Sen. Estrada reiterates call for defense to bring Corona to witness stand

May 7, 2012 9:51 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 7 -– Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada reiterated on Monday his suggestion to the defense lawyers to bring Chief Justice Renato Corona to the witness stand and personally answer the impeachment complaints of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

Estrada renewed the suggestion as the defense failed to present credible witnesses who would testify that the chief justice is not guilty of failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) as required by the Constitution.

”I suggest to you to bring the respondent himself to answer the allegations against him, instead of presenting immaterial, impertinent witnesses,” Estrada told the chief magistrate's lawyers.

Estrada said Corona’s appearance would be crucial in their effort to come up with credible verdict on the impeachment complaint against Corona.

”If Corona has nothing to hide, then bring him before the impeachment court. The Filipino people and the impeachment court will be very happy to hear from him,” Estrada said.

Estrada also challenged the Chief Justice to explain the allegations that he amassed a US$ 10-million bank account.

”It would be beneficial for the impeachment court, for our country if we directly hear from him the allegation about the $ 10 million bank account,” Estrada explained.

The defense chief counsel, former Justice Serafin Cuevas defended Corona, saying due process should still be observed at all times.

”This is an impeachment court proceeding. Due process should still be observed. You’re castigating the defense for presenting witnesses. We cannot be bulldozed into presenting Corona. Out of respect, we should give the chief justice some consideration,” Cuevas said.

Estrada clarified that he is not castigating the defense but “just making suggestion so that we will be able to hear all the answers from these allegations from the chief justice himself.”

Cuevas said the defense might trim down its list of remaining witnesses from 14 to only five or six, including Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima. (PNA) DCT/scs/jfm


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