February 23, 2012
Transcript of media interview with Miriam
Have you made up your mind on whether to vote for acquittal or conviction?
Not really, I cannot make up my mind halfway through the trial. We trial judges always have to struggle to keep an open mind until the very end of the trial. However, it is very apparent to me, as a former trial judge, that the prosecution is not prepared. The articles of impeachment, which, in effect, constitute the complaint or the information was not thoroughly prepared. You see, they cannot even present their evidence according to the sequence of their articles of impeachment. So they jump. We began with Article 3, now we're at Article 7. They keep on jumping like this. On Article 3 they just gave up hope and just said that "we're not presenting evidence." That's very very unusual. If that is the case, then this is all evidence that they haven't properly prepared for their task as the prosecution panel. If we go to the trial courts of the country, you will be immediately struck by the fact that judges are very very impatient when the lawyers, either of the defense or the prosecution, are unprepared, because that is a waste of the time of the judge. In ordinary trial courts, normally there is an entire backlog of 500 to 2,000 cases. So a judge wants to get over a trial as soon as possible. And if the prosecution is unprepared, it is unfair to the side that it represents, in this case, it would be unfair to the complainants, and to put it bluntly, the administration, which has already officially, openly declared that they want the respondent to be convicted. In effect therefore, the judge is telling them, "Move on counsel! Do your work at home." That is the scenario in every trial court not only in the Philippines, but in all tripartite democracies where our system of justice is observed.
On berating the prosecution
That's part of the risk you undertake when you appear in court. It's like going to surgery, and the chief surgeon is berating you right there. He is berating you because he is frightened to death that his patient might suffer at your hands. He's assuming the responsibility. In our case, also, we know that the public are judging us. We are really not the supreme judges of all of these impeachment proceedings, but the public. So we want the public to see that we insist on the rules, that we insist on a fast-paced trial, and that the presentation should be coherent to the public. If the prosecution panel is afraid and embarrassed, then the answer is they have to be better prepared. They can always ask for a motion for reconsideration to maybe, one of the senators who are sympathetic to their cause.
Hindi pa natin alam kung gaano kagaling ang depensa. Kung pareho silang hindi magaling, equal lang sila, fifty-fifty. Pero kung magaling ang depensa, yun ang sinasabi ko sa kanila, maghanda kayo sa kalagitnaan palang ng presentation ninyo. Binabalaan ko na kayo, kasi kumbaga sa kabayo, mauuna na ang defense,kaya pagbutihin ninyo ng ginagawa ninyo. May patunay naman, sa pamamagitan ng pagbasa ng mga rules of court or decided cases ng Supreme Court. They cannot be babied in the court room. In fact, that would be unethical of the judge pero once in a while, I would ask the questions for the prosecution just to be able to help them because I can see that they are handicapped.
Will you manifest in the floor later?
Malamang, this is an entire series. And then it will be published as a book.
On having a surprise witness
Oh yes. Kung meron silang surprise witness, for example, then we'll all be taken aback especially by one who has been an eyewitness to what is really being testified on. That's the important thing. The problem is wala silang eyewitness. Puro silang circumstantial evidence.
Will the testimony of Justice Sereno bolster the case of the prosecution?
The testimony of the justice secretary is hearsay and is inadmissible. She is not testifying on her own personal knowledge, but her testimony is based on the dissenting opinion of Justice Serreno. So to answer you hypothetical question, if the Justice herself testifies, then that will of course, bolster the case of the prosecution.
Monday, September 22