MANILA, Philippines – Now that it’s the turn of defense counsels to present witnesses and evidence, the question is, will their client testify?
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile wants Chief Justice Renato Corona to face the impeachment court. In an interview over dzBB, the presiding officer said Corona will best respond to the allegations against him.
“Maganda diyan kung haharap si Chief Justice Corona sapagka’t sa aking paningin, doon natin maririnig kung ano ang katotohanan dito.” (It will be ideal for Chief Justice Corona to testify because in my view, that’s when we will hear the truth about the issue.)
Enrile added, “Walang ibang makapagpapaliwanag sa mga bank accounts kung hindi si Chief Justice lang sapagka’t siya ang nakapangalan doon, kung hindi sa kanya o bakit hindi niya naisama sa SALN.” (No one else but the Chief Justice can explain the bank accounts because those are under his name. He can say whether or not the accounts are his and why he did not declare these in his SALN.)
Sen Manuel “Lito” Lapid also echoed Enrile’s call. Lapid told reporters Corona can also explain why he closed 3 bank accounts on Dec 12, 2011 or the day he was impeached.
“Kung ako nga, ibabato ko pa sa kanila ang bank book ko eh, ‘O ayan, meron o wala?!'” (If it were me, I would throw my bank book at them and say, ‘There, is the money there or not?’)
Prosecutor Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares agreed with the position of Enrile.
“The Senate President is right because the Chief Justice said, ‘Sasagutin ko punto por punto ang mga alegasyon’ (I will answer the allegations point by point). So we expect the Chief Justice to testify.”
Why not answer in proper venue?
The prosecution earlier filed a motion asking the Senate to subpoena Corona but the Senate denied this, citing Corona’s right against self-incrimination.
The prosecution has been calling on Corona to testify before the Senate. The team said if Corona is able to answer the allegations against him through speeches at the Supreme Court, he should also be able to respond in the proper venue: the impeachment court.
The defense team, however, has said that it is considering whether or not to present Corona as one of its witnesses.
Defense counsels also said that Corona had promised to open his bank accounts when their turn comes to present witnesses and evidence.
The defense is preparing to make its presentation after the prosecution suddenly rested its case on Tuesday, February 28.
Corona faced the Senate on Day 1 of the impeachment trial, along with his wife and Supreme Court spokesperson Midas Marquez. The Chief Justice, though, just watched the trial and did not address the impeachment court. – Rappler.com