Breach of the Peace

question the order of things | throw a monkey wrench in to the machine

Day after Monday, 28 May 2012

Photo courtesy of Rappler.com/Joseph Vidal/PRIB/Senate Pool

The Senate, sitting as the impeachment tribunal, is bent on deciding the fate of Chief Justice Renato Corona early next week. The Senate President – the stern and strict hand who guided a disciplined and efficient process – ordered the Chief Justice either to submit himself for further questioning, or, failing to do so, to consider his case submitted for decision. The defense team promised the impeachment tribunal that the Chief Justice will be available for direct, cross, and clarificatory examinations.

Notwithstanding the possible drama of how the Chief Justice will answer the cross and clarificatory examinations, all eyes are now fixed at the 23 Senators who will stand up on Monday to deliver his or her vote. At least 16 votes are needed to convict the Chief Justice. Who those 16 votes are is anybody’s guess, and your guess is as good as mine.

But I am not here to divine whose votes are going where. I would like to believe that I have enough experience in Philippine politics to know that everything is possible, even at the last minute.

I am more interested in possible scenarios after Monday. Right now, I am playing with at least five scenarios –

Conviction Scenario: If the Chief Justice is convicted, he will be removed from office. The Tanodbayan will pursue criminal charges against him, possibly for plunder or money laundering, due to his dollar accounts. The President then appoints the next most senior Justice, Antonio Carpio, to head the Supreme Court. He will also appoint another justice to replace Carpio.

Alternative Conviction Scenario: If the Chief Justice is convicted, he will be removed from office. He will ask to remain confined in the hospital because of his health conditions. Then at the dead of the night, he will be spirited away through a private air carrier in a private air strip, going to a non-extradition country.

Acquittal Scenario: If the Chief Justice is acquitted, he remains at the helm of the High Court. The immediate aftermath is the erosion of the President’s credibility for failing to close the deal. He will attempt to stop this erosion by mobilizing his crisis management team to push for Corona’s resignation because he is already “damaged goods”. The President’s team will prepare for a second impeachment case, unless the Supreme Court rules that a second impeachment after an acquittal is tantamount to double jeopardy.

Alternative Acquittal Scenario 1: If the Chief Justice is acquitted, he remains at the helm of the High Court. But because he is already “damaged goods”, he will resign from his position. Before resigning, he will request the President that in exchange for his resignation, no criminal charges will be pursued. He will be allowed to keep his assets, and the government will allow him to travel and reside in a non-extradition country.

Alternative Acquittal Scenario 2: If the Chief Justice is acquitted, he remains at the helm of the High Court. The immediate aftermath is the erosion of the President’s credibility for failing to close the deal. He will attempt to make good his promise to stamp corruption out by instructing his Cabinet and legislative allies to waive the confidentiality of their bank accounts. That will bring back some of the lost credibility, and will provide the President with enough points to convert for the election of his allies in both Houses of Congress. After 2013, the President’s team will prepare for a second impeachment case, unless the Supreme Court rules that a second impeachment after an acquittal is tantamount to double jeopardy.

So there.

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This entry was posted on 25 May 2012 by in Current Events and tagged , .

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