Andres Narvasa; Opening Statements at the Impeachment Trial of President Joseph Estrada
Defense MAY it please the Honorable Chief Justice and the Honorable Members of the Impeachment Tribunal.
I will take only five minutes or so simply to draw attention to certain legal propositions which I take to be relevant to the controversy at bar and certain political dimensions attending the same. And I will do this by way of laying the predicate for the presentation in chief of former Solicitor General Mendoza, my esteemed colleague.
Many of us here present will doubtless recall the story of a man of ancient Rome named Julius Caesar whom the masses admired and wanted to be the leader of their nation. He was assassinated by a group of plotters who considered him unfit to rule. These plotters, by spreading rumor and gossip, had poisoned the minds of the people against him. They said Julius Caesar was ambitious, avaricious, corrupt, and they enlisted the aid of wellmeaning citizens like the noble-minded Brutus who was deluded into believing the sly insinuations of the plotters and had thus come to think that Caesar was indeed unfit to rule. And so Julius Caesar was slain.
Caesar's friend, Mark Anthony, having learned of the conspiracy and how easily the people had been made to believe the lies and innuendoes of the conspirators, was moved to cry out as he mourned Caesar's death, "Oh judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts and men have lost their reason."
Today, 2,000 years after that tragic event, we take part in this impeachment proceedings to pass judgment on another leader, Joseph Ejercito Estrada, a man also admired by his countrymen who had elected him by an overwhelming majority to the highest office of the land. We are here to determine whether he should continue to lead the nation as its president. But unlike in Julius Caesar's case, we are assured that in this forum, judgment will not flee to brutish beasts and reason will not be lost but will attend every aspect and incident of this proceedings. …