IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Monday, January 16, 2012

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are all Members of the Senate seated?  Are all Members of the Senate seated?

The impeachment trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order.  We should be led in prayer by Senator Edgardo J. Angara.

SEN. ANGARA.  Lord, enlighten our minds so that we may do what is just and right and fair.  Spare us from dissention in this Court set off by selfish ambition, set off by selfish ambition, faction and envy.  But endow us with sound judgment and discernment so that we may not judge by external appearances.  Lord, though we are not worthy, do not hide your face from us.  Let wisdom build among us, her house of seven pillars, to instruct us with knowledge and with judgment.  And let all who come here to testify come as witnesses to the light.

Lastly, Lord, bring us health and healing so that our work here may help restore our nation, renew the communal spirit and bring our people closer to your promise of your heavens and a new earth.

Amen.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Clerk of Court will now please call the roll of Senators.

THE CLERK OF COURT.  The Honorable Senators:  Angara, Arroyo, Cayetano Allan Peter “Companero”, Cayetano, Pia; Defensor, Santiago; Drillon, Ejercito, Estrada, Escudero; Guingona; Honassan; Lacson; Lapid; Legarda; Marcos; Osmena; Pangilinan; Pimentel; Recto; Revilla; Sotto; Trillanes; Villar; the Senate President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 21 Senators present in the Chamber, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

REP. SOTTO.  May I ask the Sergeant-At-Arms to make a proclamation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-At-Arms is directed to make the proclamation.

SGT-AT-ARMS.  All presents are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty when the Senate is sitting on trial on the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I move that we dispense with the reading of the December 14, 2011 Journal of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court and consider it as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  The Chair hears none; there being no objection, the December 14, 2011 Journal of this Court is hereby approved.  Majority Floor Leader.  The Secretary will please call the case before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Case No. 002-2011 IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT OF RENATO C.  CORONA.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Your Honors, we are now ready to hear the statement of the Senate President.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.  Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, my countrymen.  Today, we begin to perform a solemn task that the sovereign people, through the Constitution they ordained, have reposed upon us the Senators. We convene as a body of jurors  to try and render judgment  on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court under the Articles of Impeachment filed with the Senate by 188 Members of the House of Representatives.  The task at hand is a constitutional mandate and duty which we have no discretion to postpone or evade.  As jurors, it is our obligation and responsibility to closely and diligently examine the evidence and the facts to be presented  before us to determine whether such evidence and facts sufficiently and convincingly support the charges and ultimately to decide the fate of no less than the Chief Justice of the highest court of the land and the head of a coequal branch of our government.

The Constitution recognizes the distinct class of public officers elected or appointed that include the President, the Vice President, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of constitutional commissions and the Ombudsman who, unlike the rest of the public officials in various positions in government, may only be removed from office through the process of impeachment.  These men and women in the highest and most sensitive echelons of government may only be removed  upon conviction for culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes and betrayal of public trust, no more, no less.  Hence, by its very nature, the work we are about to do is unique.  It is a rendition of justice outside our traditional judicial system and it carries with it a grave and serious responsibility.  It deviates from our ordinary or normal functions and duties as legislators.  The House of Representatives impeaches on the basis of its determination of the sufficiency of the charges both in form and in substance and of the existence of probable cause while the Senate bears the sole responsibility to try and decide whether to convict or to acquit the respondent in an impeachment case.  That is whether or not the respondent official deserves to be removed from the office he or she occupies based on the grounds dictated in the Constitution.

While it has often been said that by and large the trial in an impeachment case is political in nature, nonetheless, such is neither an excuse nor a license for us to ignore and abandon our solemn and higher obligation and responsibility as body of jurors to see to it that the Bill of Rights are observed and that justice is served and to conduct the trial with impartiality and fairness to hear the case with a clear and open mind, to weigh carefully in the scale the evidence against the respondent  and to render to him a just verdict based on no other consideration than our Constitution and laws the facts presented to us and our individual moral convictions.

I would like to remind the opposing sides, my colleagues, as well as the public and the media, that this trial will be governed by the Rules we have adopted.

I therefore urge everyone to fully cooperate in this orderly conduct of this proceedings in accordance with the Rules to demonstrate civility and to observe the quorum that is required for us to carry out our respective duties with dispatch, with honor and with dignity.

As I preside over this impeachment trial, allow me to assure one and all that I am committed and determined to see this process all the way to its completion.  Let us finish the job for our oath demands no less from us.

Although the ostensible respondent in the trial before us is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, we cannot escape the reality that in a larger sense, the conduct of this trial and its outcome will necessarily have a serious impact on the entire nation.

The success or failure to achieve the purpose for which the Constitution has provided this mechanism as part of our system of checks and balances and of public accountability may spell the success or failure of our democratic institutions, the strengthening or weakening of our sense of justice as a people, our stability or disintegration as a nation and the triumph or demise of the rule of law in our lands.

The people’s faith in the Senate of the Republic, the lineage and the very fabric of our nation and our democratic system are at stake.  Let us all take heed of the seriousness of this challenge and invoke the divine guidance of the Almighty God to enlighten our minds and guide our conscience in discharging faithfully our sacred duties.

May God provide us with sufficient physical strength, intellectual keenness and moral courage to render justice in the case before us, and the basis of the law, our honest perception and understanding of the facts and in accordance with the dictates of our individual conscience.

Thank you very much.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, in accordance with the Rules of Procedure on Impeachment trials, may we ask that the parties and/or their respective counsel be directed to enter their appearances.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We are ready to receive the prosecutors of the House of Representatives appearances for the prosecution.  Please proceed.  We suggest and request that all lawyers representing the House of Representatives will enter their appearance in this court to be subject to the Rules of this court.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Mr. Senate President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, good afternoon.

Respectfully appearing for the House of Representatives’ prosecution panel, my name is Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo.

REP. DAZA.  For the prosecution, Raul Daza, Deputy Speaker, First District, Northern Samar.

REP. AGABAS.  Conditionally, Marlyn Primicias-Agabas, Sixth District, province of Pangasinan.

REP. AGGABAO.  For the Prosecution, Your Honors, Giorgidi Aggabao, Fourth District, Isabela.

REP. BAG-AO.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, respectfully appearing for the Prosecution, my name is Arlene Bag-ao, from the Party-List Akbayan.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Rodolfo Fariñas, First District of Ilocos Norte.

REP. BARZAGA.  Elpidio F. Barzaga Jr., representing the Fourth District of the province of Cavite, of the city of Dasmariñas, appearing as public prosecutor.

REP. COLMENARES.  Respectfully appearing, Your Honors, Neri Javier Colmenares, for Bayan Muna Party-List.

REP. UMALI.  Attorney Reynaldo Umali, Second District, Oriental Mindoro, Your Honors.

REP. TUGNA.  Good afternoon, Mr. Presiding Justice, Your Honors, respectfully appearing for the House of Reprsentatives, Representative Sherwin Tugna, Citizens Battle Against Corruption.

REP. ABAYA.  Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya, First District, Cavite.

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Atty. Mario Luza Bautista, respectfully appearing as lead private prosecutor for the House of Representatives.

ATTY. LIM.  Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President, and Your Honors, Arthur D. Lim, respectfully appearing as private prosecutor under the control and supervision of the public prosecutors, Your Honors.

ATTY. JUSTINIANO.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Atty. Jose F. Justiniano, appearing as private prosecutor, under the direction and control of the public prosecutor.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honors, we also would like to manifest that we filed written entry of appearance for some or additional private prosecutors, namely:  Atty. Joseph Jomer Perez, Atty. Winston Ginez, Atty. Frederick Vallestero, Atty. Ernesto Yu-Vicente, and Atty. Clarence Jandoc.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Presiding Officer of this court would suggest that the individual private prosecutors must enter their appearance personally so that their appearance is fully recorded.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Mr. Senate President, they are present today, and they can enter their appearance personally.

ATTY. GINEZ.  Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President, good afternoon, Your Honors.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. GINEZ.  I am Atty. Winston Ginez, respectfully appearing as private prosecutor under the control and direction of the honorable public prosecutors.

ATTY. YU-VICENTE.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Atty. Ernesto Yu-Vicente, appearing as private prosecutor, under direct control and supervision of the House Prosecution Panel.

ATTY. JANDOC.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Atty. Clarence Jandoc, respectfully appearing as private prosecutor, under the direct control and supervision of the honorable public prosecutors.

ATTY. VALLESTERO.  Good afternoon, my name is Frederick Vallestero, appearing as private prosecutor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Atty. Joseph Jomer Perez, respectfully appearing as private prosecutor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyone else?  Is that all?

REP. TUPAS.  That is all, Your Honors.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

The appearances for the prosecution are hereby noted.

Under Rule XIII of the Rules of this Chamber, counsel for the prosecutors shall be under the control and supervision of the panel of prosecutors of the House of Representatives.  They are entitled to participate in the presentation of evidence, but arguments bearing on questions of law and issues in this hearing shall be done by the panel of prosecutors representing the House of Representatives who are Members of Congress.

The appearance for the defense, please state your names and capacity in which you appear.

RET. JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Kagalanggalang na Pangulo ng Senado, mahal naming Miyembro ng Senado, magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.  This is retired Justice Serafin Cuevas, Your Honor, appearing for the respondent Renato Corona, Your Honor.  And for that purpose, Your Honor, may we be allowed to state for the record that the honourable Chief Justice Corona is here pursuant to the invitation of this honourable Body.

May we ask him to stand, Your Honor.

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.  We are making of record, Your Honor, in order to show our respect and his respect to this honourable Body and to show to the entire world, Your Honor, that he is not cancelling anything, he is prepared to enter his defense and convince this honorable Body that he is entitled to an acquittal of the charges against him, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

ATTY. CUEVAS.  Now, in addition to this Representation, Your Honor, may we also put on record that he is entering a plea of not guilty to all the charges embodied in the complaint for impeachment, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

ATTY. CUEVAS.  Now, we also have here the members of the panel most of them are signatories to the very Answer we have made, Your Honor.  In accordance with the rules on pleadings, Your Honor, there seem to be no necessity for them to make an entry of appearance, but nevertheless, Your Honor, nevertheless, we have made an entry of appearance in writing, your Honor, which is already a matter of record.  May I ask that they be recognized, Your Honor, the rest of the other members of the defense panel.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the Gentleman from Iloilo, Senator Drilon?

SEN. DRILON.  Just a point of order, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is your point of order?

SEN. DRILON.  The direction of the Chair is for appearances, not for manifestations on other extraneous matters.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well taken.  Please, counsel, ask the other members of the defense panel to personally enter their appearances for the record.

ATTY. CUEVAS.  We will willingly do that, Your Honor.  Thank you, Your Honor.

ATTY. ROY III.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, Jose Roy III, enters his appearance in behalf of Renato C. Corona.

ATTY. JIMENEZ.  May it please, Your Honors, I am Jacinto Jimenez.  I respectfully appear as counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

ATTY. BODEGON.  Good afternoon, Your Honors.  I am Joel Bodegon, appearing as defense counsel for the respondent.

ATTY.  DELOS ANGELES.  Eduardo De Los Angeles, co-counsel for the Chief Justice.

ATTY. SALVADOR III.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, Tranquil Salvador III, appearing for Justice Corona.

ATTY. MANALO.  Good afternoon, Your Honors, Dennis P. Manalo, appearing as defense counsel for the honourable Chief Justice Renato Corona.

ATTY.  LAZARO.  Good afternoon, Your Honors.  I am Attorney Noel B. Lazaro, respectfully appearing for the defense.

ATTY. ESGUERRA. Good afternoon, Your Honors, I am Ramon S. Esguerra.  I am appearing as co-counsel for the respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

ATTY.  QUICHO.  A pleasant day, Your Honors, respectfully appearing for the Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.  I am Attorney Rico Paolo Quicho.

ATTY.  LICHAUCO II.  Your Honors, for the defense, German Q LICHAUCO II, for the Chief Justice Renato C. Corono.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any one else?  (Silence)  There being none, the appearances for the defense are hereby noted.  Ppursuant to Rule IX of the Rules, let it be made of record that Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, has entered his appearance by counsel and that he is personally present in these proceedings.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

As stated in the January 9, 2012 notice of the Presiding Officer, copies  of which were served and duly received by the parties, we are to consider as part of the day’s business the motion for preliminary hearing filed by the defense on December 29, 2011 and the comment thereon filed by the prosecution on  January 9, 2012.  However, after the issuance of the notice, the defense filed on January 12, 2012 a motion to admit reply to comment alleging that “there are certain inaccuracies in the comment filed by the complainants”  to its motion for preliminary hearing and praying that the reply to comment be admitted.  Before proceeding, therefore, Mr. President, to the consideration of the motion for preliminary hearing as we have previously informed the parties, I move that we first consider the said motion to admit reply to the comment  of the defense.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, we shall now consider the motion to admit reply to comment.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President,  I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the motion to admit reply to comment.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.  Is there any objection to the motion to admit to reply to the comment?  (Silence)  There being none, the Chair rules to grant the motion.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.    The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  I now move that we consider the motion for preliminary hearing  of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona filed on December 29, 2011.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the motion to consider the motion  for preliminary hearing of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona filed on December 29, 2011 is approved.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that we dispense with the reading of the motion in full and ask the Secretary to just read the prayer.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.  The Secretary shall now please read the prayer of the motion.

THE SECRETARY.  Prayer.

Wherefore, it is respectfully prayed that, one, a preliminary hearing be held  in the affirmative defense that the verification of the verified complaint for impeachment is fatally defective.  Second, thereafter, the verified complaint for impeachment be dismissed.  Makati for Pasay City, December 29, 2011.  Respectfully submitted by Jacinto D. Jimenez, signed, counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

SEN SOTTO.  Mr. President, if I may.

THE SENATE PRESIDENT.   Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

In summary, the motion prays that a preliminary hearing be held on the affirmative defense that the verification of the verified complaint  for impeachment is fatally defective and that thereafter, the verified complaint for impeachment  be dismissed.

The motion alleges the following:

The verified complaint for impeachment lacks the proper verification because only four copies were made available at the time it was signed and because its text consists of 57 pages with 34 documents consisting of 131 pages annexed to it and as such, it was physically impossible for the 188 Members of the House of Representatives to have read, understood and evaluated the same.

There was a PowerPoint presentation of the verified complaint for impeachment but the signatories signed it before the conclusion of the PowerPoint presentation which was aborted, the Chief Justice claims that since the verified complaint for impeachment lacks a proper verification which should be treated as an unsigned pleading which produces no legal effect and therefore should be dismissed.

Upon the other hand, the prosecutors submit that the filing of the verified impeachment complaint by 188 Members of the House of Representatives is in accordance with the House of Representatives’ exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment in line with paragraph 4, Section 3, Article VI of the Constitution.

They aver the following:  The verified impeachment complaint is verified because on its face, there is a verification under oath which is signed by 188 Congressmen which is more than one-third of all of the Members of the House of Representatives.  He verified impeachment complaint was sworn to before the Secretary General of the House of Representatives who is a duly-authorized officer to administer the oath.

A verification is sufficient when it is signed and sworn to by a party/parties who has sufficient knowledge and belief as to the allegations therein, in this instance, the matters stated in the impeachment complaint were well-known and familiar to the 188 Congressmen who signed the same.

The Supreme Court has, in decided cases, been liberal in construing the word “reading” in relation to the verification requirement.  There is a strong presumption of regularity and validity in the discharge of the House of Representatives of their official duties including that of filing of the verified impeachment complaint which has not been overcome by the allegations of the Chief Justice.

Article XI, Section 4 of the Constitution does not require verification by all the complainants.  Its speaks of filing by at least one-third of the Members and not verification by all of the said Members.  Thus, it is sufficient that there is a verified complaint by at least one person and that such complaint is filed by at least one-third of the Members of the House of Representatives.

Chief Justice Corona’s objection to the verified impeachment complaint is moot since it has been transmitted to the Senate for trial.  Chief Justice Corona’s objections to the verified impeachment complaint have been waived by his public pronouncements that he is willing to face trial in the Senate and by his filing of his answer in motion for preliminary hearing.  And, a verification is a formal and not a jurisdictional requirement.

Mr. President, the reply to comment filed by the counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, on the other hand, alleges the following:  The Senate is an impeachment court and has the power to determine if the power to impeach has been made by the House of Representatives in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.  It also alleged that the Senate as an impeachment court has acquired jurisdiction over this case and it has the jurisdiction to pass upon the validity of the complaint.  In order not to deny him due process, the Chief Justice should be allowed to prove his allegation that this verification requirements under paragraph 4, Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution were not complied with.  The requirement for a valid verification of the complaint cannot be dispensed with and the issue raised in the motion is not yet moot and the Chief Justice is not precluded from raising the issue of jurisdiction even if he alleged other affirmative defenses for the dismissal of this case.

Mr. President, I move that should the parties have any additional grounds or arguments after the summary not contained in the pleadings, excluding evidentiary matters, I move that the parties be allowed to present their respective arguments, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the motion is approved.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Procedural matter, Mr. President, before we approve the motion, is there a time limit as to the presentation

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Pampanga.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, is there a time limit, Mr. President, to the presentation of both parties?

SEN. SOTTO.  We leave it to the discretion of the Presiding Officer, Mr. President.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Thank you.  We will defer to the Senate President, Mr President, as regards to time limitation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I repeat, is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the motion is approved.  The movant shall now present its arguments for a period not exceeding five minutes, after which, the prosecution may present its arguments also for a period not exceeding five minutes.  Neither party shall be allowed to present evidentiary matters on this interlocutory matter.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Mr. President, our answer, Your Honor, filed in accordance with the instruction of this honorable Impeachment Court, carries with it the affirmative defense as allowed under the Rules of Procedure and under the Rules of this Impeachment Court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute, for the record, the one arguing for the defense is the former Justice of the Supreme Court, former Justice Serafin Cuevas.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  In our answer, Your Honor, we challenge the validity and the legality of the proceedings in connection with the initiation of the impeachment complaint, Your Honor.

We therein stated that it is not only necessary that the complaint be verified but there must also be a showing that there was a determination of probable cause prior to the affixing of the signatures on the said impeachment complaint, Your Honor.

Why do we say so and what is our authority for the purpose?  No less than the honorable former Chief Justice Panganiban states, that in any case similar to this, the respondent is entitled to the protection under the Rules.  And what does–that carry with it that requires or carries with it notice and hearing.  Our query is, was there any notice sent to the Chief Justice, in connection with the filing of this complaint?  There is none.  Is there any opportunity given to him in order to prove his point in connection with the alleged complaint?  There is none also.

Now, what is the status therefore of this complaint?  Now, the Supreme Court had already ruled on this, pursuant to the Francisco ruling that any and all proceedings conducted in connection therewith is a nullity and therefore, respondent is entitled to a dismissal of the complaint amounting to an acquittal.

Now, this dictum laid down by the honorable Chief Justice Panganiban, in that decision, Your Honor, is likewise shared by no less than other justices, for instance, Justice Sandoval Gutierrez, Justice Ynares Santiago, also stated that one of the elements of due process–because being and accused or being charged with the alleged offense stated in the complaint, he is entitled to due notice.

And what is the requirement with respect to due notice?  He must be given notice–due process, he must be given notice and he must be allowed to be heard in connection.  So, notice and hearing is an indispensable requirement for purposes of acquiring jurisdiction over this case.

Now, the signing is but only a very significant matter, they claim, it is merely what we call a procedural defect, if ever there is any.  We do not subscribe, and we are sorry to announce that that is not true insofar as impeachment proceedings is concerned, because what confers jurisdiction to this honorable court is the validity, correctness or legality of the impeachment complaint.

We ask, is the impeachment complaint valid?  Our answer is no. Is it in accordance with the Constitution?  Also no.  Were the procedures laid down by the Rules, in connection with the due process followed?  Also no.  We have examined the report of the Secretary of the House, we see no statement therein relative to the conduct of any proceeding being held in connection with the determination of probable cause.

Now, it may be said, but in accordance with the Rules of Procedure, it is only in two cases where the termination of probable cause may be necessary.  First, when the impeachment proceedings is initiated by a Member of the House, under oath.  Second, when the impeachment proceedings is instituted by a private citizen upon endorsement of a Member of the House.  And the third one is when the impeachment proceeding is initiated by not less than one-third of the entire membership of the House.  Now, if in the two cases, due process requires that there must be a determination of probable cause, what is there to prevent or why is it not necessary in connection with an impeachment proceeding initiated by one-third of the House?  Does it mean to say that simply because one-third affixed their signatures, assuming they did, does it mean to say that validates already an illegal or an impeachment complaint violative of the Constitution and our laws?  Our answer is no, Your Honor.  Because due process is required not only by law but by the Constitution that must be afforded to the person impeached.  Here, we are impeaching a personality, no less than the Chief Justice of the Republic of the land, the head of the judicial department of the government.  He is, therefore, entitled and should not be denied these elements of due process, notice and hearing.

Now, the question is, since there was no compliance with this requirement, what then is the stand of this impeachment proceeding?  It is precisely for this purpose, Your Honor, that we are claiming that this impeachment proceeding, being a nullity, any and all proceedings that will be conducted in connection therewith is also a nullity.  What is our authority for the view?  No less than the ponente or the concurring opinion of former Chief Justice Panganiban, Justice Ynares Santiago and also the other justices who participated in that Francisco case.  Now, if it is a simple, now, they were asking …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I request the good Counsel to wind up his argument.

ATTY. CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, we will.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Now, what then is the validity of the impeachment proceedings that were undertaken prior to the transmission to this honourable Body of the impeachment complaint?  Null and void.  Any and all proceedings conducted thereunder is a total nullity.

Now, if that is so, that is why we were insistent, Your Honor, with due apologies, that this matter be dealt with, discussed and passed upon in order to determine whether we should still proceed with the trial of this case.  They say, Your Honor, or there is a claim that this merely dilatory, how will it be dilatory, that this is merely for purposes of delay?  Precisely, we are accelerating the disposition of this case.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is it the position of the counsel that an impeachment case initiated under paragraph 4 of Section 3 of Article XI requires all the Members of Congress joining in filing the verified complaint to verify also the complaint?

ATTY. CUEVAS.  Well, verification is not..

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, I am asking you a question.

ATTY. CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is that the position of Counsel?

ATTY. CUEVAS.  No.  Our position, Your Honor, is, the law requires verification, but in addition to verification, Your Honor, the more important element is the element of due process.  Was he notified?  Was he given the opportunity to prove the non-existence of probable cause?  If the answer is yes, Your Honor, then it is an entire proceedings that is not sanctioned by the Constitution and by the law.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We respect the opinion of the distinguished counsel, but under our Rules, the Rules of Court is only suppletory to the Rules of the House and the Rules of the Senate.  And if the process in the House is in accordance  with the Rules of that House, would you say that there is no compliance  with the requirement?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.     I am sorry to state for the record that there is no compliance  with the requirement prescribed by the Rules because  there is no determination of probable cause.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then we will take note of your argument.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Now, may I close, Your Honor, with a statement to the effect that we are not delaying the proceedings before this case.   We are not trying to lengthen the duration during which proceedings may be undertaken but we were merely asserting a right  which every Filipino, not only the Chief Justice  is entitled and that is due process in accordance with the Constitution.

THE  PRESIDING OFFICER.  We take note of that.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are welcome.

The prosecution panel may now proceed  to use their five minutes to argue their case.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.  Mr. Senate President, may we request that our counsel, Atty. Mario Bautista, be recognized to argue for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING. OFFICER.  As the Chair said, only Members of the House of Representatives can use the parliamentary forum  to argue a case.  So the argument must be presented by Members of the House of Representatives acting as prosecutors.

REP. TUPAS.  In that case, Mr. President, we will argue for the prosecution.

The position of the House of Representatives, and we would like to manifest  that the Speaker of the House is here, Speaker Belmonte and the Majority Leader, Congressman Gonzales.  Under the Constitution, Article XI, Section 3, paragraph (1), the House of Representatives shall have the exclusive  power to initiate all cases of impeachment.  And in the same section, subparagraph (6), the Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide cases of impeachment.

To us, Your Honors, the House initiates, the Senate tries and decides the case.  The verification is part of the initiation process.  The Constitution, Section 3, paragraph (4) says:  “In case of a verified complaint  or resolution of impeachment filed by at least one-third  of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed.”  Did the Members of the House verify the complaint?  Yes.   Does that constitute one-third?  Yes, in fact, more than one-third.  One-third of 284 is only 95, 188 signatures appeared.  Thirteen more but we did not anymore consider the 13 because they  sign only after we already filed with the Secretary General.

And so, it is very clear on its face, on the face of the complaint that it was verified by 188 Members of the House and it went to the plenary, Your Honors.  After the signing, verification, it went to the plenary at seven o’clock in the evening and it was approved in the plenary.  In fact, we have a Journal.  And under the Rules on Impeachment of the House, Section XIII, it says that in this case, which means the verified complaint, it shall be endorsed to the Senate in the manner as an approved bill of the House.  Meaning, even in ordinary legislation like, for example, the Senate gives conclusive effect to the bill of the House, how much more if it is already acting as a constitutional body, the House, when it transmitted the Articles of Impeachment.

We have this Journal, Your Honor,and  Journal of December 12 and it says here, upon query by the Congressman, Secretary General Yap clarified  that the signature and verification process  commenced at the Andaya Hall and ended after an hour and then continued at her office and that before she proceeded to the session hall, Representative Tugna was the last signatory.

It is the position of the House, Your Honors, that this is conclusive because this is the Journal of the House, and in fact, there is a precedent.  The precedent of this, during the time of President Erap in 2001 and I can remember, I was a practicing lawyer at that time when the honorable Sen. Joker Arroyo stood up for the House, that the House, within its own sphere, is supreme.  The same thing that the Senate on its own sphere is also supreme, meaning, the House initiates, the Senate tries and decides.

We submit, Your Honor.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the motion for preliminary hearing.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Before His Honor rule on the motion, Your Honor, I wonder whether we can be permitted …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I request the counsel to address the Chair.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May I place on record, Your Honor, the support of our plea that there was no valid initiation of the impeachment complaint in this case.

We are quoting from the very contents of the disposition on that case.  This is by then Chief Justice Panganiban.  “The due process clause in our fundamental law is a condition sine quanon that cannot be ignored in any proceedings – administrative, judicial or otherwise.”

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. Senate President.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  I believe we have a pending motion.  I also believe that we should just go on, and we have already heard the arguments.  We have summarized the arguments.  We have read through the arguments in the last so many days.  We understand the points being raised by both parties.

So, we leave it to the Presiding Officer to give the ruling, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are just pleading, Your Honor.  We are not demanding.  It is a matter of right.  We knew our own limitations, but we rely on the magnificence and liberality of the Presiding Officer to further hear our authority on the point when we stated …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Your are given three minutes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

It is deemed written into every law, rule or contract, even though not expressly stated therein, hence the House of Representatives’ Rules on Impeachment, insofar as they do not provide the charged official with notice and opportunity to be heard prior to being impeached are also unconstitutional.

If it is unconstitutional, no rights thereunder are required.  Therefore, the entirety of the proceedings is likewise null and void.

Now, may we also be allowed to place on record the statement by the honorable Justice Ynares-Santiago is safe.  The complaint suffers from yet another serious law because no rule is better established under due process clause of the Constitution than that which requires notice and opportunity to be heard before any person can be lawfully deprived of his rights.

The Constitution says no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law, nor shall any person be denied the protection of the law.

The question of sufficiency on the complaint form may again be brought before the Senate by way of proper motion, and the Senate may deny the motion or dismiss the complaint depending on the merits of the motion raised.  After the Senate shall have acted in due course, each disposition of the case may be elevated to this court pursuant to its judicial power.

Submitted, Your Honor.  Thank you very much for the opportunity.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you, counsel.  Thank you.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We will take note of your argument.

Now, the Chair will make a ruling.  This is without prejudice to the issuance of an extended resolution of this court within 48 hours.

It appearing that the filing of the verified impeachment complaint was made in accordance with paragraph 4 of Section 3, Article XI of the Constitution, there is no more need for a preliminary hearing to receive evidence on this matter.  The Senate should forthwith proceed for that is the mandate given to us by the Constitution with the trial of the Chief Justice Renato C. Corona on the Articles of Impeachment.

In accordance with the mandate of the Constitution, in view of the foregoing, the motion for preliminary hearing filed by the Chief Justice Renato C. Corona is denied for want of merits.  So ordered.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may I now ask that the parties be directed to present their opening statements.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the motion is approved.  The prosecution shall now present its opening statement for a period of not more than 10 minutes, after which, the prosecution may present its arguments, also for a period not exceeding 10 minutes.  Proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. Senate President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, good afternoon to all of you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Kindly identify yourself.

REP. TUPAS.  My name is Niel Tupas Jr. of Iloilo.

As public servants, we took an oath to uphold the peoples will at all times, all hold positions in the government of the Republic are accountable for their actions, for the power of the sovereign Filipino people is a power that is higher than the Executive, the Legislative or even the Judiciary, and therefore, no matter how high and mighty one’s position may be, no one can ever, ever, ever be beyond public accountability.

Today, we lay down before this honorable Impeachment Tribunal, the product of the collective voice of the people, Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and graft and corruption is the verdict in the House of Representatives.

For issuing such verdict, we took the first step towards the fulfilment of our oath as the keepers of the peoples trust.  Let me be clear, we are not here to indict the Supreme Court as an institution or to do battle with the judicial branch.  We are here to search for the truth, so as to restore the strength and independence of the Judiciary.

We are here because one man, Chief Justice Renato Corona has bartered away for the pot of porridge, the effectiveness, independence and honor of the Supreme Court. Against, such standards, we can ask, who is Chief Justice Corona?  What kind of a man  is he?  Ano po ba talaga ang pagkatao ni Renato Corona?  Chief Justice Renato Corona was a loyal servant to former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, from the time she became Vice-President in 1998 until she became President in 2001.  Such loyalty had numerous rewards for the Chief Justice.  Imagine, she may have paid for his back surgery, his wife was given plump positions in the John Hay Management Corporation.  He was appointed Associate Justice, and the best reward of all, against all odds, he took a midnight oath as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court.  Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice also served an immoral purpose, that of shielding GMA from prosecution for her misdeeds during her presidency.  The prosecution will show how Chief Justice Corona became the crowning glory of the cast of accomplices of the former president and how he protected GMA’s interest in exchange for the position of prestige and power.  This is at the heart of Article I.

This unholy alliance between the Chief Justice and GMA and Corona’s deep indebtedness to the former President culminated in the issuance of the temporary restraining order to enable GMA and husband to leave the country and escape accountability.  This is Article VII, Corona’s biggest favor yet to his benefactor.

And in Article IV, we will show how the Chief Justice intervened against the impeachment for former Ombudsman Gutierrez also to protect GMA’s interest.

In Articles III and V, we will show the lack of moral fitness of the Chief Justice when he committed acts of impropriety involving parties with pending cases in the Supreme Court.

His mockery of the disciplinary institutions of the Supreme Court in the plagiarism case of an Associate Justice will be proven in Article VI.

And in Article VIII, we will show how he failed to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and the Special Allowances for the Judiciary funds which are of knowledge by the Chief Justice.

Malinaw po, kung gusto natin ng hustisya, hindi na dapat nating ipagkatiwala kay Chief Justice Corona and pinakamataas na puwesto sa hudikatura.

And finally, we come to Article II where the prosecution will prove that the Chief Justice amassed ill-gotten wealth after he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002.

To give you an idea of this Article, let me present to you some of the priced pieces of the Corona crowned jewels: Spanish Bay Bonifacio Ridge, acquired October 2005, purchase price P9,159,940.00; McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, acquired October 21, 2008, purchase price P6,196,575.00; the Bellagio Tower, Taguig, acquired December 3rd, 2009, purchase price P14,510,225.00; the Columns in Makati, acquired 2004; one Burgundy Plaza, the building where GMA had a penthouse unit when she was the Vice-President, acquired in 2003, purchase price P2,758,000.00; and Number 57 Maranao Street, La Vista, acquired in 2003, the zonal valuation is P20.4 million sold to his daughter only for P18 million.

Your Honors, the governing principle of our laws is clear.  Unexplained discrepancy between a public officer’s income and his assets, declared or undeclared, is prima facie evidence of ill-gotten wealth.

Therefore, an impeachable crime of graft and corruption.

The process of accountability is always a painful one.  But the legislature is tasked by no less than the Constitution, the very expression of the people’s will, to undertake this sacred duty.  And if, at this instance, this is how we are called upon to be of service to our country, impeach we must.

Mr. Senate President, Ladies and Gentlemen of the Senate, we submit that Renato Corona, by his misdeeds, is unfit to remain Chief Justice.

In closing, the message of the House as the Representatives of the people, is the same as that given by Oliver Cromwell when he dismissed India’s long parliament on April 20 of 1653.  “Before God and country we say, it is high time for us to put an end to his sitting in that place which you have dishonored by your contempt over virtue and defiled by your practice of every vice.  You are an enemy to good government as you have sold  your country  for a mess of pottage and like  Judas Iscariot betrayed your God for a few pieces of gold.  Depart, I say,  and let us have done with you.  In the name of God, go.

Thank you and good afternoon.

THE  PRESIDING  OFFICER.  Thank you.

May I remind everybody to address parties here in the third person without any personalities. Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that we hear the opening statement of the defense.

THE PRESIDEING OFFICER.  The counsel for the good  Chief Justice is now recognized to make the opening statement.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  I am Eduardo delos Angeles, counsel for the Chief Justice.

Your Honors, my countrymen, good afternoon.

During the past few days, prosecutors happily displayed pictures  of the Bellagio and a list of some of the 45 properties supposedly owned by the Chief Justice to create the impression that he accumulated  ill-gotten wealth.  In fact, the Chief Justice owns only five of these 45 real properties.  Yet the complaint which contains eight grounds of impeachment does not accuse the Chief Justice of acquiring ill-gotten wealth.  He is accused of graft and corruption only for refusing to account for the Judiciary Development  Fund or JDF.  Even with regard to his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN, the issue is whether or not the alleged failure to disclose violates the principle of accountability.

The pictures of the Bellagio and other properties and the bloated list of titles are, therefore, irrelevant to this trial.  This impeachment finds its roots in President Aquino’s fight against corruption and his perception that the Supreme Court is a hindrance to his quest.  He believes that the Supreme Court protects former President Gloria Arroyo.  On the other hand, the defense believes that  President Aquino is antagonistic to the court  because of its ruling in the Hacienda Luisita case.

The nobility of President Aquino’s fight against corruption cannot be questioned.  It is respectfully submitted, however, that in his fight, the President and the Executive Department are dutybound to scrupulously observe an abiding respect for the constitutional rights of every one of us.

The eight Articles of Impeachment can actually be classified in two categories.  First, those that violate decisions of the Supreme Court, and second, those that pertain to the nondisclosure of the SALN of the Chief Justice and his alleged refusal to account for the JDF.

Let me first address the latter, complainants accuse the Chief Justice of allegedly refusing to account for the JDF.  The documentary evidence will prove the contrary.  And, with respect to his SALN, the defense will establish that in accordance with law, the Chief Justice annually files his SALN with the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court who has legal custody of such documents.

We shall show that the Clerk of Court is restricted from disclosing the SALNs by resolutions first issued during the term of Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan way back in 1989.

In the light of current developments, the Chief Justice has already caused these resolutions to be included in the agenda of the Supreme Court for re-evaluation.

With respect to the decisions, the complainants made a tally of selected cases to show that the Supreme Court was biased.  This is not so.

First, it is not fair to handpick decisions that supposedly favor the Arroyo administration.  All the decisions of the Supreme Court must be considered.

Second, there are several decisions actually against the Former President and her administration.  For example, in Islamic Da’wah Council of the Philippines vs. Office of the Executive Secretary, the Chief Justice himself penned the decision declaring Former President Arroyo’s Executive Order No. 46 null and void.

Third, in any decision, the Supreme Court always bases its judgment on sound, legal grounds.  Take the case of the Truth Commission, the defense will establish that the Supreme Court was not biased towards the Arroyo administration.  Aming ipapakita na tama ang desisyon dito.  Nilabag ng Executive Order No. 1, Unequal Protection clause, dahil ang pag-imbistiga kay Ginang Arroyo ang tanging layunin ng Truth Commission.

Moreover, the Supreme Court even suggested a cure for the defect by not limiting the probe to the Arroyo administration.  But the Executive Department stubbornly refused to adopt such a simple amendment.

The defense will also explain that when the Supreme Court issued a TRO enjoining Secretary Leila De Lima from enforcing her watchlist order, the Supreme Court acted in accordance with the Constitution and jurisprudence.  Hukuman po lamang ang maaaring magbigay ng hold order kapag mayroon nang naisampang criminal case.  Nguni’t noong panahong iyon, wala pang naisasampang criminal case laban kay Ginang Arroyo kahit bago pa dito, matagal nang naghain ng reklamo ang Akbayan for plunder.

Bakit naman po natin sinisisi si Chief Justice?  ‘Di po ba’t malinaw na ang Executive Order ay may pagkukulang sa kaso ni Ginang Arroyo?

I remember a Secretary of Justice who came to rid our country of corruption.  His name is Jose W. Diokno.  He secured several search warrants and raided the offices and homes of Harry Stonehill, a rich American businessman was alleged to have bribed government officials.  To set an example, Secretary Diokno sought to prosecute Mr. Stonehill.  Using the search warrants, the raiding teams seized truckloads of incriminating documents including a blue book containing the names of the bribed government officials.  Yet, after three days, the Supreme Court issued a TRO preventing Secretary Diokno from using all the seized documents.

Tulad ng marami, nagtaka ako, paano ito nangyari?  After I read the decision, then by Chief Justice Roberto Concepcion, I understood, the decision explained that the search warrants were void, and the seized documents, inadmissible in evidence because the warrants did not specify the things to be seized as required by the Constitution.

The Stonehill case is strikingly similar to the crusade of President Aquino.  In both, there are crusading officials who want to eliminate corruption.  In both, the public overwhelmingly support these officials.  In both, the officials unfortunately transgressed the Constitution.  And in both, the Supreme Court stepped in and issued adverse and unpopular decisions because its task is to always uphold the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

The House also complains that the Chief Justice betrayed public trust.  When the Supreme Court decided on the cityhood of 16 municipalities, the creation of a new district in Camarines Sur, and the conversion of the Dinagat Island into a province.  Aba, nakakalimutan na yata nila na sila ang naglikha nitong mga batas na ito.  Now, that the Supreme Court has upheld what they did, sila pa ang nagalit at nagmamadaling magsampa ng impeachment case laban kay Chief Justice.  Ano bang kalokohan ito?

At ito pa po, sabi nila, this impeachment case is not against the Supreme Court but aim to make the Chief Justice for his personal actions.  All decisions are however rendered by the Supreme Court, never by the Chief Justice alone.  Isa lamang ang boto ng Chief Justice at hindi niya kontrolado ang ibang mga mahistrado.  Each Justice votes according to his own opinion, taliwas sa sinabi nila Congressman Tupas, wala pong voting block dito.

Your Honors, in performing its responsibility under the Constitution, the Supreme Court, as a coequal branch of government is now being assaulted and criticized. It is our humble submission that in upholding the bill of rights and the Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice cannot be considered as obstacles to clean government or to the President’s vision to realize his daang matuwid.

In upholding the Constitution and in safeguarding individual rights, the Supreme Court and the Chief Justice cannot be considered the enemies of the people, precisely, they protect individual rights, and therefore, do not betray the public trust.

Today, the House of Representatives and the Executive Department have joined all their might, power and resources to impeach the Chief Justice.  This impeachment sends a chilling threat to the Supreme Court to withhold the exercise of its judicial power and just let the President have his way.  Unfortunately, his obsessive pursuit of his goal has at times resulted in the infringement of the law.  It has also brought the branches of the government into collision, and now, it divides the nation.

Durig this crucial moment in history, we fervently pray, that you, our honorable Senator Justices will listen, consider the evidence, and as your solemn oath declares, do impartial justice according to the Constitution and laws of the Philippines.

May God bless us all.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

Majority Floor Leader

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you.

Mr. President, we are in receipt of an urgent motion to cite the House prosecutors in contempt of court, filed by Atty. Fernando B. Perito on January 9, 2012. I move that the Senate President rule on the motion.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the Chair rules to deny the motion of Atty. Perito.  And the reason for the denial is the fact that he has no standing in this floor.  He is neither a lawyer for the defense nor lawyer for a participant in this proceeding.  He did not even take the pain of asking th3e leave of the Senate to intervene which is in accordance with the accepted rules under the Rules of Court.

So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  We are in receipt of a manifestation filed by the defense on January 9, 2012 stating inter alia that Chief Justice Corona strongly manifests his objection to the prosecution’s unbridled dissemination of information or documents which may not even be admissible in evidence or relevant to the case, and his conformity to the authority of the honourable Impeachment Court under Rule V in relation to Rule 18 of the Senate Rules of Procedure on impeachment trials to issue or promulgate any interim or disciplinary measures to enforce or carry into effect its legal mandate.

Mr. President, I move that the manifestation should be noted.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence) There being none, the said manifestation is noted.  And may I say this.  Under the Constitution, the mandate given is for the Senate to try and decide this impeachment case.  No other institution or body can try and decide this impeachment case.  The people do not have the authority to decide, to try and decide this impeachment case.  And so, therefore, may I request some degree of caution on the part of everyone in exposing evidence that ought to be presented in this impeachment.  It is out in the public.  The public is not under oath, unlike witnesses that will be presented here.   In fact, the Members of the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, have taken an oath to hear this case with utmost impartiality apart from the oath of office that they have taken as Senators and legislators.  And so, with that, may i ask the forbearance of everybody to forego any discussion of evidence that will be presented in this forum henceforth.  The media will be given enough time to be informed of any matter that will be taken up and/or presented to this Chamber as an impeachment court.  We are not litigating this case before the people.  We are a representative democracy.  We are not a direct participating democracy.  We operate through representatives of the people and let institutions of government device and provided by the people in their Constitution operate according to this task and powers granted to them.  Thank you.

So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.  One other matter, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you.  For the record, we also have before us the January 10, 2012 withdrawal of appearance of Attorney Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr as counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The withdrawal of the appearance of Ernesto B. Francisco, Jr, lawyer, as counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, is noted.

ADJOURNMENT OF THE TRIAL

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

There being no other business for the trial today, I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, January 17, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  Hearing none, the trial is hereby adjourned until 2:00 p.m. of Tuesday, January 17, 2012.  So ordered.  (Gavel)

It was 3:35 p.m.

One response to “IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Monday, January 16, 2012

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