Public, Judges Await Corona Appearance

A member of the defense panel of embattled Chief Justice Renato C. Corona said yesterday that the Chief Magistrate should not only be mentally prepared but also physically prepared when he finally appears before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

Defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador made this statement as the public and senator-judges have been waiting for his appearance to rebut the three impeachment charges lodged against him by the House of Representatives - betrayal of public trust, non-disclosure of statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN) and violation of the Constitution.

But Corona will be appearing before the senator-judges not because of the alleged non-disclosure of his multi-million real estate properties, an undeclared R32 million local bank account and an undetermined dollar account with the Philippine Savings Bank but on a recent complaint filed against him with the office of the Ombudsman that he has an alleged accumulated $10 million account in a bank or banks.

Corona's appearance is conditioned on the appearance first by the former Supreme Court Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, recently appointed as Ombudsman by President "Benigno S. Aquino III, and four of the 10 complainants.

Since the Chief Magistrate is expected to be grilled by senator-judges for an undetermined length of time when he goes to the Senate trial court, Salvador said that Corona has to be mentally and physically prepared.

Asked if the alleged $10 million bank account is lump sum or an accumulation of bank accounts, Salvador and lawyer Karen Jimeno said that what they all know is the letter-demand of Morales to Corona for him to answer in 72 hours on the three charges of the 10 complainants that he has a hidden $10-million bank account.

Queried whether Corona would practically be a sitting duck when he appears before the Senate, Salvador said that the Corona defense cannot control the range of questions to be asked.

This developed as Jimeno asked Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a judge in the on-going impeachment trial of Corona , to render an impartial decision without any pre-judgment when senator-judges make a verdict of conviction or acquittal.

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