MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona can only either be removed from office or be cleared of all charges and will not be meted out with other penalties like admonition or reprimand.
Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. told reporters Monday that “the only decision that we can make is either to impeach or not impeach.”
The 1987 Constitution states that the penalty for a conviction “will not go farther than removal from public office,” which Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago said during the trial could include penalties of admonition, reprimand or censure.
The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, heard on Monday the closing arguments of both prosecution and defense panels on the impeachment case against Corona.
The verdict will be issued Tuesday by the senator-judges whether to convict or acquit Corona on the charges of culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal of public trust for not disclosing his dollar and peso deposits in several bank accounts under his name
“The option of only to admonish the Chief Justice or to somehow put on his record that he has committed some wrong-doing but not to impeach [him], I think that has been dismissed [by the Senate],” Marcos said.
Senator Franklin Drilon said in a separate interview that “conviction will result in removal and disqualification from holding office”
The penalty for being impeached as stated in the constitution was that “it shall not go farther than removal from public office and perpetual disqualification from public office” only meant that imprisonment cannot be a penalty in an impeachment trial, Drilon said.
Supreme Court Intervention
Senator Marcos said that the Senate will defy the Supreme Court should the defense panel appeal to the Supreme Court and decide in favor of Corona.
“I think we will defy [the Supreme Court] because [Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile] has made it very clear that the impeachment court’s decision cannot be appealed [and] cannot be questioned,” Marcos said.
He said he also agrees with Enrile’s position that “there is no higher court in the land when it comes to an impeachment [case] than the impeachment court itself.”
“There will be a verdict tomorrow (Tuesday) and I do not believe that verdict can be questioned even by the Supreme Court,” Marcos said.