Manifestation on defense panel’s media statements
By Senator Pia S. Cayetano
Corona Impeachment Trial, Day 16
13 February 2012
“I stand up in reason that our Senate Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada and Sen. Alan Cayetano took the floor with respect to the allegations or the statements made by the defense counsel that Malacanang has offered P100 million to senator-judges.
“Mr. President, in the landmark case of Salcedo vs. Fernandez, in the contempt proceedings against Atty. Francisco. The Supreme Court said, in that case the lawyer was reprimanded, when he created an atmosphere of prejudice against the court, in its order, to make it obvious to the public eye that the decision of the court promoted distrust in the administration of justice.
“The Court further ruled the reason for this is respect for the points guaranteed in the stability of the institution. Without such guarantees, the institution would be resting on a very shaky foundation. Mr. President, like any other right, the right of a lawyer to comment or criticize the decision of the judge or his actuation is not unlimited. It is the cardinal condition of all such criticism that it shall be bona fide. To degrade the courts, destroy public confidence in them, or bring them in any way into disrespute transcends the limit of fair comment. This is taken from the book of Justice Ruben Agpalo on legal and judicial ethics.
“Mr. President the counsels appearing before this court must be sternly reminded that it is their duty to uphold the dignity and authority of the court, to which it owes fidelity. Not to promote distrust in the administration of justice. ‘Faith in the courts a lawyer should seek to preserve. For to undermine the judicial edifice is disastrous to the continuity of government and to the attainment of the liberties of the people.’ I quote directly from the case Surigao Mineral Reservation Board vs. Cloribel.
“Mr. President the defense counsel must point to the source of their information and reveal who was promised, who was given P100 million to influence our decisions. Otherwise, the statements made in their presscon only serves to promote distrust in the administration of justice, of which this impeachment court had promised to uphold.
“Mr. President I think my colleagues have discussed it at length and I leave this before this honorable court. I sincerely feel that this issue has placed distrust in the eyes of the public and I trust that the members of this court will do what is right.” #
PHOTO: Defense panel on Day 16 of the impeachment trial. Photo by Joseph Vidal/Senate PRIB/POOL.