House prosecution insists bank documents 'authentic'

February 15, 2012 11:12 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Feb. 15 – The Senate, sitting as impeachment court, decided on Wednesday to tackle in a caucus the explanation of the prosecution regarding the ‘leaked’ bank documents of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”This court will discuss in a caucus on Monday the prosecution’s compliance to our request to provide us explanation on the bank documents being put into question,” Enrile ruled at the 18th day of the impeachment trial of Corona.

The prosecution panel submitted on Wednesday its written explanation where they insisted that the bank documents attached to its request for subpoena were ‘authentic’ based on the testimony of Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) president Pascual Garcia III.

”He (Garcia) never declared that Annexes A to A-4 were outright false documents or not documents of the bank but merely mentioned that there were “discrepancies” or “differences” when compared to the originals,” lead House prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas said in their 13-page explanation letter.

”Even the defense effectively admitted the existence of the dollar accounts by undertaking to open them ‘in due time,” Tupas said.

With this confirmation, the prosecution “submit that to resolve this issue once and for all and in order to arrive at the truth, the “due time” to present the document at issue is now.”

However, Enrile clarified that another PSBank official, Annabelle Tiongson, Katipunan branch manager, told the court ‘under oath’ that the bank documents pertaining to Corona’s bank records were ‘fake.’

”There was statement from the witness that the document is fake,” Enrile said.

Enrile reminded the prosecution and defense as well as the senator-judges that they can discuss the peso deposits but not the foreign currency deposits of Corona.

”The chair will authorize the identification of the signatures opposite to local currency accounts but in order to comply with the temporary restraining order dealing with foreign currency accounts, the witness is allowed to cover the signatures opposite to foreign currency accounts,” Enrile said.

Enrile said the impeachment court will have to wait for the final disposition of the Supreme Court regarding the TRO issued upon request of the PSBank, stopping the court from releasing the dollar deposits of Corona.

”With respect to the peso deposit, I think there is no question to scrutinize them since there is clear exception given in the Republic Act 1405 with respect to bank deposits,” Enrile said.

In the 18th day of the impeachment trial, Tiongson took the witness stand again as senator-judges asked more questions on the peso accounts of Corona.

Tiongson has been asked if she brought the bank logbook which will show the movement of the bank records but the bank official explained that she could not remember if the court ordered her to bring the logbook.

With the hearing still focused on the ‘leaked’ documents, the senator-judges scrutinized from Tiongson the difference between original and photocopied bank documents.

Senator-judge Franklin Drilon wanted to identify the approving PSBank officers whose signatures appeared in the ‘leaked’ bank documents for January and December 2009.

Tiongson said PSBank president Pascual Garcia III can explain the question of Drilon, adding the bank documents could have come from a lot of sources.

”There were entries that were in the original that we(re) not found in Xerox, there were alterations as well,” Tiongson said.

Senator-judge Jinggoy Estrada believed that the leaked document was a faithful reproduction of original.

Enrile asked Tiongson on who did the faking of the documents but the bank officer answered: “No, not our branch.”

Enrile directed Tiongson to bring the specimen signature in the peso accounts of Corona, saying the witness can cover the dollar accounts so as not to violate the Republic Act 6426 or the foreign currency deposit unit law. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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