Senate to hold marathon hearings to meet March 23 deadline


Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. INQUIRER file photo

Barring any objection from defense and prosecution lawyers, the Senate impeachment court will hold marathon hearings starting Monday to be able to meet its self-imposed deadline for ending the trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona on March 23.

At a press conference following a caucus Tuesday, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile announced that a consensus was reached to hold hearings from 9 a.m. to noon and 2-5 p.m. from Monday to Thursday instead of the afternoon sessions in the past 26 trial days.

“Everybody wants to finish it before we go on a break, if we can do it,” Enrile told reporters. “We are trying to show to the people that the members of the Senate and the Senate are willing to work overtime to satisfy the desire of the public to finish this case the soonest possible time.”

Enrile said he would meet with defense and prosecution counsels on Friday to discuss the proposed hearing schedule. If rejected, the trial would continue its previous format. If this happened, he said he expected the trial to last until May.

If the new schedule is followed, senators will have to forego the daily legislative sessions, Enrile said.

According to Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III, some senators had qualms about the marathon hearings.

“If it does not assure the completion of presentation of evidence by the defense, what’s the point of having a morning and afternoon hearing? We might as well continue with just the afternoon hearing,” Sotto said.

Clinic for older senators

While not opposed to the proposal, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago expressed apprehension at the logistical nightmare it would entail.

“You might as well have a mobile clinic on standby for the older senators,” quipped Santiago, who is suffering from fluctuating blood pressure.

The senator disclosed that the last time such an expedited trial was held was during martial law when she, as Quezon City Regional Trial Court judge, heard the case for alleged illegal assembly of students from the University of the Philippines and Ateneo de Manila University.

The students led by the late movie director Lino Brocka, Behn Cervantes, Cosme Garcia and Rodolfo Santos had demonstrated against the abuses being allegedly committed at the time by First Lady Imelda Marcos.

Not question of speed

Representative Erin Tañada, a prosecution spokesperson, welcomed the extended trial hours. “In my view, after Holy Week, the decision will be promulgated,” he said in a statement.

In a text message, defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III said: “That will be hard since we still have to prepare our witnesses and documentary evidence for each day. I think it is unfair for the Chief Justice if the rules are changed in the middle of the proceedings … It is not a question of speed but ample right to be heard.”

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • JV Velarde

    This impeachment court should not be compared & should not be ran like a strict criminal trial court. It’s a political process with powers vested on the house & the senate, to remove a public servant immune from the ordinary course of the law. 

    The President, vice-president, senators, congressmen can be removed from office during elections, can even be subjected to impeachment, like the president & the vice president. And we have a chief justice who practically never had the nation’s democratic mandate, that can never be taken out of his position except when impeached. 

    Both congress, the House & the Senate, were never required nor mandated by the Constitution to have Lawyers as its members, so why insist on holding that impeachment court as a criminal trial court?

    The most relevant issue here is public trust & integrity, can this chief justice, after all the revelations, his exhaustive efforts to hide his dollar accounts & ill gotten wealth, can still be trusted? Corona was given due course to explain his side but he insisted on hiding behind the technicalities & circumvent the purpose of the law interpreting it to his selfish interest. 

    This impeachment process was mandated to protect the constitutional office from scalawags like Corona, it should be allowed to ran it’s true purpose.

  • jiroarturo

    Magaling yan naisipan ni Enrile. Tapusin na agad ang trial. Tutal alam na naman ng mga tao kung ano ang desisyon ng IC. Acquitted dahil 10 lang ang boboto for conviction. 

  • EdgarEdgar

    Somehow, somewhere, something is telling the prescient JPE that he needs to wrap this up soon before his time in this world runs out. I’m all for it, if only to boost the quality of morning TV talkshows and afternoon TV soaps. But I’m worried about a few things. Knowing that the prosecutors are a bunch of lazy brats, their inability to keep apace with this new timeline will become ever more apparent. I don’t mind watching Titosen singing and dancing in his impeachment robe on Eat Bulaga during the noontime break to provide a moment of levity. As for Drilon and Guingona, will 2 hours of lunch suffice for their daily binge? As for Coco, I hope this week-long break gave him a chance to grow some brain if not some tumor in his empty cocote. And it’s not that I don’t care about Miriam, but I’m more worried about Peter Cayetano who is looking more and more anemic than a pale devil these days. Is karma finally catching up with him, or has he been missing out on his favorite balot? At any rate, I’ll keep all of them in my prayers this lenten season. Be well, our beloved senators of the republic.

  • be honest

    Since this is a break in the Trial, may be its time that some reporters can ask some of these questions –

    1) Seemingly its the Palace that initiated the process and the House signed the Impeachment Articles, so far for over a month, or even 2 or 3 months, how much has been spent and counting ( private prosecutors and House members are involved and present during the Trial ) ? ;
    2) Who is footing the bill, The Palace or the House ( bearing in mind its the tax payers money ) ?

  • Tatak_Nakaw_Arroyo

    Senator Brenda, you don’t need a mobile clinic. What you need is a hearse. Maki angkas kana kay Iggy para isang trip na lang.

  • indiosbravos2002

    The sooner we wrap up the impeachment, the better. We need to move on to better things.

    With this proposal everyone wins. The senate and lower house can go back to legislative work. The lawyers–both prosecution and defense– can go back earning money, if we believe in such a word as “pro-bono”. The judiciary can go back and focus on REAL work,since the last few months work seems to comprise of rallies, prayer meetings, attending masses, and participating in crying sessions led by none other than the CJ. Corona can go back enjoying his millions and properties, illgotten or not, because by then without a job, that will be his main preoccupation. And, oh, if i may add… He can also start preparing for his next legal battle which could land him in jail or forfeit his properties.

  • oracle888

    I think it is a good idea to hold the impeachment trial into morning and afternoon marathon sessions so the unscrupulous legislative members have no time to milk the nation.

  • wazgoingon

    Great idea.  This has gone on for too long.  The Prosecution has done its part by shelving the other articles of impeachment.  Now, what’s left to be done is to prevent the Defense from delaying the proceedings.  The Nation has to move on.

  • lintangbedol

    Senate to hold marathon hearings to meet March 23 deadline

    10k o 100k?

    • Albin

      100k. + perks.

  • tunderlulo


  • Roose Bolton

    9am to 12nn, then 2pm to 5pm. To me that is undertime! What overtime are they talking about?

  • Badjin

    “sasagutin ko sila punto por punto”, eh bakit hindi sila handa ngayon. dapat nga isama pa si German Moreno diyan, para WALANG TULUGAN!
    Next time don’t vote for elder (ailing) senatoriables. The impeachment has opened our eyes; and it also tells us that there are plenty of young and intelligent politicians who deserve to be called as SENATOR, hindi ACTOR na kung baga sa basketball eh pandagdag bilang lang.

  • Ed Molina

    “That will be hard since we still have to prepare …” the prosecution got a mouthful from mirriam for not being prepared, and now, weeks since the trial has started, the defense is saying that they are not prepared. would we hear the same tounge lashing from mirriam? of course not. why would she do that to her own team?

    “It is not a question of speed but ample right to be heard.” you don’t even want to put corona on the stand! who are we waiting for to hear?

  • Albin

    Baka nagka bayaran na…kaya gusto nang matapos agad…

    • Alim A

      baka naman tinakot sila ni aquino.

      • edwin525

        Baka, baka, cguro, baka.. cguro… mga ususero! Magtrabaho kayo at ng umasenso!! Wag puro tsismis at haka-haka!! LOL

      • Jav

        baka di nabayaran… baka di natakot … buti pa magbayad na lang ulit tayo ng buwis natin para mas thrilling. :-)

  • kismaytami

    Sana lang huwag nang pagsalitain si Brenda… Wala namang kakwenta-kwenta ang mga salitang lumalabas sa bunganga ng palengkerang yan. Puro pambabastos lang sa kapwa tao niya. Diyan lang nasasayang ang oras ng impeachment court eh.

    • sonic99363

      kaloka! sabi ni brenda sa media, na hb daw cya sa ibang senators na nag gagrandstanding. eh kung susumahin yung no. of minutes everytime na nagsesermon at nanlalait cya eh wlang tatalo sa kanya. hay naku! sarap sabunutan ang hairdo

  • kabertongmakata

    how about a coroner’s office or funeral parlor for miriam and the rest of the gang. i’m sorry Lord but she has shown how money can buy brilliance and lose its karat for principle. our people have been divided because they have won the battle of disillusionment among the elite and masses. a lot of our countrymen has high regard for pinoys who speaks fluent english. basta nag iinglish – magaling.

  • red

    sigue mag-marathon kayo ng attakihin un isa diyan… tiyak gigib up yan sa maraton ng bunganga…tapos dapat mag leave un senate doctor muna

  • pedro

    Good para matapos na iyang impeachment trial na iyan & the nation could move on na…. so Senator JPE & the rest of the senators good luck …..

  • antonioluna

    tama yan dahil ang justice delayed ay justice denied.


  • Morskie52

    Just get on with it.

  • anu12345

    In a text message, defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III said: “That will
    be hard since we still have to prepare our witnesses and documentary
    evidence for each day. I think it is unfair for the Chief Justice if the
    rules are changed in the middle of the proceedings”

    Mahirap at matagal kapag hindi totoo. Kasi kung totoo nasa harapan mo agad iyan.

  • mario

    why not approved? dahil ba kontra sa prosec at mga yellow zombies. mga gunggong pala kayo eh. pare-pareho kaung walang pang-unawa. kaya pala puro pro-prosec ang mababasa d2. Galit at kasinungalingan at pansariling interes ang nasa isip ni Pnoy, paninira sa kapwa tao at ka-arogantehan ang pinakikita maging mga tongressmen/prosec at kaya pang magnakaw ng ebidensya, ito ba ang daang matuwid! lawmakers are lawbreakres. SALN, di kayang ipakita keso magamit daw sa smear campaign. SANA NAMAN PAGLINAWIN NG POONG MAYKAPAL ANG MGA PAG-IISIP NU! 

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