Former President Joseph Estrada made history when he became the first impeachable official that was tried at the impeachment court, although the process failed to finish when the People Power 2 erupted in January 2001.
The impeachment was triggered by the allegations of Estrada’s close friend, Ilocos Sur governor Luis Chavit Singson. He claimed that Erap received from him P400 million as payoff from jueteng and hidden in a bank account as Jose Velarde.
November 13, 2000 when the impeachment case was filed against Estrada and, then House Speaker Manny Villar fast-tracked the complaint and brought to the Senate, which convened as an impeachment court with former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide.
That was the first time that the nation witnessed through media full coverage, an elected President stand in trial.
My uninterrupted airing and coverage of the trial at my former broadcast network pushed me to study and learn more about the processes. It was new to Philippine media and explaining it in the layman’s terms was a great challenge.
Listening or watching how the defense and prosecution panels argued over the evidences in relation to articles of impeachment against Estrada created different views and anger among the Filipinos.
The so-called walk out of the prosecutors and the fear that truth cannot be unfold anymore lead to the belched of the second Edsa people power.
The unfinished Erap impeachment trial was not just a battle of seeking the truth. Unfortunately, whether they admit it or not, the war of political strategies was apparent and the dirty money played the game. Many have used it to gain positions in the government or won the election.
After the People Power 2 and until now, jueteng is still prevalent and corruption remains to be the leading quandary in the bureaucracy. The masses that supported the revolt are still helpless.
Today, the impeachment trial of SC Chief Justice Renato Corona will start and the nation would be watching.
Yes, we all should listen and watch carefully. And judge fairly.
If the corruption in the judiciary, especially involving Corona is true, then justice should be served. But if the complainant-solons only have political motive now that the 2013 midterm elections is nearing, then people must not trust them to any elective posts.