Corona, defense to attack verified complaint

Natashya Gutierrez
Chief Justice Renato Corona is expected to reiterate what his defense team has been insisting all along -- the unconstitutionality of the impeachment complaint against him

DENNIS MANALO. The defense is confident about the Chief Justice's ability to convince the nation and the court of his innocence. Natashya Gutierrez

MANILA, Philippines – Expect the defense to go back to square one and attack the verified complaint, and what they believe, is the unconstitutionality of the manner by which it was filed.

“That is a matter that will be brought up again. It is an indelible defect that will keep on cropping up, we cannot avoid it,” said defense counsel Dennis Manalo. “The issue on whether the complaint is actually valid or not… it is our position that it is inherently defective.”

The defense has since maintained that the complaint was railroaded and was a product of a conspiracy by the government against Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Fluid preparations

Manalo confirmed, along with defense counsel Ramon Esguerra, that Corona has prepared an opening statement he will deliver if permitted by the court. Esguerra also said they have prepared a PowerPoint presentation. Both counsels refused to disclose details.

Manalo assured the media though that Corona would discuss the Anti Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report that says he has $12-million of “fresh deposits” or funds that did not transfer accounts. He hinted that  in explaining why Corona’s alleged dollar accounts were not reported in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, they would point to the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (RA 6426) restrictions as absolute.

“The Foreign Deposit Act will be discussed today,” said Manalo. “There are provisions there for every one of us where all the depositors have rights under this law and today these rights of all dollar depositors under this country will be tested before the Filipino people.”

The impeachment court’s verdict, he said, will show how serious the government is in applying and implementing the laws of the land.

Manalo also highlighted the importance of Corona’s testimony, being the first respondent in an impeachment trial to ever take the stand. While he admitted there was a possibility of Corona invoking his right against self-incrimination, he said it would be a fault of the court if it singled him out and judged him for doing so.

Defense preparations so far, he said, are fluid, depending on the circumstances of the trial, but Manalo expressed confidence in Corona’s ability to convince the nation and the court of his innocence.

“It all boils down to this, today. Our institutions will be tested today. The Senate, the Supreme Court, and the challenge to the Supreme Court posed by the executive branch,” Manalo said. “I think today the people will finally get to meet their Chief Justice. The people will listen to him and see him for who he is.” –

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