#CoronaTrial: Day 13

KD Suarez

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Day 13: Discussion on the motion for reconsideration submitted by Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago; Article 3 is tackled

MANILA, Philippines – Here are the highlights of Day 13 of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

2:06 pm: Session starts. 19 senator-judges present.

2:11 pm: The court tackles Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s motion for reconsideration on the court’s ruling on the subpoenas for the bank documents of the Coronas. Senator-judge Vicente Sotto III reads the motion in behalf of Santiago, who is still absent from the trial due to hypertension. She questions the decision, citing three grounds.

Presiding officer Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile agrees to hear Santiago’s position in person, before the court issues a final decision on the matter.

2:20 pm: Trial suspended.

MIRIAM'S MOTION. Senators discuss Sen. Santiago's motion for reconsideration.

2:24 pm: Trial resumes. Enrile says he is not prepared to make a ruling on the issue today, and says will wait until Santiago is given time to explain her motion. Sotto moves for senator-judges to have a caucus on the matter of Santiago’s motion at 12 noon on Wednesday, February 8. Enrile approves.

2:27 pm: Senator-judge Joker Arroyo is recognized, and asks prosecution about the pending impeachment case against Supreme Court Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo, says it is “burdensome” to have one impeachment trial after another. Tupas explains the House committee is just deciding on the substance of the complaint.

2:36 pm: Defense asks for a clarification on who can file motions for reconsideration.

Escudero says the ruling of chair is considered ruling of Senate unless senator asks decision to be put on vote. Meanwhile, Senator-judge Alan Peter Cayetano says that in the case of the ruling on Tuesday, it was a written resolution by the majority, and because of this they should discuss the matter on filing motions further.

Arroyo, meanwhile, says they should discuss the matter thoroughly because this reflects an interpretation of the law. Senator-judge Franklin Drilon says nowhere in the rules are the prosecution and defense panels allowed to seek a motion for reconsideration. Senator-judge Koko Pimentel, meanwhile, says it is “unnatural” not to allow both sides to ask for motions for reconsideration. Enrile then admits there is a certain vagueness of Rule 6, and says he wants to reserve judgment to give Santiago an opportunity to speak out in the scheduled Wednesday caucus.

Cuevas asks, if we can’t seek reconsideration in the impeachment court, where else can we go? He raises possibility of going to other venues, such as the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court itself.

3:10 pm: Prosecution proceeds to present Article 3 of the Articles of Impeachment. It tackles the “flip-flopping” of the Supreme Court on the case concerning Philippine Airlines (PAL) and the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines (FASAP). Rep. Giordigi Aggabao presents in behalf of prosecution.

Enrile asks prosecution: Does Chief Justice Corona have control of the entire judicial branch of government, including his fellow justices in the Supreme Court? Aggabao argues CJ has administrative control over affairs of the SC. Enrile asks prosecution for legal memorandum over the matter.

Aggabao asks the Senate about the pending requests for subpoena of PAL officials, the SC Clerk of Court, and the Deputy Clerk of Court, but Enrile says they will still have to discuss the matter in their caucus.

3:29 pm: Session suspended by Enrile.

4:05 pm: Session resumes. Rep. Neri Colmenares manifests, says the testimony of SC justices and SC records are crucial components of Article 3, other charges. He argues, Senate has subpoenaed members of the executive, also SC Clerk of Court Vidal earlier in hearing. Why not SC justices? Enrile explains that in his understanding, a branch of government cannot subpoena members from a co-equal branch. Colmenares insists, says the issue in the impeachment trial is accountability, not the separation of powers. “It’s crucial that we are able to prove our case,” he says.

4:18 pm: Rep. Kaka Bag-ao presents witness from the FASAP, Roberto Anduiza. Anduiza says Corona meddled in the case, resulting in a reversal of the initial decision.

4:34 pm: Discussion on whether it is okay to discuss the FASAP-PAL case in the impeachment court, while a case is still ongoing at a regular court. Is the impeachment case bound by the sub judice rule? Enrile allows testimony, says the trial is a public proceeding, and nothing should be hidden.

4:50 pm: Direct examination over. Defense says they would like to conduct their cross examination on Wednesday, saying they need time to study documents. Prosecution objects, says the documents are already public and they should have time to study them. Enrile rules in favor of defense.

4:51 pm: Bag-ao tells court that their other witnesses are pending, because of the pending subpoenas. Enrile says impeachment court will still have to take up the matter in caucus. Enrile then asks prosecution on why the financial records of the SC are relevant to Article 3; Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas responds, says the Chief Justice used judiciary funds for private purposes.

Enrile and Fariñas then discuss the Article 3, on whether the court should discuss the articles on the basis of the heading of the allegations, or the contents of the complaint. In the course of their discussion (Sen. Jinggoy Estrada also joined) Fariñas also admitted, “medyo masama po ang pagkagawa ng complaint.”


5:21 pm: Session adjourned. Trial to resume on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012, at 2 pm. – Rappler.com

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