MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The prosecution panel has asked the Senate to summon Internal Revenue chief Kim Jacinto Henares, Supreme Court Clerk of Court Enriqueta Esguerra-Vidal, and 8 other government officials and employees to testify at the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In a statement, the prosecution said they have also asked the Senate to issue a subpeona to the head of the state-owned John Hay Management Corp and 6 “private individuals connected with property development” to appear on Wednesday, January 18, and Thursday, January 19, at the Senate impeachment court.
The witnesses to be summoned will be asked questions in relation to the assets of the Chief Justice. The 6-page request sent by the prosecution to the Senate asked the latter to also summon the personnel officers of the Office of the President, Office of the Vice President.
(From 1998 to 2001, Corona served as chief of staff of Arroyo when she was vice president during the Estrada administration.)
The prosecution’s statement said they wanted the Senate to order Henares to present the original and certified true copies of the income tax returns (ITR) and other tax records of Corona and his wife Cristina from 1992 to 2010. “Prosecutors likewise sought the ITR and tax records from 2000 to 2010 of his daughter Carla and son-in-law Constantino Castillo III, and from 2005 to 2010 of son Francis and daughter-in-law Charina,” the statement added.
In a press briefing on Tuesday, January 17, 2012, the Senate impeachment court spokesperson Valentina Cruz said the senator-judges are expected to resolve pleadings, including the prosecution’s motion to request the following to be subpoenaed:
January 17, 2012
- Supreme Court clerk of court Atty. Enriquieta Esguerra-Vidal
January 18, 2012
- Chief justice Renato Corona, his wife Christina, their two children and respective spouses.
- House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte
- City assessors of Marikina, Taguig, Makati and Pasay, the cities in Metro Manila where Corona’s reported real estate properties are located
- Bureau of Internal Revenue commissioner Kim Henares related to the annual income tax returns of the Corona and his wife)
- Megaworld Corp. finance director Giovanni Ng who signed for the firm the papers for upscale properties in The Bellagio condominium and The Mckinley Hill at The Fort and Fort Bonifacio, respectively, in Taguig City.
- Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr and Lourdes R. Reyes, the authorized representatives of Fort Bonifacio Development Corp
- Grace Evangeline F. Manankil-Sta. Ana and Nerissa N. Josef, the authorized representatives of Commumity Innovations Inc., a unit of Ayala Land that built The Columns, a high rise residential building in Makati regarding the reported unit of the Coronas in Bonifacio Ridge at The Fort in Taguig
- Rogelio Serafica, the president of Burgundy Realty Corp, which built one of the condominium units in One Burgundy Plaza in Quezon City
January 19, 2012
- Jaime Eloise M. Agbayani, the president and CEO of Camp John Management Corp
The prosecution is expected to tackle Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment filed against Corona, and this pertains to the failure of Corona to disclose his Statement of Asset, Liability and Net Worth.
On the order of the trial, Cruz said they will follow the criminal court procedure where the prosecution will go first before the defense. The prosecution has the discretion to determine their order of presentation of article.
At the caucus on Monday, January 16, the senators decided that they cannot pass on to another senator their 2-minute allocation for their questions for witnesses. The 2 minutes is inclusive of questions only and not the answers. The senators may opt to submit questions to Presiding Officer or the Senate President.
Private prosecutors, on the other hand, may aide in the presentation of evidence but legal argumentation should be made by public prosecutors, as announced by Senator Enrile. Under the rules, private prosecutors can appear under command and control of public prosecutor
Request to subpoena witnesses must be submitted 3 days before the witnesses are scheduled to be presented. This is to give time to take appropriate actions such as issuing, serving the subpoena and also to give time for the witnesses to prepare.
The legal teams don’t have to submit a list of their surprise witnesses but they will have to formally file a request for subpoena. “If they can convince witnesses without any subpoena, fine. As far as we are concerned, they should present witnesses related to the articles of impeachment,” explained Cruz.
Examinations of witnesses have no time limits, but the presiding officer will manage length and the number of questions.
Witnesses may be called for one or more of the articles of impeachment. – Rappler.com, with reports from David Santos
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