’I’m not in cahoots with prosecution team’ – witness

March 22, 2012 1:10 am 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, March 21 – Land Registration Authority (LRA) administrator Eulalio Diaz III said on Wednesday that he was not in cahoots with the prosecution team when he released a list of 45 properties allegedly owned by Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”I will not accept that I’m in cahoots with the prosecution team,” Diaz answered when asked by senator-judge Jinggoy Estrada during the Day 33 of the impeachment trial of the chief justice.

Diaz also refused to accept that he did mistakes when he listed all the computer-generated 45 properties without verifying if these were all belonged to Corona and ‘et al’ as requested by lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas through a phone.

”I cannot also readily accept that I did mistakes. It was never my obligation to tell the prosecution what properties they should present,” Diaz said.

Diaz also explained that he included all the 45 properties because the request was properties of Corona and ‘et al’ or others.

The LRA witness added that he did not review the list of Corona properties “lest I be accused of bias.”

Estrada, however, insisted that Diaz’s letter did a lot of damage to the respondent and confusion among the senator-judges.

”You may not admit it but you made a mistake,” Estrada said.

In a media interview, Estrada urged the prosecution to rectify in the media their claim that Corona has 45 properties in the media.

Tupas told the court that the 45 properties reported by the media did not come from the prosecution.

Diaz also said the LRA did not release the information to the media, adding “that is why I have it in my office.”

For Senator-judge Pia Cayetano, the LRA administrator committed gross negligence for the release of the list of 45 properties without verifying first whether they all belonged to the Chief Justice.

Cayetano said she was “frustrated as my colleagues” referring to senator-judges Miriam Defensor Santiago and Ferdinand Marcos who saw Diaz’s testimony as esoteric, not clear and changing.

”We’re quite perplexed with the manner, the cavalier attitude you have with printing out all the kinds of titles,” Marcos said.

”Any head of the office will think of something better to mark his term of office. Have you not realized the consequences of the list? You’re an Ateneo Law graduate and a lawyer. You’re an automaton. Whose fault it then, the prosecution or yours?,” Santiago asked.

”I’m not at fault, your honor,” Diaz replied, explaining that the LRA used the database using TCT (transfer of certificate of title) as search engine.

Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile asked Diaz why he did not bother to check if Corona has properties in Batangas, the hometown province of the chief magistrate.

”Some data in Batangas not yet computerized. It never occurred to my mind to search for Corona’s properties in Batangas,” Diaz said.

Diaz admitted that he was part of the campaign team of President Benigno Aquino III during the 2010 national and local elections.

During the trial, the prosecution and the defense agreed that out of 45 properties, 17 were considered canceled titles but in disagreement on how many properties that the defense panel should still explain in the impeachment court.

The prosecution maintained that there were still 21 properties that Corona should explained while the defense said the five properties that Corona declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth in 2010 were the right number.

Both the prosecution and defense panels have been instructed to submit legal memorandum explaining their claims on the real number of Corona’s properties. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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