Perhaps as much-awaited as the verdict for the now ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial itself was Sen. Lito Lapid’s personal judgment, if things are to be based from Tuesday’s worldwide and local Twitter trending topics.
On Tuesday afternoon, May 29, the 23 senator-judges voted 20-3 in favor of convicting Corona, finally ending the proceedings which lasted for 43 days. Lapid was among the lawmakers who deemed the former chief justice guilty of betrayal of public trust by failing to declare all his properties and bank accounts in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).
During the height of the trial’s final day, the hashtag #CJonTrial sat atop the list of global trending topics, followed by “Picha pie” – a phrase used by Lapid in reference to the pie charts Corona used in his Powerpoint presentation to explain his bank accounts when he faced the court Tuesday last week.
Other Lapid-related topics that trended on Twitter were “Lito Lapid,” “Leon Guerrero,” and “Julio Valiente,” the two being the actor-politician’s former movie roles.
Lapid, currently on his second and last term, started what was an unscripted speech in full Filipino.
“Napakinggan ko po ang depensa – siguro po purihin natin ang depensa – napakagaling po nila. Sa mga nakakaintindi ng mga abogasya. Purihin din po natin ang prosekusyon; naghanap ng mga ebidensya. Nakinig po ako sa bawat ebidensyang inaano nila,” he said.
The actor-politician went on to say that Corona “very clearly” broke the law.
“Siya (Corona) mismo inamin niya na may $2.4 million at P80 million na bank account. ‘Yun po siguro hindi na kasinungalingan ‘yon; ‘yun po ay totoo na,” he asserted.
Lapid pointed out his humble background.
“Nagpi-prisinta po ako dito hindi bilang abogado, abogasya. Hindi po ako pwedeng magsalita ng Republic Act dahil hindi maniniwala ang tao sa ‘kin. Hindi po ako nagmamarunong-marunong dito. Ang ginagamit ko lang po dito, konsensya. Representate ng masa na hindi nakapag-aral, hindi marunong mag-Ingles, ni walang alam sa batas,” he said.
Lapid admitted that he pitied Corona when he faced the court last week, even coming to the point where, “Akala ko totoo sinasabi niya.”
“Hindi pala. Mas pinaniwalaan ko pa si Cong. Farinas n’ung nag-Powerpoint dito,” he said, referring to the Ilocos Norte representative who’s a member of the prosecution team.
He then called Corona’s pie chart Powerpoint presentation of his bank accounts, “picha pie,” and even made his own interpretation of the beleaguered official’s argument.
“Siguro kung ako ho ang pagbabasehan ko, kung isandaang basong tubig nilagay sa apat na drum lang ang kanyang account,” he said.
Lapid claimed that he empathizes with Corona and his family, saying, “Naranasan ko rin po ‘yan.” He also thanked the former chief justice, “dahil n’ung pangalawa kong panalo bilang senador, sa kanya ako nanumpa bilang isang senador.”
“Pasensya na po, pasensya na po. Ang hatol ko sa inyo, guilty,” he finished.
By JULIEN MERCED C. MATABUENA