MANILA, Philippines – Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said as far as he is concerned, all the evidence offered by the prosecution should be admitted.
Enrile said he has prepared a written ruling on the offer of evidence which the prosecution submitted on March 2.
The presiding officer in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona told reporters he will present the ruling to the senator-judges in a caucus at noon of Monday, March 12.
Asked if he rejected any evidence, Enrile said, “Wala naman (none), normally in trials like this, the court is always very liberal to accept the evidence for whatever it is worth.”
Enrile said the final decision of the Senate will be announced when the trial resumes at 2 pm.
Last week, the defense submitted its comment to the prosecution’s offer of evidence. Corona’s lawyers asked that most of the prosecution’s evidence be rejected for being “irrelevant, immaterial and misleading.”
Dismiss other articles?
Enrile also said the Senate will rule on the defense’s motion to dismiss Articles 1, 4, 5, 6 and 8, which the prosecution earlier dropped.
“Sa akin ay ‘di na kailangan ‘yun pero kung gusto ng depensa, (To me there is no need for that but if the defense wants) they want it formally dismissed, I have no objection but I have to bring it up to the members of the Senate.”
The Senate will also take up the motion in caucus.
The Senate President also reacted to the defense’s plan to present Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco on the alleged failure of lawmakers to meet the Constitutional requirement of verification in filing the impeachment complaint.
Enrile said the Senate has already decided on the matter months ago.
“I leave that to him but as far as I know, we have settled the issue of the sufficiency of the articles of impeachment because that issue of lack of verification I think was raised in the early stage of the case.”
In an interview on DZRH radio, Sen. Franklin Drilon agreed with Enrile.
“If you ask me, the impeachment court already decided on that and we are already in the stage of presentation of evidence of the prosecution, the comment of the defense. For us, that’s finished but there is no prohibition for us if they want to present the congressmen to testify on the circumstances of the filing of the impeachment complaint,” Drilon said in Filipino.
Defense counsel and spokesperson Rico Quicho, however, said it will be best to wait and see.
“Let’s not be so sure and preempt the defense because if they say the issue of verification was already resolved, is that the only thing we can get out of Cong. Tiangco’s testimony? So let’s just be calm, critical and let’s wait for the purpose of his testimony.”
Tiangco has volunteered to testify for the defense. Enrile said he will ask the senators whether or not the lawmaker’s testimony will still be entertained.
Enrile also said that he will have to study the defense’s request to subpoena other lawmakers to discuss the alleged railroading of the impeachment complaint.
“I will have to study that because there is interparliamentary courtesy but the accused is also entitled to the compulsory process to defense himself. I will see, I will talk to the Senate if we will allow it,” he said in Filipino. – Rappler.com