Lawyer in Erap impeach trial chosen as lead private prosecutor vs. Corona
Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, the panel’s spokesperson, said Tuesday that Atty. Mario Bautista has accepted the role of lead private prosecutor and the task of mapping out the overall legal strategy during Corona’s impeachment trial.
“With him now leading our group of private prosecutors assisting our panel of congressman-prosecutors, we are even more confident that we will get a conviction of the chief justice,” he said at a press briefing Tuesday.
In the articles of impeachment, the chief justice is accused of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and graft and corruption.
Bautista was the same lawyer who presented the direct testimony of Clarissa Ocampo, the bank executive who said she saw Estrada signing bank documents as “Jose Velarde,” during the impeachment trial in 2000. The trial was cut short after a mass popular uprising in 2001, which eventually led to Estrada’s ouster from the presidency.
Bautista ranked 6th in the 1978 Bar exams, and was consistently in the top 10 of his class at the University of the Philippines College of Law.
Quimbo also said that the House prosecution team really sought Bautista “for quite some time,” and added that the private lawyer is offering his services for Corona’s impeachment trial pro bono.
Corona’s impeachment trial at the Senate is expected to formally start on January 16. — ELR, GMA News