Drilon reiterates he won’t inhibit as judge in Corona’s trial

January 26, 2012 11:23 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 26 – Senator Franklin Drilon has stood firm on his stand not to inhibit as judge in the ongoing impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona despite motion from defense panel for the senator-judge's inhibition.

”I will not inhibit. There is no basis for the request for my inhibition,” Drilon said in an interview after the impeachment trial adjourned on Thursday.

In a 15-page motion to inhibit, the defense counsels led by former Justice Serafin Cuevas asked the impeachment court to disqualify Drilon as senator-judge for "showing partiality in favor of the prosecution" during last week’s trial.

The defense counsels said they noticed during the January 17 hearing that Drilon “cross-examine(d) and badger(ed) Supreme Court Clerk of Court Enriqueta-Esguerra Vidal in the guest of clarificatory questions."

Drilon explained that he was just asking Vidal why she did not bring the SALN (statement of assets, liabilities and net worth) of the Chief Justice when in fact it was included in the subpoena issued to her.

”When I asked her that question, she said she has the SALN of the Chief Justice with her,” Drilon explained.

After that, presiding officer Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile ordered Vidal to present to the impeachment court Corona’s SALN despite a 1989 SC resolution prohibiting the SC clerk of court to release to the public the SALN of the justices.

The prosecutors failed to ask Vidal if she brought the SALN of Corona, prompting Drilon to spend the two-minute privilege to examine the SC clerk of court.

“Many of the questions propounded (by Drilon) to Atty. Vidal bordered on the power of the impeachment court to issue a subpoena and command compliance therewith. What cannot be denied, however, is that the interference and pressure exerted by Senator-judge Drilon against Atty. Vidal resulted in the production of SALNs of Corona, which the prosecution was unable to accomplish on its own,” the defense stated in its motion.

The defense also questioned Drilon’s alleged partiality “by directly causing the introduction of evidence from a document intended to cast doubts on the role of Chief Justice, who acted as the attorney-in-fact, about the acquisition of P6.2 million condominium in McKinley Hill 1, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City by his daughter Charina.

“Senator-Judge Drilon made sure to highlight this fact, as if to suggest that CJ Corona was the beneficial owner of the property,” the defense said. (PNA)

scs/jfm

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