Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, who is also acting as presiding officer of the impeachment court, on Tuesday said he is willing to vacate his post after the the prosecution panel requested for a more “liberal” court.
Before adjourning Day 5's proceedings on the Chief Justice's impeachment trial, Enrile said: “Handa akong ibigay ang upuang ito sa kung sinumang may gusto. So ordered.”
Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, chief public prosecutor, earlier asked the impeachment court for flexibility in applying rules. “Flexibility to the point that we will be able to elicit evidence from witness,” Tupas said.
Enrile then asked Tupas, “Are you suggesting we should allow misleading questions and hearsay evidence? Are you suggesting that we relax the best evidence rule?”
“No, we are not. It's just giving flexibility to the prosecution,” Tupas responded.
But the presiding officer hit the prosecution panel for being unprepared for the trial.
“I want to be candid with you. You had time to marshal your evidence. I assume you had assembled evidence for each article,” Enrile said.
“Hindi ako hukom. Ako ay inatasan lang ng batas na maging presiding officer. Sabihin niyo kung paano ako magiging liberal,” he added.
Tupas, however, failed to cite rules on how the court could be flexible and backed down saying they "submit to the wisdom of the honorable court."
Enrile continued with his speech stressing, “Wala akong kinikilingan sa kasong ito. Wala akong kinikilalang dapat pagsilibihan kundi ang bansa. Hindi ako gagawa ng pasya na hindi makatarungan.”
Meanwhile, Senator-judge Manuel Villar commended Enrile’s performance as presiding officer.
“Bilang beterano sa impeachment, hindi natin mapapaligaya ang lahat ng panig. Mahirap ang ating ginagampanan ngayon. Ako'y humahanga sa inyong paghawak,” Villar said.