House prosecution panel gears up for Corona testimony on Tuesday

May 17, 2012 10:27 pm 

By Jose Cielito M. Reganit

MANILA, May 17 -– Members of the House prosecution panel said on Thursday they are in the thick of preparation for the scheduled testimony of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona before the Senate impeachment court next week.

In a press briefing held at the House of Representatives in Quezon City, Deputy Speaker Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III said that prosecution lawyers are in continuous meeting to prepare a list of possible questions for their cross-examination of the chief magistrate on Tuesday.

“Although we have prepared as early as May 7 to avoid any surprise in the eventuality that the defense panel suddenly put Corona or his wife in the witness stand, we thank the defense for giving a definite date so that we can prepare thoroughly for our cross-examinations,” Tanada, one of the prosecution spokesmen, said.

The Deputy Speaker likewise reiterated their assurance that they would extend Corona the utmost respect his office deserves and will make sure that he does not get embarrassed.

“Of course, if he refuses to answer certain questions, Corona would be put in an embarrassing situation and that would not be the fault of the prosecution anymore,” Tañada said.

He added that the prosecution panel is not at all intimidated by Corona’s stature.

“The prosecution team and the prosecutor who will handle the cross-examination will be motivated by the fact to bring out the truth, so I do not think that we will be intimidated. I think we will be in for a very interesting cross-examination of the chief justice,” Tañada said.

He likewise said that they are looking at two possible strategies that Corona may employ as his defense -– outright denial of the dollar accounts or accepting the money is his, followed by a lengthy explanation on how he got them.

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, for his part, said that prosecution lawyers are already preparing on which questions, which aspects and which issues to ask the chief justice.

They are also in the midst of talks to decide which prosecutor would carry out the cross-examination of the chief magistrate.

“The obvious candidates are Atty. Mario Bautista and, of course, chief prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. There is also the factor on who would be the most comfortable to cross-examine Corona. Everybody knows that it is every lawyer’s dream to cross-examine the chief justice,” he said.

“The bottom line is that whoever may be appointed by the panel, what would be asked in the cross-examination would be the collective work product of the prosecution team,” Angara stressed. (PNA) DCT/scs/CMR

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