#CoronaTrial: Day 6

KD Suarez

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Day 6: BIR chief Kim Henares testifies, presents tax records of Chief Justice Corona and wife

MANILA, Philippines – Here are the highlights of Day 6 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

2:05 pm: Session starts. Sen. Franklin Drilon leads invocation. 20 senators present at roll call.

2:10 pm: Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile: Based on Senate caucus, impeachment court allows the introduction of evidence for Article 2, Paragraphs 2.2-2.3 of Articles of Impeachment but not for Paragraph 2.4.

Paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 refer to the non-disclosure of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALNs) by the Chief Justice, and the non-inclusion of properties in the SALNs. Paragraph 2.4, meanwhile, refers to the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the Chief Justice.

Drilon manifests, clarifies the ruling. Prosecution says they will file a motion for reconsideration upon receipt of written ruling on Article 2. Point of order from Escudero, however, reminds prosecution that only the senator-judges can move to reconsider/appeal a ruling of the chair.

2:17 pm: The impeachment court allows the request for the subpoena of income tax returns (ITRs) of Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife only.

2:20 pm: Prosecution calls on Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) chief Kim Jacinto-Henares. However, Enrile asks relevance of Henares’ testimony. Senator-Judges Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Edgardo Angara, and Franklin Drilon join in discussion.

2:30 pm: Direct examination of Henares. Private prosecutor Arthur Lim conducts direct examination.

Lim tells impeachment court that Henares’ testimony will cover authentication of Corona’s income tax returns, to show Chief Justice acquired properties not justified by income, hid properties in name of other family members. Cuevas, however, objects, says evidence related to ill-gotten wealth, irrelevant.

Lim defends their presentation of Henares, but preempts her testimony, saying CJ Corona can’t afford properties. Enrile says that’s the ill-gotten wealth charge already. Presiding officer then disallows testimony of Henares to the extent it relates to charge of ill-gotten wealth, effectively limiting it only to authenticating the ITRs.

2:42 pm: An irate Santiago scolds both prosecution and defense panels for continued debates. “Kaya tayo tumagal kasi may oration pa eh. ‘Wag niyo kami i-orate dito!”

2:45 pm: Session suspended. During break, both prosecution and defense huddle among themselves. Santiago is seen having a conversation with the BIR chief, who is still at the witness stand.

2:51 pm: Session resumes. Senator-judge Joker Arroyo asks if she was given authority by President Aquino to disclose ITRs, she says yes.

Lim then starts direct examination of Henares, but objection from defense and discussion on her testimony’s relevance continues.

3:12 pm: Discussion about the “alpha list.” Alpha list, according to prosecution, is a document submitted by a company listing employees, income earned, and tax withheld. Enrile rules on the presentation of the alpha list of the Supreme Court.

3:21 pm: Senator Judge Ralph Recto asks Henares about the incomes and taxes paid by Chief Justice Corona based on the alpha list. She testifies that the Supreme Court did not file alpha lists from 2002-2005; She then testifies about incomes and taxes of Corona from 2006-2010 based on submitted alpha lists. The alpha list is being discussed, since the BIR has no record of ITRs of the Chief Justice.

3:31 pm: Lim now asks to present ITRs of Mrs Cristina Corona. Enrile allows presentation.

3:34 pm: Henares testifies that Mrs Corona became a registered taxpayer only on Sept. 9, 2003, as a one-time taxpayer for a property transaction. From 1992-1996, Mrs Corona did not file any ITRs. Defense says ITR presentation irrelevant, but Enrile rules otherwise.

3:40 pm: Henares then presents documents related to the transaction. Marked by prosecution as part of their evidence. Prosecution now asks: Mrs Corona purchased property in 2003, yet she had no recorded income that year. They note property was worth P11-M.

3:48 pm: Enrile then asks if Henares and her office studied the discrepancies beforehand. She says, they only found out about it because of the trial, last Friday, January 20, after the subpoena was issued. Enrile says, he was surprised the BIR took no action on the matter. Henares says they will now look into the matter.

3:52 pm: Lim asks if there are any alpha lists where Mrs Corona is included. Defense objects, but court lets Henares answer; Henares then presents alpha lists and expanded lists submitted by the John Hay Management Corp, where Mrs Corona was a former board director and CEO/President.

Henares also presents the letter from President Aquino authorizing the release of documents of the BIR.

3:59 pm: Escudero and Senator-Judge Pia Cayetano both express concern over the documents revealing names of people not connected to the case at hand. Escudero says private rights of other individuals not concerned with the case should be protected.

Cayetano, meanwhile, asks to clarify what the “other income” of Mrs Corona meant; Henares says it refers to director’s fees paid to her.

4:07 pm: Session suspended for “15 minutes.”

4:40 pm: Session resumes. Henares called back to witness stand, and prosecution continues direct examination, presentation of more documents concerning other properties of the Coronas in Taguig, Makati, and Quezon City.

5:09 pm: Enrile asks prosecution to mark documents in the morning to avoid delays. Prosecution, defense agree. Henares will again be called to continue her testimony.

5:12 pm: Session adjourns. Trial to resume Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012, at 2pm. – Rappler.com

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