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Lawyer files petition to stop impeachment trial vs Corona

By: - Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 02:26 PM December 19, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—A petition has been filed to stop the Senate from proceeding with the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Chief Justice Renato Corona. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

In a 15-page petition, lawyer Vladimir Cabigao urged the High Court to issue a temporary restraining order and writ of prohibitory injunction against the Senate impeachment court.

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He said the House of Representatives committed grave abuse of discretion when it acted in an “arbitrary or despotic manner” in approving the impeachment case against Corona.

“Some or most of the solons who affixed their signature on the verified complaint for impeachment never had the chance to read it, much less examine it, before they signed it. It was like making them sign a blank piece of paper,” Cabigao said.

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“Impeachment is a serious constitutional mechanism. It should not be trivialized by the solons who initiated the verified complaint for impeachment by depriving the members of respondent House of Representatives the opportunity to examine and scrutinize it and by telling them that there should be no questions asked. It is either you are with us or against us. After all, it involves the removal of the head of a co-equal branch of the government which is the Judiciary,” he added.

Cabigao explained that since most of the Congressmen affixed their signature in the impeachment complaint without reading its content and understanding it, they did not act with “utmost responsibility” as required under the 1987 Constitution.

He added that there was also moral coercion when the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was used as carrot on stick to compel lawmakers to sign the complaint.

“If this was the case, it could further be said that the signatures obtained by respondent House of Representatives was a product of undue influence.  According to Article 1337 of the New Civil Code, there is undue influence when a person takes improper advantage of his power over the will of another, depriving the latter of a reasonable freedom of choice,” he added.

Corona will face the impeachment court in January after 188 lawmakers signed the impeachment complaint against him on eight grounds, including refusal to disclose his statement of assets and liabilities and voting in favor of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo-related cases.

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TAGS: Corona Impeachment, news, Senate, Supreme Court, temporary restraining order, writ of prohibitory injunction
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