Thursday, 16 February 2012 13:48
Senate President and Impeachment Court Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile said on Tuesday he assumed "full responsibility" for the issuance of a subpoena based on the prosecution’s request for supplemental documents on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged dollar accounts which a bank official said were fake.
”This presiding officer assumes full responsibility for issuing a subpoena for Corona's bank records and is ready to defend it before any court of law,” Enrile said after the impeachment court tackled the alleged fake documents attached to the prosecution’s request for subpoena.
It was Senator-Judge Gregorio Honasan who questioned whether or not the fake documents acquired through "unreasonable searches" can be used in the impeachment proceedings.
”I’m not asking for the correct answer. I’m just asking for answer so that I can incorporate this when we render our verdict,” Honasan said.
The prosecution insisted it never said the bank documents were authentic or genuine but “felt it warrants attention of this impeachment court.”
”The prosecution believes that it is its duty to submit the documents to this court as they may have bearing,” deputy lead prosecutor Rep. Rodolfo Farinas said.
”To show our good faith, we just revealed the numbers of the bank accounts. If we knew it was fake, we could have not included it,” Farinas added.
Senator-Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago grilled the prosecution panel for submitting to the court “very strange, bizarre documents” provided by a "small lady" to prosecutor Rep. Reynaldo Umali.
”The issue is can counsel attached a document on which he knows nothing about? Why did you do this to the court? Can you allege something that you have no information but it’s based on anonymous source? You’ll be cited in contempt if you will do that in ordinary court,” Santiago said.
Santiago stressed submission of fake documents in court can be basis for disbarment.
”Let us grant the presumption of innocence to the prosecution, do they still have liability? Yes, you still have the liability,” Santiago explained.
Santiago urged both the prosecution and the defense not to resort to trial by publicity, adding that if that’s the case, “perhaps we should ask for a change of venue. Perhaps out of the country.”
Asked if she will pursue sanction to the prosecution, Santiago clarified that she was just lecturing the prosecution as well as the defense "to avoid repetition of the same incident in the future.”
Santiago had to leave early the impeachment court after her blood pressure shot up to 170/90.
With the issue raised by Honasan, Enrile directed both the prosecution and the defense to submit memorandum on the legality of the subpoena to the impeachment court within five days.
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