CJ’s ‘hostile’ witness faces Senate contempt for trying to influence impeachment court

May 16, 2012 9:45 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 16 – A witness, who admitted he is a critic of Chief Justice Renato Corona, has been ordered to show cause why he should not be cited in contempt for trying to influence the impeachment court by delivering a sealed ‘envelope’ to the office of Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile.

During Wednesday’s 39th day of the impeachment trial of Corona, Enrile asked Harvey Keh, a convenor of civil society group ‘Kaya Natin’, why he delivered the documents allegedly pertaining to Corona’s bank peso and dollar deposits to his office instead of the Office of the Ombudsman where Keh along with others filed a complaint against Corona.

”Why to my office instead of the Office of the Ombudsman where you filed your complaint or the prosecution team and you even bring TV media group?” Enrile asked Keh, who took the witness stand as ‘hostile’ witness of the defense.

”I don’t know your honor. I just felt the Senate would be in the best position to evaluate the documents or it can be used or not,” Keh said.

Unsatisfied with Keh’s response, Enrile ordered the witness to explain why he should not be cited for contempt, saying “I felt insulted and offended.”

”Because of this I’m ordering you to show cause why you should not be cited for contempt by this impeachment court. You tried to influence this court by bringing this document. I did not read. I did not open it,” Enrile told Keh.

Keh, who admitted that he is supporting the impeachment complaint against Corona, expressed his “sincerest apology” but Enrile interrupted and reiterated his order to the witness.

Senator-judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago scolded Keh for giving documents from “anonymous” source to the impeachment court.

”What kind of governance are you trying to promote? There’s another use of anonymous source. Every time there’s something that requires identification of the source, the prosecution says there is no source, it came anonymously,” Santiago said.

“Who is Mr. Anonymous? I want to ask the PNP [Philippine National Police] and the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] to issue an arrest order against him. Why is there a proliferation of Mr. Anonymous in this archipelago. And you’re head of something that promotes good governance? That’s your idea of good governance..?” the lady senator-judge asked Keh.

Santiago was referring to prosecution team member Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, who claimed he has documents on Corona’s dollar accounts provided by a ‘small lady’ and Quezon City Rep. Jorge ‘Bolet’ Banal whose own documents came also from anonymous person who delivered it to his house.

Keh said the documents were also delivered to his apartment inside a brown envelope addressed to him on May 3 while the impeachment trial was on recess.

”You’re now in danger of being charged criminally,” Santiago told Keh.

Senate President Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada also castigated Keh for lying that he did not give to the media his documents.

Keh tried to evade the question of Estrada if the witness called up any member of the media to bring to the public attention the documents that Keh got from ‘anonymous’ source.

However, the witness admitted later that he sent text messages to some members of the media.

”Are you up for publicity, Mr. Keh?,” Estrada asked Keh.

Keh answered: “Your honor, in fact, if I wanted publicity, I should have called up a presscon instead.”

”You brought media to the office of Senate President and you don’t want publicity? and then you admitted that you are trying to call reporters. And you are trying to offer these documents that you presented the Senate President, those unauthenticated, unverified documents. You’re a liar,” Estrada said.

”I’m very sorry, your honor,” Keh said. (PNA) RMA/jfm


One Response to “CJ’s ‘hostile’ witness faces Senate contempt for trying to influence impeachment court”

  1. remegia africa on May 17th, 2012 3:16 pm

    round of applause to senator judge santiago. we do need senators like her who sticks to the basics, that is, complaint must be backed with hard and authentic evidence. yan ang justice and truth. hindi yung nagpapangap na mahal ang bansa.