito, eh hanggang ngayon yung TRO nakabinbin pa. Samantalang itong pinag-uusapan po natin napakabilis pong lumabas yung TRO gaya nga po ng nasabi rito hindi nga po nagkaroon ng hearing maging doon sa petition mismo o maging doon sa Motion for Reconsideration. Talaga pong—sabi nga nila sa publiko ay talagang mabilis pa sa alas dose. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Maraming salamat po, Congressman Daza. Representative Daza. Hindi po eh. Nananagalog po tayo eh. The Presiding Officer. Gaano ba kabilis yung alas— Representative Daza. Pasensya na po kayo, ako po ay Bisaya. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Meron hong tinatanong ang ating Pangulo. The Presiding Officer. Gaano ba kabilis yung alas dose? [Laughter]
Representative Daza. Ginoong Pangulo, yun po ang kasabihan eh. Pag mabilis namang mangyari yung nangyayari, ang sabi nila rito sa Maynila mabilis pa sa alas dose. The Presiding Officer. Bine-break ko lang yung monotony. [Laughter]
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Senator Ejercito Estrada. Salamat po, Congressman Daza. The Presiding Officer. Sige. Floor Leader. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Isang katanungan lang po sa ating Kalihim ng Katarungan.
The Presiding Officer. Continue. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Nais ko pong ipagbigay-alam sa ating Kalihim ng Katarungan na ako po ay hangang-hanga sa kanya dahil sa kanyang katalinuhan, sa kanyang katapangan at sa kanyang kagalingan. Ms. De Lima. Salamat po.
Senator Ejercito Estrada. Madam Secretary, nais ko lang po magtanong, isang tanong lang. Dahil meron pong mga agam-agam o hearsay kumbaga na kung saka-sakaling ma-convict si Chief Justice Corona, kayo raw ang papalit, totoo ba ho yun? [Laughter] Ms. De Lima. Hindi po totoo yan. Wala po akong alam.
Senator Ejercito Estrada. Ah, hindi po totoo. Ms. De Lima. Wala po akong alam diyan.
Senator Ejercito Estrada. Ah, wala ho kayong alam. Kung saka-sakaling i-offer sa inyo ni Pangulong Aquino, “Oh, Secretary, I have chosen you to be the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,” kayo ba ay—tatanggapin niyo ho? Ms. De Lima. Hindi ko po alam. I will probably decline. I will decline. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Ah, you will probably decline. Mas nanaisin niyo pong maging senadora? [Laughter] Ms. De Lima. Hindi ko pa rin alam po kung anong plano ko. Hindi ko po pinaplano ang career ko. Hindi ko po plinano iyong pagka-chairperson ko ng Commission on Human Rights, hindi ko rin po ito plinano na maging Secretary of Justice. Basta nandiyan na lang po. Senator Ejercito Estrada. Salamat po. The Presiding Officer. Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, to complete the cast, may we have the third soldier in the Senate, Mr. President, Senator Trillanes. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from— Senator Trillanes. From Caloocan and Bicol, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. —Caloocan, Sen. Sonny Trillanes. Senator Trillanes. Thank you, Mr. President. Madam Secretary, maray na hapon. Ms. De Lima. Maray na hapon po.
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Senator Trillanes. We may have had differences in positions in the past but we are definitely in agreement in as far as preventing Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo from escaping the country. And I believe, justice was served in that particular instance and it should be your proudest moment. Ms. De Lima. Thank you. Senator Trillanes. Thank you for that, Madam. Now, can I address Congressman Daza, please? Representative Daza. With pleasure, Mr. Senator. Senator Trillanes. Good afternoon, Sir. Representative Daza. Good afternoon. Senator Trillanes. Article VII—you presented the Secretary of Justice to relay to us the circumstances surrounding the attempted flight of Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, is that correct? Representative Daza. That is correct. Senator Trillanes. But as far as presenting or proving the substance of the allegation in Article VII, you are going to rely on the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Sereno, am I correct? Representative Daza. The dissenting opinion actually contains two major parts. One is her dissent to the majority on the very issue of the issuance of the TRO and the conditions, and the second part, what was disclosed by her in regard to the TRO which were incidents that involved either the Chief Justice individually and/or with other justices that, to use a loose term, “irregularities” that happened in the Court. We presented the dissenting opinion for the reason to support the charge of partiality because I need not repeat what has been said by the Witness, there were individual acts of the Chief Justice which we enumerated in answer to the question of the Defense Counsel that showed partiality towards the former President. Senator Trillanes. But, Congressman Daza, I agree with the opinion of Senator Defensor Santiago and it was even admitted by Secretary De Lima that she has no personal knowledge of those circumstances. Would you agree now that Associate Justice Sereno would be of help to clear the issue, yes? Representative Daza. Of course, yes. Senator Trillanes. Okay. But, as pointed out earlier by Senator Lacson, we have already made a ruling in that regard, but still, because of the circumstances before us, it is apparent that we need to know the story from the perspective of Associate Justice Sereno. So, in that light, I move, Mr. President, that we allow the service of written interrogatories to Associate Justice Sereno so that we will know the story behind those en banc sessions that led to that ruling. I so move, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader.
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Senator Sotto. Mr. President, as agreed in the last caucus, we can take up this motion on Monday in a caucus that we usually have at twelve noon every Monday. The Presiding Officer. And along with that I also received a letter from Atty. Enriqueta E. Vidal, Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court, requesting this Impeachment Court not to insist on requiring the presence of the—I think.... Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may I read that letter? The Presiding Officer. Yes, please. Senator Sotto. We received that letter dated February 23, 2012 requesting that Mr. Erick A. Borlongan and Christopher Dollentes, security guards of the Supreme Court, be excused from testifying pursuant to the subpoena ad testificandum issued by the Impeachment Court made upon the request of the House panel of Prosecutors for the reason that they will be asked to testify on the cases of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Jose Miguel Arroyo, which are pending cases before the Supreme Court. So, may I also include that another motion be taken up on Monday, Mr. President, during the caucus. The Presiding Officer. Yes, in the caucus. Senator Sotto. Yes, as agreed upon in the caucus. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the motion is approved. Senator Sotto. Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, there are two more Judges who would wish to ask questions to the witness. The Presiding Officer. So that we will not require the return of the distinguished Secretary of Justice, let us proceed and finish. Senator Sotto. Yes, Mr. President. There is a fourth soldier in the hall, I forgot, Lt. Col. Loren Legarda, Mr. President, of the Reserve Officer Corps. The Presiding Officer. The distinguished Senator who graduated from the National Defense College with the rank of colonel. Senator Sotto. Rank of Colonel. Lieutenant Colonel. By the way, let me just make sure that it is understood—she is going to be the first Brigadier General—Senator Lacson was General Lacson; Senator Trillanes was Lieutenant Senior Grade; Senator Honasan is D.D., dishonorably discharged. [Laughter]. The Presiding Officer. The lady Senator from Antique, Malabon, Manila and the Republic has the floor. Senator Legarda. Mr. President, I am certain that the Floor Leader can only say that of Senator Honasan because they are the best of friends and he would be the only one to dare say that. Pag iba ang nagsabi daw susuntukin ni Greg. I assure you, hindi nanununtok ng tao si Greg. Maaaring iba ang ginagawa niya pero hindi nanununtok.
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Simple lamang po ang aking katanungan kay Kagalang-galang na Kongresistang Raul Daza. Hindi ko po tatanungin ang ating testigo. Just very simple. Article VII charges that Chief Justice Corona was partial in favor of former President Arroyo which, as you say in your Impeachment Complaint, constitutes betrayal of public trust, is that correct? Representative Daza. That is correct. Senator Legarda. Yes. May this Representation be enlightened as to the degree of partiality and/ or bias that will warrant such removal from public office of the Chief Justice. In short, I want to understand the threshold of bias and partiality that the Chief Justice exhibited that would warrant his conviction and convince this Court that as far as Article VII is concerned, he has to be convicted on this count. Representative Daza. Yes. Is the question of the distinguished Senator whether the conduct of the Chief Justice amounted to betrayal of trust? Is that the thrust of the question? Senator Legarda. I will repeat my question, Mr. Prosecutor. What is the threshold of the degree of bias and/or partiality exhibited by the sitting Chief Justice that would warrant him removal from office if and when he is convicted by the Impeachment Court? Representative Daza. Well, the partiality should be proved by the quantum of evidence that is somewhere between substantial evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt. It is somewhere between that. Senator Legarda. Substantial evidence and proof beyond reasonable doubt. Representative Daza. Somewhere between that.... Senator Legarda. But that covers already the whole spectrum. Representative Daza. No, somewhere between that. The problem is that.... Senator Legarda. Clear and convincing evidence perhaps? Representative Daza. The problem is that I have been researching, although not as thoroughly as the distinguished Presiding Officer, I have not found from my research, either from U.S. authorities or from authorities in the Philippines, which fixes that quantum of evidence necessary to convict in an impeachment trial. It is just that it is somewhere between substantial evidence.... Senator Legarda. I will rephrase my question. I understand your answer. However, I completely want to understand.... The Presiding Officer. With the permission of the lady Senator. Senator Legarda. Yes, Mr. Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer. We study Charles L. Black Jr., who is from Yale, and Raoul Berger, who is from Harvard. You will see there that it would seem that the requirement of the quantum of evidence required is overwhelming preponderance of evidence although there are indications that clear and convincing evidence is enough. So, anyway, that will be a matter that will be discussed in the caucus. Representative Daza. Yes, Your Honor. To confess, in all candor, I am unable and I am not competent to answer that question with credibility.
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Senator Legarda. With certainty. Representative Daza. ...I would not want to answer that in a manner that I would be— Senator Legarda. That is fine, Mr. Prosecutor. We appreciate your candor. The Presiding Officer. I think the question as I understood it, is asking what is the degree of partiality that will equate into a betrayal of public trust? Was it repeated partiality, one partiality, two partiality, three partiality? I think that is my understanding. Senator Legarda. The Presiding Officer is correct in trying to interpret the question which I posed before the Prosecutor. Representative Daza. Well, if all the individual acts or actions of the Chief Justice in relation to the TRO that has been the subject of the testimony is proven by sufficient evidence, whatever is the quantum that may be decided by the Court, it is our humble submission that that would constitute betrayal of public trust. The Presiding Officer. Anyway, when it is the Defense’s turn to present their evidence comes, I assume that they will—a witness from their side will be presented to explain many of these things that are being discussed now. So, we will see at that point which one is the more weighty story against the other. All right? Senator Legarda. Yes. Let me ask the question insofar as this TRO is concerned with regard to Article VII. What did the Chief Justice manifest or do that he is being charged with betraying public trust through his biased actions, opinions, decision or his so-called partiality? Representative Daza. Well, as testified to by the Witness and from my reading of the dissenting opinion, there were individual acts of the Chief Justice that when put together or pieced together would show that partiality. Among others: 1) the fact that because he had the power or authority to decide on the Agenda of the Court, the two consolidated petitions were agenda-ed, shall we say, with some speed. I would not want to say, “indecent speed”; 2) being the Chief Justice it was within his authority under the internal rules to order that the respondent Secretary of Justice and the other officers be first required to comment on the petitions even if given due course, with the end in view of considering the TRO; 3) The ponente to which the two petitions were assigned on the issue of TRO, recommended a hearing and yet, that recommendation was not heeded; well, of course, 4) as testified here just this afternoon on at least two occasions, his spokesperson, Mr. Marquez, misrepresented what really happened within the Court and yet, his spokesperson, Mr. Marquez, was never corrected for the interest of the public on those erroneous announcements. Another is the matter of the efficacy of the TRO was assigned to Justice Velasco as ponente. The understanding was that he was going to sit down with Justice Carpio on that Clarificatory Order. But the Chief Justice, on his own, broke that, and then put on his own version of the clarification on the Temporary Restraining Order, and several other acts. Now, one act, we submit, is not sufficient to prove partiality. But when there are so many acts and all of them show a pattern that would show favoring the former President, we humbly submit, Madam Senator, that the proof of partiality is very strong. And that if we submit, this Impeachment Court agrees with the version of the Prosecution based on those facts, even on the—because there was betrayal of public trust the Chief Justice should be removed. Senator Legarda. Ang sinasabi ba ninyo, Mr. Prosecutor, na dahil sa kaniyang pagmamabilis ng pagbigay ng TRO ay una minadali, pangalawa, ay minaniubra niya ang desisyon nito para paburan ang dating Pangulo?
Representative Daza. Tama po iyon.
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Senator Legarda. So, in sum, iyong inyong limang minutong paliwanag ay maisasailalim sa minaniubra bilang Chief Justice ang desisyon, ganoon ba ho? Representative Daza. Ganoon po. Ito po ay nangyari ng dahil siya, sa ilalim ng tinatawag na general rules of the Court, ay may kapangyarihan that he will give authority.... Senator Legarda. Maski po collegial body ang Supreme Court— Representative Daza. —authority and power as Chief Justice to influence the individual Justices and not only that, as I mentioned, gaya po ng sinabi ko ay talagang lantad, tahasan po na talagang sa kaniyang ganang sarili pinakialaman pa niya ang gawain ng kapuwa Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema. Senator Legarda. Gusto ko pong maintindihan kung paano po niya inimpluwensyahan ang desisyon ng ibang mga kasamahan niya sa Korte Suprema para po bumoto sang-ayon sa kaniyang, ayon sa inyo, pananaw. Representative Daza. Hindi, kaya nga po, Ginang Senador.... Senator Legarda. Did he bribe, coerce, harass any of the members of the Court? Representative Daza. Hindi naman po kailangang takutin o i-harass ang kapuwa Mahistrado. Alam naman po natin na sa takbo ng buhay, hindi lamang sa Korte Suprema, kundi sa anumang pangkatin sa ilalim ng ating pamahalaan, kapag ang isang namumuno lalung-lalo na ang Punong Mahistrado, gamitin ang kaniyang kapangyarihan, ang kaniyang impluwensiya sa kapuwa Mahistrado, hindi na po kailangang takutin, bulungan lamang, kausapin lamang, pero hindi lamang po iyon, Ginang Senadora— Senator Legarda. At iyon po ang sinasabi niyong ginawa niya? Representative Daza. —ang mahalaga po ay hindi po iyong cause kundi iyong epekto po eh. Iyong nandiyan na eh. The reality of what happened, how it happened, is not really as important as what really happened. Senator Legarda. Thank you, Mr. Prosecutor, sa takdang panahon po ay pakikinggan ko naman ang Depensa ayon sa sinasabi ninyong pagmamaniubra ni Chief Justice Corona sa pagbibigay ng TRO in favor of former President Arroyo. Representative Daza. Maraming salamat po, Ginang Senador. Senator Legarda. Salamat po. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader is recognized. Senator Sotto. Finally, Mr. President, the Minority Leader, Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano. The Presiding Officer. Senator Cayetano is recognized. Senator Cayetano (A). Magandang hapon po, Mr. Senate President, sa atin pong mga colleagues, may mga tanong lamang po ako to clarify para sa ating witness, sa ating Justice Secretary. Ma’am, good afternoon.
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Ms. De Lima. Good afternoon, Your Honor. Senator Cayetano (A). Ma’am, are you familiar with.... Representative Daza. Mr. President. Mr. President, the Senator will be asking questions to the witness, in the meantime, may I just be excused to go out for one long minute. The Presiding Officer. Before the gentleman from Taguig will proceed with his questioning, let us suspend the session for one minute. Representative Daza. Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Cayetano (A). There is no TRO for your one minute. The trial was suspended at 5:24 p.m. At 5:29 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The trial is resumed. The Minority Leader has the floor. Senator Cayetano (A). Thank you, Mr. President. Ma’am, may I know if you are familiar with the internal rules of the Supreme Court, particularly with Section 2 which deals with confidentiality. Ms. De Lima. More or less, Your Honor, because I read that. Senator Cayetano (A). Para lamang po maintindihan ng mga nakikinig at nanonood sa tanong ko po, with your permission, I will read it, ano po: “Section 2. Confidentiality of Court Sessions. Court sessions are executive in character, with only the members of the court present. Court deliberations are confidential and shall not be disclosed to outside parties, except as may be provided herein or as authorized by the court.” Section 2 po iyan, Rule 10, SC internal rules. Ma’am, ang sabi po ninyo kanina nabasa ninyo iyong kay Justice Sereno and Justice Carpio na dissenting opinions. Hindi po ba na-discuss din si Justice Carpio na pati iyong nangyari sa loob ng deliberation ay puwede nilang ilagay at hindi ito violation noong confidentiality, puwede nilang ilagay sa dissenting opinion? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Kay Justice Sereno rin po. In fact, she was saying na matagal na daw po iyan na puwedeng ginagawa ng Supreme Court from 1950s up to, she pointed to a particular duration where she knows that there are cases where it is being disclosed, the manner of voting, who voted this and who voted that and the reasons for the voting. There are examples in the case law. Senator Cayetano (A). And you were pointing kanina na iyong substance or iyong ratio decidendi halimbawa nga po, iyong reason for the decision o iyong rationale hindi iyon ang kinukuwestiyon doon sa—you are questioning that sa court, but iyong kinukuwestiyon ninyo dito, iyong peculiar instances or acts that would lead to a belief of partiality, na nakita ninyo dito sa dissenting opinion. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). Okay. Except that since kayo nag-testify may discussion kanina tungkol sa hearsay dahil hindi po isang justice ng Supreme Court na nandoon ang nagti-testify at hindi natin hawak ang records nila. So far, am I correct?
Ms. De Lima. Opo.
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Senator Cayetano (A). Okay. Naalaala ninyo po noong private lawyer pa kayo or noong nasa Commission on Human Rights pa po kayo, malaking issue po iyong kay Secretary Neri kasi sinabi na “may P200 ka diyan” allegedly ni Chairman Abalos at sinabi daw sa pangulo at tinatanong namin dito, “Anong sagot sa iyo ng Pangulo?” Ang nangyari, they ran to the Supreme Court and claimed executive privilege at in-uphold ito ng Supreme Court at sinabi ang deliberations from the president and high-ranking officials mayroon iyang executive privilege. Ms. De Lima. Yes. Senator Cayetano (A). Similar po iyan sa privilege ng justices na kapag sila nagdi-discuss may privilege sila. Judicial privilege or executive privilege, deliberative privilege, whatever you call it, may confidentiality po iyan. Ms. De Lima. That seems to be the essence of that provision that you cited earlier, Sir. Senator Cayetano (A). Kami po kung nagko-caucus ganoon din, may confidentiality. May exceptions po ba itong confidentiality na ito o iyong privilege na ito? Ms. De Lima. You are referring to the.... Senator Cayetano (A). Any of them, po, executive privilege or the judicial privilege. Kasi the point of this case is that may partiality dito na hindi punto na hindi ninyo gusto iyong desisyon. Ang pinupunto ninyo dito kasi, kung tama ang pagkakaintindi ko, may maniobra dito. Kung hindi ninyo lamang gusto ang desisyon ay wala tayong i-impeach o wala tayong pag-uusapan sa impeachment court because people lose cases everyday and, you know, you win some, you lose some, you just have to argue the case. But kung ang tingin ninyo na may iligal o immoral na ginawa, kaya mali ang desisyon, hindi dahil mali lamang kung hindi dahil may ginawa na falls under the grounds for impeachment and in this case, betrayal of public trust—iyon po ang tinatanong ko kahapon kay Congressman Daza— so, ang problema ho, parang naba-box in tayo because of this confidentiality. So, I would like to understand before we go into caucus on Monday your stand as the Secretary of Justice, not only as Madam de Leila or Atty. Leila de Lima but as a Secretary of Justice. Sa discussions po, halimbawa sa Neri case, malinaw na sinabi ng Supreme Court, kapag ginagamit iyong executive privilege to discuss a crime or to hide a crime or to commit a crime, that is an exception, hindi po ba? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). In the case of deliberations noong Judiciary, meron din po bang exceptions? Ms. De Lima. Doon po mismo sa provision na sinayt (cite) ninyo, mukhang wala. Pero nadiscuss din po ito sa dissenting opinion ni Justice Sereno na puwede kapag ang issue ay tungkol na doon sa accuracy noong mga pinag-usapan o ng mga botohan na may dispute doon sa kung ano talaga ang mga nangyari sa loob lalo na sa botohan. So, that is her duty to disclose that. Senator Cayetano. But that exception applies only to her and to the justices or to any one of us? Puwede ba nilang ilantad or through the dissenting opinion lamang po? Ms. De Lima. Anyone. Senator Cayetano (A). Let me follow up that question later on. Iyong Neri case po kaya, would you think, as the Secretary of Justice, applicable din if a crime is being committed or in effect….
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Halimbawa po, whether it is Congress or the President or the Judiciary, may executive session, naguusap, ang pinag-uusapan bribery: “O, bibigyan tayo ng ganitong milyon, hati-hatiin natin.” Iyong isa ba sa kanila puwedeng biglang pumunta sa inyo para magsumbong dahil ang sasabihin hindi na ito covered ng judicial or executive privilege or legislative privilege kasi ang pinaguusapan na rito krimen? Ms. De Lima. Opo. That is outside of the privilege. Senator Cayetano (A). Tiningnan ko po kasi, si Justice Carpio may sinayt (cite) din po kasi siya, iyong case po ni William v. Mercer. Ang sabi po rito: “The privilege of judicial communications, however, is not absolute and must yield if significant interest outweighs a judge’ interest in confidentiality. For example, the demonstrated need for evidence in a criminal prosecution or in an investigation of judicial misconduct warrants an intrusion into the confidential judicial communications.” Ito po bang impeachment is a form of investigation into judicial misconduct kapag Justice ng Supreme Court ang ating nililitis? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). So, you would think this falls under the exception? Ms. De Lima. Yes, Your Honor. Senator Cayetano (A). So, if a justice or an employee of the Supreme Court comes to you and says: “Ma’am, may impormasyon ako….” Kasi kayo ang Secretary ng Department of Justice, natural na kayo ang sumbungan at sasabihin “Ma’am, confidential man iyon, eh krimen ito o kaya mali ito, immoral or whatever, may misconduct dito,” normal ba na magsumbong sa inyo? Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). And, Ma’am, alter ego kayo ng Presidente—all Cabinet secretaries are the alter ego of the President. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). And in your case, you are the alter ego as far as the Department of Justice is concerned. Ms. De Lima. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). So, let me ask you a very sensitive question. Pause for a minute: Doon lamang po ba sa dissenting opinion nabuo ang inyong opinion na may maniobra dito, as allegedly, sa TRO na ito o meron din po bang nakaabot sa inyo, whether diretso or napasang kuwento about what happened and how they deliberated on it? Ms. De Lima. Can I have one minute? Senator Cayetano (A). Yes, please. Ms. De Lima. I am ready to answer. Senator Cayetano (A). Yes, Ma’am. Ms. De Lima. I will momentarily decline to answer that question on the ground that it may be covered by executive privilege.
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Senator Cayetano (A). So, there is a possibility, Ma’am, na nabuo ang inyong impormasyon or nabuo iyong inyong paniniwala, pati ng Prosecution, hindi dahil lamang sa pagbabasa nito kundi may nagkapagsumbong din. I am not saying na nangyari. But it is possible na may nakapagsumbong din sa inyo, whether it is a firsthand information or secondhand information, tungkol sa nangyari doon sa loob ng deliberation. Ms. De Lima. I am declining because it is covered by executive privilege. Senator Cayetano (A). May I ask any one from the Prosecution? Because this is an impeachment case, so puwede po na may pumunta rin sa inyo na taga-court. Can I ask you the same question? Representative Colmenares. Puwede pong may impormasyon kami, Mr. Senator, on what happened inside. But I would like to stress lamang po. Dito po sa issue ng pagbaliktad ng decision, we do not need any information… The Presiding Officer. Sandali. Meron kayong impormasyon? Representative Colmenares. Marami po kaming natatanggap na LBC, text, sulat. We do not even know if they are true or not. Senator Cayetano (A). Ang tanong ko, Congressman, aking kaibigan, iyong reliability nito. Huwag na iyong little lady or big congressman or very tall congressman, tutal lampas na ang Ash Wednesday kaya huwag na si Congressman Banal ang pag-usapan natin, iba naman ang ano. Representative Colmenares. Yes. Senator Cayetano (A). Ang tinutukoy ko, anyone who has firsthand knowledge sa nangyari sa Supreme Court. Kasi kami mismo ang dami naming naririnig na tsismis. Ganito raw ang nangyari sa maniobra, nagmi-miting daw iyong ganito, ganyan. Ayokong sabihin dito, una, dahil tsismis; pangalawa, kalalaki naming tao at saka Senator-Judges kami, hindi kami dapat makinig sa tsismis. But I was listening to the Defense Counsel, and I was listening to Senator Santiago and the Senate President, iyong sinasabi nila, ito iyong dissenting opinion, pero mayroong ibang opinyon na sinasabing iba ang nangyari. So, gusto kong malaman kasi, sa tingin ko, hindi ninyo ipa-file itong impeachment at itong ground na ito na wala kayong mas solid na basehan na credible na nagsabi sa inyo kung ano ang nangyari doon. Representative Colmenares. Actually po, maliban sa paglabas nito sa media at that time na in-issue ang TRO, hanggang ngayon po wala po akong personal knowledge— Senator Cayetano (A). Sa mga kasama po ninyo. Representative Colmenares. —na may personal knowledge siya sa loob na nagsabi sa akin. Pero gusto ko lamang pong i-stress, we do not even need to go there. Just look at the four records po. Iyong desisyon ng November 22 at ang concurring opinion. Senator Cayetano (A). Iyong tanong ko po kahapon, maraming nasagot ngayon. Loud and clear iyong circumstances, iyong pinakitang alleged irregularities. Loud and clear po iyan today. Ang question ko po, at sana i-consult mo iyong mga kasama mo, nandiyan si Congressman Tupas sa likod, kasi po, I do not think it is a violation. If a justice or an employee comes to you and said, “This is an impeachment case, judicial misconduct is an exception.” Can you consult them and ask mayroon bang justice....
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The Presiding Officer. Let the Senator continue. Senator Cayetano (A). Thank you, Sir. May I pursue this, just this point and ask them to consult Congressman Tupas or Congressman Abaya or any of them, mayroon bang justice or mataas ang katungkulan sa Supreme Court na nagbigay sa inyo ng reliable information that you depended upon it, para tumindi ang belief ninyo na may maniobra sa TRO na ito? Representative Colmenares. Wala po kaming alam and we are going to ask them also. Pero sinisigurado ko po na wala pong lumapit sa amin. The newspaper accounts, the records itself are very clear po. Senator Cayetano (A). No, I understand that. The reason I ask is, may statement ang Presidente na kapag hindi na-impeach, iyong kaniyang paghabol sa corruption, iyong kaniyang laban sa dating Pangulo sa mga corruption, maaapektuhan kasi baka panay ganito ang mangyayari. And it is obvious na I do not know if that is true or not. If it is true, obviously, hindi gagalaw ang Supreme Court ngayon na may impeachment. After iyan. If it is not true, it is unfair to them. But I think it is relevant for us to know whether you have that information. So let me stop there and can you consult the impeachment team? Representative Colmenares. They are actually signaling, Your Honor, na wala silang nakausap, pero idudugtong ko lamang na tama po kayo. Wala pong masama riyan. Hindi ito katulad ng iba pang acts na may batas na nagsasabing bawal iyan. Ito po ay isang issue ng accountability and for us, in fact, we would encourage people to give us information. Senator Cayetano (A). Hindi. Dahil humingi kasi kayo ng subpoena na ipatawag ang justices at iyong records nila. Representative Colmenares. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). So, hindi naman ninyo siguro hihingin iyon na wala kayong konting knowledge man lamang kung ano ang sasabihin nila o kung ano ang nandoon. Hindi naman ako maniniwalang tatawagin ninyo, tapos pagdating dito ang sasabihin nila baliktad. Representative Colmenares. Malinaw po sa dissenting opinion, malinaw po sa concurring opinion. Senator Cayetano (A). So, ang basehan ninyo ng paghingi ng subpoena, iyong dissenting opinion. So, you want them to elaborate. You want Justice Sereno and Justice Carpio to elaborate on that.... Representative Colmenares. Hindi lamang po, pati concurring opinions po. Actually, ang pinakamalaking ebidensiya namin is the concurring opinions of Justice Velasco and Justice Abad. Ganito po. If I may be given lamang po. Noong November 22, may desisyon daw ang Korte Suprema na ang sabi ng anim na Mahistrado—I am not yet counting Justice Abad—pitong mahistrado na suspensive ang kondisyon. Klaro po iyon. Pero si Justice Abad later on lumipat, so anim lamang muna. So, ang naalaala ng anim po, “noong November 15 noong nag-usap tayo, suspensive ang kondisyon.” Ang ibig sabihin, tuparin mo muna ang kondisyon bago ka makaalis. Ngayon, puwede nating sabihin minority sila kaya nila sinabi iyon. Pero ito po ang crucial. Ang sabi ni Justice Velasco sa kaniyang concurring opinion on December 13, totoo iyan ang pinag-usapan natin noong November 15, suspensive talaga ang kondisyon. Kaya lamang, ang sabi niya, nagbayad
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na sila noong gabing iyon, so naging moot na ang issue. Ang ibig sabihin po, pitong justices on the record, without even any witness, are saying na ang desisyon natin noong November 15, suspensive ang kondisyon. Ngayon po, ang nakalagay po sa November 15 resolution ni Chief Justice, hindi po suspensive, baliktad po. Malaking bagay po iyong tuparin mo muna ang kondisyon bago ka makalipad kaysa sa desisyong drafted ni Chief Justice na nagsasabing, “Ay hindi, puwede ka nang makalipad, may limang araw ka na tuparin ang condition.” And I would like to add one more decision, concurring opinion of Justice Abad. If we look at the concurring opinion of Justice Abad, part siya ng Majority, the operative word there is “realized.” Ang sabi ni Justice Abad, “Tama si Justice Sereno. Noong una, nagsabi ako walang compliance, at sinabi ko rin na,’Eh, kung walang compliance, therefore hindi effective ang TRO kasi suspensive nga naman iyon.’ Sabi niya, “However, I changed my vote when I realized that the condition written in the resolution drafted by the Chief Justice says that it is effective immediately and resolutory.” So, ang ibig sabihin po, iyong anim na naniniwala, na nagsabing suspensive ang condition, plus Justice Presbitero Velasco na nagsasabing suspensive ang condition, plus Justice Abad who, as late as November 18, said that it was suspensive, walo po iyon. Majority na po ng Korte Suprema ang nagsabi. Records lamang po iyon. Senator Cayetano (A). Counsel, malinaw na malinaw iyon. In fact, sinlinaw ng Secretary of Justice. Puwede ka rin maging Secretary of Justice. Representative Colmenares. Opo, salamat po. Senator Cayetano (A). Pero ang pinupunto nga po kanina ng Defense at ng ibang Senador, iyon po ay personal knowledge ng sumulat. Pero iyong nagte-testify po ngayon, hindi iyon ang personal knowledge niya. She was basing that on her reading, and you are basing that on your reading of that. That is why tinatanong ko kung mayroong diretsong nagsabi sa inyo, kasi ayokong magkamali sa impeachment case na ito. Gusto ko sana kung mayroong nakapagsabi sa inyo, madala dito sa witness stand, Justice man siya o empleyado man siya ng Korte, para diretsuhan na nating malaman kung ano iyong buong istorya na to. I will leave this witness one question which I asked Congressman Daza yesterday and I saw you standing behind him. Kasi iyong sinasabing the Chief Justice exerted influence. Ang hirap to draw the line. When are you exerting influence and when are you just being an advocate? Halimbawa, sa caucus sa Monday kung kumbinsihin ko nang kumbinsihin iyong mga kasama ko, payagan ninyo iyong subpoena, o payag ako sa sinabi ni Sen. Sonny Trillanes, is that influencing na minamaniobra ko na iyong kapwa ko senador or is that simply advocating? Because you expect the Justices to precisely advocate their stand. So, that is why nanalo iyong majority because someone was more persuasive than the others. But ang gist ko sa sinabi ninyo kahapon, hindi ito ordinaryong advocacy. May maniobra dito or you cross the line dito. Representative Colmenares. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). So, tingin ko po mas makikita natin iyan kung malalaman natin at hindi siguro mabubuo ang impormasyon ng Presidente. The good Secretary declined. So, I guess parang she does not confirm nor deny, ganoon din po. Ang Presidente po kasi is allowed to receive information from the military that he does not have to share or from intelligence, or from his alter ego. It is covered by executive privilege. But I think
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that would be very relevant information here. But I do not want to go into circles because, I think, I made my point there. At the end of the day, ang magiging decision kasi namin, impeachable ba dahil partial at nagkaroon ng maniobra dito or normal lamang ito na iyon ang akala talaga ng Chief Justice na ayon sa batas at kinumbinse lamang niya o siya ay nakumbinse din ng mga kasama niya. Representative Colmenares. Tama po kayo. Actually, ang charges po namin dalawa—to the Chief Justice as a Justice who voted with partiality; and to the Chief Justice who is the Chief Justice as the administrative head of the Supreme Court. Doon po sa pangalawa muna po tayo. Marami siyang acts. He alone could have promulgated the decision. He alone could have ordered Midas Marquez to mislead the public with the information. He alone could have extended the office hours of the Supreme Court. He alone could have ordered the process server, “I-serve mo iyan kahit alas siyete kay Secretary De Lima.” If I may lamang, Your Honor. Senator Cayetano (A). Counsel, it is just unfair to the Defense. Kasi, halimbawa, sinabi mo na he alone could extend it. Maglagay kayo ng witness na ganoon para i-assert iyon. Representative Colmenares. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). Kasi baka naman sabihin noong may opisinang ganoon, siya nagdecide mag...hindi ba? So, let me just stop there to be fair to the Defense. But you have made good assertions naman today. But I wanted to say this because si Senator Lacson nandito. Isa siya sa advocate ng Whistleblowers Act. Representative Colmenares. Yes po. Senator Cayetano (A). Sa Pilipinas kasi, kung sino iyong nagsumbong, siya pa minsan ang kawawa, siya pa ang nakakasuhan. And this is not only applicable to employees, lower level employees. Ang ibig sabihin kung iyong isang Supreme Court Justice biglang pumunta dito, baka pagtulungan din siya noong iba. Halimbawa kaming mga Senador, may nangyari, biglang may magsumbong—hindi nangyayari iyon sa mga caucus namin, and I assume hindi nangyayari iyon sa Supreme Court—but assuming na may ganoong pangyayari, naki-criticize din. So, I think the Supreme Court is also watching us. So, hindi man kami nag-issue ng subpoena sa kanila, they can come here voluntarily. Hindi po ba? You can call some of the justices and ask them: “Ma’am, Sir, payag ba kayong mag-testigo roon sa inyong dissenting opinion para maipaliwanag ninyo sa Senator-Judges ito?” Representative Colmenares. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). And, of course, tingnan ninyo po iyong Secretary of Justice, hindi ko pinilit. Representative Colmenares. Opo. Senator Cayetano (A). Hindi ko pinilit na sagutin niya ang tanong na iyon. And I think, she will say, we are fair to her. But it will really help us to decide one way or the other, rather than relying just on the dissenting opinion. I am not saying it is not enough. I am just saying, you want clear and
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convincing proof beyond reasonable doubt, et cetera. Hindi ba? Let us have the kind of witnesses here that can paint the whole picture. Thank you, Mr. President. Thank you to my colleagues. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Majority Leader. Representative Colmenares. If I may lamang, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Colmenares. Mr. President, just a short ano lamang kay Senator Cayetano (A). Tama po kayo. In fact, the Senate has already made the precedent by inviting and will probably also file a motion come Monday for the Senate to issue an invitation. But, of course, that is for the Senate to decide. Kahit na sa tingin namin, mahalaga ang testimony ni Justice Sereno, lalo na at interesado ang Defense, ang Prosecution, and maybe the senators. Hindi ko na po i-discuss iyong sinabi ko kaninang, he alone. Doon lamang po ako sa isang sinabi ko kanina na, does not need a witness. Puwede bang maging partial ang isang justice sa decision niya? Puwede po. In fact, ang teorya ng Defense is, “You impeach all justices or no one at all.” Kasi ang sabi nila, collegial iyon. Lahat naman po ng desisyon doon ay collegial. Pero hindi. The Constitution required that each justice will be of impartiality, independence, probity. Hindi naman po puwedeng sabihin, sampu tayong nagnanakaw. Nahuli po ako at sabihin ko, “Ay huwag ninyong akong kasuhan, may siyam akong kasama riyan.” No. It is collegial, yes. Ang isyu ngayon dito is that the Chief Justice is being impeached. The other justices may be partial or impartial. It is not the issue here. If the other justices sided with him based on their innocent reading of the evidence or the Constitution, that is their issue. But the fact is, you cannot hide behind collegiality merely on the basis na marami naman akong nakumbinse. Kung na-bribe ka, for example, lamang—hindi ko sinasabing na-bribe si Chief Justice. Kapag na-bribe ang isang justice, out of the 10, hindi siya puwedeng magsabing, “Eh, sampu naman kaming nagbigay ng TRO.” Pero, ikaw, na-bribe po kasi kayo. You cannot claim innocence on the ground na collegial ito. So, ang amin lamang sinasabi, partial si Chief Justice rito. And for us, he cannot hide behind collegiality because the Constitution precisely requires that each justice will have probity, independence, competence, otherwise, that constitutional provision requiring each justice to be of independence, impartiality will never be triggered at all, Your Honors please. Kasi collegial lahat iyan. I-impeach mo lahat ang Supreme Court justices, but you cannot impeach one. So, iyon lamang po ang punto ko. Maraming salamat po. Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor please. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from the Defense. Mr. Cuevas. I was trying to observe and analyze the representation being made by the Public Prosecutor, Your Honor. And I am inclined to believe that he is very knowledgeable of the facts involved in this case. So, I would like to suggest that he take the witness stand so that we can crossexamine him under oath. Representative Colmenares. Your Honors.
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Mr. Cuevas. He is already arguing the case. There is no resting of evidence yet. They have not closed. We have not even started, Your Honor. He is impregnating the records of this case unnecessarily. [Laughter] I hope there will be lesser confusion. Representative Colmenares. If I may lamang, Your Honor. Manifestation lamang po iyon. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, let us stop. The Presiding Officer. Order. Let us.... Senator Sotto. We have already given the Defense a chance to say that. That is it. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Senator Sotto. Let us stop this, Mr. President. May I just move to strike out a statement of the Minority Leader concerning “Mga lalaki naman kami rito.” It is not gender-sensitive, Mr. President. So, I move to strike out. This is being supported by Sen. Pia S. Cayetano and Sen. Loren Legarda. Senator Cayetano (A). Mr. President, if I said that, then I would be wrong. Ang sinabi ko po, “Ka-lalaki kong tao magiging tsismoso ako. Hindi ako dapat maging tsismoso.” Hindi ko sinabing, “Mga lalaki tayo rito.” Senator Sotto. No, you did. [Laughter] Senator Cayetano (A). Well, I am sorry. I will submit if that is what I said. But I am sorry, it might be my train of thought. I did not mean to be gender-insensitive. Ang sinasabi ko po kasi, I was talking to.... Before I asked these questions, I asked Senator Guingona and Senator Lacson about the executive privilege. And I was just saying: “Ka-lalaki kong tao, hindi dapat ako makinig sa mga tsimis na ang mga Justice ganito ang ginawa, ganyan,” that is why I am also asking the question. But I apologize to the women. I am more of a lover than a fighter. So, I will never say things that will offend the women, especially my dear sister. Senator Sotto. Apology accepted but I move to strike out the statement. The Presiding Officer. Let it stay. With due respect to the female members of the Impeachment Court, let it stay as a part of the manifestation of the Minority Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an announcement, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make an announcement. Senator Sotto. I am sorry, Mr. President, we forgot about the Witness. I move to discharge the Witness. The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute. Before we adjourn, the Witness is excused. Thank you, Madam Witness. Senator Sotto. The Witness is discharged. Representative Daza. Mr. President, may I request that the witnesses—we have other witnesses who are here today—that they be ordered to come back on Monday.
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The Presiding Officer. All witnesses who were not able to testify in this impeachment trial today must come back on Monday at two o’clock in the afternoon. The Sergeant-at-Arms. Please all rise. All persons are commanded to remain in their places until the Senate President and the Senators have left the Session Hall. Senator Sotto. I move to adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, February 27, 2012. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, this trial is hereby adjourned until 2:00 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 2012. The trial was adjourned at 5:57 p.m.
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