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MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The impeachment court noted the submission of Chief Justice Renato Corona of a waiver that would allow banks to disclose his dollar deposits, but stressed it’s no longer needed since the case is already up for decision.
After a caucus that was held a few minutes after the trial resumed Friday, May 25, Presiding Officer Sen Juan Ponce Enrile said: “We take note of this waiver but we cannot subpoena any other person mentioned here given the fact that we are not supposed to produce evidence for the defense nor the prosecution.”
The prosecution has already rested its case and the defense has likewise said it is ready to close its presentation Friday, Enrile said.
“In effect both sides are submitting the case for decision,” Enrile ruled. “We take note of the waiver but we cannot act on it.”
Earlier, Corona asked for forgiveness from the Senate, the prosecution and the nation, saying he did not walk out of the impeachment court.
Corona submitted to Enrile his “unconditional waiver” allowing banks to disclose his dollar deposits.
This prompted Enrile to call for a trial break so he could discuss this with the rest of the senators.
The Supreme Court last February issued a temporary restraining order (TRO) stopping the Philippine Savings Bank from disclosing to the impeachment court details of Corona’s dollar accounts. The Senate, voting 13-0, decided to heed the TRO.
The prosecution has appealed the SC’s decision, but insiders said this would be put on the SC agenda only on June 26. The trial, based on the impeachment court’s timetable, would be over by then.
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier testified that Corona had at least US$10-M dollar deposits. The Chief Justice denied this, describing it as a “malicious lie.”
Facing the impeachment court for the second time Friday, Corona said he did not walk out last Tuesday, May 22, after his testimony.
He said he was really feeling weak and thus had to cut short his 3-hour testimony. In fact, he told the court, he still had two remaining pages of his testimony which he failed to read that day.
Corona said he was sleepless on the eve of his Tuesday testimony given what he and his family had gone through.
Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas said they would no longer subject Corona to direct examination.
Private prosecutor Mario Bautista also said that since they don’t need his testimony and given the fragile health of the Chief Justice, prosecutors will no longer cross-examine him. “In behalf of the prosecution we wish you speedy recovery,” Bautista told Corona.