Day 42 : Corona Cameback, Defense Rested Its Case (Corona Impeachment Trial)

After the walkout issue last Tuesday and after signing the hospital waiver, Chief Justice Renato Corona went back to the Senate Impeachment Court to continue with his testimony and to answer questions from prosecution’s cross examination and from the Senator Judges.

When he got back to the witness stand the defense manifested that they will no longer conduct any further direct examination on the Chief Justice. Because of the manifestation and the earlier manifestation of the prosecution that if in case no additional direct questioning from the defense they will waive cross examining the witness, thus became the case. The prosecution waive their chance to cross examine the Chief Justice and just relied on the testimonies and documents presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

During today’s trial, CJ Corona also signed and submitted (unconditionally) the waiver for his bank accounts which was later decided on by the Sen. Juan Ponce-Enrile not to act on it anymore.

Also during the break when the Senators are having caucus, the Impeachment court suddenly became a family reunion as the Basa and Corona family reconciled with each other. It was a surprise for many that after exchanges of not so good words for each other they finally patched things up and reconciled.

Several Senator judges posted questions on the Chief Justice mainly clarifying his reason why after admitting he has 3 dollar accounts did not declare it on his SALN. To which Corona answered, that those were covered by the Foreign Currency Act thus no need to disclose. During the questioning of Sen. Estrada regarding what he thought about Ombudsman Carpio-Morales motive or reason to testify against him, Corona mentioned that the current Ombudsman was never really his ally and he thought that she allowed herself to be used by Malacañang. He also told the court about Carpio-Morales’ retirement benefit request which the Chief Justice denied. That statement prompted the Ombudsman to went on a presscon to answer Corona’s accusations. In her own words she said “I am fuming mad, He’s a certified liar”. Carpio-Morales also said that the issue is not getting higher retirement benefit but Corona’s alleged cutting of benefit from the usual 1.5 million to 650 thousand pesos. She also said that she has 1 dollar account in BPI and that she disclosed it in her SALN.

The trial ended with defense submitting its formal offer of evidences, thus prompting the resting of its case. Impeachment trial will be back on Monday for the oral arguments and decision  is expected to be promulgated on Tuesday.

PNoy and other Gov’t officials filed their SALNs

Following today’s deadline for the filing of their Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN, gov’t officials led by President Benigno S. Aquino have already filed their SALN as of today. According to Malacañang’s Abi Valte, as early as April 24, 2012, PNoy have already filed his SALN in the office of the Ombudsman.

Meanwhile cabinet officials were also done with their filing and some of those who have already filed their SALNs were ES Ochoa, DOTC’s Mar Roxas, DOEs Rene Almendras, DBMs Butch Abad and others.

On the part of the Judiciary specifically the Supreme Court, this filing is very important as this is the same document being question on the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice. Defense lawyer Ramon Esguerra said, Chief Justice Corona will definitely file his SALN today, but as to its disclosure he said there should be permission first from the en banc.

Senate also was not left behind in filing this year’s SALN, and 4 of its early filers were senators Villar, Lacson, Escudero and Trillanes. According to the SALN of Sen. Manny Villar he has net worth at P854,213,716.00 including investments in shares of stocks valued at P219,228,941.00, and has no listed liabilities. Sen. Ping Lacson on the other hand  totaled his net worth to P22,637,612.46.00, with his assorted assets amounting to P39,075,528.71 and liabilities amounting to P16.5 million. Sen. Chiz Escudero have P9,867,082.00 of total net worth from his assets of P11,367,082.00 and liabilities of P1.5 million. And lastly Sen. Antonio Trillanes declare a total net worth of P3,897,121.50 with assets amounting P10.6 million and liabilities of P6.7 million.

TRIALserye: The Pilot Episode (Corona Impeachment Trial)

The day has come for yet another first in our history as today marked the first day of the Impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. Early this morning, CJ’s supporters gathered in-front of the Supreme Court to show support for their boss where a fierce and in fighting mood Corona addressed them. In his speech before his supporters he enumerated 3 people who wants him out of the supreme court and again denied every allegations stated on the articles of impeachment which are Betrayal of Public Trust, Culpable Violation of the Constitution and Graft and Corruption.

During the afternoon at about 2pm, the trial started with a prayer by Sen. Edgardo Angara and the opening statement of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who is acting as the presiding judge. Present in the Senate Impeachment hall are almost all the Senator-Judges except Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago who is suffering from hypertension and Sen. Loren Legarda who was said to be in the United States. And as earlier speculated, the Chief Justice attended the first day of his trial in the senate together with his wife Cristina and other supporters like SC Spokesman Midas Marquez.

In his opening statement Sen. Pres. Enrile assured that the trial will be bounded by rules and not by public opinion or emotions. After that was the presentation of both the prosecution and defense panels led by  Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. and former Justice Serapin Cuevas respectively. Thereafter was their opening statements successively (Tupas for the presecution and Eduardo delos Angeles for the defense).

During today’s session also, the prosecution seemingly scored against the defense as their motion for preliminary investigation was denied by the presiding judge. It may be a setback for the side of the defense but they’re confident it will not hamper the course of their strategy.

Today is indeed another landmark in our nation’s history. This is the first time that we are experiencing an impeachment trial of the highest justice of the land. Although we are not virgin to impeachment trials as we already experienced it during the time of Erap, this time was different because it will show how matured we became in regards to this democratic process. This will also be a test to our Senators, who are sitting as judges, to be impartial and act as neutral as they can and try the case without undue biases to their political affiliations and linings. And lastly this is a test for all of us, because in any way, it will still affect us because we are all part of this process.

This is democracy in action so we ought to be discerning and objective in all the news and information that will be fed to our minds. Examine the facts and statements and not just rely on the popular opinions. Failure of the trial will be our failure also and its success will be success of our democracy and all our democratic institutions.

———————————————————————————————————————-

“Impeachment is not a remedy for private wrongs; it’s a method of removing someone whose continued presence in office would cause grave danger to the nation.”Charles Ruff