Corona hurting, ‘losing sobriety,’ says counsel

Defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas says the Chief Justice has no choice but to testify

MANILA, Philippines – Defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas said Chief Justice Renato Corona is hurting from the way the impeachment trial has progressed. He’s in fact “losing his sobriety” over the matter.

“Emotionally involved siya. Kada pinag-usapan namin dyan, medyo he is losing his sobriety. Parang masama ang loob niya. Sa magaspang na pangungusap, nililibak na raw siya. Hindi lang siya pati kanyang buong pamilya. I could feel it. He is misty-eyed. He is also human,” he said. (He feels bad. He feels that he and his family are being put down.)

Cuevas said Corona has no choice but to testify especially with new allegations that he has US$10 million or almost half-billion pesos in various bank accounts. Parang ang pakiramdam ko wala nang remedyo kundi ito na lang. Hindi siya tumestigo, sesentensyahan siya. Tumestigo na siya para mapaliwanag,” Cuevas said. (I feel there is no other remedy but for him to testify. Even if he doesn’t, they will judge him anyway. He might as well testify and explain his side.)

The defense maintains the money doesn’t exist.

Sabi ko nga sa kanya, ‘This is your golden opportunity to prove that you deserve to be a chief justice. Kung hindi mo kayang idepensa sarili mo, paano mo idedepensa ang judges?” Cuevas said. (If you can’t defend youself, how can you defend other judges?)

On Tuesday, May 8, the defense panel made a surprise announcement and asked the impeachment court to subpoena Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who is investigating Corona’s alleged bank deposits. After this, Corona will testify, said defense lawyer Judd Roy.–