Corona composed a masterful defense testimony which covered all the accusations that the prosecution put up against him within the scope of the trimmed down impeachment issues. It was delivered as an opening statement, an unorthodox narrative style that was uninterrupted by the other side’s objections to normally not allowed declarations such as hearsay evidence, uncorroborated testimony, unjust impugning of characters made against Pnoy, the Ombudsman and Jose Ma. Basa (deceased), self serving stories of frugality other irrelevant and immaterial citations. The prosecution objected to the prolonged statement but the CJ was allowed by the presiding officer to continue with the reasoning that the prosecution can object during the direct questioning by the defense. It was truly unfair to the prosecution for the witness to have a prepared testimony read in its entirety uninterrupted. JPE said that the testimony will be stricken off the records if the CJ does not return for the cross examination only to change his mind later on when he said that the read testimony of the CJ will be admissible as testimony.
It also had the benefit of being delivered with emotional (tearful pauses, choked utterances, hypoglycaemic discomfort, etc.) histrionics worthy of acting awards which would never have been delivered in that manner in the normal course of a court procedure.
The presiding officer JPE ostensibly allowed citing liberality of the court.
This was a brilliant defense testimony because it addressed both legal issues and public opinion without any interruption; something that would not have been possible if the normal court procedures were followed.
After delivering (reading) all that he had to say, he capped his three hour speech in a dramatic fashion by the declaration that he will sign the waiver to open his dollar accounts. But wait, in almost the same breath he put a condition that Senator Drilon and all the 188 congressmen who initiated the impeachment proceedings against him to do the same. An adaptation of Christ’s “he who is without sin cast the first stone” momentarily forgetting that he is the only one accused here.
Without waiting to be dismissed as a witness he rose from witness stand and left after declaring “I am the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court...I wish to be excused” leaving all and sundry agape with the abruptness of the uncivil move. There was no sign of him having a hypoglycaemic episode as he sprightly stood from the witness chair and strode towards the exit elevators going to his waiting getaway vehicle already out of the garage and ready to zoom away, only to be stopped by an aging sergeant-at-arms of the Senate.
Recognizing the indefensibility of his case he may have planned it to end this way. JPE said that if Corona does not return to the impeachment court he will be forced to strike out all the three hour long testimony, declare the proceedings closed and make the senator judges make their votes on the basis of testimonies already given by earlier witnesses. Since the ultimate defense of opening his bank accounts to the impeachment court was not an option, closing it now after making an impassioned but unsupported claims and counterclaims, after having an uncensored lashing out on his critics and detractors, this against any other time would be the best way to end the impeachment proceedings and have the senator jurors vote on his fate.
A stroke of genius; allowed to make a three hour defense unimpeded, unregulated by the rules of court and unchallenged by a cross examination from the prosecution. By not appearing further he rests his case. No matter the ruling of the presiding officer to disregard the testimony, the senator judges have heard his unchallenged testimony and more importantly, he was able to address the public who cannot be told by JPE to disregard what they heard. His chances at acquittal would have improved considerably now that some of the senators who were so inclined to side with Corona from the start are given some reason for voting in favour of the Chief Justice.
A clever plan that needed the acquiescence of the court for it to succeed; an opening statement; a prepared speech which took all three hours to complete. If it was not allowed to be delivered in the manner it was done then the whole stunt would not have had its desired effect.
I feel a lot of discomfort with what has transpired; it was all so neatly done, an elaborate defense tactic that depended on the liberality of the court.
My sense is that there is something amiss here. To quote Hamlet, “something is rotten in the state of Denmark.”