Impeachment trial cut short due to defense’s memorandum

January 24, 2012 11:13 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Jan. 24 – The impeachment trial adjourned early on Tuesday after the defense panel submitted to the Senate a memorandum asking the senator-judges to stop the prosecutors from presenting evidence on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s assets since it was not part of the Article 2 of the impeachment complaint.

Presiding officer Senator Juan Ponce Enrile has instead asked the House prosecution team to submit its own memorandum before 10 a.m. on Wednesday in reply to the defense panel’s pleadings.

”We cannot continue the impeachment trial today (Tuesday) because the submission has been questioned,” Senate Majority Floor Leader-judge Vicente Sotto said in a media interview after the adjournment.

Sotto was referring to the defense’s move to question the accusation of the prosecution that Corona failed to declare in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

”The prosecution cannot present evidence until we resolve the ruling on motion of whether the 2.3 or 2.4 in articles of impeachment will be continued,” Sotto said.

The defense claimed that the alleged ill-gotten wealth and the non-declaration of it in Corona’s SALN were not included in the title of the Article 2, which focuses on the non-disclosure of the Chief Justice’s SALN.

Last week, senator-judge Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero manifested that he himself was confused by the inclusion of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of Corona and the chief magistrate to declare it in the Article 2 of the eight articles of impeachment.

The prosecution, on the other hand, accused the defense of resorting to technicality in an effort to delay the impeachment proceedings.

Prosecution team spokesperson Rep. Miro Quimbo declared there was no need to amend the Article II.

”It is the right of the defense to raise their issue of ill-gotten wealth but is clearly stated in the article 2. I hope the defense will allow us to present evidence in ill-gotten wealth and let the senator-judges to accept or denied so that everything will be cleared,” Quimbo said.

Quimbo said the prosecution was not given deadline until Tuesday for the memorandum, adding the defense succeeded to stop the presentation of witness in the ill-gotten wealth.

Aside from deadline to submit memorandum, the prosecution team has also been directed to submit to the impeachment court a list of all their witnesses and evidence as proposed by senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

The prosecution promised to comply within three days while the defense also promised to submit its own list of witnesses and evidences for the perusal of the impeachment court.

Santiago made her proposal to shorten the impeachment proceedings. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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