MANILA, Philippines – The prosecution believes it has scored a major victory to secure the conviction of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The prosecution panel hailed the decision of the Senate to admit as evidence Corona’s peso and dollar bank records. The team reacted to the impeachment court’s ruling denying the defense’s motion to “suppress illegally obtained evidence.”
The prosecution immediately held a press conference after Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile announced the ruling that was reached in a Senate caucus on Tuesday, March 6.
“The admission of evidence especially with regard to the PSBank accounts, I would say that is another nail added to the coffin of betrayal of public trust on Article 2,” said prosecution spokesperson Quezon Rep Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III.
Another prosecution spokesperson, Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said, “This is a major step towards accountability and our quest of truth.”
Prosecutors have said that Article 2 is one of their strongest charges against Corona. Article 2 accuses the Chief Justice of failing to disclose and accurately declare his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
Waiting for the fat lady
Prosecution spokesperson Marikina Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo said the decision will strengthen the verdict of the Senate but the prosecution is not complacent.
Quimbo said the prosecution sets its sights on getting the vote of 16 senators to convict Corona.
“That’s the number that we really want to anticipate or that’s [what] we’re excited about,” Quimbo said. “I think we all learned our lessons that we don’t celebrate until the fat lady sings.”
Senators have warned the prosecution team against declaring victory in public. Last week, they reminded the prosecution that the defense has yet to present its witnesses and evidence.
It will be the defense’s turn to present when the impeachment trial resumes on March 12.
‘No choice but Corona’s testimony’
With the Senate ruling, the prosecution spokespersons said the defense team has no other choice but to present Corona before the impeachment court.
“If they want the Chief Justice to have a buyable or acceptable defense in the basis of the proof that we’ve been able to show, we are certain that they really don’t have any choice …. If they want their client to be exonerated, they need to present him,” said Quimbo.
The defense set a meeting on Tuesday, March 6, to discuss its witnesses and evidence. Defense counsel Ramon Esguerra has said that they might discuss the possibility of Corona testifying in the Senate.
No decision has been made yet with members of the defense team issuing contradictory statements on whether Corona will testify or not.
Some senators, including Enrile, said Corona should testify. – Rappler.com