A day after the senate decision about the impeachment of the Ex- Chief Justice, Renato Corona, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, issued a landmark and warned him against questioning the decision in the Supreme Court.
Enrile, who presided over the 44-day impeachment trial, and masterly steered it to its conclusion last Tuesday, maintained that the Senate had “the sole power to try and decide all impeachment cases” under the Constitution.
“I will say this very frankly and I hope they understand—if they (the Supreme Court) will question the jurisdiction of the impeachment court and reverse our decision, we will defy them,” he said in an interview with ANC where he kicked off a series of TV and radio interview, apparently to explain the verdict.
“If they want a constitutional crisis in this country, they will have one.”
Corona’s impeachment marked the first ever completed impeachment trial in the country’s history. But, In 2001, a similar ouster proceeding in the Senate against then President Joseph Estrada was aborted following a prosecution walkout.
Enrile was visibly in combat mode when the issue of appeal was raised the morning after 20 of the 23 members of the Senate impeachment court voted to convict Corona for his failure to declare dollar and peso deposits in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
Enrile expressed doubts over how a Supreme Court decision reversing the conviction of Corona could be enforced, considering that the Senate was “outside the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court in terms of the trial and judgment in an impeachment case.”
“They cannot review our decision,” he said. “Otherwise, they will be the one to make the final decision in violation of the Constitution, which says that the Senate has the sole power to decide and try all impeachment cases.”