Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Friday a fair and impartial trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona will benefit the nation.
“A fair and impartial trial—-and only a fair and impartial trial—- of Chief Justice Corona, unclouded by suspicions or actual accusations of misconduct and improper dealing on the part of any participant in the proceedings, or on the part of those whose legitimate right and duty are simply to observe the proceedings without seeking to intervene in the outcome, would be a great boon to the nation,” Binay said during the 34th Anniversary Celebration of the Philippine Trial Lawyers Association, Inc. (PTLA) at the Manila Hotel.
In this light, the Vice President said that more are expected from lawyers than simply enjoying the intellectual debate presented by the impeachment proceedings.
He stressed that it is the duty of lawyers to protect the country’s Constitutional democracy and its institutions.
“We are to stand as neutral observers in every proceeding in which we are not participants, but we should be prepared to intervene whenever the balance of justice and fairness shifts in favor of power, and the rule of law and due process are threatened,” Binay said.
He reiterated that the fundamental commitment to the law is ensuring that it will never be used to work injury or injustice to anyone, citing the Latin dictum, “nemini injuriam, lex minimi operatur iniquum.” (The law does injury to no one, the law works injustice to no one.)
The Vice President also commended the PTLA for its stand on the inviolability of the Constitution in the ongoing trial, especially with respect to the protected rights under the Bill of Rights, as well as the separation of powers between the different co-equal branches of government.
Binay warned that “we cannot depart from due process and the rule of law without renouncing our Constitution.”
He also emphasized that the impeachment process should be an exercise in the rule of law.
He added that it should never be used as a way to bend the law, “or asserting the false supremacy of one branch of government over another, or putting one branch in conflict with another.”
Binay said that the Constitutional verity of the separation of powers cannot be emphasized enough, and noted that this view has become plain even to the common people.