MANILA, Philippines – The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday, March 20, is set to discuss the temporary restraining order (TRO) it issued last month on the disclosure of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s dollar accounts in the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank).
It is unclear, however, if the SC justices will vote on the matter during their en banc session Tuesday.
After Tuesday, the High Court’s next en banc session will take place April 10. The impeachment court also takes a long break next week and won’t resume trial until the first week of May.
Issued on February 9, the TRO stopped PSBank from further testifying and presenting documents before the impeachment court about Corona’s dollar accounts. Citing bank secrecy laws, the SC voted 8-5 to issue the TRO.
The prosecution has appealed the ruling, and it is now up to the High Tribunal to decide on the matter with finality.
When it rested its case before the impeachment court, the prosecution said it reserved the right to pursue Corona’s dollar accounts pending a final decision by the SC.
Information reaching the prosecution shows that aside from his PSBank dollar accounts, Corona had at least 2 others in another bank amounting to no less than US$500,000.00.
Will voting change?
In the February 9 TRO, 2 justices abstained from voting: Corona and Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr, whose son, a lawmaker, voted to impeach the Chief Justice.
The 5 justices who opposed the issuance of a TRO are: Justices Ma Lourdes Sereno, Estela Bernabe, Diosdado Peralta, Antonio Carpio, and Mariano del Castillo.
Two of the dissenting justices are Aquino appointees: Sereno and Bernabe. Del Castillo, on the other hand, is subject to an impeachment proceeding at the House of Representatives.
In her dissenting opinion, Sereno argued for the disclosure of Corona’s dollar accounts, saying that nothing can be higher than the requirement of public accountability.
However, lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas has told the impeachment court he is not prepared to commit to whatever Corona has declared publicly. – Rappler.com