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MANILA — Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile insisted that he and his fellow senators will proceed with the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona even if it is being asked by the Supreme Court (SC) to answer petitions to stop the trial.

Enrile stated in a report that the Senate is now performing a “special assignment” mandated by the Constitution to try and decide an impeachment case.

“We have not abandoned the Constitution. In the same manner that if we ask the explanation of the Supreme Court, it has also to explain to us in the same manner we will have to comply with their requests that we explain our position,” Enrile said.

He said the proceedings will continue even if the Senate decides to reply to petitions asking for the impeachment trial to be stopped, but did not say if the senator-judges will comply in the event the high court orders the senators to stop the trial.

Five petitions have been filed with the SC, asking the magistrates to stop the impeachment trial of Corona, who was impeached by the House of Representatives last December on grounds of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and graft and corruption.

SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez said that the high court consolidated the five cases and ordered respondents to file their comments in 10 days.

According to a Manila Bulletin report, there are four possible actions by the SC: Consolidate the five cases, require comments by the respondents, set the cases for oral arguments or issue a TRO.

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But an analyst of the Estrada impeachment trial said the high court will not decide to stop the impeachment trial of Corona.
Election lawyer Romulo Macalintal said the SC would dismiss the petitions “for lack of jurisdiction since the Senate has already been convened as an Impeachment Court.”

He added that Corona submitted himself to the impeachment court’s jurisdiction when he filed his answer with his motion to dismiss. (Philippine News Online)