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To Do Justice To Every Man

In a speech in La Consolacion College in Manila, on Feb. 16, President Aquino yet again demonized Chief Justice Corona. He also went on to discuss the merits of the impeachment case in the Senate as to the SALNs and bank accounts of Corona.

Quite obviously, Aquino has disregarded our command as the Sovereign Filipino People expressed in our Constitution that it is the Senate, not the President, which “shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment.” (Const., Art. XI, sec. 3[6])

Remember that it is the prosecution that has the floor now to present evidence to the Senate Impeachment Court. Corona’s turn will come later after the prosecution rests its case. We should all then wait and see.

But it’s a pity that Aquino has become blind to due process, a universal doctrine handed down to us from ancient Greece, the birthplace of democracy: “Strike, but hear me,” Themistocles calmly told an angry Eurybiades then in the Greek council before the Battle of Salamis (450 BC). It is precisely these words that have immortalized the basic rudiments of fair play in resolving disputes. Of rendering justice.

Thus, it is not without reason that in our Constitution we require a trial in cases of impeachment. Precisely, to transcend the passions of the moment, judgment must only be had after the accused had been heard. Hence, Aquino should be patient and wait until his LP-led “lapdogs of the palace” shall have rested and Corona had been given the chance to air his side. More importantly, Aquino should not pre-empt the Senate.

Verily, Aquino may himself be guilty of contempt of court and even culpable violation of the Constitution in publicly judging Corona—before our young students at that—as guilty already: “Ginoong Corona, ang sinumpaan mong salaysay ay hindi tugma sa natuklas na pag-aari mo.”

Our Constitution is the embodiment not only of our commands as the Sovereign Filipino People, but also the wisdom of the ages and the lessons of human history and civilization. Thus, impregnably enshrined therein is the Bill of Rights—rooted as it is in the Magna Carta of England, which every person, including Corona, is entitled to.

“No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the equal protection of the laws.” (Const., Art. III. Sec. 1)

Added to this is the very Oath that every President including Aquino is sworn to uphold. It reads: "I do solemnly swear [or affirm] that I will faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President [or Vice-President or Acting President] of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation. So help me God." (Const., Art. VII, sec. 5)

Mr. President, you are sworn to “do justice to every man” including Corona.