Senate submits impeachment case for final resolution

May 25, 2012 10:00 pm 

MANILA, May 25 – The Senate, sitting as impeachment court, submitted on Friday the impeachment case of Chief Justice Renato Corona for final resolution, subject to the oral arguments of both the prosecution and defense panel on Monday.

”This case is now submitted for final resolution by this impeachment court subject to the oral argument of the two sides to be held next Monday at 2 o’clock in the afternoon. Is that understood”,” Enrile asked both the defense and prosecution panels.

”Agreed your honor,” lead defense counsel former Justice Serafin Cuevas said.

”Clear your honor,” chief prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas, for his part, said.

Enrile said both the prosecution and the defense panel would be given an equal time of one hour each for the oral argument on Monday.

The presiding officer made the ruling to submit the case for resolution after impeachment court received on Friday the formal offer of documentary evidence from defense and supplementary documentary evidence from the prosecution.

”We are making formal offer of these 39 copies of testimonial and documentary evidence,” Cuevas told the court.

Cuevas initially objected the supplementary documentary evidence of the prosecution but eventually gave way to the request of Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III “so as not to prolong our agony.”

The defense made the formal offer of the evidence after Corona was discharged upon the request of Cuevas.

”The Chief Justice is not feeling well anymore. Kindly excuse the witness,” Cuevas asked the court after Senator-judge Francis ‘Chiz’ Escudero threw his first clarificatory question.

But Corona requested to allow Escudero to finish his clarificatory question. Escudero lauded Corona for signing unconditional waiver.

Aside from Escudero, other senator-judges who threw clarificatory questions include Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan, Jinggoy Estrada and Franklin Drilon.

As promised by Cuevas, Corona returned to the witness stand against advice of his doctors, who said attending Senate impeachment trial would pose risk to the chief justice.

Corona testified last Tuesday where after reading his opening statement and testimony for almost three hours, immediately left the session hall even without the permission of the presiding officer.

Corona begged for forgiveness for his act, which he claimed was triggered by his health condition as he suffered from hypoglycemia, a sudden drop of blood sugar.

”I’m really humbly ask for forgiveness to the Senate, to the prosecution, the Filipino people and to my defense team because they really have no knowledge that it’s going to happen,” Corona said.

Corona also submitted his unconditional waiver authorizing the bank institutions to open his peso and dollar deposits.

Enrile said the impeachment court will take note of the waiver but “we cannot act on it.”

”Actually, this court is not a producer of evidence. It is a hearer of facts. So therefore, in effect, both sides of this impeachment proceedings is submitting the case for decision,” Enrile said.

”So we take not of this waiver but we cannot subpoena any other persons mentioned here given the fact we are not supposed to produce evidence. I hereby stated for the record that we take note of this waiver of this chief justice but we cannot act on it,” Enrile said.

Corona admitted to the court that he has US$ 2.4 million deposited in four accounts and P80 million deposited in three accounts.

The chief magistrate said that “never at any time” he owned US$ 12 million in 82 dollar accounts. He explained that the P80 million includes the P34.7 million commingled funds of the Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc.

After he was discharged, Corona returned to The Medical City in Pasig City.

In a television interview, Escudero said the court may render verdict on Tuesday where each of the 23 senator-judges will be given two minutes each to cast and explain their vote. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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