MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/12 March) – Despite the length of his testimony, Navotas Rep. Tobias Tiangco, first witness for the defense in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona practically said nothing in relation to the allegations against the respondent. The defense wasted everybody’s time by offering a testimony that has no bearing on the issues at hand and a witness who was simply disgusted at the supposed delay in the release of his pork barrel.
Had their roles been reversed, former justice Serafin Cuevas, lead counsel for the defense, would have raised a barrage of objections to Tiangco’s long but irrelevant and immaterial statements, to borrow Cuevas’ favorite phrase.
Keen observers could immediately sense that the defense, through the congressman, was trying to question the integrity of the impeachment complaint, an issue that the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, had resolved at the start of the trial in January.
It was a poorly concealed motion for reconsideration, so to speak.
The defense was being too presumptuous. They thought the viewing public could not see through the ruse that they are trying to demolish the integrity of the complaint.
To their dismay, however, Rep. Rodolfo Farinas refused the bait. He did the right thing by limiting his cross-examination to whether or not Tiangco had received his pork barrel despite the alleged blackmail to withhold it from House members who did not sign the complaint.
Farinas did not glorify the allegations of arm-twisting by administration allies in the House. His move led the prosecution out of the trap laid out by the defense.
The defense will be doing the people a great disservice if they continue resorting to dilatory tactics instead of answering head-on the issues that have been raised by the prosecution. On the part of the Chief Justice, he should explain his side before the impeachment court where his statements can be rebutted and not do the rounds of the media.
Corona can absolve himself before the bar of public opinion if he can offer satisfactory answers to the following questions:
Why did he submit inaccurate statements of accounts, liabilities and net worth?
Why did he not declare his several bank accounts in at least two banks?
What are his other sources of income that enabled him to amass the amounts which he did not divulge in his SALNs? If these sources are legitimate, why did he choose to keep these a secret?
The nation waits. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)