March 13, 2012
MANILA, Philippines – Senator-Judge Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan has expressed concern over the Supreme Court’s decision to choose who among the high court’s employees may appear in the impeachment court.
“We now have an issue where the Supreme Court, whose Chief Justice is on trial in the impeachment court, can decide who can or cannot appear in the proceedings,” he said in a press statement on Tuesday.
“Araceli Bayuga, an employee of the SC, was allowed to testify in defense of the Chief Justice, yet the driver, process server and security guard subpoenaed have not been allowed to appear,” he added.
He said the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, must assert its authority in uncovering the truth.
“It should not allow even the SC to stop it from performing its function, and it should not be prevented from fulfilling its constitutional duty,” he said.
“In the United States, the impeachment court can subpoena even the sitting President. Sadly, in our case, we are unable to subpoena a driver, a security guard because the Supreme Courts says we cannot do so,” he added.
Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas said Bayuga was called to testify on Corona’s salaries and benefits as chief justice, which are not covered by the SC ruling on judicial privilege.
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