#CoronaTrial: Day 17

Here are the highlights of Day 17 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

MANILA, Philippines – Here are the highlights of Day 17 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. 

2:09 pm: Session starts. Roll call: 17 senator-judges present.

2:13 pm: Senator-judge Gregorio Honasan asks clarificatory question to both defense, prosecution, about unverified information.

Honasan says the trial has been greatly affected by unverified information. He asks: does the right on search warrants apply here? 

Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas explains in behalf of the prosecution, says the matter is not about search warrants, but subpoenas in light of evidence. He says the subpoena request didn’t state bank documents were genuine, but it is their duty to bring it to court. 

Meanwhile, defense lawyer Serafin Cuevas says the provision of the Bill of Rights on search of documents are applicable to the trial. He says the subpoena is like a general warrant, and it requires due process. If the right is violated, the proceedings would then be a nullity, he says.

2:26 pm: Senator-judge Panfilo Lacson manifests, asks: Did prosecutors get documents as individuals or did they use powers of state as members of the House of Representatives

Fariñas answers: Subpoena was very particular, saying it enumerated documents for 10 accounts, year-end balances, opening documents. On the other hand, Cuevas says he “dissents” from the prosecution view, says they filed opposition of the legality of he subpoena. Cuevas says there must be a showing of materiality, relevance to the case of the documents requested.

2:36 pm: Senator-judge Alan Peter Cayetano takes the floor. He talks about the difference of subpoena and a search warrant. He tells court, the subpoena issued had specified account numbers. 

2:43 pm: Enrile orders both prosecution and defense to submit a memorandum on the issue of the impeachment court subpoena and a search warrant.

2:44 pm: Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago makes a manifestation. She says, the issue is not about a comparison of search warrants and subpoenas. She asks: the issue is, can counsel, in any proceeding, attach a document which he doesn’t know anything about?

She argues, one cannot base a request for subpoena on an anonymous source, and says it is a case of disbarment if one gives a fake document or testimony to court. She also says it is the duty of counsel to prove authenticity of evidence. She also touches on the gag rule, says even media is covered.

2:58 pm: Enrile states his position on the matter. He says the Senate, as the impeachment court, should always follow the rule of law, cannot transgress the Bill of Rights.

He then says he is assuming the full responsibility for issuing the subpoena, and is ready to defend it in any court of law. He also says that the court exercised discretion to heed the request of the prosecution to issue the subpoena in face of proscription of laws. The SC will decide if the court committed grave abuse of discretion, he says.

3:06 pm: Drilon manifests, says he disagrees that SC has power over interlocutory matters in the impeachment court.

3:08 pm: Prosecution now presenting BPI Ayala branch manager, Leonora Dizon. But defense says it is out of order. Escudero says the witness was called for clarificatory questions from senator-judges, not for a direct or cross examination.

3:15 pm: Dizon is quizzed by Drilon. He asks about the documents the defense asked to examine. Cuevas, however, manifests, says they just asked for the breakdown of the account. The defense lawyer also said they filed manifestation that there is no more need to visit the bank and check the documents. Private prosecutor Arthur Lim, meanwhile, says it was the defense who introduced the issue to court.

Debate on the witness continues. Defense continues objections. Enrile however reiterates, Drilon requested the recall of Dizon to witness stand, and that is a prerogative of a member of the court.

Enrile reiterates, he cannot control the senator-judges, says the court is a body of 23 minds. 

3:34 pm: Drilon proceeds to ask Dizon questions. Dizon says she did not bring the requested records pending instruction from court. Enrile orders her to answer Drilon’s questions, but Drilon tells her to come back tomorrow, February 15, with the documents.

3:39 pm: Senator-judge Pia Cayetano asks the relevance of the monthly statements to Article II of the Articles of Impeachment. Senator-judge Sergio Osmeña, meanwhile, reminds court that it was Cuevas who offered the monthly statements, not the court who asked.

Cuevas tells court, that at 2:55 pm, they filed a motion to quash the subpoena. Enrile then says they will only allow subpoena of documents in relation to the BPI account in the original subpoena. Cuevas cites subpoena for other financial instruments, saying it is similar to a general search warrant. Enrile, howver, says the request made by Osmeña is reasonable to find out if the Chief Justice did not include in his SALN the asset from the bank. Osmeña then proceeds to ask Dizon clarificatory questions.

Dizon tells Osmeña that none of the documents she brought relate to the bank account in the original suboena. She also testifies that there is no other accounts, such as time deposits, money placement, or trust funds, under the Chief Justice’s name in their branch.

3:51 pm: Session suspended for “one long minute.”

4:22 pm: Session resumes. Defense moves for suspension of the session. Cuevas says, “Valentine’s Day naman po eh, in short a declaration of cessation of hostilities.” Cuevas also notes it is Enrile’s birthday. Prosecution joins defense motion. Senator-judge Francis Pangilinan says Enrile deserves the early dismissal of today’s session, since it is his birthday.

Sotto does some “housekeeping,” mentions the receipt of prosecution’s legal memorandum on the powers of the Chief Justice; the compliance of Megaworld’s Noli Hernandez on the submission of documents on the Bellagio; and a memorandum from the Philippine Airlines, saying they need more time to collect the subpoenaed documents. Prosecution also permanently discharges Marissa Bondoc, corporate secretary of John Hay Management Corp., since she has already resigned her post.

Senator-judge Jinggoy Estrada then asks if PSBank Katipunan branch manager will be summoned on the next session. Enrile says the branch manager and the bank president will still need to appear on the next session.

4:30 pm: Session adjourned. Trial to resume on Wednesday, February 15, 2012, at 2 pm. – Rappler.com

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