Posts Tagged ‘Corona’s Impeachment’

I am actually at a loss for words as I write this.  And I am playing some of their songs on YouTube while doing this blog. One need not introduce the Bee Gees because apart from the Beatles, they’re also one of the most influential groups while I was growing up. Back in the 60’s when I was in grade school, my dad used to have those round flat disks which they called 45  then LPs (long-playing records) followed suit. If you ask me, I guess the 60’s has the most number of  music artists and singers that ever graced the music world. And the era was so rich with unforgettable music including The British Invasion. Ano ang pamana ni Lady Gaga?

Okay, okay, I am feeling so nostalgic that I want to play all the popular Bee Gees music.  Here are some of their well-known songs that catapulted them to fame during the 60’s. Thanks to those who uploaded them on YouTube. Got this particular album Best of Bee Gees on cassette but I don’t know where it is now because we no longer have cassette record player.

Know what I mean? Before you know it, you’ll be humming the same tunes long after you’ve heard them. That’s what you call LSS to the max. I am also looking forward to tomorrow’s hearing on the Chief Justice’s trial. Finally, CJ Corona will grace the witness stand to prove that  whatever wealth he has accumulated during his term of office as a government employee has been included in his SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) which is a requirement for them to file every year. It does not matter how much, whether it is a mere P10.00 pesos or $10,000,000.00 dollars, the Filipino people have a right to know the truth.  Always remember this, the truth will set you free and you can sleep well knowing that you’re not hiding anything.

Good luck Jessica Sanchez. Show them  all that you’ve got what it takes to be a champion.  Make the Filipinos proud. Let’s hope that you’ll also find time to visit the Philippines because I am sure you will be welcomed with open arms.


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Mark this on your calendar – Tuesday, May 22, 2012. It’s Corona’s turn to clear his name.  Finally!

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I must admit that since the re-opening of Corona’s impeachment trial last week, my afternoons are being eaten up  staying in front of the TV and making notes of the unfolding drama right before my eyes. It’s more than a teleserye because you can’t even predict the ending and the characters seem to change clothes as fast as they can say, Your honor.  There is this  lady senator who acts like maamong tupa one moment and a raging volcano the next.  And the faces of the Defense team, Tatang Cuevas makes me really laugh sometimes.  Kidding aside, I learned a lot the past two days  and it does help that my experience  as a bank employee for more than twenty-one years made me  more appreciative of the ongoing trial. Bank transactions  – deposits, withdrawals,  bank transfers,  ending balances, AMLC, they’re  familiar enough .

DAY 37

Yesterday was day 37  of the Corona impeachment trial and the senator judges were in complete attendance (for the first time, I think).  Last week, one of the lawyers of the Defense told the Impeachment Court that CJ Corona agreed to testify at a  later date and they asked  Enrile to issue a subpoena to Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on the alleged $10M  dollar account of Corona.  They wanted to prove that such account does not exist.  Morales would be a hostile witness for the Defense.  She arrived at the Senate  before 2pm and she was the first witness to testify for the day.  Cuevas recalled that she was the only one who dissented to the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice in 2010 on what was considered a midnight appointment made by Arroyo. When Morales received a complaint regarding some dollar accounts of Corona, she wrote to the latter to explain about it and sought the assistance of the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) and formed a panel to act on the complaint. She started a fact-finding investigation  and was able to obtain materials relevant to the complaint.  She explained that she was just discharging  her mandate. The Defense has moved to consider her as a hostile witness so Enrile declared the Ombudsman as a hostile witness to the Defense.

Cuevas has finally met his match. It was a verbal tussle between two former justices of the highest court of the land.  And the thing is, the Defense team thought Morales’ testimony would strengthen Corona’s case but it did the opposite, it backfired on them.  Morales was able to obtain a 17-page report from AMLC  detailing the dollar trail of the  various Corona accounts consisting of about  $10M deposited in five banks.  I would like to point out that the Anti Money Laundering Act (R.A. 9160)  criminalizes money laundering, creates a financial intelligence unit (FIU), imposes requirements on customer identification, record-keeping and reporting of covered and suspicious transactions, relaxes strict bank deposit secrecy laws and provides for freezing/seizure/forfeiture recovery of dirty money/property.
It was later amended by R.A. 9194.

Katarungan at Katotohanan – Day 38

Sen. Pimentel in his interview prior to the start of the hearing said that AMLC should explain  the report on Corona accounts.  Ombudsman Morales showed in her second day of  testifying before the Impeachment Court  a  power point presentation of the summary of US$ inflow  in Corona’s account from April 14, 2003 to December 22, 2011 amounting to $12,155,350.86.  Staggering? Questionable?  Suspicious? Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt, only he can explain where this huge amount came from.  Morales mentioned that Corona made significant deposits and withdrawals during the 2004 and 2007 elections and the week of his impeachment last December 2011.  It’s interesting to note that Bank of the Philippine Islands where I used to work issued this statement since it was mentioned as one of the banks where Corona maintains his account:

Bank of the Philippine Islands
Statement re: Corona Impeachment Trial

“In the banking industry, our relationship with our depositors is built on trust. We cannot build and sustain this trust if we do not adhere to and observe the time-honored banker and depositor confidentiality, subject of course, to certain exceptions provided for by law. At the moment, we cannot make a comment on the alleged dollar accounts with us.”

BPI is not actually denying that Corona has a dollar  account with the bank .  Oh yes, Justice Cuevas, hindi na uso ang passbook. BPI has been using ATM cards since the 80’s 🙂 And here’s  a complete summary on what happened on Day 38. It’s an ABS CBN news blog. Thanks ABS CBN!

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Trite as it may sound, I actually missed the Impeachment trial. For almost a month, our senator-judges were on recess so the impeachment resumed only yesterday (day 35).  Sen. Sotto gave a recap on the previous days of the impeachment trial.  Last March 22, Justice Secretary de Lima sent a letter saying that she cannot testify and on May 4, the Prosecution filed a motion to quash on the appearance of de Lima. Senate Pres. Enrile ruled that the motion was denied, and allowed the Defense to summon DOJ  Sec. de Lima to testify again.  But things have changed, this afternoon, one of the Defense lawyers  Jose Roy III said that they might not need to present de Lima after all.

It’s  quite interesting to note that whereas before, the Prosecution team earned the ire of Senate Pres. Enrile for being unprepared, this time, it’s the Defense’ turn to receive admonition  and frequent banging of gavel from Sen. Enrile. He said that all witnesses presented yesterday during the resumption of the trial were irrelevant to the Article 2 of the impeachment.  “If you think there is no case presented before this Court, that’s your problem. I guarantee that we’ll give you a fair trial”, Enrile said to the Defense. Nothing much has been discussed yesterday because the Defense  was  not ready to present more witnesses so the trial was adjourned early.

There was quite a big difference though on what happened today. The trial started with Sen. Angara making a manifestation as regard to the Defense motion that he inhibits from the proceedings since his son, Rep. Sonny Angara is a spokesperson of the Prosecution team.  He said and I quote: “I consider it as a constitutional duty on my part to act as a judge & no argument can convince me I should inhibit.”  He reiterated that  he had no hand in his son Rep. Sonny Angara being chosen as one of spokespersons for the Prosecution.

It was Defense lawyer Roy who conducted the direct examination of the  first witness of the day, Atty. Lucita Cristi, RTC Clerk of Court to prove ownership of Basa Guidote Enterprises. Cristi testified that there were two libel cases against the Basa family but before the final  court order, the principal against the case  Jose Ma. Basa  died  and the Prosecution questioned why there was still a motion for execution when law says that the death of the accused frees him from any  civil and criminal liability.  It seemed that the wife of the chief justice had again a hand in this because these two cases  prompted the shares of stock of the Basa group to be auctioned publicly.  Next witness was Sheriff Joseph Bisnar  and he was there to prove that the Basa shares of stocks consisting of about  4, 839 were auctioned as a result of Mrs. Corona’s kin, the Basas  losing in the libel case. And this is the most interesting part. The public auction was only attended by CJ Corona’s daughter Carla Castillo,  her mom and her lawyer. Castillo bought the shares at only P28,000.00  but the par value of the shares  and actual worth was almost half a million making her the majority shareholder  by having more than 90% of the total ownership of the Basa group (Basa Guidote Enterprises).  Money changed hands between daughter and mother with the latter acting as the executor. Any right-thinking individual would ask, if it was a public auction, why was it that there was only one bidder?  And the bid price was so undervalued.

It seemed that getting Bisnar as a witness backfired on the Defense. He didn’t even know that Jose Ma. Basa died prior to issuing the writ of execution. He belongs to the judicial branch of the government and yet he was not so sure about Corona being the Associate Justice around the time the sale was done.  Prosecution pointed out that writ of execution should not have been implemented because the accused is dead.  The Prosecution took more time questioning the witness than the direct examination by the Defense. They did their homework coming out and eliciting more facts about the sale of such stocks which seemed to be questionable.  And here’s the bombshell, a positive one if you ask me, Roy said that Corona told him that he is willing to testify. Yahoo, when will that be, the people are waiting. Senator Lacson suggested that Corona make a waiver on his dollar accounts because they fear that when the time comes that the latter presents himself to the court, he might invoke his right to self-incrimination and the bank secrecy law. Roy said that if the  Impeachment Court is inclined that they  should address the  issue of $10M,  which is now pending  in  the Ombudsman, then they will willingly confront the issue.  Sen. Enrile said to the Defense that “any asset, regardless of whether legally or illegally obtained, is a function of the SALN.

I’ll wait for the day when the Chief Justice will have his day in court, defending himself  and proving to each  and every Filipino that he deserves an acquittal, not a conviction.

In matters of truth and justice, there is no difference between large and small problems, for issues concerning the treatment of people are all the same. 
-Albert Einstein 

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We’ve all been talking about it since day 1 but I stopped blogging about it on day 15. What the…..like any concerned Filipino citizen, I continued to watch it though until they went on Lenten recess last Thursday. It’s more than a month-long vacation for our esteemed senator judges, plenty of time to think and yes, reflect on what is happening  and what happened so far with the impeachment trial. Lately, Pulse Asia made this survey, a performance and trust ratings of various government officials and CJ Corona is included in it. One lady senator threatened to put them (and all those conducting their own surveys asking the CJ to resign) in contempt of court. I wonder if they are violating any rule but most of us appreciate these surveys if only to know the pulse of the nation. An economist friend who has a regular column in a daily newspaper says that if Corona is acquitted, it would surely affect our economy. Take that as something negative.

I am a regular reader of  this site, an updated  and thorough analyses on Corona’s impeachment. Raissa Robles is a journalist/blogger and I always  look  forward to what she writes  on Rappler.  Do visit her site , she’s a bright light amidst all the noise between the Prosecution and Defense teams.  And I always believe ;  “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:32

And here’s an open letter  to Sr. Flory Basa, FMM which I found in my inbox, it was penned by Dennis Concepcion.

Last night, I posted in an online Inquirer article an open letter to Sister Flory Basa, aunt of Cristina Roco Corona. Almost as soon as hit the Save button, comments poured in, and people started sharing and re-posting the letter in different blogs and sharing sites. I even found a Cebuano translation of the letter just today. Although there were a few negative reactions, majority of those who commented were very supportive. I guess a lot of people share the same sentiments as I have.

I am sharing the letter in its original form, and some of the links to sites where it has been re-posted so you would be able to read both the good and not so good reactions.

Dear Sister Flory,

I almost gave up on the impeachment process. I thought it was going nowhere. The defense team was succeeding in their suppression of evidences. The prosecution was fumbling all over the place. Some Senator-Judges were openly showing their dogged resolve to literally look the other way as the impeached pretender to the position of Chief Justice trampled on the very basic tenets of integrity and honesty. Like you, I had left it to the Good Lord to do justice in His own time.

But then your family, most especially you, came along. God indeed works in mysterious ways! The lawyers of Mr Corona and their misguided followers have done and will continue to do everything to discredit you, short of calling you a lying senile and disgruntled relative who wants more money. I saw your interview on TV, and you have that serenity about you. It is a peace of mind and soul that only true forgiveness can bring about. But you also have that resoluteness in your voice – firm, truthful and honest. You said charity made you forgive the Coronas, but truth and justice compels you to speak up and let the people confront the truth about Mr Renato Corona.

God has not only been good to you, He has shown even more compassion to us the Filipino people. While a lot of people your age would have been beset with illnesses of both body and mind, you have been blest with good health and a mind still so sharp and lucid. It is not so for no reason, I am sure. When the battle seemed lost, you came forth like a shining star to remind us not to lose hope. God allowed you to outlive your siblings so that the truth may be proclaimed in all its brutal glory, and not in the convoluted version being peddled to us by those who seek to block our nation’s search for justice.

Thank you for your courage in proclaiming the truth. Mr Corona might have succeeded in having his character flaws overlooked by the Judicial and Bar Council when he was planted by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the Supreme Court. He might have pushed his luck too far when he got his minions in the SC to legitimize his midnight appointment. I do not think he will be able to shut out the flames of truth that you now so resolutely hold in your hands. While they have everything to lose and will do anything and everything to cover up their lies, you only have your faith in God and his abiding fidelity to his promise that His justice will be supreme over all human frailties.

If it is not too much to ask, we will be forever grateful if you will do us a great favour – please take the witness stand. Please tell this nation how this man who claims the exalted position of Chief Justice as his unalienable right has done injustice to his own kin for more than 30 years. Please tell our Senators, who have been vested by our sovereign will with power in order to protect our nation’s interest, how the same power when wielded by someone who do not have the probity, integrity and moral uprightness not to be drowned by it can abuse the same to inflict harm on the very people he is supposed to serve and protect. You, who are old and weak, you whose only weapon is the truth, can teach our power-tripping Senators a most valuable lesson in humility and fairness.

I know it might be too much to ask from a frail, 90 year old servant of the Lord. But the stakes are too high – our future and those of the generations to come. If we allow this travesty to pass, we would have sold our souls to the devil. What are we teaching to our children? That as long as you can justify it in the rules of court, it is okay to be to be dishonest? That it is okay to do wrong as long as you can win it in court? That it is okay to do away with morals and the sense of what is right and what is wrong as long as there are good lawyers that you can pay to twist the facts and suppress the truth? Is this what we want for our country? Please say it isn’t so Sister Flory. For your family’s and for our country’s sake, please say it isn’t so.

And before I end this rather long letter, I would like to assure you that in case you do decide to take the witness stand and if Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago dare try to scare you off with her histrionics and self-serving plaudits to her perceived superior intelligence, and God forbids that something bad happens to you, I will march on the street even if I should do it by my lonesome self, and demand that God open up the ocean and swallow the entire Senate and everyone else who have dragged this country into the dark abyss.God is with you. We are with you. All right thinking Filipinos should be with you. Let us not stay in the dark. You have the light. Lead us to our redemption as a nation. God Bless you Sister Flory.



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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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