On public interest and the impeachment trial

‘Decision was left up to the conscience of each senator-judge’

Transcript of interview of Sen. Pia S. Cayetano
Senate Plenary
29 May 2012

Question: Kay Chief Justice Renato Corona kayo nag-swear hindi po ba nung na-reelect kayo noong 2010? And then ang alam namin, kaibigan ni [Corona] ang nasira n’yong ama na si Senator Rene Cayetano. So, naging mahirap ba sa inyo na magbaba ng desisyon? O hindi naman, dahil ebidensya ang inyong pinagbatayan?

Sen. Pia S. Cayetano (SPSC): Syempre po as a lawyer and publicly elected official, alam ko naman po from the start na darating talaga ang panahon na — maliit po ang mundo di ba? – that I will have to make decisions which are not always favorable to people I know, or even people whom my family knows.

So handa naman po ako to make those decisions, but it [her family being close to the Chief Justice] doesn’t make it easy. Compounding all that is the fact that, as I said in my speech, kung legal lang ho ang pinag-uusapan ay panalo ho ang Defense. Because any lawyer would know na inadmissible po yung karamihan ng mga ebidensya [ng Prosecution] at wala namang bad faith dun sa ibang [charges], katulad ho ng assessed value ng real property. And yet clearly, that’s why in-explain ko po that this is a political and legal decision that has to be made.

Because the fact na ang binigyan ng Konstitusyon ng responsibilidad na humatol ay ang mga senador — hindi naman po kami lahat abogado at wala naman nakalagay [sa Konstitusyon] na dapat kalahati o three-fourths sa amin ay abogado — so it takes into consideration that we will have to make a decision based on other factors. And that would mean ano ba ang pangangailangan ng bayan? Ano ba ang definition ng public trust as demanded by the times?

Q: Pero, sabi n’yo nga, kung sa korte ito dinala, it [evidence vs Corona] would not stand?

SPSC: Hindi po. In fact again, I said even the Constitution does not indicate what kind of burden of proof or quantum of evidence [is required]. Yun pong tinatawag na ‘guilty beyond reasonable doubt,’ kung ano ho ang bigat ng ebidensya na kailangan mo. Walang ganun eh.

So it was left up to the conscience of every senator kung ano ang bigat ng ebidensyang nakikita niyang nararapat. Kasi ako, kung sasabihin mong ang weight ng evidence ay kailangan ng beyond reasonable doubt, i-aacquit ko siya. Kasi hindi talaga klaro, o wala namang findings na ill-gotten wealth nga di ba? But it’s political and legal and therefore my vote was guilty because of these other factors.

Q: Okay, salamat po Ma’am. #

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