Disregard PSBank records, Corona asks court

Illegally obtained documents should not be admitted, the defense says

MANILA, Philippines – The defense panel on Tuesday, February 28, asked the impeachment court to disregard evidence related to the Philippine Savings Bank records of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In a 33-page motion to “suppress illegally obtained evidence,” defense lawyers said: “Chief Justice Renato C. Corona respectfully prays that the Honorable Impeachment Court suppress, exclude and expunge from the record all evidence thus far offered, received, marked and proposed in relation to the Subpoena dated February 2012 and 9 February 2012 addressed to Ms. Anabelle Tiongson, Branch Manager, PSBank Katipunan Branch, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City.”

This covers PSBank accounts which showed that Corona has about P36-M deposits as of Dec. 12, 2011, or the day he was impeached.

The prosecution considers Corona’s PSBank accounts as strong evidence to prove Article 2 of the impeachment complaint, or the alleged failure of Corona to declare his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN). His combined PSBank accounts show that he had about P20-M as of Dec. 31, 2010 but he only declared P3.5-million in his 2010 SALN.

The defense panel is invoking the constitutional guarantee against unlawful searches and seizure. “The exclusion of evidence is the only manner by which the illegal introduction of evidence can be stopped from being used against the individual,” the motion added.

Citing testimonies of PSBank officials, the defense maintained that the document that the prosecution panel had attached to its request for subpoena was “spurious.” It added that representatives Reynaldo Umali and Jorge “Bolet” Banal, members of the prosecution panel, “could not provide a credible source or origin of the document.”

The defense panel cited 2 grounds for its motion to drop the PSBank accounts from court records.

1. The prosecution’s evidence on Corona’s bank accounts with PSBank is based on documents obtained through an unlawful search or a violation of banking laws and Article 172 in relation to Article 171 of the Revised Penal Code (Falsification).

2. The evidence thus far offered, received, marked and/or to be proposed by the prosecution in relation there to are inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding. – Rappler.com



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