#CoronaTrial: Day 22 with video highlights

Highlights of Day 22 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona

MANILA, Philippines – Here are the highlights of Day 22 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Prior to session, senator-judges hold caucus, causing delay in start of proceedings.

2:33 pm: Session starts. Roll call: 20 senator-judges present.

2:38 pm: Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago manifests. She talks about the due process and equal protection clauses of the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, in connection with the issue on the court’s denial of the presentation of the Philippine Airlines’ VP’s testimony.

Santiago says she supports the court’s denial of the testimony of the PAL VP. She says the accused should be informed of the accusations against him, and that the court cannot admit testimony or evidence of any witness regarding an allegation not in the complaint. She also recalls her experience in the 2001 Estrada impeachment trial.

2:50 pm: Prosecution’s Rep Giordigi Aggabao on the floor. He cites the proffer of proof, says PAL VP for sales was the last witness in connection with the FASAP case covered in Article III.

Aggabao also says they will no longer present evidence, testimony related to the three remaining charges in Article III: The “excessive entaglement” with former president Gloria Arroyo; the alleged use of public funds for personal use; and the alleged discussion of cases with litigants. He clarifies that the prosecution is “waiving, excising” the said portions of the article.

Some clarifications from Senator-judges Joker Arroyo, Francis Escudero, and Santiago.

3:13 pm: Aggabao tells court they are ready to move on to Article VII – that the respondent betrayed the public trust through his partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favor of former president Arroyo even without life & death urgency, even without all conditions met.

Enrile also clarified what the prosecution will do with Articles IV, V, and VI, and Rep Niel Tupas recalls earlier proposed sequence.

3:15 pm: Rep Neri Colmenares making a manifestation, laying “road map” for Article VII. Cuevas tries to object to the manifestation, but Enrile and Colmenares say the prosecution is only laying a summary of what they will discuss in Article VII.

3:20 pm: First witness is called: Justice Secretary Leila de Lima.

3:21 pm: Trial suspended for one minute to wait for witness.

3:25 pm: Trial resumes. De Lima on witness stand. Rep. Raul Daza conducts direct examination, in Filipino.

De Lima is first asked about her duties as DOJ chief, then questions zero in on her work in implementing hold departure orders and watchlist orders.

DOJ chief explains the circumstances surrounding the watchlist orders she issued against the former president, as well as the denial for the lifting of the HDOs.

4:03 pm: De Lima’s testimony now on the temporary restraining order (TRO) issued by the Supreme Court against the hold departure orders issued by the DOJ.

She testifies that the SC issued the TRO on November 15, 2011, which restrained her and the Commissioner of Immigration from enforcing Circular No. 41 and watchlist orders. The TRO had three condtions (posting of P2 million bond, appointment of legal representative, and reporting to consulate/embassy in destination).

She tells court they received TRO on November 16, but the SC, through its spokesperson Midas Marquez, said in a November 15 press conference that the TRO was immediately executory. She also explains the TRO voting.

4:33 pm: Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas manifests, says De Lima’s testimony is beyond the purpose and scope of the impeachment complaint. However, Enrile says the DOJ chief was called to narrate the events surrounding the watchlist order, TRO, and that the senator-judges can discern what is knowledge and hearsay.

4:39 pm: De Lima testimony continues. Enrile then asks her a few questions. In particular, he asks her, did CJ Corona act alone in any instance related to the case? De Lima says there was none, but in dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, there are matters woth looking into.

Cuevas tries to object, says the matters being dealt with are confidential, violates etiquette. Enrile overrules objection.

4:51 pm: Session suspended as De Lima looks for the passage on Sereno’s dissent relevant to her testimony.

4:57 pm: Session resumes. De Lima reads part of Sereno’s dissent, where the SC justice recounts Corona told SC Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco not to promulgate the Sereno dissent. She also reads from Sereno’s account, that the Chief Justice sent handwritten correction to Clerk of Court on en banc, saying his version be released.

She then proceeds to testify on the events surrounding the attempted departure of the Arroyo couple on November 15. She explains, they did not follow TRO because they did not receive an official copy.

She then explains the DOJ’s position, and reiterates that the TRO was improper, in a sense that a TRO is supposed to prevent issues from being moot. The main issue, she says, is should they allow the former president to leave the country despite pending cases? 

5:20 pm: Senator-judge Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr asks Secretary De Lima. He asks if anyone asked for the issuance of the watch list, she says she did it on her own.  

Revilla asks about Circular 41, and the DOJ’s receipt of the TRO.

5:25 pm: Senator-judge Alan Peter Cayetano directs some clarificatory questions to prosecution: When is an SC decision simply erroneous, and when is it an impeachable offense? Daza answers for prosecution. Discussion between Cayetano, Daza.

5:38 pm: Cross examination by Cuevas. Cuevas points out SC decisions cannot be reversed. De Lima, meanwhile, reiterates that they are questioning the propriety of the TRO because it goes against the essence of what a TRO is. Other questions on “conspiracy” of the justices, and Corona’s control over the court.

5:58 pm: Cuevas requests to continue cross examination on next session, on Thursday, February 23, 2012. Enrile approves. Sotto reminds court there are several senators lined up for clarificatory questions too, and that they will ask De Lima on Thursday’s session. 

6:00 pm: Session adjourned. Trial to resume on Thursday, February 23, 2012, at 2 pm. – Rappler.com

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