Archive for February 13th, 2012

Day 15, Thursday, February 09, 2012

This is just a recap of the 15th day of CJ Corona’s Impeachment trial. The trial started with 17 Senators present at exactly 2:05pm.  The Impeachment Court will tackle on Monday( that is today) PS Bank’s explanation on non-compliance with subpoena for Corona’s dollar accounts. Since we all know that the Supreme Court issued a TRO in favor of PS Bank’ petition, let’s see how it would go as far as the Impeachment Court is concerned.

Cuevas said the Impeachment court is not higher than the Supreme Court and Farinas said Supreme Court under Corona has violated separation of powers of co-equal branches of the government. Enrile emphasized that the Senate will vote as one, no less than 16 judges.  I can’t believe that I took three pages of notes on Day 15 and here are the highlights. PS Bank President was back on the witness stand.

Sen. Judge Drilon –  said that Garcia was familiar with the accounts since he examined them after receiving the subpoena.  The branch manager of PS Bank Katipunan branch was made to understand all the possible liabilities – imprisonment if she would disclose the foreign deposits accounts of CJ Corona so the president offered to testify.

Account No. 089120120122 – Garcia was not aware of it. They will bring the documents that are included in the subpoena but Drilon said they could issue another subpoena to have it included. Why would the bank manager be present? Sen. Enrile reiterated that Garcia came there to assume responsibility for the bank.

Sen. Judge Marcos – clarified that they have agreed to look only at the 2010 year-end balances. He asked if they were expanding the scope of the subpoena for SJ Corona’s bank records.

Account  No. 089121087358 – Drilon asked again for the starting balance for this account. Enrile said they have to rule on this.

Sen. Judge Allan Peter Cayetano – clarified that the subpoena for SJ Corona’s bank accounts includes records on initial balance , including the opening documents. Garcia did not answer about the dollar accounts. And he cannot disclose any information concerning the dollar accounts. The Impeachment Court required the branch Manager of PS Bank Annabel Tiongson to appear today to testify.

Sen. Judge Osmena – moved that all other accounts offered by PS Bank like UITF, Certificates of Deposits be likewise examined by the IC.

Defense lawyer Cuevas complained that the clarificatory questions border on cross-examination.  Cayetano said that RA 1405 (Bank Secrecy Law on Local Deposits) clearly said that if it is an order of the Impeachment Court, peso accounts are allowed to be examined . He even referred to a previous Supreme Court ruling, re: Salvacion case (garnishment, the complainant was a minor raped by a foreigner) and said that the ruling was interpreted in the interest of justice. Cayetano asked, Isn’t it an injustice if the IC cannot look into the  dollar accounts? He asked if Garcia honestly think that he will be imprisoned because of it.  Who interprets the law? Will you comply if there is no TRO on Monday? Will you bring the document?  Garcia answered he will not.

Sen. Judge Pangilinan – asked if one receives a written consent from the owner of the account, will they comply?  he said that the IC does not issue illegal orders. Cuevas believes that CJ Corona will not give his consent to open his dollar accounts.

Sen. Judge Estrada – asked if Garcia was aware of any attached paper on the subpoena . Garcia said that it did not come from their bank and Estrada showed it to him. Garcia said it is just a photocopy and not the original document. He cannot commend on it because he needs to compare it with the original and there are dollar accounts written there.

Pres. Judge Enrile took the floor and  reiterated his request to have the branch manager present. He further asked who has access to such similar records and Garcia answered the bank manager and the bank tellers have access to it. he asked who is the custodian of records and Garcia answered it is the customer relations officer of the bank. Enrile said that the Central Bank is now conducting investigation on this leakage and the IC has possession of these leaked documents. Enrile asked Garcia if the security is lax but Garcia insisted that they are not facsimiles of the original documents. Enrile is now sarcastic and mentioning that maybe, a langaw, ipis, or daga did the photocopy.  Garcia was required to produce an original copy. These documents were anonymously given to the Prosecution panel reflecting accounts from PS Bank. Is Garcia denying that these account numbers are existing in their records? Enrile asked Garcia to just answer yes or no if these accounts really exist. As it happened, all the accounts mentioned by Enrile which are contained on the leaked documents exist in their records. Garcia insisted and believe that the bank documents did not come from PS Bank. Estrada thanked Enrile for asking the questions he was supposed to ask.

Bank of the Philippine Island’s bank manager Leonora Dizon came next on the witness stand and testified that the lone  peso checking account of CJ Corona reflected a balance of P12,024,067.70 as of year ending December 2010 and is still on current status. Osmena requested that they also issue a subpoena to know if there are other accounts existing with BPI.

Let’s see how the trial goes today because last night the Defense panel had a surprise press conference, a really shocking turn of events if you ask me.  Here’s a link on what happened last night.


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