MANILA, Philippines — CONVICTED. Guilty of “culpable violation of the Constitution of the Republic,” specifically for “excluding substantial assets” from his SALN. The Monday morning quarterbacking that began last Tuesday evening will continue until way past the weekend and beyond, and that’s the only weather forecast I dare make.
Looking back at the trial and the personalities engaged therein, I cannot imagine any more brilliant, even-handed presiding officer than Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile; nor wonder how boring the proceedings might have been without the participation of Senators Miriam Santiago and Lito Lapid.
One thing bothers me, though. If the defendant Renato Coronado Corona had obviously the better lawyers arguing his case and still they lost, and the prosecution panel was dissed by one of their own, Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, and thereafter castigated by the presiding officer for “using media to their advantage” while employing “underhanded tactics and gimmickry,” what does that say about the quality of our lawyers?
Like it or not, lawyers become lawmakers and judges, including and specially the “hoodlums in robes” described by a former President (wouldn’t “terrorists” be more apt?). Urban legend says their practice, pardon the word, consists of under-the-table dealings with both sides, substituting negotiation for litigation. They allow, if the price is right, the “winning” party to write the favorable decision. They are so powerful yet so petty, no one would dream of impeaching them. And there they stay, secure in their tenure, safer than any impeachable officer such as the chief justice.