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Posts Tagged ‘2012’


It’s now Day 23 of the trial and I wrote earlier that I am getting tired watching it but still, I remain glued infront of the television every afternoon anticipating what will happen next or who will appear as the Prosecution’s next witness. Yesterday, it was Secretary of Justice de Lima who was called to the witness stand and she testified on the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court last November 15, 2011 which we all know she defied. It pertains to the motion filed by the Arroyo family to grant them permit to travel abroad to seek medical help while they were still on the Watch List Order (WLO). The rest is history since the Bureau of Immigration didn’t allow them to leave on the instructions of Secretary of Justice de Lima. She said in her testimony that the TRO issued, which she said is a continuing TRO (for ordinary people like me, that means, there is no expiry date) did not reach her office until the following day. She further said that the SJ spokesperson Midas Marquez announced the validity of the TRO even if these conditions were not met.

At the start of the trial today, she was cross-examined by the lead Defense lawyer Cuevas and moved that all the testimonies pertaining to the dissenting opinions of  Asst. Justice Sereno be removed from the record since De Lima has no personal knowledge of what took place inside the Supreme Court and she just based her testimonies on the records attached (dissenting opinions of Justice Sereno).  Despite Sen. Santiago’s motion that the Defense team was right in their assessment that it was a hearsay evidence, the Senate Pres. Judge Enrile made a ruling that they are not striking out the testimonies made yesterday by de Lima since an Impeachment Court is different from a criminal court where hearsay evidences are not allowed except in eleven instances where they recognizes such. He cited two books, two extensive studies made in the US  regarding Impeachment trials. And since this is the first time that they are impeaching a Chief Justice, they could not base it on some previous trials made in the past.  The Impeachment Court had decided earlier at the start of the trial that they would not issue subpoena to the judges of the Supreme Court.

Watch List Order (WLO) prevents anyone from just leaving the country without a “lifting” or “allow order” and has  a 60-day duration  while Hold Departure Order (HDO) is valid for 5 years  unless lifted by the Court of Justice. Sen. Lacson asked de Lima if there is a law that authorizes Circular 41 and she answered that there is no law expressly authorizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) or DOJ Chief to issue a WLO but DOJ has power to issue rules and to promulgate rules and regulations. She further said that the power to issue HDO/WLO may have been abused in former Pres. Arroyo’s time but she assured Lacson that she won’t do that out of a political vendetta.

I won’t delve into the nitty-gritty of what happened today since it was so obvious that most senators were just grandstanding by way of “clarificatory questions” but I appreciate what I learned, that in a criminal court, hearsay evidence is not permitted  and you don’t need to worry about your rights being violated  if you are a law-abiding citizen, you would not even be served a HDO or a WLO.

And here’s the latest news on former Pres. Arroyo’s arraignment today at the Pasay City Regional Trial Court. Arroyo entered a “not guilty” plea on poll sabotage case.

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Though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience stands He waiting, with exactness grinds He all.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Two more wasted days, and  just like most Filipinos, I am impatient to know the truth. Although this is a learning curve for most  of us simply because this is the first time that a Supreme Court Justice  representing the highest court of the land is being impeached,  it’s getting to be so boring. Why am I still watching? Because we are talking of accountability here.

Just like the rest, I patiently watch and take notes of the trial. Defense says CJ Corona will reveal it all in due time. How long do you measure “due time”? The Prosecution is still on Article 2 at mukhang napako na dun. Could we hold on the SJ Corona’s statement that he has nothing to hide?

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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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Day 14- The Chief Justice Trial

Yesterday, I think,  was the most interesting day of CJ Corona’s trial. Something is slowly unraveling and you don’t have to be a seasoned or a high-caliber lawyer to understand what is going on.

Points to Ponder:

  • Corona’s defense lawyers files  a petition before the Supreme Court to stop Impeachment Trial and a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) on bank summons.
  • Corona asks  to defer action on bank summons.
  • Corona files motion seeking inhibition of  Justice Carpio (the most senior member of the Supreme Court) and Justice Sereno, Pres. PNoy’s appointee to the SC.
  • Corona seeks special raffle of his petition at the Supreme Court (in which he is the incumbent Chief Justice)

Sen. Santiago said earlier that the courts have no jurisdiction over the impeachment process. Sen. Guingona said that the Supreme Court cannot and should not impose its will on the Impeachment Court. They are only co-equal when they are exercising legislation. The presiding Senator-Judge Enrile emphasized that they are not partisans nor combatants.  He said further that the Impeachment Court is a court of law. They acted on Sen. Santiago’s motion for reconsideration regarding the  issuing of subpoena to bank personnel where Corona maintains accounts. Majority of the senator-judges resolved  not to approve the motion for reconsideration and the Impeachment court stood by its ruling granting subpoena for Corona’s bank records.  They went into caucus a few minutes after the opening of the trial to tackle on Corona’s petition on subpoena for bank records.  They denied the motion to defer action on the bank subpoenas. And here’s the interesting part. Enrile said that  in absence of TRO from SC, the trial will proceed.

The Impeachment Court sent a subpoena to the Bank Manager of PS Bank-Katipunan Branch, surprisingly though, it was the Bank president, Pascual Garcia III who appeared before the IC with his legal counsel. Prosecution will prove before the Impeachment body that Corona have ten bank accounts with PS Bank.  Garcia manifested that he owes it to their depositors and subordinates to appear before the Impeachment Court, in short as part of command responsibility, he took the cudgels  to protect his employees, in this case, the Bank Manager of one of their branches to appear before the IC. He however emphasized that he only brought the documents for the five peso deposit accounts. They asked him why there was only one opening document for the accounts that Corona maintains at the bank.  Even in other banks, this would suffice since normally, an opening document ask the same information regardless of how many accounts you have.  This is a standard procedure for most banks.  Garcia said that he brought bank certificates containing details and ending balance of the five peso accounts maintained by Corona at their bank and it turned out that there is roughly about P24.0 plus outstanding as of December 2010.

Corona’s $ Accounts Maintained with PSBank

The Prosecutors asked why Garcia did not bring the documents for the five remaining foreign currency deposit accounts  of Corona and he invoked RA 6426. He is not allowed to disclose them for fear of facing criminal liability. Here is a portion of RA 6426 which is An Act Instituting A Foreign Currency Deposit System in the Philippines.

Section 8. Secrecy of foreign currency deposits. – All foreign currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by PD No. 1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under PD No. 1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any other entity whether public or private; Provided, however, That said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. (As amended by PD No. 1035, and further amended by PD No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.)

Sen. Drilon said that Garcia faces contempt of court while Sen. Arroyo argued that they should grant some consideration to the witness. He is not acting in bad faith because he is just protecting the bank.  My question is, which should be followed, the law on foreign currency deposits or the command of the Impeachment Court to divulge Corona’s dollar accounts? The Senator-Judges had a deliberation on this and asked Garcia to submit a letter to the IC explaining the reason why he should not be cited in contempt.

From the start of the trial, Defense lawyers said that Corona is not guilty of all the charges and he is willing to prove that he has nothing to hide. Why, all of a sudden, in the middle of the trial will he ask to defer action on the bank summons?  And why would he seek motion that Carpio, (a more senior member of the Supreme Court who they said should have been the Chief Justice instead of the former) and Sereno, an appointee of Pres. PNoy should inhibit from such proceedings? He is the accused here and the Supreme Court is his turf, is it legal for him to stop the Impeachment Trial? Why is he crying wolf now, he should have done that at the start of the Impeachment proceedings. The Filipino people deserve to know the truth.

You don’t need to be a lawyer to understand how it is going. For the man on the street, the logical solution would be, “kung wala ng tiwala ang tao sa iyo, di ba dapat umalis ka na?” Then we could have avoided all these problems arising from the Impeachment trial, then there would be no fear of constitutional crisis in our land.

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So let me reiterate what Article 2 contains since it is still the same article that the Senate is still tackling until now.

II. RESPONDENT  COMMITTED  CULPABLE  VIOLATION  OF  THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE FAILED TO DISCLOSE TO THE PUBLIC HIS STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES, AND NET WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDERSEC. 17, ART. XI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.

« Respondent failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required by the Constitution.

« Some of the properties of Respondent are not included in his declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net worth, in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

« Respondent is suspected of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits (among others, a 300-sq. meter apartment in the Fort in Taguig).

Day 8 and Day 9 of the Impeachment Trial

In the previous trial, the Impeachment emphasized that they have only approved the promulgation of Article 2 to allow Prosecution to produce evidence on said article but should be limited to the first three, they disallowed number 4 which deals with the supposedly ill-gotten wealth of CJ Corona.  Yesterday, the Chair of the Impeachment court also allowed the Prosecution to change the sequence of the Articles of Impeachment (which I have previously linked here in my earlier blogs on the trial).  Article 2 is first on the list and subsequently Articles 3,7,1,8,4,5, and 6.

Yesterday, Megaworld Corporation’s Finance Director Giovanni Ng also testified on the alleged properties  of CJ Corona, The  Bellagio condominium unit of about 303.5 sq. meters for a total of P14.5M and the McKinley Hill property in the name of Ma. Czarina Corona (daughter  of Corona),  203 sq. meter property  for a total amount of P6.1M.  Allegedly, Corona bought it for his daughter.

The first and only witness for today was Megaworld’s Senior Vice-President Noli Hernandez who was directly examined by Private Prosecutor Atty. Joseph Joemer Perez.  He testified that Unit 38-B, a penthouse unit at the prestigious Bellagio was bought by Corona for P14.5M  around September 2008. He further said that the original cost is around 78K to 80K per square meter, multiply that by 303.5M and you’ll come up with roughly P24M. He also testified that the unit is the last one being sold, semi-bared and has sustained water damage. They have repackaged it to P19.6M and was  later adjusted to P14.5M which was the price finally sold to Corona and was paid in less than a year, that was roughly a 15% discount from the original price. It was the “uncommon circumstances”  that prompted Megaworld to  sell it at a lower price because of “force majeure” which in this case was typhoon.

Enrile asked, “Is it the practice for Megaworld to sell damaged unit?”  I was wondering myself if it was insured and Hernandez said that yes, the building was “normally insured”. He was asked to give detailed description of the defects but he said that it has more “economic sense” to them to sell it  as it was, damage and all, than to have it repaired before disposing said property.  Something seems really fishy here. In my simple understanding of the trial, if it was covered by insurance in the first place, were they not able to get anything from the insurance company? Why sell it a loss of roughly P10M just to recover their cost? Would it take that much for a unit, semi-bared, rain-damaged and all to have it repaired?  And he said further they did not sell it at a loss. Oh well,  let us recall how the senators reacted and questioned the witness Noli Hernandez:

Sen. Pia Cayetano – she asked what was the connection of the Article 2 in all those hullabaloo about the unit being sold at P14.5M. n She said they have wasted so much time on it.

Sen. Bongbong Marcos  manifested that he cannot make any connection between the Megaworld testimony and the Article 2 allegation. He said that he is not a lawyer but Senate President Enrile clarified that the actual price was not stated in Corona’s SALN.  Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of the Prosecution argued that there was a reduction in the price as stated in the SALN and the discount of P5.0M actually represents an improvement in the property.

Sen. Franklin Drilon reiterated what Article 2 was all about. It is not the act of filing itself but the filing of an accurate and truthful facts in the SALN. There must be a complete and timely disclosure of the assets.

-Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano asked Hernandez if there was a pending case of Megaworld when the transaction was made. Would they have offered the same price to any buyer?

-Sen. Jinggoy Estrada – he may seem funny at times but there are instances that I can’t make sense of what he wants to convey. At this point Hernandez said that discounts given are on a case-to-case basis, so it might probably depend also on who is the intended buyer of the property.

Sen. Serge Osmena asked for the price list of the condominium units (six in  all) and asked Hernandez if they filed any insurance claim.  What is a huge loss and a minimal loss? What does semi-bared mean?

Sen. Ralph Recto stated that the acquisition cost in the SALN should have been higher than P6.8M. He suggested changes in the procedure for the impeachment trial.

Sen. Kiko  Pangilinan asked Hernandez to submit a report on the damage.He asked for the Engineer’s Report on the damage of said unit sold and the former said that it is their Operations Dept. who is in charge of it.  Sen. Enrile said that they would prepare a subpoena for these to be submitted tomorrow.

Sen. Chiz Escudero– hindi binenta ng palugi. They did not sell it at a loss.

Sen. Manny Villar explained that there are really circumstances governing “special prices” for real estate properties.  He even cited that last December, one developer was willing to sell at a 40% discount but did not disclose the name. He is a real estate developer himself so he knows the ins and outs of the business.

Hernandez identified two cases in the Supreme Court by which they lost, thus making it appear that there was really no favor obtained from the Supreme Court to win their case.

“For the record, we wish to state that in all our business dealings with Chief Justice Corona, the company has neither solicited nor obtained any favor either from the Chief Justice or from the court,” Megaworld said.

“As a company, we shall uphold the highest standard of ethical business practices,” it further added.

As  I have said in my previous blogs, the trial is taking so long and for the “common tao” they might interpret that they are wasting people’s tax money. They were able to present just one witness today because of the manifestations of the senators. The trial was adjourned at 5pm.

And I agree with Sen. Osmena that Hernandez sounded more like a witness of the Defense than of the Prosecution. The Prosecution did not brief him enough on how they would conduct the direct examination of the witness. Sen. Enrile made a “gentle request” from the Prosecution to confer with the witness first before putting him on the witness stand. Do your assignments people, time might come when you can’t even prove what you are impeaching him for.

The Filipino people wants to know the truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God.

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I was buying pan de sal this morning at our village bakery when someone remarked, “ang bagal ng trial” (the trial is so slow). I smiled and asked her, “do you watch it everyday”? She said, it is eating a lot of her afternoons but she is curious how it would end. Then she volunteered her own two cents, “if he is not guilty, why not allow the Prosecution to present those evidences they have gathered, if he is not guilty and he is not hiding anything, then by all means show the people that he is not corrupt, that his conscience is clean”. 

For the man on the street, that’s how simple it would be, but the only way to evict a  Supreme Court justice is to have him impeached, right? And there is a process, rules of law that should be followed. “If I were him”, she said further, “I’ll save my face and just resign”.   My own sentiments, exactly.  They’ve been at it for the last seven days but every day, time is wasted on rhetorics. There is a continuing objection on Chief Justice Corona’s lawyers on the presentation of evidence that is meant to prove that there is an ill-gotten wealth.

BIR Commissioner  Kim Henares  was able to testify on the Income Tax Returns submitted by  the Coronas to the BIR, that one of his kids just earned a very minimal sum last 2009 and yet was able to buy a property worth 18M. For the common tao or observers like me, I would ask, “where did it all come from?”  I was reading Randy David’s byline on the Philippine Inquirer and I quote;

“When a high government official like the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court files his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, as required by law, is he not expected, like all government employees, to be truthful in his declaration? Does the mere act of filing satisfy the law? Is it irrelevant to inquire into the veracity of the statement?

It is absurd to think that the House prosecutors were charging Corona with simple failure to file his SALN.. No matter how poorly phrased the formal charges may be, it is obvious to anyone who cares to see that Corona is being charged not so much with failure to file is SALN, but with concealing the true extent and value of his assets.

Well said, Sir and this has been what they were arguing about the past three days, delaying the trial and wasting people’s money.  And if the Impeachment Court expects  the audience watching the trial to behave, at least those judges who think that they are above everyone else should also observe tact and proper behaviour and not just flaunt to everyone  that one is smarter and intelligent than the rest.

In the eyes of every Filipino, he has been judged, is he still fit to stay in the highest court of the land?

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By the way, here’s a summary of the Articles of  Impeachment  which was published by ABS CBN  news a few days ago. After four days of trial they are still under Article 2 bypassing Article 1 for future hearing.

Day 4, Case No. 0022011

Day 4 may be boring to some but for me, it’s the highlight of the last four days of the Impeachment trial.  The Prosecution were able to present only three witnesses today, Atty.  Randy Rutaquio, Register of Deeds of Taguig City, Atty. Carlo Alcantara, Register of Deeds of Quezon City and Atty. Segfrey Garcia, Register of Deeds of Marikina.  They came complete with the original TCTs  )Transfer Certificate of Title and CCTs (Condominium Certificate of Title), copies of which were marked by the Prosecution to ensure their veracity and existence.  These titles are not yet presented as evidences but the Defense panel seems to have lots of objections.  There were moments when the Defense had a continuing objections to every statement that the witnesses uttered. I am overwhelmed by the number of real  estate properties  listed in their names, in the names of their children and son-in-law.

I was curious when one of the anchors of ABS CBN mentioned that she has previously seen SALNs of other government officials and yet the declaration of properties acquired by in-laws  and children are not listed there and Atty. Vicky Avena, their resident political analyst said that under RA 6713, they are obliged.  I got curious  so I searched it on the net and here’s what it says.

So now we know and I am certainly learning a lot watching this hearing.

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Day 3  – The Chief Justice Trial

Wow, they are supposed to tackle Article 2, 1 and 7 of the Articles of  Impeachment but until now after two long recess, they have only touched Article 2 which is the presentation of Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) by CJ Corona.  Cuevas, head of the Defense panel made a manifestation on the sequence on the Articles of Impeachment and said further that they were not dealing with the impeachment proceedings to satisfy the common man. I don’t know where he was coming from, it’s good Enrile said that they can’t waste time on mere technicalities and ruled that they  proceed and comply with Article 2. The first court witness was the clerk of court of the Supreme Court Enriquetta Vidal. It was Atty. Mario Bautista, the lead private prosecutor who questioned their first witness. Enrile, however, reminded him that he had the tendency to cross-examine the witness which was improper and they cannot impeach their own witness.  The Prosecution failed in commanding the witness to produce the SALN because she said that she was not in the position to do so.

Now this is the fun part because everyone watching probably reacted too on how some of the senator judges interpellated  Supreme Court’s  clerk of court Vidal. It was Sen. Drilon who asked her if she will bring the SALN or not. Actually Sen. Drilon saved the day for the Prosecution with his intelligent query. Maybe, Vidal was not so much impressed by Atty. Mario Bautista but when it was the senators’ turn to question her she finally admitted that she brought said record with her but was in a quandary whether she was doing the right thing in turning it over  to the Impeachment Court. She was apprehensive to submit it without Supreme Court’s  authorization. Being the custodian, Enrile said that she should produce it since they should not be impeded by any branch of the government in performing their duties.  Sen.  Joker Arroyo suggested that she be given one day to seek  SC’s authorization. Sen. Allan Peter Cayetano said that it is not a request but an order of the Impeachment Court. Sen. Kiko Pangilinan said that  seeking SC authorization would undermine the power of the Impeachment Court.  Sen. Francis Escudero assured the witness Vidal that the subpoena issued by the IC is a valid defense. I love the  way  Sen. Jinggoy Estrada  took the floor and urged Vidal to obey the subpoena of the IC . He seems funny at times but he makes sense.  Kung wala nga namang itinatago, bakit hindi ipakita? (if there is nothing to hide, why not show it?) The presiding Judge, Sen. Enrile reiterated that the subpoena is not a request but an order. The Impeachment Court is a different body, not co-equal to the Supreme Court.  Sen. Pimentel added that if she ever goes to court to defend herself, he was sure there would be many lawyers to volunteer to defend her. That probably prompted Vidal to finally submit the SALN and for both Prosecutor and Defense to mark it as exhibits. And it is interesting to note that right after Vidal turned over the SALN to the Impeachment Court, Atty.  Marquez,  the spoke person for the Supreme Court held a media briefing saying that there never was any hesitation on their part to have said documents shared with the public and that long before the trial started,  the Supreme Court Justice  allowed it.  If that was the case, why was Vidal in a quandary and confused about turning over the SALN to the IC and kept repeating that she needed the  authority of her big boss?

The Defense’ head lawyer Atty. Cuevas said that Vidal may be subjected to criminal charges because of what she did but Sen. Enrile asked him that he should explain to Corona the need to submit the SALN. After more than thirty  minutes of recess, they assumed session  at around 4:40pm only to stop again after a minute for a long, long one hour recess.  They presented the second witness Marianito Dimaandal who is in charge of keeping the SALN of Corona in Malacanang.  He presented certified true copies of SJ Corona’s SALN from 1992  to 2002 which he could not even say are truly authentic.

It was  an exciting third day, a day where everyone learned something about disclosing public documents for public scrutiny which in this case is the SALN.  It must be too hard on Vidal to make that final decision to turn over the SALN which she brought to court. The agony of being a witness, the fear  of saying something that would trigger the ire of the Senator judges or the Prosecution or even the Defense. She was composed but you could see in her expression that she was afraid.  The idea of presenting the SALN is for the Prosecution team to establish whether what Corona  filed was true and correct and to establish if he really was capable of acquiring those assets which are part of the articles of his impeachment. And this may take a long time.

I wonder how long this would take, but it surely makes TV afternoon viewing truly interesting.  The Prosecution should really do its assignment and  prepare itself  for another battle with the seasoned and experienced trial lawyers of the Defense. We are speaking of tax money here which could be channelled  somewhere else if not for this Impeachment trial.

Ride on Day 4!

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And here I was, prepared to sit in front of the television for four hours, at least!

I have just watched Day 2 of the Impeachment proceedings.  I was so looking forward how it would proceed today but I was disappointed when it ended two hours after it started. I am not a lawyer, I am just an ordinary Filipino citizen who is interested  in what is happening around and 12 units in basic Law subjects would not even be enough for me to fully understand all the legal hullabaloo.

Case Number 0022011, 2nd Day 2:06pm

The prosecution wanted to tackle Corona’s alleged failure to disclose  his  Statement of Assets and Liabilities  and Net worth (SALN) at the start of the proceedings. The Impeachment Court denied the request by the Prosecution to have Corona and his family appear in court. The Impeachment Court said that Corona cannot be expected to testify against himself. Likewise his family cannot be summoned to testify against Corona. Sen.Cayetano expressed his reservations on the decision of the Impeachment Court to deny summons for Corona and his family. He disagreed with the decision to reject the summons. They had a thirty-minute adjournment and voted on the motion to summon the Corona family. It was a 14-6 vote in favor of the ruling. Earlier on, Sen. Enrile has agreed to subpoena the Register of Deeds. Further, the Impeachment Court denied  the defense’ motion to exclude private prosecutions.

Presentation of Evidence

The Prosecution which was represented by Rep. Barzaga. He  asked the Impeachment Court if they could start with the 2nd article of impeachment  since  according to him, and based on public opinions and media news, they are interested in knowing if the properties allegedly owned by Corona are truly his. Cuevas, representing the Defense argued about the manner of presentation and that public opinion should be disregarded.  And he also said that the sequence of evidence should not be changed. They were not ready to present evidence for article one when Enrile asked why they were starting with article two. Sen. Arroyo said that they cannot limit which article is to be discussed.  The Prosecution was  ready to present computer-generated certified true copies of TCTs (Transfer Certificate of  Title) as evidentiary materials but the Defense was  not ready to cross-examine. They were at an impasse so the hearing was postponed until tomorrow.

If this was a boxing match, this time the Defense scored a point. I greatly admire Sen.Pres. Enrile in the way he is conducting this Impeachment trial.  He surely knows his job. And I hope that in the next few days, there would be  a fair and orderly trial. At least by tomorrow, the two sides would be ready to present  and cross-examine said evidences. I want to know if the computer generated evidences are already authenticated by the Register of Deeds since  the  court have just issued subpoena to the Register of Deeds. My question is, if you were on the side of the Prosecution and you are the one who ask for postponement because you are not ready, wouldn’t that give a wrong signal to the people following the trial? In my lowly understanding on what transpired today, when you are in a battle, you should have enough ammunitions, right?

Day 3, here we go!

 

 

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