Thursday, May 31, 2012

Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty as charged

An overwhelming majority of Senators, 20-3, voted for the removal of Corona from office, most of them noting that the top magistrate no longer deserves his post. This makes Corona the first government official to be convicted by an impeachment court.

Senators Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Jose "Jinggoy" Estrada, TG Guingona, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena III, Kiko Pangilinan, and Koko Pimentel, Ralph Recto, Bong Revilla, Tito Sotto, and Antonio Trillanes, Manny Villar, and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile all have voted for Corona's conviction.

Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Santiago, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., meanwhile voted for Corona's acquittal.

"The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Chief Justice Renato Corona, upon three articles of impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives, by a guilty vote of 20 senators, has found him guilty of the charge under Article II.

"Now therefore, be it adjudged that Renato Corona, is hereby convicted of the charge against him in Article II of the Articles of impeachment, so ordered," Enrile added.

Enrile also said as he explained his vote, "there is deliberate act of excluding substantial assets."

"This is not justice, political or legal. Certainly not the law..it is only naked power, as it was in 1972," however said Arroyo as he defended his vote.

Each senator was given two minutes to explain their votes while as presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was last to vote.

Corona was impeached by the House of Representatives in December after 188 congressmen signed the impeachment complaint.

From the original eight, the prosecution team reduced its complaint to three articles of impeachment.

Senator Lito Lapid delivered best explanation

Enrile said he picked Lapid’s speech as his favorite because it was “very simple.”

“Lito Lapid. Very simple. He believed in Rudy Farinas. You must give credit to Rudy, the way he exposed the issues, very graphic, very simple. It could be understood by the hoi polloi,” the senate president said in an interview with ANC on Wednesday.

Who needs highfalutin words and legalese? Because for Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, it was Senator Lito Lapid who delivered the best explanation of vote in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Lapid was among the 20 senators who voted for Corona’s conviction. He was the only one who had no speech prepared.

"Bilang high school graduate po, sa ating mga kababayan, anong sasabihin ni Lito Lapid na hindi marunong mag-Ingles, na hindi kaalaman sa batas, ano kaya ang magiging desisyon? Didisisyunan po ng katas-taasang hukom na isang high school graduate lang at taga probinsya ng Pampanga," Lapid said in his explanation of vote.

The action star-turned-politican has long been criticized for his inability to speak straight English. He is however a favorite by the masses.

"Kaya noon pong nagsasalita si Chief Justice Corona, nagsusumbong sa taumbayan, awang-awa po ako sa kanya. Akala ko totoo ang sinasabi niya. Hindi pala," Lapid said in his speech.

And like Lapid, Enrile said it was prosecutor Ilocos Norte Rep. Rudy Farinas who convinced him that Corona is guilty of the charges.

Farinas presented the alleged inaccuracies of Corona’s testimonies during the closing argument of the prosecution team.

Lapid was one of the most anticipated senators on Tuesday as his name trended on social networking sites even before it was his turn to explain his vote.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

CJ Corona Impeachment Trial May 22, 2012 Full Script

Anyway, below is a full script of what has happened on todays CJ Corona Impeachment Trial May 22, 2012. It’s quite long, but it is time stamped.

CJ Corona has finally appeared and took the trial stand today, May 22, 2012. CJ Corona had a long introduction and opening statement just to say he is not guilty. Unfortunately, at around 5 PM, he signed a waiver to waive his right of Secrecy of Bank Deposits, allowing the banks to disclose all his assets both foreign and local.

  • 2:01: Trial resumes.
  • 2:02: Sen. Ralph Recto led the opening prayer
  • 2:03: Roll call is being held.
  • 2:04: All 23 Senator-Judges are present.
  • 2:05: Prosecution and Defense entered their appearances.
  • 2:07: JPE: I would like to remind all of us, members of the Senate that we are not conducting this inquiry in aid of legislation. We are receivers of evidence. We are not an inquisitorial court.
  • 2:08: JPE: With that in mind, this court cannot issue subpoena to certain persons to act as witnesses (referring to bank managers of banks mentioned in the 17 page AMLC report)
  • 2:09: JPE denies the motion to call witnesses motu proprio to testify in this proceeding.
  • 2:09: On Harvey Keh contempt. He filed compliance on May 18 and prayed that he not be cited in contempt.
  • 2:11: JPE: In view of the apology given by the gentleman cited and in the spirit of liberality, this court simply admonishes the person concerned never to try his luck again.
  • 2:11: Session suspended for 1 minute.
  • 2:13: JPE: Before we administer the oath to the Chief Justice, the members of the court is respectfully requested by this chair to observe the 2 minute rule, limit their question to questions of fact and to help in orderly proceedings in this trial. Should any member of this require more time, an extension will be allowed for him or her.
  • 2:14: JPE: We finish with the direct exam and the cross exam of the prosecution and if there is any redirect, let it be done and if there is any re-cross, let it be completed before any members of this impeachment court ask question.
  • 2:15: JPE: I would like to request the gallery to observe straight decorum.
  • 2:18: JPE: Mr. Chief Justice, welcome to the impeachment court.
  • 2:21: Cuevas: It is his belief that insofar as his cross exam, the rules of evidence say, he may only be crossed examined in matters taken in the direct.
  • 2:23: Cuevas told the Impeachment Court that the Chief Justice opted to appear because of their oath to be impartial. JPE thanked Cuevas for reminding and he assured that the Senators can render impartial justice.
  • 2:24: JPE: Insofar as judging this case, we will judge this case based on evidence of the prosecution and defense.
  • 2:26: Private Prosec. Bautista: There has been never any compulsion for the CJ to testify.
  • 2:27: Prosec. Mario Bautista said he disagrees with Justice Cuevas view on the rules of evidence.
  • 2:29: CJ Corona asked that he be allowed to make a statement.
  • 2:31: CJ: Ako po ay nandito sa impeachment court na ito upang tumupad sa aking pangako na ako ay magpapaliwanag ng lahat. kailangan po sigurong tanungin ng sambayanan kung bakit tayo nagkaka-impeachment trial na ito. Hindi naman po kaila sa lahat na ginamit na ng administrasyon ang buong makinarya ng gobyerno sa akin. Ibinuhos na po ang buong pwersa ng pamahalaan para lang sa pagtanggal ng isang tao. Wag tayong maniwala na itong impeachment trial na ito ay laban sa katiwalian dahil kung ganon din lamang mayroon ba silang katiwaliang ibinintang sa kin sa kabila ng pagkakalkal at paghaharap ng huwad na ebidensya, wala pong ibinibintang sa akin na katiwalian.
  • 2:32: CJ Corona: Ako po ba ay tinik sa lalamunan ng sinuman? So far, lahat ng nakita ko rito mula ng simula ng trial na ito ay hatred, galit, benggansya sa isang tao. Kailan po ba tayo matututo? Sa kabuuan ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, ganito ang nangyayari. Tama na ang pagkakawatak watak ng sambayanan.
  • 2:34: CJ Corona: Sa ating administrasyon ng hindi po lahat ng hindi kaalyado ay kalaban. Hindi porket hindi magkapareho ng kulay ay hindi Pilipino. Bakit po ba ganito na lang ang galit sa kin ng kasalukuyang administrasyong Aquino. Ano ba ang kasalanan ko. Wala akong kasalanan sa pagkakaalam ko kaya ako ay buo ang loob na humaharap sa inyo. Sigurado ako wala akong kasalanan, wala akong katiwalian at ako ay hindi nagnakaw sa gobyerno.
  • 2:36: CJ Corona: I will not drag my family dito sa impeachment na ito kung sa loob ko, may katiting na dahilan may duda sa sarili ko ay may ginaway akong masama. Hindi ko po itataya ang aking napakabait na may bahay aking tatlong anak at mga apo. Kung ako ay may kasalanan, ako ay nagbitiw na sa tungkulin. Malinis po ang aking konsensya…uulitin ko po malinis po ang aking konsensya. Malinis ang konsensya ng aking pamilya.
  • 2:36: JPE interrupts. Kami po ay naghihintay na sabihin ang inyong pakay sana.
  • 2:37: CJ Corona: Ito pong aking sinasabi ngayon ay pinatutungkol ko ay hindi lamang sa kagalang galang na impeachment court kundi sa sambayanang Pilipino. Kaya po ako ay nandito at nagpapaliwanag.
  • 2:38: CJ Corona: Kalbaryo po ang pinagdadaanan namin. Hindi po madali ang limang buwang pinagdaanan…Sa kabila ng pagbabanta ng kahihiyan, malakas po ang loob ko sapagkat malinis po ang aking konsensya. Iisa lang po ang paliwanang d’yan, walang katotohanan at pawang kasinungalinan.
  • 2:39: CJ Corona mentions a senator: Huhubaran nya raw ako sa publiko.
  • 2:40: CJ Corona: Kung ako ay nagbitaw na sa tungkulin, nangangahulugan non, umatras ako sa laban, nanalo na ang kabila without having to prove anything. Hindi po ganito ang aking kinalakhan.
  • 2:41: CJ Corona: Bakit po ba pondo po ba ito ng bayan? Ito po ba ay kinurakot ng punong mahistrado (about his alleged ill-gotten wealth) Iisa lang po ang sagot namin d’yan, Hindi po. Uulitin ko po: Hindi po.
  • 2:42: CJ Corona: Lahat ng aming naipundar ay dahil sa aming pagsisikap. Bago po ako nagsilbi sa gobyerno, ako ay isang matagumpay na abogado na. Hindi tulad ng pinalalabas ng prosekusyon na ako ay kung sinu-sino lamang sa tabi tabi d’yan na bigla na lang yumaman.
  • 2:43: CJ Corona: Simple po lamang ang aming pamumuhay, hindi po kami namuhay ng luho. Lahat ng nakakakilala sa amin ang makakapagsabi kung gaano kasimple ang aming buhay.
  • 2:44: CJ Corona: Binaboy nila ang proseso ng saligang-batas para yurakan ang aking pagkatao.
  • 2:46: Lead Prosecutor Niel Tupas now sat beside Private Prosecutor Mario Bautista.
  • 2:46: CJ Corona: Kaisa ako na panagutin ang may kasalanan.
  • 2:48: CJ Corona: Ito lang po ang tanong ko sa bayan at sa prosekusyon, kung talagang malakas ang inyong kaso, bakit ninyo kailangang magimbento ng ebidensya? Bakit kailangan ng black propaganda? Bakit kailangang humantong sa madumi at masakit na paraan. Naway wag na itong maulit.
  • 2:49: Bautista interrupts the Chief Justice.
  • 2:49: Bautista said it is highly irregular.
  • 2:50: JPE said his understanding is that the CJ is making a statement which will be a part of his direct testimony.
  • 2:51: CJ Corona: Ginoong Prosecutor Kausap ko po ang taong bayan. Hayaan nyo po ako na kausapin ang taong bayan.
  • 2:51: Corona mentions Hacienda Luisita as the primary reason why he is being impeached.
  • 2:55: JPE asked CJ Corona how many more minutes he has. The CJ said the country needs to know who he is and to correct the black propaganda against him and his family.
  • 2:58: CJ Corona said they were able to save money because of their simple lifestyle.
  • 2:58: CJ Corona already on the verge of tears.
  • 2:59: Cuevas asked at least 2 minute break.
  • 3:05: 2 minute break granted.
  • 3:11: JPE allowed CJ Corona to finish his statement.
  • 3:11: CJ Corona: Papasok na po ako sa mga bagay at issue na hinihintay ng sambayanan.
  • 3:13: CJ Corona: Several trial dates ago, merong testigo dito nagsiwalat ng bagay bagay tungkol sa Basa-Guidote. Ang dahilan kung bakit wala kaming hilig maginvest sa properties at mahilig kaming mag-invest sa foreign exchange.
  • 3:14: CJ Corona: May isang hearing dates tayo na kung ano anong masamang adjective ang naipukol sa aking maybahay. Hindi po ninyo maiintindihan yan kung di ko maibibigay ang background sa hidwaan sa pamilya ng aking maybahay
  • 3:15: CJ Corona: Ang pinakamalaking hidwaan ay ang 2 hectare doon sa Libis, malapit sa Eastwood.
  • 3:17: CJ Corona: Noong araw, ang titulo ng lupang yan, ang presyo conservatively ay P2 billion. Noon ito ay nasa pangalan ni Jose Basa III at nong aking mother-in-law Asuncion Basa-Roco. Hindi po namin malaman kung pano napagissue si Mr. Jose Basa ng titulo doon sa property na iyon at nakapagpa issue at nawala ang pangalan ng aking mother-in-law. Yan ang isang napakalaking dahilan sa hidwaan ng pamilyang yan. Dahil sa matinding samaang loob. Nawala ang kalahating share ng mother-in-law ko. Ang problema kasi sa pamilya nila, napakayaman pero ang kanilang ari-arian ay nakatali sa property.
  • 3:17: CJ Corona: Alam naman nating mga abogado, pag kayo nagpamana ng property, maraming beses, away.
  • 3:19: CJ Corona: yan ang pinagsisimulan ng mga kaso-kaso. Five months na po kaming ininsulto ng walang tigil sa isang pahayagan kung bakit ganun kaswapang ang aking maybahay. Hindi po wala pong katotohanan yan. Hindi po si Mr. Jose Basa ang inapi. Sya ang nang api sa aking mother in law.
  • 3:20: CJ Corona: Kami po ay tumahimik lamang. Bakit kami walang imik? Sapagkat yung tao ay patay na pero ngayon, mapipilitan akong isiwalat sa taong bayan ang katotohanan. Maliban sa pagkaka issue ng bagong titulo, si Mr. Basa po, I am sorry to say this, pero kailangang malaman ng bayan, wala po syang trabaho eh. Buong buhay po spoiled brat, kung may kailangan takbo kay Lola Charing.
  • 3:21: CJ Corona: Ang natira pong property sa matanda ay yung property sa Sampaloc na pati yon ay gustong ibenta ni Mr. Jose Basa.
  • 3:23: CJ Corona: Mawalang galang na po pero ang tanong nyo bakit parang napaka tuso ng aking asawa…
  • 3:24: CJ Corona: Pinasalaysay ko sa aking anak na si Carla kung ano ang nangyari.
  • 3:24: CJ Corona reads letter of Carla.
  • 3:24: “The auction complied with the requirements of the law. Mommy went to Quezon city with lawyers.”
  • 3:27: CJ Corona reading the letter: The risk of buying shares of Basa-guidote was explained to me.
  • 3:29: CJ Corona explains the conflict in the Basa-Guidote family.
  • 3:29: CJ Corona reading Carla’s letter: My mother (Cristina) was very careful not to use my Dad’s influence.
  • 3:30: CJ Corona on the letter: If my mother would use my…
  • 3:30: …Dad’s influence, would these cases be pending for 20 years?”
  • 3:31: The letter of Carla Corona-Castillo said several cases are still pending.
  • 3:32: CJ Corona: Now who is oppressing whom. My mother was the victim of a very grievous crime.
  • 3:32: CJ Corona still reading the letter: Jose Ma. Basa and Raymunda fled the country.
  • 3:34: Carla said she knows about the cases about the shares of stock. She said she knows the risk that is why she is only willing to spend only up to P50,000 to buy the shares.
  • 3:36: Carla, in her letter said “after weighing the pros and cons decided to invest my money. I told my mom that I am willing to spend as high as P50,000…There was nobody else who showed up at the auction. I cannot stress enough that there was a great risk…No one else wants to sink in their money in such a corporation.
  • 3:36: Carla said “I was also told that the lower my bid, it would be easy for Jose Basa to redeem my bid…but they did not.”
  • 3:37: Carla said “it was only fair that mommy be paid of damages.”
  • 3:38: JPE: Asked what names were used? Corona: Sa pagkakaalala ko po, nakagulang, nakaisa.
  • 3:39: JPE said he only asked if Mrs. Corona objected because the judgment was P500,000 and there is the P34 million.
  • 3:40: JPE: Then at least the bid price would be half a million. But I understand, in order to be fair to everybody, the sheriff said the valuation of shares was provided by Mrs. Corona. What I said was did Mrs. corona raise any objection.
  • 3:41: CJ Corona: Gusto ko sana magkasundo sundo sila pero di ko na kayang pagkasundu sunduin sila.
  • 3:42: CJ Corona said seeing the conflict in buying properties, they have decided to invest in foreign exchange.
  • 3:42: CJ Corona: At para mas madali po hati hatiin pag may mangyayari sa amin. idi-divide lang po into three.
  • 3:44: JPE: This issue of ill-gotten wealth was not provided by the prosecution, it was provided by your own lawyers who presented a witness here to testify on the totality of the income of your family.
  • 3:45: JPE: There is no issue of ill-gotten wealth here. The simple issue here is inclusion or exclusion of your SALN.
  • 3:46: JPE: So for the introduction of evidence regarding wealth that is dishonestly acquired will bring back into the picture para. 2.4.2 of the Articles of Impeachment which we already granted to be suppressed as far as introduction of evidence is concerned.
  • 3:46: JPE cautioned CJ Corona that he will be opening himself for cross examination if he will continue discussing alleged ill-gotten wealth.
  • 3:47: CJ Corona opted to proceed.
  • 3:48: CJ Corona calls the list of 45 properties as exaggerated and a fraud.
  • 3:48: CJ Corona: Pati po ako ay nagulat.
  • 3:50: CJ Corona: Wala po akong 45 properties. Lilima lang po at lahat ay nakadeklara sa aking SALN. Wala po akong tinago na ari arian na hindi ko nilagay sa aking SALN. Kahit na ang binabatikos sa aking SALN. Kahit binabatikos ako bakit di ko nilagay ang acquisition cost, nakalagay naman po ang aking asset. It is something that I am not hiding because it can be checked anytime.
  • 3:50: CJ Corona: Hindi ko naman alam ang fairmarket value ng kasalukuyan.
  • 3:51: CJ Corona: Maaaring hindi tugma pero at least ina-update po ito periodically ng assessor.
  • 3:53: CJ Corona now talks about alleged properties abroad.
  • 3:53: CJ Corona: Galing sa isang pekeng manunulat na nagpapanggap na isang journalist.
  • 3:55: CJ Corona: Nung pinatawag namin si Ombudsman, hati po ang nagmamagandang loob sa amin, may nagsabing tila nagkamali yata kayo sa pagpatawag sa kanya. Mayron ding nagsasabi na tamang ipatawag si Omb. Conchita Carpio-Morales. Ako po naniniwala na tama ang pagpapatawag namin kay Ombudsman Morales. Sabi ni Ombudsman ako raw po ay may $10-12 million dollars sa 82 bank accounts.
  • 3:57: CJ Corona: Ewan ko lang po kay Ombudsman Morales baka sya mayroon. Ako ay nagulat sa sinabi ni Ombudsman Morales lalu na nung sya ay may power point presentation. Ito pong AMLC report ay hindi po authenticated, walang predicate crime, walang imbestigasyon, walang court order, walang notice sa depositor. Clearly it came from a polluted source. Tumawag po ako ng team ng accountants upang pagaralang ang listahan na winagayway ni Ombudsman Morales at maliwanang po na ang kanyang testimony is misrepresentation.
  • 3:58: CJ Corona asked Senate if he can use powerpoint presentation.
  • 3:58: JPE granted.
  • 3:58: JPE suspends session for one minute to prepare.
  • 4:20: The powerpoint presentation is entitled “The Lantern”
  • 4:21: CJ Corona said he will use the own diagram of the Ombudsman.
  • 4:22: JPE: Since the Honorable CJ, if there is any objectionable portion, you may raise your objection and the court will consider your objection.
  • 4:25: Bautista said part of the testimony of the Chef Justice is hearsay and irrelevant.
  • 4:26: Bautista denounced the allegation of the Chief Justice.
  • 4:26: Bautista: To cast aspersions on my team is unfair.
  • 4:26: JPE said they will consider what is relevant, irrelevant.
  • 4:30: CJ Corona: A careful analysis of the AMLC report show that many of these accounts were already closed and many were transferred to settlement accounts. Each time a time deposit would mature and rolled over, a new account would be created to make a new placement to earn higher interest and would be transferred from one account to another to earn more interest. I repeat, ladies and gentlemen, inuulit ko po wala akong 82 bank accounts as charged by the Ombudsman. The alleged AMLC report would show 4 accounts by December 2012. for example in BPI Acropolis, all accounts were closed as early as 2004 and transferred to BPI Tandang sora and PS Bank Cainta.
  • 4:32: CJ Corona: For BPI Tandang Sora, the accounts were closed in 2007 and transferred to BPI San Francisco Del Monte and Cainta. The same goes BPI San Francisco Del Monte, accounts closed in 2011. The last was account no 3244108104 BPI Mic was sourced from BPI San Francisco Del Monte acct was closed on Dec. 19, 2011 and transferred to 3244108104.
  • 4:34: CJ: All accounts in PS bank Cainta were closed in 2008 and transferred to PS Bank katipunan…
  • 3. PS Bank accounts- 0141024292 and 0131002826
  • 2. Allied Bank with account no. 1582002676
  • 1. BPI San Francisco Del Monte Branch with account no. 3244108104;
  • 4:36: CJ Corona said remaining dollar accounts are:
  • 4:39: CJ Corona: ang sumatotal ng aking deposits ay malayong malayo sa $10 million. Ang exchange rate po nung nag umpisa kaming magipon nitong mga foreign exchange na ito noong late 60s ay nasa 2 to 1. Nung ako ay nagsimulang magtrabaho 1968. Kung matatandaan po ninyo noong matapos ang 1969 Presidential elections, hanggang noong Dec. of Nov. 1969 ang exchange rate po ay 2 to 1 at nag devalue tayo sa floating rate from 2 to 1 naging 6 to 1.
  • 4:40: CJ Corona: Lahat po ng savings namin ay pinalitan namin sa US Dollar. Bakit? Dahil wala kayong lugi sa US dollar dahil ito ay stable kung ikukumpara sa pesos. Ikaw ay liquid.
  • 4:41: CJ Corona: Dahil halos di namin nagagalaw ng interes dahil ako naman po ay may trabaho, lumago po ng lumago ang aming investments.
  • 4:43: CJ Corona: Wala akong ninakaw kahit isang kusing. Wala akong ninakaw kahit isang pera (he looked at the prosecution)
  • 4:44: CJ Corona: Bakit wala sa SALN ko? Dahil may batas po na naggagarantiya ng confidentiality ng dollar deposits. Di ito kailangan dahil sa batas. This is an absolute rule.
  • 4:45: CJ Corona: Kung ako ay may tinago, hindi ko ito ilalagay sa pangalan ko.
  • 4:46: JPE: Yung dollar deposits earning interest or are you engaged in buying and selling. CJ said compounded interest.
  • 4:46: CJ Corona said he only have 3 (three) local deposit accounts in pesos.
  • 4:52: CJ Corona: Bakit di ko dineklara ito sa SALN ko? Sapagkat ito ay commingled funds. Ito ay proceeds sa pagbili sa Basa-Guidote property. Ito ay kumita ng interest anjan din po yan. Noong 1990, ng ang aking ina ay na-diagnose na may colon cancer, inihabilin po nya ang bank accounts nya sa akin. Ikaw na ang bhala sa pagbayad sa mga doktor ko, pagoospital ko, lahat ng funeral expenses ko. Nanjan din po ang utos ng aking ina na kung may matitira pagtapos mabayaran ang kanyang mga doktor, hospital bills, at funeral expenses, ang natitira po ay pangangasiwaan ko para kung sino man ang mangangailangan for any emergency at ito ay nagkatotoo sapagkat ang aking nakatatandang kapatid, ang aking Kuya toti si Arturo, 2 years ago ay nagkasakit sa puso, matagal na syang di nakakapagtrabaho dahil sya ay sakitin, maliban sa kanyang sakit sa puso, sya ay may scoliosis. He is in constant pain, Dito ko po kinukuha dahil di na po sya nakakapagtrabaho. Dito po kinukuha ang binibigay ko sa kanya tuwing buwan, mga gamot nya at nung sya ay naconfine sa Medical City na halos P1million nagastos namin ay dito kinuha. Anjan din po ang interest. Pera po ng aking anak na si Carla at Francis na kino-mingled jan para mas makakuha ng interest. Pati po ang pera ng aking anak na si Charina para mapagpagawa ang bahay nya sa McKinley Hill.
  • 4:52: CJ Corona sheds tear as he talked about his mother.
  • 4:54: CJ Corona: i have come here to disclose information regarding these accounts especially the dollar accounts.
  • 4:55: CJ Corona said why he did not declare his dollar accounts in his SALN is not his own doing but it was the law.
  • 4:56: CJ Corona: The inaccuracies in my SALN do not constitute an impeachable offense. Not every omission is an impeachable offense. The prosecution itself admitted here, the inaccuracy in SALN is not impeachable, not high crime. Corona sites Senate TSN of trial on February.
  • 4:58: CJ Corona: I have here with me a waiver which I will sign right now.
  • 5:01: CJ Corona reads his waiver he just signed: I Renato Corona hereby waive my right of Secrecy of Bank Deposits…and authorized all banking institutions to disclose to the public any and all bank documents pertaining to all peso and foreign currency accounts under my name. I hereby authorize the BIR, AMLC, SEC and LRA to disclose to the public any and all information that will show my assets, liabilities, networth, business interest and financial connections to include those of my spouse. I am likewise authorizing the Clerk of Court en banc to release to the public my SALN from the years 2002 to 2011. With God and the Filipino people, I affix my signature.”
  • 5:03: CJ Corona: I am humbly asking 188 complainants and Sen, Drilon to join me in the moment of truth. I am asking them to sign these blank forms to join me sapagkat hiling po ito ng bayan. The nation is at a stand still. Our people are watching all of us.
  • 5:04: CJ Corona: This is not trick or manipulation but a challenge to public accountability.
  • 5:05: CJ Corona said if anyone declined to sign the waiver, they have upheld the secrecy of bank deposits.
  • 5:07: CJ Corona said he will only submit his waiver if all he has invited will submit the waiver. “Otherwise, I will ask my counsel to rest my case.”
  • 5:08: CJ Corona asked that he be excused and walked out of the Senate Session Hall.
  • 5:11: Cuevas said there is no intention to disrespect the Impeachment Court. He said the CJ is taking his medicines. The crowd booed. JPE warns the crowd to observe proper decorum or they will be escorted out of the Senate session hall.
  • 5:14: Defense frantic.
  • 5:15: Atty. Ramon Esguerra on the phone inquiring about the Chief Justice.
  • 5:16: Senator Franklin Drilon shaking his head now talking to Sen. Osmena.
  • 5:19: Justice Cuevas now back at the Senate Session hall.
  • 5:24: Defense counsel German Lichaoco is talking to Sen. Angara.
  • 5:30: Defense Lawyer Ramon Esguerra said the Chief Justice’s blood sugar went down. A doctor is checking him up right now.
  • 5:31: The Chief Justice and his family is at the Senate’s Lounge. A wheelchair was also brought inside.
  • 5:43: CJ Corona is being taken to the clinic on a wheelchair.
  • 5:47: Defense Lawyer Tranquil Salvador: No lunch for hours. Umatend pa sya ng misa.
  • 5:56: Defense team in a huddle.
  • 6:02: CJ Corona returns to the Senate Session Hall on a wheelchair.
  • 6:02: He has also removed his coat.
  • 6:02: Session resumed.
  • 6:03:JPE: You placed the Chief Justice on the witness stand.
  • 6:03:JPE: I will order the striking off of his testimony.
  • 6:04: Cuevas: After the testimony I was about to make a manifestation I never realized he was already feeling dizzy.
  • JPE: He is the Chief Justice, he knows the decorum.
  • 6:04: Cuevas: I would like to assure the court that there was no intention.
  • JPE: We did not volunteer to be judges here. We are here on mandate from the Filipino people. I have high respect for the Chief Justice and the institution that he represents and I equally demand respect to the institution that I represent.
  • 6:05: Cuevas: Hinihingi po namin ang inyong kapatawaran.
  • 6:06: JPE: If he will not allow himself to be cross examined. We will allow ourselves to judge this case based on the evidence presented.
  • Cuevas: Nagpanic na din po ang pamilya. Sinabi ko nga na sana kahit isa sa inyo nagsabi.
  • 6:07: JPE: Why did you not stop your client.
  • 6:07: JPE: Marami sa kin ang pumupuna dahil pinabayaan ko na magsalita ng napakahaba. Wag naman kaming babastusin.
  • 6:08: Cuevas: Ang tingin ko po nagpanic na din ang pamilya.
  • Cuevas: Ipagpapatuloy ang pagtestigo.
  • 6:08: JPE: Para wala ng mahabang usapan, ano ba ang gusto nyo.
  • 6:09: Cuevas: Nakikiusap kami kahit po bukas.
  • JPE: Kung hindi po ayos. We will give him until tomorrow to return. If he will not return, we will consider this case submitted for decision.
  • 6:09: Cuevas: Bukas po kung ayos na sya.
  • 6:10: JPE asked the impeachment court if they will agree. No senator gave a statement. Sen. Sotto said there was no objection.
  • 6:10: JPE: We will give him until tomorrow. What he said is nothing unless he is cross examined.
  • 6:13: Session adjourned.
  • 6:13: Trial will resume on Wednesday.
  • 6:14: Chief Justice will be subject to cross examination on Wednesday.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Impeachment of Renato Corona

Renato Corona, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines was impeached on December 12, 2011. Corona was the third official, after President Joseph Estrada on 2000 and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez earlier on 2011, to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Corona was perceived as an ally of former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who had appointed him as chief justice of the Supreme Court, days after the 2010 presidential election. This comes after the Supreme Court ruled that the president's ban on appointments does not extend to the judiciary. Since then, the Supreme Court has been accused of ruling unfavorably of the Aquino administration in cases concerning Arroyo.

The Senate, which had already convened as an impeachment court, began the trial on January 16, 2012. This is the second impeachment trial in the history of the Philippines, as Gutierrez resigned prior to the trial.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Reynato Puno was to retire on May 17, 2010, seven days after the presidential election; however, the constitution prohibits the president from appointing anyone two months before the presidential election up to the end of the term. This caused a suit to be brought to the court, in which the court ruled on March 17, 2010, that the ban on appointments does not cover the judiciary. The court ruled with finality on April 20, 2010, with nine justices concurring, one dissenting, three inhibiting and two dismissing the case for being premature. This caused the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the body that recommends nominees to the president, to resume its sessions in determining the list to be submitted.

Renato Corona was appointed Chief Justice of the Supreme Court on May 12, 2010. In a statement, the executive said that among the nominees submitted by the JBC, Corona was the "most senior Supreme Court justice".

With Benigno Aquino III winning the election, he invited all heads of the three branches of government to his inauguration, although instead of the tradition of him being inaugurated by the Chief Justice, he instead chose to be sworn in by Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, the sole dissenter on the case.

At the first few months of Aquino's presidency, he consolidated power by removing government officials closely associated with the Arroyo administration. Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez, who can not be simply removed from office, was impeached by the House of Representatives on March 22, 2011; the Senate was set to begin the second impeachment trial in history when she resigned on April 29, 2011.[4] Aquino announced the appointment of retired Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales as the new Ombudsman to replace Gutierrez on his 2011 State of the Nation Address.

On December 6, 2011, at the National Criminal Justice Summit at the Manila Hotel, Aquino said in a speech that Corona, who was seated meters away from him, is beholden to Arroyo. Aquino questioned the court's granting of a temporary restraining order lifting the watch list order of the Department of Justice against Arroyo, Arroyo's midnight appointment of Corona, and the ruling of Camarines Sur's two new legislative districts as constitutional despite falling short of the required population set by the constitution.

On the December 12, 2011 flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court, Corona revealed that there was "a secret plan to oust me from office by any means, fair or foul." Corona said that he would not resign.

Later in the day, a caucus amongst Aquino's allies in the House of Representative was called. Minority leader Edcel Lagman said that discussion amongst Aquino's allies heightened when the Committee on Justice passed an impeachment case involving Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo on his alleged plagiarism. Lagman further said that if the vote passed, he would question its "legal and factual basis.". The deputy presidential spokesperson, on the other hand, stated that the Palace "is not privy to the discussions of the Liberal Party in the House."

At the conclusion of majority bloc's caucus, Committee on Justice chairman Niel Tupas, Jr. presented the impeachment complaint; after the presentation, only two representatives asked for more questions, while an overwhelming majority asked to sign the complaint. He said that there were no instructions from the Palace to impeach Corona, nor was the pork barrel of representatives who did not sign would be held back, but he said that he informed the president of their decision to impeach Corona, and that the president supported it. The House of Representatives then voted in session to endorse the complaint, getting 188 votes, well above the one-third (95) of the members required by the constitution.

Navotas representative Toby Tiangco resigned from the majority bloc, and the chairmanship of the Committee on Metro Manila development, after the impeachment was passed by the House of Representatives. Tiangco said that the complaint was approved without the members of Congress scrutinizing it. Batangas 2nd district representative Hermilando Mandanas, who did not sign the complaint, was relieved of the chairmanship of the Committee on Ways and Means. Mandanas quoted Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. on saying that the Aquino administration wanted his removal. The majority bloc was not surprised with Tiangco's resignation from the majority, with Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II describing Tiangco as a "maverick" and has "more than many times identified himself with the minority."