The impeachment court will decide which evidence vs Corona it will accept
MANILA, Philippines – On the day Chief Justice Renato Corona starts his defense, the impeachment court will decide which of the evidence presented against him it will accept.
And for their part, Corona’s counsels will go to the root of the impeachment complaint.
They will try to insist that it is null and void by presenting as one of their witnesses a congressman, Navotas Rep Tobias “Toby” Tiangco.
The solon, who resigned from the majority bloc after Corona was impeached last December, will help reinforce the defense panel’s claim that lawmakers railroaded the complaint, signing it without even reading its contents.
The other witness that the defense is scheduled to present Monday, March 12, is House of Representatives secretary-general Marilyn Barua Yap. (For details on the defense panel’s strategy, read Natashya Gutierrez’s story.)
Before the impeachment trial resumes at 2 pm Monday, senator-judges will hold a caucus to take up the prosecution’s formal offer of documentary evidence, and the defense team’s opposition to it.
The prosecution offered a total of 247 documents in support of articles 2, 3, and 7 of the impeachment complaint. These include Corona’s statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, documents on his properties, bank deposits, and Supreme Court records.
The defense, however, asked the impeachment court not to admit most of the evidence for being “immaterial, irrelevant, and misleading.”
In its comment on the prosecution’s offer, the defense objected to all but a few documents, including a copy of the Supreme Court’s internal rules.
The defense also opposed the admission of all of Corona’s bank records as evidence, arguing that they came from an illegally acquired document – Corona’s signature card in PSBank – which the prosecution had attached to a subpoena request.
Last week, the Senate already ruled that it will accept the Chief Justice’s peso and dollar accounts as evidence. Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said nothing in the country’s bank secrecy laws prohibits courts from admitting evidence obtained illegally, unless it was done by the government.
The impeachment court will also formally rule on the defense panel’s petition to dismiss the 5 other impeachment articles – 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 – which the prosecution dropped after presenting its case for 7 weeks.
Enrile said last week that the impeachment court decided to consider them not part of the Articles of Impeachment, and that there’s no need to require the House prosecution team to amend the complaint.
“The understanding of the court is that those articles … are deemed as if they were not in the articles of impeachment filed before this court,” he said after a caucus last Tuesday.
Enrile explained that sending the complaint back to the House of Representatives for amendment might mean the impeachment court dismissed the case without a decision.
“We are going to decide this case,” he said. – Rappler.com