human rights in the Philippines

Final push for testimonies of PAL execs, Justice Sereno

Disallowed testimonies are crucial to the prosecution

MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution panel is making last-ditch efforts to persuade the impeachment court to allow the testimonies of Philippine Airlines (PAL) executives and Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

“What we filed is a manifestation. It is a pleading whereby we told the Impeachment Court that the testimony of the excluded PAL executive is relevant to the charge that the Chief Justice lacked integrity and independence,” said Rep. Sherwin Tugna, the prosecutor in charge of presenting the PAL records.

They also want the court to accept as evidence the PAL documents showing that Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife were issued Platinum Cards that entitle them to “unlimited courtesy travel on Philippine Airlines and PAL Express flights on the highest class of service.”

On February 21, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile disallowed the testimony of PAL VP for sales Enrique Javier. Enrile said bribery is not included in the impeachment complaint.

Tugna said they are not proving bribery. He said the flight perks from PAL would explain why Corona flip-flopped in the case of PAL and Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP).

To get around the Senate ruling that it cannot subpoena Supreme Court Justices, the prosecution instead asked the impeachment court to send an “invitation.”

The prosecution’s request reads: “The invitation of the Prosecution, through the Honorable Impeachment Court, is being requested to ask Justice Sereno to share with the Court her personal knowledge on the circumstances surrounding the dissenting opinion in the cases of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo v. Hon. Leila de Lima in G.R. No. 199034 and Jose Miguel T. Arroyo v. Sec. Leila de Lima in G.R. No. 199046. The said dissenting opinion forms part of the acts of the Chief Justice mentioned in the testimony of Justice Secretary Leila De Lima and the impeachment complaint pending before this Honorable Impeachment Court.”

Sereno’s testimony would be crucial for a Corona conviction in Article 7. –

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