Enrile bloc sealed Corona’s fate SundayBy Cathy Yamsuan, Michael Lim Ubac
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The fate of Chief Justice Renato Corona was sealed as early as Sunday night, when Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and six other senator-judges met to ponder his guilt or innocence.
All seven senator-judges decided to convict Corona, Senator Loren Legarda told the Philippine Daily Inquirer Wednesday.
But the group—Enrile, Legarda and Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Vicente Sotto III, Gregorio Honasan II, Ramon Revilla Jr. and Manuel Villar—agreed to observe secrecy until the promulgation hearing on Tuesday.
Enrile’s bloc dealt a fatal blow to the Chief Justice since it left him with only three votes coming from Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The meeting in a posh subdivision in Makati City was called on the initiative of Estrada and Legarda.
The issues threshed out during the meeting were mostly discussed by Enrile in his explanation of his vote on Tuesday when 20 of the 23-member chamber found Corona guilty of dishonesty in his submission of statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), according to Legarda.
Core group for conviction
In a huddle with reporters, Enrile produced a list that he said he made in March grouping the senator-judges as he perceived them to be voting on the Corona impeachment trial.
That early, he had already predicted that Arroyo, Santiago and Marcos would vote for acquittal.
“I did not talk to them but based my list on their questions and their positions on issues. The list was a result of my own analysis,” Enrile said.
Listed as the core group of those who would vote for conviction were Franklin Drilon, Teofisto Guingona III, Francis Pangilinan, Panfilo Lacson, Sergio Osmeña III, Ralph Recto, Manuel Lapid, Antonio Trillanes IV, Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano.
Enrile at the time listed himself along with Honasan, Revilla, Legarda, Estrada, Sotto, Villar, Francis Escudero and Aquilino Pimentel III as among those “leaning toward the vote of guilty.”
Enrile noticed that when the defense panel began presenting its witnesses, the senators on the third list seemed to be influenced by the presentation.
“But those on the second list held steady, as well as those on the first,” recalled the presiding officer who had premium vantage point throughout the entire proceeding.
Originally posted: 10:48 pm | Wednesday, May 30th, 2012