Prosecution witness helped defense

Natashya Gutierrez

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'Public losing faith in the prosecution,' says defense counsel

MANILA, Philippines – The defense called the testimony of prosecution witness Noli Hernandez, the Marketing Director of Megaworld, a “big relief.”

Defense spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III said they are happy with what Hernandez revealed, that the special discount given to Chief Justice Renato Corona was worth P1-M, not P10-M as previously reported. The price cut, Hernandez said, was due to damage in the unit caused by a 2008 typhoon.

Salvador brushed off questions about Hernandez protecting his company, saying the witness was truthful and consistent.

Defense counsel Judd Roy also expressed dismay at the insinuations that Hernandez was lying. He said the witness was badgered by the Senator-judges, who asked more questions than the prosecution.

“Who summoned the witness?,” asked Roy. “What is this? Is there no evidence we can present that can hold up to what is obviously a pre-judgment of guilt?”

Roy also emphasized Sen. Manny Villar’s statement on the regularity of discounts given by developers, such as the 40% discount offered by SM Development Corporation last year. Villar is a real estate mogul.

Far from hurting them, the defense sees the revelations of Hernandez to have aided their case.

“The public is quickly losing faith in the prosecution and that has nothing to do with us,” said Roy. “We haven’t even begun.” –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.