Impeachment court stops testimony of CoA official

May 14, 2012 10:54 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 14 – Commission on Audit (CoA) commissioner Heidee Mendoza took the witness stand of the impeachment court on Monday to replace exhausted Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who testified in the ongoing trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Mendoza was supposed to continue Morales’ powerpoint presentation on the alleged US$ 10 million accounts of Corona but defense lead counsel Justice Serafin Cuevas objected Mendoza from taking the witness stand.

”We don’t know what her testimony is for,” Cuevas said.

Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile backed the objection, telling Mendoza: “You are not presented here as witness for defense or prosecution.”

However, before she was ordered to get out of the witness stand, Mendoza told the court that Corona had total dollar inflows of US$ 28 million and outflows amounting to US$ 30 million from April 23 to halfway of December 2011 when he was impeached.

”We analyzed that there are 423 transactions over 82 (dollar) accounts all in the name of the respondent,” Mendoza said.

Before she asked to be replaced by Mendoza, the 71-year-old Morales testified that based on her conclusion, Corona has at least US$ 10 million dollar deposits based on the 17-page report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

Morales added that “my computation is that Corona’s fresh deposits amounted to more than US$ 12 million.”

The Ombudsman admitted that she asked for the assistance of Mendoza and CoA chairperson Grace Tan after receiving the report from AMLC executive director Vicente Aquino.

To give Morales the needed rest, the impeachment court suspended the trial and instructed the Ombudsman to return for Tuesday’s continuation of her powerpoint presentation.

With Morales’ testimony, the defense is contemplating of withdrawing the presentation as witness of the complainants on the alleged 10 million dollar accounts.

The defense panel, however, assured that Corona is ready to answer the allegations. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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