#CoronaTrial: Day 23 with video highlights

Highlights of day 23 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona

MANILA, Philippines – Here are the highlights of day 23 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

2:15 pm: Session starts. Roll call: 22 senator-judges present.

2:18 pm: Senator-judge Joker Arroyo manifests. Reiterates question about private prosecutor Marlon Manuel – if he was a lawyer for the PAL Employees Association (PALEA). Rep Kaka Bag-ao confirms it. Arroyo says both sides should avoid having lawyers with “vested interest” in case, but prosecution says they don’t see it, since FASAP and PALEA are different.

2:25 pm: Justice Secretary Leila de Lima back on witness stand for the continuation of the cross examination. Lead defense lawyer Serafin Cuevas conducts questioning.

De Lima tells court that there was no compliance of the TRO at the time it was issued, and it was made to appear former president Gloria Arroyo could already leave even if conditions were not met. She also said that a letter from SC Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said important matters discussed in en banc were not reflected in resolution.

She said the infirmities in the TRO were that it was conditional but executory; no voting record was stated; and that the Chief Justice made his own version of resolution.

2:35 pm: Session suspended to let De Lima read the dissenting opinion of SC Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, in relation to a question posed by Cuevas. 

2:36 pm: Session resumes. Cross examination continues. De Lima again makes the point that Sereno’s dissenting opinion showed there were information not reflected on the November 18, 2011 court resolution.

A minor discussion on “hearsay” testimony of De Lima. Enrile allows her testimony in the end, saying, “Ang ating testigo dito ay hindi pangkaraniwang testigo. Siya ay tanyag na abugado, intelihenteng testigo.”

A minor discussion on “hearsay” testimony of De Lima. Enrile allows her testimony in the end, saying, “Ang ating testigo dito ay hindi pangkaraniwang testigo. Siya ay tanyag na abugado, intelihenteng testigo.”

“Irregularities in the issuance of the TRO have no bearing on my alleged non-compliance with the TRO,” De LIma says.

2:53 pm: Cuevas moves to strike out De Lima’s testimony. Rep Raul Daza. Enrile, Cuevas clarify that the move is to strike out the testimony as far as the truth/falsity of the Sereno dissent is concerned. 

Daza says the dissent is part of judicial notice. Enrile clarifies, Cuevas is saying that they want court to disregard claim to irregularity attributed to others by Sereno because witness was not in deliberations of court.

3:03 pm: Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago manifests, adds to discussion on the striking out of De Lima’s testimony. She argues that De Lima was not there at the SC deliberations, and that witness herself said so. She says De Lima’s testimony is hearsay, because she was not qualified as an expert witness.

3:16 pm: Enrile rules that the De Lima testimony will remain on record, but the truth or falsity of parts of her testimony coming from the Sereno dissenting opinion will be considered hearsay. He explains that the hearsay rule doesn’t apply strictly in impeachment cases.

3:21 pm: Cross examination ends. Clarificatory questions next. Session suspended.

3:44 pm: Session resumes. Senator-judge Panfilo Lacson recognized. He suggests to prosecution to request subpoena for staff of Sereno present in en banc. Daza however reminds impeachment court that SC issued resolution barring justices, employees from testifying in Senate. 

“Baka maawa si Justice Sereno at pumunta dito sa ngalan ng bayan,” Daza also tells court.

3:50 pm: Lacson asks clarificatory questions to De Lima. Lacson asks about the circumstances surrounding the barring of the Arroyos to leave the country.

She tells court that she defied the TRO despite not knowing if the conditions set by the court were met. She says there was no memo from the court. 

Lacson also asks De Lima questions about the hold departure orders and watchlist orders, and the legal basis for the DOJ issuing such orders. Lacson says it is “self-serving” since the DOJ made a circular, which they themselves implement. He asks, will the HDO be used against political enemies, as what the previous government did? De Lima says they won’t do that.

4:13 pm: Clarificatory questions from Senator-judge Franklin Drilon. She recounts events in the issuance of the TRO.

4:28 pm: Senator-judge Ferdinand Marcos Jr says, how do we handle her testimony? Enrile says, “we are all intelligent. I think we will know how to appreciate it.” De Lima says part of her testimony is also based on personal knowledge. 

4:31 pm: Clarificatory questions from Senator-judge Gregorio Honasan.

He asks questions about justice and the national interest. 

4:54 pm: Senator-judge Jinggoy Estrada manifests. Clarificatory questions for prosecution panel, specifically about Articles I and VII. 

5:00 pm: Banter in Senate: Estrada asks De Lima: Kung sakali ma-convict si CJ Corona, kayo raw po ang magiging susunod na Chief Justice? Laughter in hall, as DOJ chief says she doesn’t know, and would probably decline if offered. How about the Senate, he asks. De Lima simply says, “hindi ko po alam.” She tells court, “I did not plan my career.”  

5:02 pm: Senator-judge Antonio Trillanes IV manifests. Sotto jokes, “to complete the cast” of the 3 soldiers in Senate.

Trillanes poses clarificatory questions to prosecution. He then submits motion to send written questions to Sereno. Sotto says the motion will be discussed in Monday’s caucus. 

5:10 pm: Senator-judge Loren Legarda asks clarificatory questions to prosecution. She asks about the “threshold of bias, partiality” of the Chief Justice that warrants conviction. Discussion on the partiality of the CJ on cases, with Daza citing “irregularities” earlier mentioned by De Lima in court. “There were individual acts of the Chief Justice that when pieced together will show partiality.”

5:23 pm: Session suspended as per request from Daza.

5:29 pm: Session resumes. Clarificatory questions by Senator-judge Alan Peter Cayetano for De Lima, in particular the confidentiality of court sessions.  

5:38 pm: Cayetano asks De Lima: Do you have other sources, aside from the Sereno dissent, about Corona’s actions? De Lima declines, invokes executive privilege. Cayetano also asks prosecution same question. Prosecution explains they have info from numerous sources.

Rep Neri Colmenares then explains why the Chief Justice manipulate or control the decision in the TRO.

5:53 pm: Cuevas manifests, says Colmenares should be on witness stand. Colmenares says he’s just making a manifestation.

5:54 pm: Sotto moves to strike out Alan Cayetano’s earlier statement “mga lalaki kami dito,” says it’s gender insensitive. Cayetano apologizes, but Enrile lets statement stay as part of manifestation of the minority floor leader.

5:55 pm: Session about to be adjourned, but not until Sotto notices De Lima has not yet been discharged. Enrile orders all witnesses who were not able to testify to come back on next session. De Lima is also discharged.

5:56 pm: Session adjourned. Trial resumes on Monday, February 27, 2012, at 2 pm.


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