Prosecution accuses Corona of using SC resources to advance his defense

March 15, 2012 9:21 am 

By Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, March 13 — The House of Representatives’ prosecution panel called on beleaguered Chief Justice Renato Corona to reconsider calls to go on leave on question of propriety after defense witness Demetrio Vicente was spotted using a government vehicle registered under the Supreme Court.

Marikina City Rep. Romero "Miro" Quimbo, one of the prosecution spokespersons, said it was brought to their attention that Vicente, who admitted being a second cousin of the chief justice, was transported to and from the Senate last Tuesday when he testified for the defense, by a beige Toyota Camry 1996 model belonging to the high court.

Quimbo said this bolstered the prosecution’s position that Corona should take a leave of absence to prevent him from using the resources of his office for his own personal gain.

“Certainly, the chief justice is entitled to his defense and in fact he has lawyers already defending him. But it is important that just like any person who is a respondent for a case pursuant to the performance of his public functions, you cannot use the resources of your office,” Quimbo pointed out.

“This adds to the doubts that the SC and its resources are being personally used by Corona to mount his defense,” Quimbo said.

Unlike the congressmen who perform their constitutional duty as prosecutors in the impeachment trial, Corona should be prohibited from using the resources of the high tribunal to advance his defense.

“We are effectively the prosecutors or like fiscals. So as fiscals, in a sense we are entitled to do that. Like I said, it brings to the point again that really it’s high time for the chief justice to think about it seriously to insulate the Supreme Court by taking a leave of absence,” Quimbo said.

He clarified though that the prosecution was not trying to weaken his defense by asking him to go on leave.

"It is to insulate the other members of the Supreme Court so that they are not accused of any bias, that they are in fact performing their functions normally as expected with integrity, independence, competence and absolute probity,” Quimbo said. (PNA)

RMA/CMR

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