January 17, 2012
SEN. ALAN PETER S. CAYETANO POST CJ TRIAL INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT 2: Explanation of his Manifestation during DAY2 of Trial
(Reporter: Kindly explain your manifestation on the ruling of denying the subpoena on Corona's Family)
There's a difference between putting a person on the stand or compelling the person to attend through a subpoena, and in compelling him to testify against the husband, father, or against themselves. That's a fine distinction but lawyers make sure that the distinction has a purpose.
In the ruling, they said that they were lumped together. CJ, the children, the wife, and the son-in-law were not allowed to be compelled to attend, that they cannot be subpoenaed.
That's right when it comes to CJ because he's the accused and the accused cannot be compelled to take the witness stand.
But the children, the wife, and the son-in-law may be called and whatever disqualification or filial privilege they have under the law should be taken up when they are already on the stand.
As a lawyer and a senator-judge, I did not see it wise or fit that I do not object and then later on, some of the lawyers in the country will question why the ruling was such. But having said that, I'm also a member of the senate and of the impeachment trial. So, whatever the majority says will be the ruling.
There's actually an SC case that said that the filial privilege that will keep a son or a father from testifying against their ascendant or the descendant does not cover in-laws.
(Reporter: Are we going to see that more of that from you?)
I think it will really depend on the issue. If the issue is legal and there being a number of lawyers in the senate and in the impeachment court, then we will have to bring up these issues. But if it's a not a clear-cut case, meaning there's gray area and will require discretion, then we will have to resort to agreements.
But in this case, we cannot not put on the record my objection or non-conformity to the stand of the majority. I really didn't want then and there that we vote. But after I spoke, a number of senator-judges did mention that they see the point and deemed it good that we vote and that it be put on record.
(Reporter: People are saying that with what you did, it was made evident that you are leaning towards the prosecution because even after it has been decided upon by the court, you stood up for it)
First of all, the only people allowed under our rules to appeal or call for a vote when it comes to the ruling of the chair, are senator-judges. The prosecution and the defense cannot initiate that.
Second, the issue is not whether the Chief Justice is innocent or guilty. The issue is whether or not the others can be subpoenaed. I will emphasize over and over that I will always adhere to the law. Based on my interpretation of the law, the wife, children and in-laws can be called.
Whether the prosecution or defense needs to call a witness, if for me, the law allows them to issue a subpoena, I will stand for that. This does not have anything to do with the innocence or guilt of CJ so there's no favouritism here.
I would do the same even if the sides are interchanged. The people have to understand that many issues will surface that do not go into the guilt or innocence of the Chief Justice where we will have to make a stand. Whatever our decision will be on them does not mean favouritism on the side where the decision will be beneficial. In fact, no evidence has been presented yet.
In this case, this vote will determine what kind of evidence the prosecution can presented and not the guilt of the CJ.
(Reporter: You will still insist that the family of CJ be called?)
No. Because there is already a majority decision. But at least on record, that's how I understand the law. Because there is a Supreme Court decision that supports my stand. There are also several other law books that have settled the issue of the difference between being called and being asked to take the stand.
The issue there, really, is when one can impose that filial privilege, or the disqualification. In their interpretation of it, they made a shortcut and ruled that they cannot be called. In my understanding, they can be called, but once they're there and there's a question that would require them to give incriminating answers, that's the only time that they can impose that.
(Reporter: Hindi ba masyadong mahigpit ang rule na yon ng Senado?)
That's why I brought this up. You have to give the defense all of the leeway to present their defense, but you have to give the prosecution all of the leeway to present also all of the evidence to prove their case. Fairness means giving both sides the chance without dictating how they will present their case. Whether I agree or not that CJ's family can be called is not part of this case.
(Reporter: Papaano nakaapekto ang kawalan ng kahandaan ng prosekusyon kanina?)
It depends on the nature of the proceedings, whether it's criminal in nature or administrative. Nakita ninyo may konting argumento doon. I don't want to comment because I don't want it to be read as going into the merits of the case or having bias.
Let me just say that I hope this is the first and the last time that this happens, and after this, everyone will be prepared all the time.
(Reporter: Was there an earlier ruling that what comes first in the items will be the first to be tackled?)
None. But that is the common assumption that how you presented them in the pleadings procedurally, that's how items will be taken up. So I cannot blame the defense for thinking that that is how it will be done. At the same time, you cannot blame the prosecution, because just like they said, and as pointed out by the defense, it's a matter of discretion of the court if they will allow that.
Usually, this does not happen in regular courts because there's pre-trial and pre-trial brief. Doon sinasabi kung sino ang witness at ano ang dokumento. Wala nito dito. Maybe sooner or later, we will have this.
(Reporter: Ganoon na bale ang mangyayari na bukas, Article 2 ang mauuna?)
Like I said, it's a matter of discretion, and no one seems to be against that. Even the defense is saying that they're just asking for more time. So tomorrow, we're hoping that they not only go through with this, but that they also advise us on the order of the articles that they want to bring up.
(Reporter: So a written manifestation is enough?)
Written would be better because we can hold it to them, but that would really be dependent on what will be written there. Like what the defense is saying, we don't want surprises.
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