Press Release
January 25, 2012


RE: Rules of Evidence, etc.


1) On 'rules of evidence' that should be adopted. Based on Constitutional Law Experts who studied and quoted the impeachment of Clinton and Nixon, an impeachment trial adopts 'SPECIAL RULES OF EVIDENCE' - not civil, administrative nor criminal.

2) On the technicalities of presenting evidence. He emphasized that the impeachment trial should not be too technical when it comes to the presentation of evidence so that any decision that this impeachment court will have should be based on the merits of the case.

a. If acquitted, it should be because there is no evidence to prove guilt
b. If convicted, it should be based on all available evidence presented

3) Kapag hindi nailabas ang ebidensiya, bayan ang talo dahil may karapatan sila malaman ang katotohanan.


Mr. Presiding Officer, alam po natin na hindi lang po sa ating bansa tinanong ang pinag-uusapan natin ngayon. Well taken po yung sinasabi ng prosecution at alam ko na trabaho ng defense na idepensa yung karapatan, yung basic human rights, basic constitutional rights, due process ng ating kagalang-galang na Chief Justice.

Extraordinary na kaso kasi itong impeachment process. So even in countries na may longer history of constitutional law like the United States of America at ngayon sa Latin America, ilang beses na nagagamit ang impeachment and it is replacing the coup de etat as a form of constitutional check and balance.

Kahit sa America po, makikita niyo na ang mga tinatanong natin ngayon ay naitanong na din nila. If I may quote from a law professor, Michael Gerhardt, who was also quoting an impeachment authority Charles Black. Sabi niya sa America nung impeachment ni President Bill Clinton while referring to the book of Charles Black, who in turn ay nag-aral sa impeachment ni President Nixon:

"The four most controversial procedural questions raised in impeachment proceedings have been: Number one, whether impeachment trial is more like a criminal or a civil proceeding for purposes of determining the burden of proof; number two: Whether any presidential privilege apply to impeachment hearings; number three: What rule of evidence, if any, should be applied in impeachment hearings, particularly in the Senate impeachment trial; and number four: The propriety of Senate's using a special trial committee to take testimonies and receive evidence."

Kanina po, napagusapan na po ni Sen. Miriam Santiago whether this can be considered as criminal or a civil proceeding. Noong unang araw po, diniscuss din ito ng ating presiding officer. Ngayon po ang tinatanong, what rules of evidence, if any, should apply in impeachment hearings?

Ang sabi po ng professor of law na ito: "It is unnecessary to make any particular rules of evidence applicable to impeachment proceedings. Both State and Federal courts require a special rule of evidence to make trials more efficient and fair. Or to keep certain evidence from the jury whose members might not understand or appreciate its reliability, credibility or potentially prejudicial effect. That concerns leading to the use of special rules of evidence in State and Federal courts do not however apply to impeachment trials. An impeachment trial is not the usual kind of trial nor does it involve a typical jury. Rather impeachments are extraordinary hearings administered by sophisticated and politically-savvy body, the Congress of the United States."

In other words, Mr. Presiding Officer, to summarize, meron po tayong special rules of evidence sa mga korte, civil, administrative, criminal rules, sapagkat sa America yung jury hindi sila trained dun sa mga questions kung leading or misleading, kung hypothetical siya, so baka mag-admit sila ng ebidensiya na hindi reliable, hindi credible or prejudicial. In fact, ang jury nga dapat hindi nanonood ng TV. In other words, baka mabola ng mga abugado ang mga jury.

Pero sa Kongreso, sa Senado na nagttry ng impeachment trial o sa Judiciary sa ibang bansa, it is not applicable because hindi dapat nabobola ang mga senador. Dapat sila'y politically savvy and highly sophisticated to appreciate the evidence.

However, let me agree with the Senate President. Let me compliment in the way he's been handling this trial. I disagree with him many times or at some legal points, however he has been fair by asking all of us "Kung hindi ito applicable, anong suggestion niyo?"

Meaning, for the prosection, you also have to be prepared to tell us if you want flexibility or you don't want these rules, what rules are you proposing instead? And for the defense, we have to also know that there is now an outcry "ano ba ang gusto natin, lumabas ang ebidensiya at pagkatapos based on ebidensiya kami magruruling o gusto niyo ba on technicalities, hindi ma-present ang ebidensiya then maquestion ang ruling natin later on?"

Because unlike ordinary Juries, kapag hindi prinesent dito, lalabas sa media. And although we're not supposed to listen there and we're supposed to do our judgment based on what is presented here, the reality is people are also judges.

So Mr. President, let me agree with your ruling that you will have to follow the rules as provided in the rules of the Senate and the suppletory character of the rules of court, I may not agree on certain rulings but I agree with your ruling on this issue.

Kung meron pong cry for liberality in the application of the rules, whether to say ano ba ang applicable so burden of proof, ano applicable sa rules, sa rules of pleading, etc. Let us also make clear kung ano ang proposal ninyo.

But for the record I want the prosecution to be able to present in the manner that is comfortable to them, in a manner that they can best present to the Filipino people kung ano ang akusasyon at kung ano ang ebidensiya. In this equal manner, I want the defense to be able to use all of its rights and to protect the rights of their client, the CJ, in protecting their rights and being able to present their defense.

In the end pag nasuppress po natin ang ebidensiya dito, bayan ang talo.

Bakit po? Sa criminal case, may double jeopardy. Dito po yung technicality na sinasabi ng constitution at American authorities na hindi dapat, all they have to do is file this again next year and we'll go through it again.

So kung ma-convict or ma-acquit, dapat on the merits, with all evidence being presented here. So that's my appeal, Mr. Presiding Officer.

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