MANILA, Philippines – He rarely speaks but when he does, he stuns the world.
Senator-judge Lito Lapid became the sixth-most trending topic on the popular microblogging site Twitter after he rose for the first time in the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“Nakalagay sa SALN ni Justice Corona na nag-cash advance siya ng 11 million. Ano ang pagkakaiba ng cash advance sa loan or utang?” Lapid asked the prosecution.
Prosecutor Rep. Reynaldo Umali was at that time directly examining witness Benito Cataran, director of the Company Registration and Monitoring Department of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Cataran testified that the SEC revoked the franchise of the Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc. (BGEI) in 2003. The company was owned by the family of Mrs Cristina Corona, wife of the Chief Justice.
Corona allegedly took an P11-M loan from the company in 2003, the same year the company was revoked by the SEC.
Cataran said that when its SEC-issued license is revoked the corporation is already considered dissolved, sparking a lengthy discussion on the floor.
But Lapid didn’t join the fray. “Hindi na siguro kung mahalaga kung nagsarado ang kumpanaya o hindi. Nangutang ba?” Lapid asked Umali. “Kanina pa kayo tanong nang tanong, isang oras na tayo dito, yun lang pala gusto niyong palabasin kung inutang, in-advance o ni-loan?” an exasperated Lapid said.
Tears of joy
Netizens were surprised to see Lapid participate in the proceedings. Even his colleagues and other people in the Senate session hall chuckled when the senator-judge from Pampanga stood up.
“O bakit na naman kayo tumatawa diyan?” Lapid quipped before he proceeded to ask his question.
Kat De Castro (
@KatDeCastro), daughter of Noli de Castro, a former colleague of Lapid, tweeted: “Sen. Lito Lapid… On the floor! La la la la la.“
“The world stopped when he spoke. Woohoo!!! Lito Lapid!!! Hehehe,” Rica Llaguno-Taneña (
@kookairix) posted on her account.
“Finally! Akala ko sa opening prayer ko lang maririnig si Sen.Lito Lapid…A milestone in Philippine politics!” Twitter user Karlo Soriano (
Ted Francisco (
@tedfrancisco) approved of Lapid’s questions: “Sen. Lito Lapid now trending in Twitter! Panalo. May sense naman ang tanong. Best actor in a supporting role.’
So did Rene Castro (
@renecastro1): “Sen. Lito Lapid ‘naka-3pt. shot’ (kung baga sa basketball) sa kanyang unang tanong during CJ Corona trial.
Others posted encouraging tweets. Myrla Krizna (
@myrlakrizna). “Go Sen Lito Lapid! Prove your worth! Keep the confidence coming! 😀
TV personality Lourd de Veyra (
@lourddv) quipped “I’m so proud of Lito Lapid. *clap *clap *clap,” adding the hashtag #tearsofjoy.
“Talk is CHEAP?! Not in Lito Lapid’s case. Umaarangkada na si Leon Guerrero. Go FTW Sir! Hahaha” joked Gilbert Yniguez (
@whatsupGibo) in reference to a popular movie character which Lapid portrayed as an action star.
Leon Guerrero also trended worldwide at number 3.
Not a laughing matter
But Lapid’s line of questioning revealed where the prosecution was apparently headed: to tackle evidence of Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.
“Cristina engaged in real business pero wala naman pong record sa SEC, BIR at lahat. Ito po ay nakapagtataka kung saan nanggaling ito. Ito po tinatanong namin, ini-establish namin, ito po ay unexplained wealth,” Umali explained to Lapid.
But defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas was quick to object. “There is a resolution of this court – both verbal and written – denying prosecution from presenting evidence of unexplained wealth.”
Enrile reminded the prosecution to adhere to the rules of the impeachment court.
“I caution everybody to respect the rulings of this court. We have already ruled that paragraph 2.4 is not permissible to receive any proof. Kindly adhere to the rules of this court,” Enrile ordered, banging his gavel. – Rappler.com
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