Prosecution formally offers evidence

MANILA, Philippines - The prosecution submitted on Friday, March 2, its Formal Offer of Documentary Evidence, which formally closes its presentation of evidence against Chief Justice Renato Corona.

The 169-page document lists the prosecution's evidence for Articles 2, 3 and 7 of the impeachment complaint. The prosecution panel decided to drop the rest of the 5 articles in the complaint, and it has filed a separate motion on this.

The documents include Corona's Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN); Income Tax Returns (ITRs); titles of his properties; his bank deposits in the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI); the SC rulings in the case of the Philippine Airlines (PAL) flight attendants; the PAL Platinum Card that grants the Chief Justice "unlimited courtesy travel;" and the dissenting opinion of Supreme Court Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno on the SC ruling cancelling the travel ban on former President and now Pampanga Rep Gloria Arroyo.

The House of Representatives has accused Corona of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and graft and corruption.

"Except for our reservations on the Chief Justice's dollar accounts, that formally closes our presentation of evidence. If the TRO is lifted, we will start presenting evidence again," impeachment manager Rep Joseph Emilio Abaya told Rappler.

On March 12, it will be the defense panel's turn to convince the court of Corona's innocence.

"We will be prepared," said Abaya. "We're studying how we will do cross examination. We will study what their defenses are and how to punch holes through them. Kami naman ang mangba-bakbak," he added.

"We will follow the same groupings, but there will be reinforcements," Abaya added.

The prosecution rested its case this week without the testimony of Sereno. Prosecutor Neri Colmenares earlier expressed disappointment with lead prosecutor Rep Niel Tupas Jr. for failing to insist on Sereno's testimony.

"There is no rift within between me and Cong. Niel Tupas. Nanghihinayang lang ako sa opportunity. The prosecution panel must now prepare for the defense presentation of witnesses," Colmenares said.

There's a storyline behind the prosecution's decision to just present Articles 2, 3, and 7.

Article 2 refers to the alleged failure of the Chief Justice to declare his assets in his SALN.

Article 3 refers to his alleged incompetence and lack of independence by, among others, accepting gifts such as PAL's Platinum Card.

Finally, Article 7 accuses Corona of using his powers as chief justice to influence the High Tribunal into deciding in favor of Ms Arroyo's request to travel.- Rappler.com