May 28, 2012 · Posted in: General
THE DEFENSE PANEL representing impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona has again challenged the validity of the impeachment complaint against Corona in the final days of the impeachment trial against the highest magistrate in the land.
Defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas again raised the question of whether the impeachment complaint sent by the House of Representatives to the Senate was considered legal and valid, saying there was no verification of the signatures attached to the complaint.
Morover, Cuevas said that the respondent of the complaint was never given due process by the House of Representatives. Cuevas said Corona was never given a notice of hearing, or made to respond to any of the eight complaints leveled against him.
Cuevas raised the issue of the validity of the complaint even as presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile confronted Cuevas on reports that the defense would elevate the impeachment case to the Supreme Court if Corona is found guilty by the Senator-Judges.
In a radio interview the day before, Cuevas said that the defense believes there is nothing in the Constitution that says that the respondent in an impeachment case cannot appeal the verdict with the Supreme Court. Cuevas acknowledged having made the statement in an interview over DZBB.
Defense lawyers had tried to stop the impeachment trial in the early days of the impeachment hearings by questioning the procedures for verification of the impeachment complaint. The issue however was thrown out by the impeachment court.
At the opening of the oral arguments today, Enrile told Cuevas that while he respects Cuevas’ opinions, the Senate believes that it is the only body allowed by the Constitution to try an impeachment case.
In his oral argument, Cuevas again raised the issue of the validity of the impeachment complaint.
“When we examine the documents attached to the complaint, particularly to the signatures and verifications and certifications, we find nothing in there which states that the 188 members of our House of Representatives whose signatures were attached were convened at any time prior to the certification in order to pass upon the probable cause aspect of the complaint,” Cuevas said.
Cuevas added that the impeachment complaint was rendered “null and void” by the fact that “there was no requisite of notice and hearing” given to the accused, Chief Justice Renato Corona, while the impeachment complaint was going through the House of Representatives.
“The due process clause reads that no person shall be deprived of life, liberty, and property without due process of law.” Cuevas said.