January 18, 2012
ANGARA: CORONA FAMILY SHOULDN'T
Senator Edgardo J. Angara yesterday explained why he voted in favor of the Impeachment Court ruling against summoning the Corona family to the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
Angara was one of the 14 Senator-Judges who voted in favor of the ruling, against six others who voted against it. It was the first decision in the trial that was put to a vote, in a session that was abruptly adjourned before any evidence was presented before the Court.
"I believe the Chair's ruling was correct," said Angara, a veteran lawyer and lawmaker.
"One of the cardinal rules of trial is that a witness cannot testify against himself," explained Angara. "This is not only applicable to the accused, but also to his immediate family. They should not be summoned by the court and expected to disclose information against their own interests."
Angara continued, "Constitutionalists and historians consider it one of the great advances of modern civilization--that no one can be compelled to testify against himself. The history of human rights violation is littered with incidents of men and women being compelled to disclose incriminating information through torture. This legal doctrine is a saving grace and the mark of a civilized judicial proceeding."
In his manifestation on the floor yesterday, Angara said he hoped that the session would not be a total disaster and loss. He called for the Prosecution to present their revised calendar for the presentation of evidence.
"I understand that many of the Prosecutors are quite new to the whole process, and they were not very well prepared, but they will learn from their mistakes as we go along," said Angara. He said he expects them to perform better today.
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