Culpa.

Merriam-Webster defined the word as “all actionable fault or misconduct including both negligence and willful or wanton wrongs arising from malice, fraud, or a desire for wrongful gain .”

Senate President and impeachment court presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile threw this question to Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas (Ret.) as, what Enrile pronounced, refresher to what they had learned at the UP-College of Law way, way, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. As of this moment, I still haven’t figured out if that was meant to trick Cuevas or the whole defense panel and tell them straight on their faces that their client, Chief Justice Renato Corona, has done negligence, or maybe just for clarification, as Enrile claimed.

The Defense stands firm on what they believed that technicalities must ever be considered in this case, i.e. the non-disclosure of all his peso and dollar accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) will never lead to an impeachable offense, with RA 6426 as their sturdiest reference. Cuevas even sort of, threatened, the impeachment court that their team would appeal for the whole processed to be junked in the Supreme Court. On the other hand, the prosecutors stress out that it was an act of gross negligence not to declare everything the distinguished defendant possesses and had acquired, which he admitted during Friday’s trial, in his SALN, pursuant to RA 6713, which would eventually lead to culpable violation of the Costitution (Article XI, Section 17).

Meanwhile, Dean Tony La Viña of the Ateneo School of Government believes that the fact he did not disclose whatever he admitted on the witness stand Friday was obviously culpa in itself, where the term ‘culpable violation’ was coined. “There is a reason why Cuevas dodged the question of Enrile; of course he knows what culpa is but the answer does not favor his case. Corona, in spite of intention/motivation, culpably violated Constitution,” he said, emphasizing the superiority of the Constitution over all other laws. He also mentioned that the Supreme Court will not be able to intervene should the Defense appeal the case. (Check out his tweets.)

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