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Jan 18

Term of the Day: Duplicate Original

Burke-Impeachment.jpg

“A View of the Tryal of Warren Hastings Esqr. before the court of peers in Westminster Hall on an impeachment delivered at the bar of the House of Lords by the Commons of Great Britain in Parliament Assembled,” February 13,1788

The Corona impeachment trial continues. The quotable quotes of the Senate President continue: today’s was that the Senate can “search the soul and brain of the witness.”

The Senate President swiftly dispensed with the objections of the defense to the prosecution deciding on the order in which it would present its evidence. The interesting point was when the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court took the witness stand. At first, the Senate President asked the prosecution –thrice– why he didn’t treat the Clerk of Court as a hostile witness. Inexplicably, the prosecution refused. And yet the Clerk of Court at first, in response to questioning by the prosecution, said she didn’t bring the SALNs of the Chief Justice, and only “her notes.” Yet upon questioning by Senator Drilon, she then admitted she had brought the SALNs of the Chief Justice. This led to a long debate among the senators and counsel, as to whether the Clerk of Court should produce the documents the subpoena ordered produced. Senator Arroyo muttered, darkly, of a looming constitutional crisis if the Senate persisted. Eventually Senate President Enrile ordered the witness to produce the SALNs.

I might add the Senate President was exceedingly kind in his responses to Justice Cuevas’ repeated protestations of the danger facing the Clerk of Court: repeatedly finding gracious ways to strongly suggest to the Chief Justice –and the Supreme Court– that it would be unwise and intemperate for the Supreme Court to react negatively to the Clerk of Court obeying the Senate’s subpoena. Later that afternoon, the Supreme Court issued a statement reassuring the Clerk of Court she has nothing to fear. Midas Marquez said the Chief Justice had no objection to releasing his SALN and gave the instruction through his lawyers –but then why did his lawyers object to producing the SALNs?

Senator Drilon spent time fussing over the dates and such of the documents (the SALNs) submitted, including pointing out the date “9-23-07” which, upon checking the perpetual calendar of the National Historical Institute, was a Sunday. After a break after the Director of the Palace REcords Office was seated as a witness, Senator Estrada made further observations on the SALNs.

Then an extended discussion and examinations of the witness, in order to finally arrive at a what is a Duplicate Original: in archival terminology, “Definition n. ~ A copy that has all the essential aspects of the original, including signatures.”

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