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ABS-CBN News - Senators irked by CJ "walkout"

In The News
23 May 2012

By Ron Gagalac | ABS-CBN News

abscbn_thumbMANILA, Philippines - Senators admitted Wednesday they were offended by the walkout of Chief Justice Renato Corona at the impeachment court yesterday.

Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said Corona gave a strong speech but it failed to impress them after the acts unexpected of a Chief Justice.

“Ang question lang naman talaga sa karamihan sa amin ay 'yung the way he left the hall, 'yun lang talaga ang problema dun,” he said.

But Sotto is uncertain whether what Corona did was really a "walkout.”

"You can not call it a walkout although it is not the proper procedure. Ang walkout tumayo tapos umalis na hindi nagsabi. Pero 'yung nagsabi o sinasabi n'ya na he wishes to be excused mali. Dapat inantay n'ya na sabihin na you are now excused,” he said.

"They ask for continuance or they move to be excused, off sa procedure kaya dun hindi maganda sa impeachment court. When you are in the impeachment court, it has a power over everyone,” he added.

Senator Edgardo Angara said Corona’s action was uncalled for especially after according him all the leeway in his 3-hour opening statement.

"I think lahat kami medyo, in varying degrees, hindi namin inaasahan," Angara said.

“We bent backwards to allow him without interruption, without objections, pagkatapos eh without even asking permission (he will leave) just because he is the chief justice?"

Sen. Pia Cayetano earlier said she and her fellow senators were surprised by Corona’s walkout and had thought the chief magistrate might have misunderstood that he was already excused from the witness stand.

It was only after Supreme Court spokesman Jose Midas Marquez returned and indicated that Corona was not coming back that she knew it was a walkout.

“He was walking out strongly pa naman. My interpretation is really walkout, without a doubt in my mind,” she told ANC’s Headstart.

She added: “It's clear that he wanted to excuse himself. He wanted to be the witness and the judge. He asked to excuse himself and then he stood up. He didn’t wait for the presiding officer.

Senator Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos, on the other hand, said while it clarified some issues, Corona's attempt to leave the Senate put the entire court into a quandary.

Corona's illness, he said, will just further delay the entire proceedings and a number of legislations will suffer.

"Malaking delay na yan. It's the legislative work we are thinking about," he said.

Marcos has been pushing for new congressional districts in several provinces but approval is always put on hold due to lack of time during the session that is usually cut off for the impeachment proceedings.

He fears he may not be able to pass the bills he needed in time for October deadline of the Commission on Elections for candidates of new districts in the country.