Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said the court was “disappointed” with the witnesses presented by the defense, as the impeachment trial resumed Monday.
Chief Justice Renato Corona's camp was supposed to present five witnesses but Enrile, who sits as presiding officer, dismissed the two which he said were “irrelevant, immaterial and impertinent.”
“We’re wasting time. The Senate can no longer afford to prolong this case. The legislative agenda of the Senate will be affected,” Enrile said.
The defense brought back Manila Mayor Lito Atienza to be cross examined by the prosecution on the purchase of land from Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI), a company owned by Corona’s wife, Cristina.
Lawyer V.C. Cadangen of the Bureau of Internal Revenue Law Division took the witness stand to testify that there was no capital gains tax from the BGEI lot sale.
Noel Kintanar of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation also testified that there was delay in the delivery of the Bonifacio Ridge condominium unit to the Coronas due to defects in the unit.
The defense was about to present two Manila records officers to authenticate sale of the BGEI property when Enrile stopped them.
Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas then said they had no other witnesses for today.
Senator judge Jinggoy Estrada then asked the defense why not bring Corona to the witness stand.
“This is an impeachment proceeding. Due process should still be observed. We can't be bulldozed into presenting the chief justice because you like him to testify. That is not the demand of justice,” Cuevas answered.
“Out of respect, we should give the chief justice some consideration,” he added.
But this did not sit well with the presiding officer.
“Don't lecture us on due process. We're equally aware of our obligation,” Enrile said.
“While we respect your ability to present evidence, respect as well our ability to appreciate the evidence presented,” he added.
Enrile also told the defense team that the court is willing to accommodate all their witnesses, and guaranteed them a fair trial.
The presiding officer earlier told reporters that the impeachment trial should not go beyond May 31.
A magnitude 4.4 earthquake struck Quezon province at around 7 p.m. Wednesday, with shocks felt in many cities in Metro Manila. …