House prosecution panel urges Corona to tell all

May 14, 2012 10:54 pm 

By Jose Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, May 14 – The House of Representatives prosecution panel urged embattled Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday to tell the whole story and not be selective in his testimonies when he finally decides to take the witness stand in his own impeachment trial.

Spokespersons for the prosecution Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III, Marikina City Rep. Romero “Miro” Quimbo and Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara said they expect the chief justice to be candid and refrain from invoking his right to self-incrimination, especially on his alleged dollar accounts, so that the Filipino people will know the whole truth.

As far as Corona’s foreign currency deposits with the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) are concerned, Quimbo said that “the Chief Justice’s decision to testify in his own trial is already a clear waiver on his part.”

“We consider Corona’s consent to take the witness stand and testify as a clear waiver of his rights to the confidentiality of his dollar accounts with PSBank,” Quimbo said as he underscored the fact that the Chief Magistrate had been saying from the start that he would open his dollar accounts and answer all the questions pertaining to them.

For his part, Tañada said that Corona’s testimony would be useless if he would invoke his privilege against self-incrimination in order to evade questions from the prosecution lawyers and members of the impeachment court.

“Corona should take advantage of the chance to answer the charges against him,” the House Deputy Speaker said.

He added that Corona’s decision to take the witness stand would also be a good opportunity for the House prosecution team as well as the senator-judges to elicit information from him to ferret out the truth.

On the matter on how they would question the Chief Justice, the prosecution panel members vowed to accord Corona the respect that he deserves.

Quimbo said they believe that “any form of disrespect or humiliation to the chief magistrate will backfire on the prosecution.”

“However, we will ask direct or pointed questions to ferret out the truth on the allegations of culpable violation off the Constitution, graft and corruption and betrayal of public trust against Corona,” he said.

"The Chief Justice must be prepared to be subjected to the most rigid cross-examination by the prosecution panel,” Angara added. (PNA) scs/CMR

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