Prosecution will shorten trial

They may drop other articles of impeachment

MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution panel is discussing how it can shorten the impeachment trial so they could finish it “before the Lenten break,” said House Speaker Feliciano “Sonny” Belmonte.

“We (the prosecution panel) should finish, ideally by early March,” said prosecution spokesperson Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara. That will give time for the defense panel to present its evidence.

“There are discussions among the prosecution panel to cut short the 8 articles of impeachment. Others want to present all. So we’re still debating. We’ll see how these next few articles go,” Angara explained.

Belmonte himself feels that the pace of the trial has been slow. While the prosecution panel has been criticized for its supposed slow presentation of evidence, Belmonte is blaming the “technicalities” raised by the defense panel.

House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales II is one of those who wants to drop the other articles of impeachment.  “If you ask me, Articles 2, 3, and 7, pwede na,” Gonzales told reporters.

“Sa Article 2 pa lang we are pretty confident that we have sufficient evidence,” Gonzales added.

The other option, explained Belmonte is to “submit a memo with respect to some of the other charges or articles of impeachment instead of issuing subponena for specific witnesses.”

“We cannot not just stop on the basis of our confidence, although malakas ang aming tiwala sa aming ebidensya for Article 2,” said Rep. Romero Quimbo.

Quimbo said the prosecution panel conducted the deposition of 2 witnesses early Thursday. This way, they don’t need to be presented anymore before the Court.

Angara said that for Articles like 1 and 4, for example, the prosecution panel can just submit Supreme Court rulings as evidence.

Article 1 refers to the voting record of Chief Justice Renato Corona, which allegedly shows his bias in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Article 4, on the other hand, refers to the temporary restraining order that the Supreme Court issued against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez. –


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