MANILA, Philippines – The defense team in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona accepted Tuesday the decision of the Senate acting as the impeachment court in convicting the country’s top judge.
In an interview after the 44th and final day of the historic trial, lead defense counsel former Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas said that they are not holding a grudge against the senator-judges who voted for the guilty verdict.
“Do we have other option than to accept it? If we [may have] reservation, [but] the legal process must be followed,” Cuevas said when asked if they accept the decision of the Senate.
“We may not agree with the way they disposed of the case but that would not be a source of ‘sama ng loob’(hard feelings),” Cuevas added.
He said that they have not decided what legal measures to take following Corona’s conviction and they have yet to discuss the matter with their client.
Nevertheless, Cuevas said that they did not expect the 20-3 vote.
Meanwhile, lawyer Dennis Manalo of the defense echoed Cuevas’ statement about a “post-conviction” remedy with Corona.
“We will be discussing a post-conviction remedy if any but to me right now, the avenues of relief are quite limited almost nil,” he said.
He said the constitution is clear that the decision is not appealable and there’s a reason for that.
“Now the option of going up to the Supreme Court, that is a matter that we have not discussed, and from my understanding for the requirement of going up to the Supreme Court, it’s so limited and very slim…,” Manalo said.
“I cannot say [now] whether there is enough reason to go up to the Supreme Court,” he added.
Nevertheless, Manalo said that though they have questions regarding some aspects of the decision, he said that they will uphold the Senate’s decision.
“We have some issues to raise about the interpretation of the judges on the evidence and their appreciation of the law, but as an officer of the law, we have to respect their findings and since this is a final decision, I am duty bound to abide by that decision,” Manalo said.