Like cases before it the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona is a case that will be settled in three courts – the first and immediate two would be the impeachment court where the senator-Judges sit and the other would be the court of public opinion. Thus it comes to no surprise that both opposing parties have been using all means at their disposal to impress both courts.
Initially, the Prosecution seemed to have the upper hand with the support of the state, the support of majority of media people, the support of civil society groups and the animosity of the people against former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. In fact the main reason is being impeached is because of Arroyo in the same the former Solicitor General resigned under the impending cloud of impeachment.
Yes initially it would seem that the Prosecution bad the advantage. But as the days progressed fumbles, miscalculations and errors seemed to have diminished this advantage. In certain instances the evidence they presented were saved from being emasculated by some the Senator-Judges themselves. And more often the prosecution has been admonished by the Impeachment Court for their lack of preparation and coherence in presenting their case.
This leaves an impression that the Impeachment complaint was hastily prepared. And this also leaves an impression in the battle plan of removing certain elements in judiciary the tactic was to use the filing of an Impeachment case was a device used to force the target to resign.
However, In the case of Chief Justice Corona, no resignation came. The Blitzkrieg or Shock and Awe plan to force a resignation failed to materialize. Instead Corona and his lawyers have dug in and prepared for a siege.
A long drawn out battle, which gives the advantage several difficulties to overcome. First, An Impeachment Court dead set on completing the trial. A lesson learned from the Aborted Impeachment of Joseph Estrada. Second, this puts the Prosecution the burden of actually trying the case before the Impeachment Court.
No longer would the case against Corona be solely waged through media briefings and leaking of information. But the because of the Impeachment Court, Corona has now to be made guilty every time there is hearing – broadcasted live on TV and radio, micro-blogged on twitter and posted on blogs and written in newspapers. Each fumble may lead to chuckles and remarks from the galleries both in the Senate and on-line but it is a point against those that committed it.
The Prosecution has to put certainty in the accusations and the Defense has to put doubt. And in the long-winded and drawn-out process of the Impeachment, impression counts.
So far the Prosecution does not look good. It needs to score a point, otherwise even if they win the case, there will always be doubt if this was a just o unjust war by the People. And when I say people it would be the public opinion of the Republic watching these events unfolds.
Then years after it would be interesting to see how this case prospers in the Court of Time. How will historians and future generations look at it? This is the Third Court.