Tuesday, 24 January 2012 11:30
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile is expecting the prosecution to finish within one month its presentation of evidence in the ongoing impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona despite delays in the first four days of trial.
”My estimate here is that if the presentation of evidence will be done skillfully, it will take a month,” Enrile said in an interview over radio station dzBB on Sunday.
Enrile, sitting as presiding officer of the Senate impeachment court, said he also expects the defense panel of Corona to spend one month in the presentation of its evidence.
”In other articles of impeachment, it does not need to present evidence. Those are records of court decisions which are public records,” Enrile explained.
Enrile clarified that the impeachment court encountered delays in the first four days of trial not due to technicality but to marking of evidence.
”That’s the reason why I directed the lawyers and the witnesses of the prosecution to do the markings in the morning to avoid delay,” Enrile said.
So far, the House prosecution team has already presented five witnesses who submitted voluminous documents pertaining to the statements of assets, liabilities and net worth of Corona and the certificates of titles of the Chief Justice’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.
The prosecution team is expecting to present 11 more witnesses, including Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares, when the impeachment trial resumes on Tuesday.
Enrile explained that he cannot blame both the prosecution and the defense panels if they resort on technicality because “this rule evolves over 1,000 years of trial.”
”We cannot avoid the technicality because we are judging one person here. Perhaps it would be too technical for those who can’t understand but these are tools to get those who need to be punished,” Enrile said.
”The senator-judges cannot say we have to rush the proceedings because we are dealing with the interest of a fellow human being, you’re going to dishonor him, you are going to take him out of the high position in the government,” he added.
Enrile was reacting to a plan of Senator-Judge Panfilo Lacson to discuss in a caucus on how to avoid the technicality which, Lacson said, delays the impeachment proceedings.
After what he termed as ‘birth pains’ both for prosecution and defense panels during the first four days of trial, Enrile expressed optimism that the trial would now be smoother and quicker as the prosecution continues to present evidences and witness starting on Tuesday to prove that Corona is guilty of Article 2 of the eight articles of impeachment.
Article 2 deals on “failure (of Corona) to disclose his SALN.” Under the same article, the prosecutors also accused the Chief Justice of amassing ill-gotten wealth which he allegedly failed to declare in his SALN.
Last week, Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said the impeachment trial is expected to last even beyond the March 24 adjournment of Congress for the annual Lenten break. (PNA)
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