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Chief Justice on Trial

Day 21 Corona trial highlights: BPI submits bank records

February 21, 2012 6:28pm
Prosecution castigated for failing to prepare evidence
  
  • Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile scolded the House prosecutors for repeatedly failing to prepare their evidence in the impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato Corona. Enrile criticized the “compulsory process” in gathering evidence and warned the prosecution that this may be “fatal to the proceedings."
  • Prosecutor Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas reasoned out that they had to elevate the impeachment complaint to the Senate immediately because it had garnered the support of one-third of the House. He added that they had clearly stated their allegations against Corona.
  • However, Enrile disputed the prosecutor’s assertion, saying the support of the House majority did not mean they could they could present Articles of Impeachment without any basis and in an unclear manner.
 
Enrile: Prosecution is “fishing for evidence”
 
  • Enrile branded as “misrepresentation” the insistence of private prosecutor Arthur Lim to mark Corona’s bank records from the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) as evidence, even though these documents were requested by the defense panel – which later withdrew its request – and Senator Franklin Drilon.
  • Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas blocked Lim’s attempt to ask for assurance from Corona’s lawyers that they will present the records from the BPI once it is their turn to present evidence. He questioned the “legal obligation” of compelling the defense to produce documents that are not in their favor.
 
BPI submits bank records of Corona
 
  • BPI-Ayala assistant manager Mara Arcilla took the witness stand but was not allowed to testify because the impeachment court only requested the bank documents of Corona that were said to contain P12 million at the end of 2010, according to an earlier testimony from branch manager Leonora Dizon.
  • Arcilla turned over the bank documents to the court, and Enrile told Lim that the prosecution can adopt the bank documents as evidence at the proper time.
  • Upon the request of the defense camp, Enrile also ordered that the confidential bank records be placed inside a sealed envelope to prevent public exposure.
  • After the bank official was discharged, lead public prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. informed the court that the prosecution has finished presenting evidence on Article II of the impeachment complaint, which accuses Corona of non-disclosure of some of his properties in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

Testimony of PAL exec disallowed
 
  • The prosecution team attempted to present Philippine Airlines (PAL) vice president for sales Enrique Javier to prove that Corona and his wife allegedly received benefits from the airline while it had cases pending before the court. 
  • Javier was supposed to be the second witness for Article III of the Articles of Impeachment, which accuses Corona of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in connection with the high court’s flip-flopping decisions on the PAL-FASAP labor row.
  • However, Enrile disallowed the presentation, saying Javier’s testimony would be an attempt at “expanding” the coverage of the Articles of Impeachment.
  • The ruling was made after Cuevas objected to Javier's testimony for being “irrelevant, immaterial, and impertinent” to the case.

Corona couple got free flights from PAL?

  • Despite the failure of the prosecution to present Javier as a witness, private prosecutor Marlon Manuel managed to put on record the “privileges” allegedly enjoyed by Corona and his wife Cristina from the flag carrier while the airline had cases pending before the Supreme Court.
  • According to the prosecution, Corona made four trips abroad while his wife made 12 domestic and foreign trips in 2010 and 2011 using their PAL Platinum cards, which allow holders to get unlimited free flights with first-class seats.
  • Cuevas objected to the presentation of the flight documents and moved that it be stricken off the record. However, Enrile allowed the flight records to remain on record for the evaluation of the impeachment court.
     
- Reported by Kimberly Jane Tan, Andreo Calonzo, and Mark Merueñas/YA, GMA News



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