Summon solons, Corona asks Senate

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The Chief Justice wants lawmakers on both sides of the political fence to testify at the Senate

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona asked the Senate to summon lawmakers who led efforts to impeach him, as well as those who opposed the move.

The defense team filed a request for the issuance of subpoenas on Wednesday, January 11.

Corona wants the Senate to order the appearance of the following members of the House of Representatives on the first day of his trial on Monday, January 16:

1. House Speaker and Quezon City Rep. Feliciano Belmonte Jr.

2. Chief prosecutor and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

3. Deputy Speaker and Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla

4. Batangas Rep. Hermilando Mandanas

5. Navotas City Rep. Tobias Tiangco

6. House Secretary-General Marilyn Barua-Yap

Corona’s lawyers filed a motion for preliminary hearing last week, asking the Senate to dismiss the impeachment complaint. The defense team argued that the complaint was defective because it was impossible for all 188 signatories to have read, understood, and evaluated the complaint. Prosecutors though described the motion as an afterthought

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said he will consult his fellow senator-judges on Monday before deciding on the matter. Enrile is the presiding judge in the trial.

The six and impeachment

Belmonte led Aquino allies in signing the impeachment complaint against Corona on December 12, 2011.

Tupas drafted the complaint and is now leading the team of lawmakers and lawyers who will prosecute Corona. Hours before Corona was impeached, Tupas gave a Powerpoint presentation on the articles of impeachment during a caucus. Lawmakers then lined up to sign the impeachment complaint.

Remulla did not sign the impeachment complaint. In media interviews, he said he did not vote to impeach Corona because he was unable to read the complaint and did not want to sign on “blind faith.” He added that President Benigno Aquino III met with House coalition leaders and supposedly told them about his support for the impeachment.

Tiangco quit the majority bloc. He was quoted in Sun Star as saying, “How can you vote for the impeachment without having the chance to read the articles of impeachment, much less verify the facts? Why the haste in the matter of house? Why not give him due process?

Mandanas resigned from Aquino’s Liberal Party after the impeachment. He said he also lost his post as chairman of the Committee on Ways and Means for declining to sign the complaint. House leaders, however, said, he was removed over differences on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA). –

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