Thursday, 08 March 2012 13:07
The House of Representatives' prosecution panel said on Tuesday the decision of the Senate impeachment court to admit as evidence the bank records of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is "a major victory of truth."
"This is a major step towards accountability and our quest for truth," said prosecution spokesman Aurora Rep. Edgardo "Sonny" Angara.
In admitting the bank documents as evidence, the Senate merely sustained the prosecution’s contention that these documents were not fake and that the bank secrecy laws do not include an exclusionary provision on admissibility of bank records if they were illegally obtained.
Marikina City Rep. Romero Federico "Miro" Quimbo, also spokesman for the prosecution, expressed hopes the Senate’s ruling on the admissibility of evidence related to the chief justice's bank accounts with the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) would lead to the conviction of the chief magistrate on Article 2 of the impeachment complaint.
"Accepting the evidence only strengthens whatever verdict they (senator-judges) will render later on," said Quimbo in a press briefing.
He pointed out that while the House prosecutors "welcome any decision on interlocutory or intermediate issues, but at the end of the day, we are looking forward to the 16 senators who will convict (Corona)."
"That’s the number that we really want to anticipate or that’s we’re excited about. I think we all learned our lessons that we don’t celebrate until the fat lady sings," he added.
The Marikina City solon said that with the latest decision of the Senate impeachment court, Corona’s defense lawyers were left with no choice but to present him as witness to personally defend himself against charges of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
"If they want the chief justice to have a buyable or acceptable defense in the basis of the proof that we’ve been able to show, we are certain that they really don’t have any choice (but to present him as witness)," he said.
"If they (defense) want their client to be exonerated, they need to present him (Corona) before the impeachment tribunal," he added.
For his part, House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III, another prosecution spokesman, said the admission of the evidence especially with regard to the PSBank accounts, "is another nail added to the coffin of betrayal of public trust on Article 2."
Still, he said, the decision would be left to the Senate impeachment court.
"Para sa amin sa prosecution, sapat na ang ebidensiya. Sa desisyon niya (Corona) na ‘di na siya tetestigo sa darating na mga araw, if he’s not afraid, then dapat siyang tumestigo. Ang mahalaga ang katotohanan. Kapag siya’y tumestigo, lalo pang lalabas ang mga katotohanan," he said.
Last week, the prosecution rested its case with reservation to present evidence pertaining to Corona’s dollar account, which is subject of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court.
The prosecution was confident of having presented "overwhelming evidence" to convict the chief magistrate in three out of eight articles of impeachment filed against him.
The 11-man prosecution team decided not to present anymore evidence on five other articles of impeachment, saying they wanted to speed up the proceedings by allowing the Senate impeachment court to decide on Articles 2, 3 and 7, of the impeachment complaint which they described as "strong."
Meanwhile, Tanada expects an early resolution on the impeachment case against the chief magistrate with the announcement of the Senate to conduct impeachment proceedings in the morning and afternoon instead of its original schedule of 2 p.m. onwards Monday to Thursday.
"Nagpapasalamat kami sa Senado at nagdesisyon sila na gawing umaga at hapon ang impeachment proceedings. Sa aking palagay, after Holy Week, ilalabas na nila ang desisyon," he said.
by: Lilybeth G. Ison - PNA
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