February 8, 2012
SENATE MINORITY LEADER ALAN PETER S. CAYETANO (ASC)
SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS
Sen. Alan Peter S. Cayetano (ASC) clarified that the decision of the Senate Impeachment Court to subpoena the bank statements of Chief Justice Renato Corona was a majority decision - not a decision made only by the Presiding Officer.
Since Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago requested for a Motion for Reconsideration (MR) on the said decision, ASC clarified pertinent rules related to this issue:
The Rules of the Impeachment Court specifically Rule VI which deals with rulings and orders of the Presiding Officer or the Court relating to evidence, contemplates 3 instances:
1) When the Presiding Officer makes a ruling and no Senator objects thereto, then the ruling of the Presiding Officer shall be deemed as the ruling of the Body.
Since the ruling was made not by the Presiding Officer but by the majority and there was no objection at that time it was issued, then a motion for reconsideration or an appeal thereto by a Senator who was not present at the time the ruling was made may not be tenable.
ASC suggested that further discussion on this matter may be needed to resolve the issue and enlighten everyone including the public on the decision of the Impeachment court to subpoena the bank accounts of CJ Corona.
Mr. President, may I submit my view on the matter at hand.
A section in Rule 6 says:
The president of the Senate or the chief justice, when presiding in a trial, may rule on all questions of evidence, including but not limited to questions of materiality, relevancy, competency, or admissibility of evidence and incidental questions. Which ruling will stand as the judgment of the senate, unless a member of the senate shall ask that a formal vote shall be taken thereon. In which case, it shall be submitted to the senate for decision, after one contrary view is expressed.
Mr. President, ang rule po ay simple. Kapag may issue, the presiding officer can do three things.
Number one, pwede siyang megdesisyon na kaagad, at kung walang apela, yun na ang desisyon ng impeachment court.
Number two, he can throw it to the body and let the Senator Judges vote on the issue.
Number three, kapag nagdesisyon ang presiding officer at may tumayo para kwestiyunin ito, pwedeng pagbotohan.
Sa first option, walang tumayo para maghain ng motion for reconsideration. Sa third option, mayroon.
To clarify, ang nangyari kahapon ay hindi desisyon ng presiding officer na walang kumontra kaya ito naging desisyon ng impeachment body. It was a written resolution by the majority of the senator-judges.
Tama po si Sen. Santiago at Sen. Lacson na wala ito sa Rule 6. Sapagkat sa Rule 6, nagdesisyon ang presiding officer at pagkatapos ay may humihingi ng motion for reconsideration. Ang nagdesisyon kahapon ay majority ng lahat ng miyembro ng impeachment court. Nakalagay po 'yan sa desisyon. Nakalagay po na "the majority".
Tama rin po si Sen. Santiago na Section 91 of the rules of the Senate apply because Rule 6 also states: "The provisions of the rules of the senate and the revised rules of court shall apply suppletorily whenever applicable."
However, Section 91 of our rule says "any senator who voted with the majority may move for a reconsideration of a measure on the same day or in the next two session days if it were decided by the senate.
The problem is Sen. Santiago did not vote with the majority.
Therefore, Mr. President, I would like to make a distinction between the two. Kapag ang presiding officer ang nagdesisyon, pwedeng tumayo. Whenever there is a contentious issue, the presiding officer is taking upon himself to discuss it with the court.
Gusto kong malaman ng ating mga kababayan kung bakit kami nagdesisyon na buksan ang bank accounts despite the law and also because of the Supreme Court decisions. However, technically, I believe that the rule speaks for itself at this point in time, Mr. President.