Philippines chief justice to receive impeachment verdict today

Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - Will Philippines Chief Justice Renato Corona be removed from office for not declaring his US$2.4 million and 80 million pesos ($1.8 million) of "co-mingled" funds in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN)?

Corona's fate now hangs on 23 senators, who sit as judges in the impeachment trial of Corona that started on Jan.16, 2012 and ended on Monday, May 28, 2012.

After holding trials for 43 days, the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, is now ready to give its verdict at 2:00 p.m. this Tuesday.

At least sixteen votes or two-thirds of the total membership of the Senate are needed to convict the Chief Justice while only eight votes to acquit him.

First in history

This will be the first in history that the Senate render judgment to the highest magistrate of the country.

Corona's ordeal started when 188 members of the House of Representatives signed the impeachment case on Dec. 11, 2011 and immediately filed the same before the Senate the following day.

On Jan. 16, 2012, the Senate formally convened itself as an impeachment court and started hearing and receiving the evidence presented by the prosecution team against Corona.

8 minus 5

The prosecution team headed by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. initially lodged eight charges against Corona but later decided to drop the five.

The three charges that the prosecutors decided to pursue against Corona were the following:

Article II- Corona's alleged failure to disclose to the public SALN as required under Section 17, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution

Article III- His alleged failure to meet and observe the stringent standards under the Constitution that provided that a member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by a counsel which causes the issuance of flip-flopping decisions in final and executory cases; in creating an excessive entanglement with Mrs. Arroyo through her appointment of his wife to office; and in discussing with litigants cases ending in the Supreme Court

Article VII- His alleged partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favour of Arroyo (Former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Arroyo) and her husband (Mike Arroyo) in order to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice, and in distorting the Supreme Court decision on the effectivity of the TR0 in view of a clear failure to comply with the conditions of the Supreme Court's own TRO.

Focus on Article 2

Of the three charges, the prosecution team dealt heavily on Article 2 when it exposed a list of 45 properties allegedly in the name of Corona and other family members.

But when the prosecutors presented to the Senate the source of the list, Land Registration Authority administrator Eulalio Diaz III and Tupas himself admitted that only 24 properties, and not 45, were in the name of Corona and his family members.

Corona's defence team, headed by former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas, denied that the Chief Justice owned 45 or 24 properties as alleged by the prosecution.

Instead, Corona's camp presented witnesses and evidence to show that he had only five properties and all were declared in his SALN.

Dollar accounts

One of the highlights in the trial was the issue of multi-million dollar bank accounts that were also in the name of the Chief Justice.

Bank officials were subpoenaed by the Senate after the prosecution team submitted certain bank records pertaining to Corona's alleged dollar accounts. The prosecutors claimed the documents were provided to them by a 'small lady.'

But the Philippine Savings Bank wherein Corona allegedly maintained dollar accounts immediately brought the issue before the Supreme Court, which immediately issued a temporary restraining order against any discussion of the dollar accounts.

The Senate decided to obey the high tribunal.

While the trial was on a month long break in April, however, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales ordered a probe into the alleged $12 million that Corona had allegedly owned.

So when the trial resumed in May, Corona's defense lawyer, Jose Roy III, dared the Ombudsman and other personalities to take the witness stand. In return, the defense lawyer promised that Corona will testify in his own trial.

Carpio-Morales took the challenge and testified before the Senate on May 14.

In her testimony, the Ombudsman revealed that Corona had at least $12 million deposits in 82 dollar accounts based on a 17-page report that the Anti-Money Laundering Council furnished to her.

Co-mingled funds

On May 21, 2012, Corona appeared for the first time in the trial to belie all the allegations hurled at him.

In a three-hour opening statement, Corona admitted owning only $2.4 million in four banks and P80 million "co-mingled" funds in three banks.

Corona said he did not declare the $2.4 million in his SALN because of the "confidentiality" clause in the Foreign Currency Deposit Act while he did not declare the 80 million pesos because he only managed the funds but did not own it.

After his testimony, the defence team rested the case. Both the defence and prosecution panels then immediately proceeded with their formal offer of evidence and presented their final oral arguments Monday, May 28, 2012.

COPYRIGHT: ASIA NEWS NETWORK

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot
    United States seeks access to Philippine bases as part of Asia pivot

    The United States has asked for access to Philippine military bases in eight locations to rotate troops, aircraft, and ships as Washington shifts its forces to Asia and as China expands its military presence in the South China Sea. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter, in a speech in Arizona, has outlined Washington's next phase in its Asia "pivot", deploying its most sophisticated destroyers, bombers and fighters to the region. The Asia "pivot" has already seen U.S. Marines rotating through the …

  • China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit
    China's island-building to loom large at SE Asia summit

    China's creation of new island footholds in contested seas will hover over a Southeast Asian summit that has become an annual test of the region's nerve in standing up to its massive neighbour. The South China Sea hot potato drops this year into Malaysia's lap as the rotating chair of the 10 member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and host of Monday's meeting. ASEAN states Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei claim parts of the strategic South China Sea, but Beijing …

  • Philippines, China trade accusations over sea threats

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippines accused China of aggressive maneuvers against its reconnaissance plane and fishermen in disputed seas where Beijing has stepped up construction of artificial islands, but China reiterated its claim on the strategic waterways. …

  • Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others
    Indonesia orders execution of Mary Jane, 9 others

    Indonesia has ordered preparations for the execution of 10 drug convicts, including Filipina Mary Jane Veloso, as the Philippine government filed yesterday a second appeal for judicial review of the case to save the maid from death by firing squad. The Attorney General’s Office (AGO) of Indonesia released an official letter dated April 23, instructing prosecutors to prepare for the execution of 10 convicts, the Jakarta Post reported yesterday. The execution would be conducted after the …

  • Noy to visit Canada, Japan
    Noy to visit Canada, Japan

    President Aquino will embark on a state visit to Canada in May and Japan in June to meet with his counterparts and promote Philippine interests. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said Aquino accepted the invitation from Canadian Governor General David Johnston to make a state visit to Canada from May 7 to 9. Tied to this trip is the President’s one-day working visit to the United States to meet with potential investors and with the local Filipino community in Chicago, Valte …

  • Business groups back K to 12 program
    Business groups back K to 12 program

    The government’s K to 12 program adding two more years to basic education received support from various business groups yesterday. However, they urged relevant government agencies to deal with issues regarding the implementation of Republic Act 10533, the Enhanced Basic Education Act or K-12 Law. In a statement, business groups led by the Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) said RA 10533 is a milestone piece of legislation that intends to bring the Philippines up to par with the rest of …

  • Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th
    Happiest nations: Phl ranks 90th

    Switzerland is the happiest country in the world, while the Philippines placed 90th, according to a global ranking of happiness unveiled in New York on Thursday. Switzerland was followed closely by Iceland, Denmark, Norway and Canada. The 2015 World Happiness Report is the third annual report seeking to quantify happiness as a means of influencing government policy. The United Nations published the first study in 2012. …

  • Asean leaders want binding sea code with China
    Asean leaders want binding sea code with China

    Southeast Asian leaders will seek to speed up plans for a binding code of conduct with China governing behavior in the disputed South China Sea at a summit next week, Malaysia’s foreign minister said Friday. Foreign Minister Anifah Aman said a massive flow of Muslim Rohingya refugees from Myanmar to neighboring countries will also be discussed at the two-day summit of the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which starts Monday. Anifah said leaders are expected to raise concerns …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options