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Republic of the Philippines
Record of the Senate
Sitting As An Impeachment Court
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
AT 2:15 P.M., THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN PONCE ENRILE, CALLED THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF SUPREME COURT JUSTICE RENATO C. CORONA TO ORDER. The Presiding Officer. The continuation of the Impeachment Trial of the Hon. Chief Justice Renato C. Corona of the Supreme Court is hereby called to order. We shall be led in prayer by Sen. Antonio F. Trillanes IV. Senator Trillanes. Almighty Father, we thank You for all the blessings that You have bestowed upon us. Despite our evident shortcomings and fragile faith, You have remained with us, carrying with us through hardships and pains. Light our paths with Your truth and grace, so that we may do what is right for Your honor and glory. We also pray for the safety and well-being of our countrymen, especially those stricken by natural and man-made disasters, as well as those suffering from poverty, sickness and uncertainty. Bless our proceedings today that we may be enlightened by Your wisdom in every decision we make, so we may do everything according to Your will. In Jesus Name, we pray. Amen.
The Presiding Officer. Amen. The Secretary will please call the roll. The Secretary, reading:
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Senator Edgardo J. Angara ............................................................... Present* Senator Joker P. Arroyo ................................................................... Present* Senator Alan Peter “Compañero” S. Cayetano .............................. Present* Senator Pia S. Cayetano ................................................................... Present* Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago ................................................... Present Senator Franklin M. Drilon ................................................................ Present Senator Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada ...................................................... Present Senator Francis G. Escudero ............................................................ Present* Senator Teofisto L. Guingona III ...................................................... Present Senator Gregorio B. Honasan II ....................................................... Present Senator Panfilo M. Lacson ............................................................... Present Senator Manuel “Lito” M. Lapid ...................................................... Present Senator Loren L. Legarda ................................................................ Present Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. ................................ Present Senator Sergio R. Osmeña III .......................................................... Present Senator Francis N. Pangilinan ........................................................... Present Senator Aquilino L. Pimentel III ....................................................... Present Senator Ralph G. Recto .................................................................... Present Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla ......................................................... Present Senator Vicente C. Sotto III ............................................................. Present Senator Antonio “Sonny” F. Trillanes IV ........................................ Present Senator Manny Villar ......................................................................... Present The President ..................................................................................... Present
The Presiding Officer. With 18 Senator-Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make the proclamation. The Presiding Officer. The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make the proclamation. The Sergeant-at-Arms. All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting in trial on the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I move that we dispense with the reading of the February 20, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court and consider the same as approved. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the February 20, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court is hereby approved. The Secretary will please call the case before the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court.
______________ *Arrived after the roll call
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The Secretary. Case No. 002-2011, In the Matter of Impeachment Trial of Hon. Chief Justice Renato C. Corona. The Presiding Officer. Appearances, Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Yes, the Prosecution, Mr. President. Representative Fariñas. Good afternoon, Mr. President and the Honorable Members of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court, same appearances for the Prosecution, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Noted. The Defense. Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor, please, the same appearance for the Defense. The Presiding Officer. Noted. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may we recognize Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago for the business for today. The Presiding Officer. The lady Senator from Iloilo. Senator Defensor Santiago. Both Counsel, please take your seats. Representative Fariñas. Thank you, Ma’am. Senator Defensor Santiago. Mr. President, first, I humbly beg the indulgence of our colleagues, particularly, I apologize very profusely that I always take the floor at the beginning of the impeachment trial. The reason is medical. After two months, it is only now that my blood pressure has become normal. But I am now suffering from chronic fatigue. If you remember a couple of years ago, I took prolonged sick leave because of chronic fatigue. These periods of chronic fatigue might be caused by the fact that I am suffering from what is called in layman’s term “lazy bone marrow.” That is to say, my bone marrow apparently does not manufacture enough red blood cells, and I have to be injected every week to get my red blood cells to normal. That is the reason why I cannot stay long. That is why sometimes when I am speaking, I sound like I am out of breath. Also, not only am I hyperventilating, I have palpitations when I am in trial court. Now, to go to the business of the day. Some observers of our proceedings might wonder why we have spent time determining whether the specimen signature cards submitted by the Prosecution with the qualification that they do not vouch for its authenticity, some might wonder why we are spending time on whether these specimen cards are true or false. The answer lies in this basic rule of evidence that is expressed in Latin as follows: falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus. This is a very serious and basic principle in evidence. Once the court is convinced that one panel has been foisting a fake document on the court, the court will be then justified indulging the disputable presumption that if one panel has been lying on one particular, then he has been lying on all particulars and will have to disbelieve everything that that panel offers in evidence. That is the scope and meaning of falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus—lying in one particular, lying in all particulars. That is why as a SenatorJudge, I would like to counsel Prosecution: Be extremely, extremely careful, gentlemen of the Prosecution, because you might be treading on very thin ice.
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Falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus. There was a theory expressed in this Court that, actually, the attachments to the request for subpoena of the Prosecution are not fake or are not forgeries because, as the bank officials testified, they are simply inconsistencies or discrepancies which the bank officials said, according to their count, number over 40 inconsistencies or discrepancies. Thus, we have to turn to our Penal Code to determine whether the specimen signature cards both from the bank and from those submitted by the Prosecution constitute falsification. Under the Penal Code, Article 171 as related to Article 172, falsification is, by among other methods, committed by “making any alteration or intercalation”—intercalation means insertion—”in a genuine document which changes its meaning.” And by the way, there is a difference between the term “forgery” and the term “falsification.” Under the Penal Code, the term “forgery” is usually applied to bank notes. For example, if you print Philippine pesos or U.S. dollars, then you are guilty of forgery if you are passing off this counterfeit note as genuine. But if you are falsifying a commercial paper like a specimen credit card of a bank, that is the crime of falsification. And it is a crime to knowingly introduce in evidence in any judicial proceeding such a falsification. I have a whole list of cases that I looked up when I left the Session Hall yesterday. But I will just quote a 2010 case because, as you know in law, the later the decision is, the more authoritative it becomes. Ramos v. People 2010, “the elements of falsification of commercial documents are: No. 1. That there will be an alteration or a change or intercalation or insertion on the document, that is, it was made on a genuine document that the alteration or intercalation has changed the meaning of the document and that the change made the document speak something else. That is the Supreme Court speaking on what is a falsified document. Now, maybe some of us might think that we should call for a handwriting expert. But that is not the jurisprudence. We do not need a handwriting expert because jurisprudence tells us that mostly courts disregard what a handwriting expert says and it is up to the judge to determine for himself visually whether what he is seeing before him are, as described by the Penal Code, changes or insertions that tend to give a different meaning to the document. So, the importance of this topic in our impeachment proceedings might overshadow the need to hurry and finish the impeachment trial. Because if we can prove, if there is proof on record, that the signature specimen cards were falsified as falsification is defined under the Penal Code, then, perhaps the Court might lean towards considering the maxim falsus in unum, falsus in omnibus. It is not relevant to say, “Anyway, the people responsible will have to be accused in a criminal case and so you have to find somebody who will file an accusation against them.” That is completely irrelevant. The question before the Impeachment Court is: Does this Latin maxim “false in one particular, false in all particulars” apply to the instant specimen cards? Thank you. The Presiding Officer. Thank you. What is the pleasure of the Counsel for the Defense? Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Your Honor please, before we start today’s proceedings, may I be allowed to make a short manifestation. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. You have two (2) minutes.
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Mr. Cuevas. I would like to appeal, Your Honor, to this Honorable Body for a reexamination, Your Honor, of Rule XVII of the Impeachment Court. The rule reads, as follows: If a Senator wishes to put a question to a witness, he/she shall do so within two (2) minutes. A Senator may likewise put a question to a prosecutor or counsel. He/she may also offer a motion or order in writing, which shall be submitted to the Presiding Officer. We are pleading for a reexamination of this rule, Your Honor, to avoid the usual occurrence of what is known as mistrial, because while it is true that the proceedings of this Court as of the moment may not amount to a mistrial, it is equally discernable that it may be raised in the future in the event that the situation goes worse than this. And the reason for this, Your Honor, is whether private or defense counsel is precluded from raising an objection or arguing with the Member-Senator. This is not the same rule that we have before because in the old rule, Your Honor, there is that opportunity for Counsel, representing an impeached public officer, to object to any question raised by the Senate member. And if the objection is raised, the Court is under legal obligation to examine the same and deal with its merits. In other words, it is ruled upon by the Presiding Officer whether it should be allowed or not. Now, we say that this may amount to a mistrial, Your Honor, because there is nothing left in favor of an impeached public officer. He cannot object; he cannot make any manifestation. And in all probability, as what we have noticed before, a question of a Member of this Court centers on practically everything. One question may be raised, followed up by another, leading to a request for the issuance of an order requiring the production of certain documents, which documents have not yet been proved to be material to the issue or relevant to the subject matter under discussion. Under such a situation, Your Honor, notwithstanding the fact that the Counsel or the Defense Counsel in this particular instance moved for a denial of the motion, still, an order is granted, a subpoena is issued, and notwithstanding the fact that a motion for the dissolution or quashing of the subpoena is made, it may likewise be overruled. Under such a situation, we have no other recourse before this Honorable Court, Your Honor, and probably the only recourse is to go to the Supreme Court of the Republic of the Philippines. Now, that will be rather not only burdensome but almost a nullity as a remedy because it will take time before preparing the necessary pleadings, before the same is scheduled before the Appellate Court and before any action can be made on the matter. In other words, we may come into a situation where in Tagalog, “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo,” if the remedy may be granted later. But the proceedings went on. And there is that violation of the constitutional rights of an accused. We submit, Your Honor, that these are reasons enough to warrant our plea for a reexamination of this particular provision, not to favor the Defense, much less the Prosecution, but so justice may be done and to avoid what is known in law as a “mistrial” which may ultimately result in the nullification of all the proceedings that were heard under the old rule. We believe that this is not only asking justice for the Defense, but likewise for the Prosecution. Because the question of the Member-Senator, Your Honor, may be favoring the Defense, not all the time the Prosecution, or it may be favoring the Prosecution. And since there is no definite category of what may be asked, whether in the form of merely clarificatory
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question or cross-examination question, there is where we feel that the apprehension becomes greater because, ultimately, the Respondent public official may be railroaded to a verdict of guilt. Hence, it is again our plea, Your Honor, that this rule be the subject of another judicious examination in order to determine whether there is really a room for improvement just so justice may be meted out in favor of everybody. Thank you very much, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. The Chair would like to find out, clarificatory questions from Members of the Court are not objectionable by either side to clarify facts, to obtain information that is vague or rather not understandable by any Member of the Court. Mr. Cuevas. We submit that they are not objectionable, Your Honor. But first and foremost, we may be enlightened as to why the right to object against any examination, question by a Member of this Court is now prohibited or proscribed under the new rule. The Presiding Officer. Well, that is the rule adopted by this Court. Frankly, I am not privy to the adoption of this rule. I do not know when it was adopted. But, anyway, it was adopted, I think, during the preparation of the impeachment trial for the former Ombudsman. Mr. Cuevas. When we were examining towards the root of this change, Your Honor, we found out that the right to object has been granted to Counsel and/or his impeached client. The Presiding Officer. This was during the time of the trial of former President Estrada. Mr. Cuevas. President Estrada. That is correct, Your Honor. And since then, there was no impeachment proceedings that had taken place sufficient enough to show any flaw, any evil, or any wrong attendant to such a ruling. We were surprised why that particular portion of the old rule had been totally obliterated and taken off the present rule now. Because it may not... Representative Farinas. Your Honor. Mr. Cuevas. Our position is that... The Presiding Officer. Let the Counsel for the Defense. Representative Farinas. Yes, I thought he was done. The Presiding Officer. All right, proceed. Mr. Cuevas. Our point, Your Honor, is to make the rule more in accord with the constitutional requirement on the matter, especially the Bill of Rights which grants to every person the right to life, liberty and property. He cannot be deprived of any of these things in violation of the due process clause. It is our humble submission, Your Honor, that with the old rule, there is greater attachment. There is greater adherence to the observance of the protection of the right to due process. The Presiding Officer. We are conscious of that, Mr. Counsel, and I cannot rule on this at this moment. This has to be taken up by the Court in a caucus, as we have practiced, in order to arrive at a reasonable resolution of the issue you have raised. But I can assure you that as much as possible, we will try to accord the Respondent a fair trial, observing not only substantive but procedural due
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process in order not to intrude or rather derogate anything from the application of applicable provisions of the Bill of Rights. Now, may I ask: A question from a Member of the Court to test the credibility of a witness presented by either side, would that be acceptable to both sides? Representative Fariñas. Acceptable to the Prosecution, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. How about the Defense? Mr. Cuevas. With more reason, Your Honor, if the purpose is to test the credibility of the witness on the stand who is under examination. We can interpose no valid objection. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. We are in total conformity and in full accord with that suggestion, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. For instance, the Presiding Officer extensively questioned two witnesses for the Prosecution yesterday, precisely, because of the fact that the issue involved an attachment to the request for a supplemental subpoena duces tecum to produce a document desired from a bank covered by certain laws that in turn covers the document with a certain amount of confidentiality. So, I do not know whether that is objectionable to the Defense. Mr. Cuevas. To us, Your Honor, we could interpose no valid objection to such a procedure. But if the questioning, by way of testing the credibility of the witness, will amount to, let us say, a discovery again of certain documents and then he is ordered to produce without the benefit of a subpoena, that is worse than a subpoena itself. Because a subpoena duces tecum may be quashed, may be objected to, but if there is a motion on the part of the Member of this Court requiring a particular witness on this stand to produce document, automatically, he is under legal obligation by direction of this Honorable Court. We are not saying that it is not valid; we are not saying that it is illegal; but it borders on what is known as gray area, whereby, the right of a party on the stand may be prejudiced and also the party under trial. The Presiding Officer. We will take note of your manifestation. Mr. Cuevas. Before we end, Your Honor. It is not our purpose to have a drastic action on our plea. We are pleading this matter to be brought to the attention of this Honorable Court only for purposes of examination and judicious evaluation. With that, Your Honor, we thank heavily this Honorable Court. Representative Fariñas. May we make also a manifestation, Mr. President? The Presiding Officer. Just a minute. The Presiding Officer is conscious of the rights of the Respondent and the role of the Prosecution as well as the Defense in this case, and I can assure you that I have been following that norm. But we will take this up in caucus. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. The Chief of the panel of Prosecutors from the House. Representative Fariñas. Yes, Mr. President. May we just make a counter-manifestation on the matter? There is a saying in English, which says that: “If ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Kung wala namang diperensya o sira, huwag mo nang kukumpunihin.
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The rules as they stand now are perfect because, by precedents, we have been doing this. In the Eleventh Congress, in the hearing of the impeachment case of President Estrada, the same rules applied. And even in the U.S. Senate, the same rule is found in the Rules of the U.S. Senate that senators sitting in impeachment can ask questions from witnesses and from counsel. The only difference is, in the U.S. Senate, the questions are written and submitted to the President. But they are certainly allowed to ask questions. And on the part of the House, we have been maintaining, Mr. President, that an impeachment case is an administrative case where the only issue is whether the public officer still enjoys public trust in order that he can still continue to hold office. The Presiding Officer. If I remember what I read correctly, Counsel, in case of impeachment, the role of the House of Representatives is that of a grand jury. You are supposed to have prepared the evidence beforehand. In fact, your power to gather the evidence beforehand is plenary. It is, in fact, inquisitorial in nature and that is why we have a problem in the course of this trial because we are using compulsory process to gather evidence for you that you should have gathered beforehand before you filed the Articles of Impeachment in this Court. And that is why I warned you several times that what you are doing might be fatal to the proceedings. You read American precedents in impeachment cases. The function of the House is like that of a grand jury. I have it researched. And in a grand jury proceeding, it is almost an inquisition. There is no adversarial proceeding. You can subpoena any record from any sector but you are called upon to keep these subpoenaed records absolutely confidential, not exposed to the public as what is being done in this proceeding. You should have read those materials before you instituted these Articles of Impeachment. Anyway, we are already... at this point, it is too late to backtrack, but it is a lesson that we have to learn. Representative Fariñas. Just one minute, Mr. President, on this matter. Senator Sotto. Before that, Mr. President.... The Presiding Officer. No. May I suggest that let the Chief of the Prosecution panel. Senator Sotto. I submit, Mr. President. Representative Fariñas. Thank you, Mr. President. There are three modes of initiating impeachment complaint, Mr. President. If, indeed, it passes through the Committee on Justice, then we could have been afforded all this time to exercise the powers akin to a grand jury. But, Mr. President, there is a third mode, which is specifically granted by the Constitution where in case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, it shall be sent immediately to the Senate because, Mr. President, iyong impeachment po kasi, emergency power po ito ng mamamayan. Halimbawa po kung iyong Pangulo ng bansa or iyong Punong Mahistrado po, sa tingin ng isa, bawat tatlong miyembro ng Kamara po, talagang dapat panagutin kaagad-agad, hindi na po dadaan doon sa grand jury style, kung hindi idudulog na po kaagad dito at maglilitis na po kaagad tayo dito dahil kung emergency nga po, baka masira po lalo iyong opisina kung dadaan po doon sa proseso. The Presiding Officer. Tama po iyon, pero ibig ba ninyong sabihin na kahit na one-third ng House of Representatives ang pumirma ay pupulutin ninyo sa hangin iyong ilalagay ninyo sa Articles of Impeachment na wala kayong batayan?
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Representative Fariñas. Hindi naman po dahil katulad nga po nito, mayroon naman po silang ginawang mga artikulo of impeachment na may mga nakalahad naman po doon kung ano iyong mga reklamo at nahimay-himay po naman lahat. The Presiding Officer. Alam mo, kaya magulo ang inyong Articles of Impeachment. Kaya nga nahihirapan kami kung saan namin papasyahan iyong mga ebidensya na ipinapasok ninyo. Kaya nga sa Article II lamang, nagkaroon tayo ng problema. Pagdating natin sa Article IV, Article V, Article VI, Article VII, halu-halo iyong alegasyon ninyo. Pag binuksan ninyo iyan, makikita natin ang kamalian. Anyway, we proceed and we take advisement on this matter. Representative Fariñas. Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, as the Chairman of the Committee on Rules, first, I would like to thank the Prosecution for saying that the rules are perfect. But, nevertheless, the prohibition to object is not found in the Rules of the Senate indeed, but it is found in the practice in courts wherein you cannot object to the question of a judge. But, be that as it may, may we recognize Senator Angara, and then Sen. Joker Arroyo, Mr. President, so that they may amplify this position of the Rules Committee. Senator Angara. This is very simple, Mr. President. The question being raised is that, why is it that the Defense or the counsel of either side cannot object to a question by a Senator-Judge? The Majority Leader is correct. There is no bar, there is no prohibition against any of the lawyers objecting to a question, but it is in the form of objection that there is a difference. We perhaps may not say, “I object, Mr. Judge.” But you may say, “Mr. Judge, I’ll file a reservation or an exception to that question because it tends to prejudice my client.” But, I think for the sake of fairness and even the perception of fairness, I think we ought to really allow any of the lawyers to make an exception rather than object verbally to a question of the Judge because even in a grand jury, that is the procedure. In a grand jury, it is free-for-all. You can ask almost anything under the sun without leading question, even misleading question. But, the lawyers can stand up and say, “We make an exception to that,” so that you preserve your right to question it on appeal. Now, if what, I think, the good distinguished jurist is intimating and suggesting is that it will become a reversible error for mistrial, I think that is even worse, because I think we ought not to think at this stage of a mistrial and a procedure that will allow an appeal on every perceived reversible error because it will prolong the political agony of this nation, if every issue that one thinks is irreversible can be questioned on appeal. So, we also appeal to the lawyers in the same spirit that our Presiding Officer said, “Let us go straight to the point. Wala nang paliku-liko sapagka’t naghihintay ang bansa.” Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. Cuevas. Maraming salamat po, Ginoong Hukom. May I just...only one minute, Your Honor. With the kind permission of the Honorable Court. There is a statement on the part of the honorable Counsel for the Prosecution, that in the Estrada impeachment trial, the right to object cannot also be made. That is precisely why we brought this matter to the attention of this Honorable Court because in that proceeding against the Hon. President Erap Estrada, the right to object is found and it was only deleted under the new rules now. We wanted to know and we are appealing to the Impeachment Court to merely have a reexamination. We are not imposing our will, we are appealing to the understanding and judicious
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management ability of this Court, Your Honor, to render more justice in consonance with the right of the accused against due process. The Presiding Officer. We cannot amend the rules now because to amend it will delay the proceedings. We will have to publish the rules but we will take this up in caucus and consider your suggestion in the light of the suggestion of a Member of this Court, Senator Angara. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right, counsel for the Prosecution, do you want to make any statement? Representative Fariñas. Well, Your Honor, only with respect to the reference to my statement. What we said was, the matter of Judges asking questions to counsel and witnesses. But as to their objecting, I did not make any statement as to whether counsel can object to questions of.... The Presiding Officer. Precisely, it is actually the substance of the statement of the Defense counsel, if I understood it correctly, is the tendency of questions being asked as if it is in favor of one or the other party. So, I think that we will have to take up in caucus. Senator Sotto. Thank you. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Makati and Bicol was raising his hand. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, he has withdrawn and just concurred with what Senator Angara and the Majority Leader manifested, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. All right. What is the stage of the proceeding now? Senator Sotto. We are ready for the business for the day. We are supposed to receive documents from the PSBank president requested by a number of Members of the Senate an inventory of documents from the PSBank related to the bank account of respondent CJ Corona which were submitted, shown, and examined by the audit team of Bangko Sentral and the AMLC; the names of specific officials of Bangko Sentral and AMLC who participated in the audit and handled the bank records of the Katipunan branch and the bank account of respondent CJ Corona; also the request by Senator Ejercito Estrada for the logbook of the access; and then the request of Senator Legarda to provide the technical description of their document as opposed to the annexes submitted by the Prosecution; and the request of Senator Pimentel for the submission of any other available customer identification and specimen signature card in the name of Corona Renato Coronado. Aside from that, well, after that, we have already discharged the witness, Mr. President. We will just await for the submission of these documents and then we will be ready for the BPI representative, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. We will give the officials of the bank concerned how many days to comply with our request. This is not an evidence for the Prosecution or for anybody. These are documents required by the Court to evaluate the supplemental request for a subpoena duces tecum where a document is questioned as a proper document for that purpose. This is addressed entirely to the attention and discretion of the Court. So ordered. Representative Fariñas. Mr. President, may we make a manifestation regarding.... The Presiding Officer. Yes.
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Representative Fariñas. Yesterday, we were directed by this Hon. Senate to submit a memorandum regarding the nature of the testimony of the bank officials. The Presiding Officer. Not the nature of the testimony of the bank official with respect to a document that he presented and requested by your panel to be marked as your exhibit, although the witness was questioned by the Defense whether he is your witness or not witness. And when the Chair asked the member of your panel to state it for the record whether you are adopting the witness as your witness, I think his answer was that you just wanted the document to be marked as an exhibit for the Prosecution. Representative Fariñas. That is the manifestation we are going to make, Mr. President, because I was instructed by our lead prosecutor that after conference last night, the panel has decided that we will adopt the witness as our own with respect to the documents that he presented yesterday as to eight (8) accounts, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. All right. Representative Fariñas. And that they will be marked as evidence for the Prosecution. The Presiding Officer. So, whatever that witness stated yesterday, you are bound by his statements. Representative Fariñas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All the declarations, statements, admissions made by her or by him.... Which one of the witnesses that were presented yesterday would you adopt as your witness? Representative Fariñas. The president who submitted the certifications as to eight (8) other bank accounts, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. And how about the statement of the bank manager? Representative Fariñas. I have been instructed that it is only with respect to the president as far as the documents that they presented. The Presiding Officer. Only the statement of the president of the bank and the documents that he used as part of his testimony. Representative Fariñas. Yes, Mr. President, respecting eight (8) bank accounts of the Respondent. The Presiding Officer. Counsel for the Defense. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor, please, this is one of the pitfalls that I noticed in our process of trial because the witness on the stand was under direct examination of the Honorable Presiding Officer and the Member-Senators of this Court. Now, if this witness is now being adopted on the basis of what had been—on the questions whether direct or cross, which had been propounded or made by any Member of this Court and most especially the Presiding Officer, then they are relieved of the burden of undergoing introduction through direct examination, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. To shorten this, would you object to the adoption by the Prosecution of the bank president as their witness only in relation to the document that they wanted to mark?
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Mr. Cuevas. We are constrained to object. We are sorry that we cannot accommodate the Prosecution on grounds of due process, Your Honor. The witness had not been examined by them. The examination was done by a Member of this Court and the Honorable Presiding Judge. The Presiding Officer. That is true, that is why, yesterday, I directed your private counsel, member of your panel whether he was adopting the witness as his witness with respect to that document, but that the witness was not his witness anymore because you finished your direct and redirect examinations of that witness. He was discharged and yet, he said that he had an authority to back up his statement that they can mark the document coming from that witness, who was presented for examination by a Member of this Court. So, do you have a back-up jurisprudence on this claim? Representative Fariñas. I was told by them that they were willing to and ready to submit a memorandum, Mr. President. But after due deliberation and conference, they decided that to abbreviate the proceedings, we will just adopt the witness as far as.... The Presiding Officer. No, you have to show us the propriety of doing what you want to be done. Representative Fariñas. Yes, Mr. President, we will abide. The Presiding Officer. Because as you know, I cannot remember in any of my trials that that could be done after you discharged your witness. Representative Fariñas. We will submit, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. So ordered. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, we are now ready for the continuation of the presentation of evidence by the Prosecution. Representative Fariñas. Mr. President, may we call on the representative of BPI who is appearing here in lieu of Mrs. Dizon, who gave birth. The Presiding Officer. All right. This is your witness? Representative Fariñas. Yes, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. What is the purpose of this witness? Representative Fariñas. May I call on the private prosecutor who will handle the direct examination of the witness to make the offer, Mr. President. Mr. Cuevas. With the kind permission of the Honorable Court. Representative Fariñas. Atty. Arthur Lim, Mr. President. Mr. Cuevas. There was a similar manifestation made yesterday, Your Honor, and the Honorable Presiding Judge ruled that what we need is Ms. Dizon and not a substitute of Ms. Dizon, because I believe that the questions that will be propounded to her will be personal in character. That was the ruling of the Honorable— The Presiding Officer. Personal knowledge of Ms. Dizon? Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor, exclusively within the knowledge of Ms. Dizon. The Presiding Officer. Yes, that is correct.
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Mr. Lim. May we make a manifestation, Your Honor The Presiding Officer. What is your manifestation? Mr. Lim. We respectfully disagree with the Defense Counsel because our understanding is that, the witness who will testify today, who is the authorized representative of BPI, Ayala Branch, will be merely identifying documents that were required by the honorable Impeachment Court. It is not to testify on a matter based on personal knowledge. Specifically, Your Honor, the documents in issue or to be brought and produced now are the monthly bank statements which the Honorable Presiding Officer specifically directed the bank to produce. The Presiding Officer. All right. Your request is granted. Mr. Lim. Thank you, Your Honor. May we call on.... The Presiding Officer. You call the witness. The Clerk of Court. Please stand. Madam Witness, do you swear to tell the truth, and nothing but the truth in this Impeachment proceeding? Ms. Arcilla. Yes, I do. The Clerk of Court. So help you God. Mr. Lim. May I proceed, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Lim. Will you kindly state your name, address and occupation, Ma’am? Ms. Arcilla. I am Mara Davac Arcilla, 31 years old, married, with office address at BPI Ayala Avenue, SGV Branch in Ayala Avenue, Makati City. I am the assistant branch manager of BPI, Ayala Avenue, SGV Branch. Mr. Lim. Your Honor, please, for record, in relation to the recall of this witness by the Honorable Court.... The Presiding Officer. Has she testified before? Why are you.... Mr. Lim. Not recall, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Why are you saying recall this witness? Mr. Lim. Of a BPI officer, Your Honor. It was supposed to be the branch manager. I withdraw that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Please be careful with your statements here. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. In connection with the testimony of the witness now.... The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute, are you presenting this witness for the first time? Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right.
Mr. Lim. As BPI representative.
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The Presiding Officer. All right. Then do not say that she is being recalled to the witness stand. Mr. Lim. I am sorry for that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Now, place her under oath. Has she been placed under oath? All right. Proceed to ask the questions. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. But we are just indicating that we are respectfully offering the testimony of this witness to prove the monthly balances of the various BPI accounts of the respondent. The Presiding Officer. To prove the monthly balances, then prove that she has knowledge about those monthly balances. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Qualify her. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Lim. Will you tell us—will you tell the Honorable Court your position in the bank again? Ms. Arcilla. I am the assistant branch manager of BPI Ayala Avenue, SGV Branch, Sir. Mr. Lim. Will you state your duties and responsibilities? Ms. Arcilla. My main function in the branch is cashiering. Mr. Lim. Why are you before the Honorable Court today? Ms. Arcilla. Sir, I was asked to bring and to submit the documents requested by this Honorable Court for Ms. Dizon. The Presiding Officer. For Ms. Dizon? Ms. Arcilla. For Ms. Dizon, yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Why for Ms. Dizon. If you are qualified to testify, why are you using the term “for Ms. Dizon”? Counsel, qualify your witness. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. Will you explain to the Honorable Court where Ms. Dizon is right now? The Presiding Officer. That is not the way to qualify the witness. What is your job in the bank? Mr. Lim. I already asked that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. What is her job? Ms. Arcilla. I am the assistant branch manager of the branch and....
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The Presiding Officer. Do you have anything to do with the preparation of monthly bank balances? Ms. Arcilla. None, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. How can she be competent? Mr. Lim. Your Honor, can I make a manifestation? The Presiding Officer. I am asking you, how can your witness be competent? Mr. Lim. She has to produce merely documents, Your Honor, of the bank. The Presiding Officer. Then do not say that she is going to prove the bank balances because she is incompetent. Mr. Lim. Your Honor, please, the documents required by the Honorable Court.... The Presiding Officer. Then just ask her about the document. If she knows that document, identify the document. Do not tell this Court that you are proving the bank balances because she is incompetent. She has nothing to do with the preparation of the bank balances. Mr. Lim. We submit, Your Honor. May I proceed, Your Honor? Did you bring the document required by the Honorable Court and which Ms. Dizon requested you to bring here? Mr. Cuevas. No basis, Your Honor. The question—if we may be allowed to explain, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Cuevas. The question asked for the authority to bring the document, there is no showing that a subpoena had been issued delineating the particular documents, book, or accounts that must be produced by the witness in today’s hearing, Your Honor. Mr. Lim. Your Honor… Mr. Cuevas. In the first place, no subpoena had been mentioned by the witness. Mr. Lim. Your Honor, please. The Presiding Officer. Have you requested for a subpoena? Mr. Lim. It was a direct order of the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer. The order of the Presiding Officer—you might think that I am senile, I am 88 years old, but I remember what I say in this Court—was for the two panels to go to the bank to examine the bank balances, but the other side does not want. So you have to proceed with the proper request. Mr. Lim. Your Honor, please, the witness is here because of an order of the Honorable Presiding Officer— The Presiding Officer. To what? Mr. Lim. —by reason of a request of a Senator-Judge for these documents to be brought here, Your Honor.
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Mr. Cuevas. If I may be allowed? There can be no truth in that because the witness— The Presiding Officer. Just a minute. Senator Drilon. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Senator Drilon. The records will bear us out. Attorney Cuevas cross-examined the previous witness on the monthly accounts—on the monthly statement of accounts. And then, he said that these monthly statements of accounts should be produced before this Court. The Court made an open order for the documents to be produced, and the documents to be brought before this Court. And, thereafter, for his own reasons, Attorney Cuevas withdrew his request. But the Court has already issued an order in open court, direct order to the witness, to produce these bank monthly reports, monthly statements of accounts from 2005 to 2010, and that was the order of the Court. The Presiding Officer. May I request the stenographer of the Court— Senator Drilon. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. —to locate the order of the Presiding Officer. I am sorry that I cannot remember all the details. Senator Drilon. Can we then ask for a one-minute suspension while this is being looked into? The Presiding Officer. Yes. Trial is suspended for one minute. The trial was suspended at 3:08 p.m. At 3:10 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. All right. Trial resumed. On page 64 of February 9 trial, indeed, the gentleman from Iloilo made a request. He said, “Mr. President, may the Court be provided with the documents that Counsel for the Defense has so kindly allowed to be examined in the bank premises? As Members of the Court, I believe that we are also entitled to see these documents because this is already with the consent of the...” And then the Presiding Officer said, “Well, that is a reasonable request. So the bank concerned is ordered to submit a certified true copy of the bank statements over the period from the time the bank—his checking account was opened up to the year ending December 31, 2010.” So, this witness cannot be presented as a witness for the Prosecution because the request was made by a Judge of this Court and the request of the Senator-Judge from Iloilo was approved and ordered to be obeyed by the bank. Senator Drilon. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Senator Drilon. Mr. President, may I also respectfully refer the honorable Senate President to page 62 of the transcript, of the Journal, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Yes.
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Senator Drilon. Okay. On top of page 62, if I may read. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Senator Drilon. “Mr. Cuevas. In view of the answer of the witness, Your Honor, may we respectfully request that the statement of account covering these periods 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 be produced by the witness at the most convenient time considering her condition now, Your Honor.” And then, several lines below that, “The Presiding Officer. All right. So, the witness is instructed by this Court or ordered by this Court to produce the documents that the Defense Counsel requested.” So— The Presiding Officer. What line is that? Senator Drilon. On page 62, on top of page 62, and the line that I just said, Sir, is about 10 lines from the bottom, Sir. The Presiding Officer. Yes. “So, the witness is instructed by this Court or ordered by this Court to produce the documents that the Defense Counsel requested.” So, this witness is not a witness for the Prosecution but simply required by this Court upon a request by a Senator-Judge of this Court to produce the documents. So— Senator Drilon. Maybe to cut short the proceedings, Mr. President, if she can produce the documents, this will cut short all the… The Presiding Officer. Precisely, precisely. Senator Drilon. So, if the witness can now produce these documents, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Now, Madam Witness, you are here upon order of this Court to produce the documents that it required to be produced by Ms. Dizon. Do you have those documents? Ms. Arcilla. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Present them to the Clerk of Court. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. I hope the Court pardons us. May we know the concept of this examinationquestion, Your Honor? Because I am through with the proceedings—I am sorry, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Just a minute, Counsel. If you remember, there was a—if I recall correctly, in one hearing day, we tackled this issue, and the Presiding Officer suggested that both counsels will go to the bank to examine the monthly statements for the years involved up to 2010. I think it was from 2005 to 2010. Later on, the Defense Counsel said that client has the monthly bank statements, is it not? Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And what happened next was you withdrew the commitment to go to the bank and I think—did you offer to present the bank statements?
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Mr. Cuevas. No, Your Honor. What we did was to make a formal written notice of withdrawal, Your Honor, because that is exclusively within the privilege of the impeached public official, the honorable Chief Justice. Now, what is there to compel us and this is our evidence in our favor? Why shall we be compelled to produce? We terminated our cross-examination. So, what is these proceedings now, will this be redirect or…. The Presiding Officer. No. Precisely, this Court, through the Presiding Officer, will not allow this witness to be a witness for the Prosecution, because this witness is coming here simply to comply with an order of this Court to produce the documents that you yourself possessed for the information of the Court. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. So, if you are going to present this anyway in your evidence in chief when your turn to present the evidence, I see no harm for these documents to be presented to the Court in compliance with this order. So, that is the position now and I order the presentation of the documents to the Court without being marked by the Prosecution. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor, for that clarification. Mr. Lim. May I make a manifestation please, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Go ahead. Mr. Lim. We are not adopting the witness as correctly observed by the Honorable Presiding Officer, but we are requesting permission to mark the documents as our own, in line…. The Presiding Officer. You mark them when they are presented by the Defense as your own, if you want to mark. Do not change the order of presentation. The Defense said that those are their evidence. Mr. Lim. May I be clarified? The Defense will be surely presenting this when their turn comes? Mr. Cuevas. Do we have any legal obligation to let you know about this? Mr. Lim. In line with the question…. The Presiding Officer. Mr. Counsel, you are fishing for evidence. Mr. Cuevas. Yes. Mr. Lim. No, Your Honor, because…. The Presiding Officer. No, no, no. Wait a minute. You did not subpoena this evidence. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. This Court used its discretion to bring these documents here. Mr. Lim. That is correct, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And the fact that you tried to adopt them for your own is a misrepresentation.
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Mr. Lim. Your Honor…. The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute. Do not interrupt me. I know my rules. I have handled more cases that you can imagine. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And that is why, I am allowing the presentation of this document to this Court, for the uses of this Court, since this document will be presented by the Defense at the proper time. Now, if you want to mark it as your exhibit at that time then, do it at that time. In the same manner, that when you presented your documents, they opted to mark them also as their exhibits. So, you cannot intervene in the presentation of the documents to this Court. So ordered. Mr. Lim. Just a humble manifestation, very brief, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Go ahead. Mr. Lim. Your Honor please, I am respectfully invoking the rule that in a trial, whether civil, criminal, administrative or impeachment, I respectfully submit that any and all documents that are produced before the Court may be marked by any of the parties subject, of course, to the control of the Court and subject to any ruling on admissibility that will be made when they are formally offered. The Presiding Officer. All right. When the documents will be presented by the Defense, then at that time you can do it. You can ask for the marking of these documents as your exhibit if they will not present it. Mr. Lim. Another humble manifestation, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Lim. Your Honor please, if the honorable Presiding Officer, I just would like a respectful clarification, the last ruling or the last sentence of the Honorable Presiding Officer was, if the Defense will not produce those documents, then we will be at liberty to produce them, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. No, no, no, they are already in the hands of the Court. Mr. Lim. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Then you can ask the Court to present the evidence for your marking at that time. Mr. Lim. Thank you very much, Your Honor. We will do that, Your Honor. We will comply with that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. This is understood, Counsel for the Defense? Mr. Cuevas. Right, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Lim. We thank you for that, Your Honor. Thank you, Your Honor.
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Senator Sotto. Mr. President, we may discharge the witness then, after the submission. The Presiding Officer. No, let the representative of the bank submit the records which she was ordered to bring here. Ms. Arcilla. I already submitted the documents to the Clerk of Court. The Presiding Officer. Then issue a receipt for those documents. Mr. Cuevas. May we ask permission, Your Honor, that a member of the Defense panel go over the documents being presented. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Fariñas. May we do the same, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Both of you will examine the documents. Senator Drilon. May the Senator-Judges, Mr. Senate President, be also given access to these documents? The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Senator Drilon. Preferably if we can have a copy later on. The Presiding Officer. The Members of this Court can have access to this document, after all it was requested by this Court for its own uses. Senator Drilon. Can we have a copy of this right now and may we request the Clerk of Court to give it all. Mr. Cuevas. May we be permitted, Your Honor, to make a short manifestation? The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. These documents required by the Court to be produced now, in our understanding, are rather confidential because they involve bank deposits, Your Honor. We will therefore request that they be placed in an envelope, sealed for that matter so that not even the press may illegally use the same by way of showing them in the television shows and so on. The Presiding Officer. That is a reasonable request. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Senator Drilon. But can we see it before it is sealed, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Yes, only for the uses of the Members of the Court but not for public exposure at the moment. Senator Drilon. Can we ask for a one-minute recess, Your Honor? The Presiding Officer. Trial recess. The trial was suspended at 3:24 p.m. At 3:33 p.m., the trial was resumed
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Trial resumed. The Floor Leader.
The Presiding Officer.
Senator Sotto. Mr. President, the documents have already been submitted, we may discharge the witness. The Presiding Officer. The documents having been submitted to the Court, the witness is discharged. Senator Sotto. We are now ready to listen to the Prosecution for the continuation of the presentation of evidence or witnesses. The Presiding Officer. Prosecution, present your next witness. Representative Tupas. Your Honor, Mr. President, before that, may we just make a short manifestation on an administrative matter? The Presiding Officer. Go ahead.
Representative Tupas. The Prosecution manifests that we will not anymore present the witness from the National Statistics Office, namely, Ms. Editha Orcilla because on the pre-marking last 30 January 2012 attended by the Defense, a certain Dexter Corpus, and the Prosecution, Manuelito Luna, the Defense has stipulated on the authenticity of the documents, namely, the birth certificate of Maria Carla Corona, Exhibit “SSSSSS” for the Prosecution; the birth certificate of Francis Corona, Exhibit “TTTTTT”; marriage certificate of Constantino Castillo III and Maria Carla Corona, Exhibit “UUUUUU” and birth certificate of Maria Charina Corona, “VVVVVV” for the Prosecution. So we just want to manifest that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. You have stipulated with the Defense on this? Representative Tupas. Yes, Your Honor, the Defense can confirm it, if they wish to. A certain Atty. Dexter Corpus was present and stipulated as to the authenticity of those documents. That is the reason why the Prosecution will not anymore present the witness from the National Statistics Office, Your Honor. We thank the Defense for stipulating. The Presiding Officer. All right. So you offer that at the proper time when you make your offer of evidence. Representative Tupas. That is correct. Thank you. The Presiding Officer. Next witness. Representative Tupas. So now we proceed, Your Honor. We leave Article II of the Impeachment Complaint. The Presiding Officer. When you say you leave Article II, are you through with the presentation of your evidence in chief on Article II? Representative Tupas. Yes. I am about to say that, Your Honor. We leave Article II with the reservation, reservation on the foreign currency accounts subject of the temporary restraining order issued by the Supreme Court and also with the reservation earlier on the six (6) accounts—eight (8) accounts rather. It is eight (8) accounts from the PSBank as testified by the President because we were required by the Honorable Presiding Officer to submit a memorandum to that effect. So with that reservation—
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The Presiding Officer. What memorandum was that? I cannot remember it. Representative Tupas. This is regarding the testimony, Your Honor, of the president of the PSBank. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Tupas. Because we wanted to mark as our exhibits the eight (8) accounts produced yesterday by the president of the bank but we were required by Your Honor to submit. And with that reservation, we leave Article II and we will proceed now to Article III. We would like to request, Your Honor, that one of the members of the public prosecutors, Congressman Sherwin Tugna, be recognized. The Presiding Officer. The named lawyer is recognized. Representative Tupas. He is a member of the Prosecution panel, Your Honor, Congressman Sherwin Tugna. Representative Tugna. Thank you, Mr. Presiding Justice. Good afternoon, Your Honors. We will now continue with the presentation of Article III. And for our next witness, we will call on the vice president of the Philippine Airlines, vice president for Sales, Mr. Enrique Javier, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Bring the witness in. Mr. Cuevas. Now, to put the record straight, Your Honor, the Honorable Public Prosecutor mentioned “our next witness.” There is no witness yet. This is Defense’ witness, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. That is correct. That is lapsus in memoriam. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, just so the journal will speak the real situation, Your Honor— Representative Tugna. If I may, Mr. Presiding Justice. The Public Prosecutor, Congresswoman Bag-ao, has already presented a witness for Article III and it was Mr. Bob Anduiza, Mr. Presiding Justice. Mr. Cuevas. So his testimony is also in support of Impeachment Article III. Is that right? You confirm that, Mr. Counsel? Representative Tugna. Yes, Mr. Presiding Justice. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. So that is settled. Bring the witness in. Representative Tugna. Mr. Presiding Justice, if I may? The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Tugna. I am calling on Private Prosecutor, Atty. Marlon Manuel, to conduct the direct examination.
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The Presiding Officer. Atty. Marlon Manuel may now proceed to handle his witness. Let the witness take the witness stand and be sworn. The Clerk of Court. Please raise your right hand, Mr. Witness. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this impeachment proceeding? Mr. Javier. Yes, Your Honor. The Clerk of Court. So help you God. Mr. Manuel. Your Honor, we offer the testimony of the witness to prove that while the case entitled, Flight Attendants and Stewards and Association of the Philippines (FASAP) v. Philippine Airlines, Incorporated, Patricia Chong, and the Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 178083, was pending before the Supreme Court, Chief Justice Renato Corona and Mrs. Cristina Corona received special privileges, including free plane tickets from Philippine Airlines. The witness will also identify documents covered by the Senate subpoena. May I proceed, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Manuel. Magandang hapon po, Mr. Javier. Mr. Javier. Magandang hapon din naman.
Mr. Manuel. Maari ba ninyong sabihin ang inyong pangalan, edad, at tirahan? Mr. Javier. Ako po si Enrique Javier, 53 years old, at naninirahan sa Kapitolyo, Pasig. Mr. Manuel. Salamat po. Maari ba ninyong sabihin kung ano ang inyong trabaho sa kasalukuyan? Mr. Javier. Ako po ang vice president for sales ng Philippine Airlines. Mr. Manuel. Gaano katagal na po kayong vice president ng Philippine Airlines? Mr. Cuevas. At this juncture, Your Honor, with the kind permission of the Honorable Court. If Your Honor please. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Cuevas. We have a motion to quash the subpoena against this witness, Your Honor, on the humble submission that his testimony will be irrelevant, immaterial, and impertinent to the subject matter of the case, Your Honor, which is not.... The Presiding Officer. Why irrelevant and immaterial? Mr. Cuevas. Your honor please, this witness is allegedly being presented in connection with Impeachment Article III, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Correct. That is why I was reading it. Mr. Cuevas. And there is no mention about the alleged plane tickets in here, Your Honor. I am sorry, Your Honor.
The Presiding Officer. I will read Article III.
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“Respondent committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust by failing to meet and observe the stringent standards under Article VIII, Section 7(3) of the Constitution that provides that Members of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence in allowing”—this is the charge—“in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by counsel which caused 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 regarding cases pending before the Supreme Court.” Now, Counsel, for the Prosecution, what is the relevancy and materiality of this witness to this charge? Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. The presentation of the testimony of the vice president of Philippine Airlines that the respondent and his wife received free travel benefits, special privileges while a case is pending in the Supreme Court need not be alleged in the Complaint because these are mere statements of evidentiary facts which constitute as the reason for the partiality of the Respondent in favor of Philippine Airlines. Partiality, Your Honor. I submit, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. We deny this witness. It is not relevant to Article III. Mr. Manuel. If I may, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. I just read to you Article III of your Impeachment. This is the one that is going to be voted upon by the Members of this Court, that there is no allegation in Article III that you alleged about perquisites or favors. Mr. Manuel. If I may, Your Honor. Just for a minute, Your Honor, please. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Manuel. Your Honor, the charge in Article III is that the Respondent culpably violated the Constitution and betrayed the public trust because he lacks independence and integrity, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Manuel. And....
The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute. But that is.... Mr. Manuel. If I may be.... The Presiding Officer. ....Wait a minute. The Court speaks. You stop. You read the way you framed your Article III. I know that you are a literate person and it says you are quoting Section 7, paragraph (3) of the Constitution that provides that a member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence, and the rest, in the three charges, three allegations, in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by a Counsel which caused the issuance of flip-flopping decisions in final and executory cases, that is one; in creating excessive entanglement with Mrs. Arroyo through her appointment of his wife to office, that is another one; and in discussing with litigants regarding cases pending before the Supreme Court.
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Now, you are expanding the coverage of this Article. This Court will not allow the expansion of this Article unless you amend it. So ordered. Representative Tugna. Your Honor, just.... The Presiding Officer. What? Representative Tugna. If I may be allowed, Your Honor— The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Tugna. —just to expound on the matter why we.... The Presiding Officer. The Court has already ruled. You are wasting the time of this Court. My God, we have to have some discipline here. You made allegations and you are going to expand it without the proper charges in your Article III. Representative Tugna. Your Honor, I understand that you have already made a ruling. But if I may just explain for a minute why this matter is being sought to be introduced. The Presiding Officer. Then, if you want to introduce that, you amend your Articles of Impeachment. Representative Tugna. Your Honor, if I may, the presentation of his testimony is relevant because it will help establish the partiality of the Respondent in favor of Philippine Airlines. I submit, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. But you did not allege it here. Representative Tugna. If I may, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Well, the Court has ruled. So, that is it. You take me to the court. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, may we now discharge the witness. The Presiding Officer. The witness is discharged. Senator Sotto. May we ask the Prosecution if there are any other witnesses. The Presiding Officer. I already told you that this is the trouble of your Articles of Impeachment, you are not very careful in your allegations and you want to expand it in the course of the trial. And I have warned you several times. Representative Tugna. Your Honor, although there is a ruling.... The Presiding Officer. No, there is a limit to the patience of this Court. Representative Tugna. Your Honor, motion to confer with the other Counsel. The Presiding Officer. You may. The trial is suspended for one minute. Senator Sotto. May we expand the suspension, Your Honor, to 10 minutes. The Presiding Officer. All right, 10 minutes suspension.
The trial was suspened at 3:48 p.m. At 4:37 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. Trial resumed. Floor Leader.
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Senator Sotto. May we know from the Prosecution, Mr. President, if they have additional witnesses for Article III? Representative Tupas. Good afternoon, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Representative Tupas. Can we just be allowed to make a short manifestation, Mr. President? The Presiding Officer. Proceed, proceed. Representative Tupas. Thank you so much. Mr. President, this is regarding the exclusion of the testimony of the witness from the Philippine Airlines. We have the utmost respect to the Honorable Presiding Officer. The Prosecution takes exception to the ruling regarding the matter. And it is the position of the Prosecution that with the presentation of the witness from PAL, the Prosecution does not expand the complaint as stated. The Presiding Officer. Why not? Representative Tupas. For the following reasons, Mr. President: As to the relevancy to the Article III, it proves consideration, inducement, motive. To us, the motive here is very, very important, crucial, critical to an impeachment proceeding. The motive for what? The motive for the Chief Justice in flip-flopping, the motive why the Chief Justice acted on a mere letter based on Paragraph 3.3 of the Article, the motive why the Chief Justice is involved in the administrative matters that are alleged. So, we alleged here the flip-flopping, Your Honor. We alleged the mere acting on a letter by Attorney Mendoza. But to us, it is very important to prove the motive in an impeachment proceeding. The Presiding Officer. You should have alleged bribery if you understand the meaning of bribery. Representative Tupas. Yes. We did not allege that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Precisely, but that is the tendency of the evidence that you are presenting. Representative Tupas. But, Your Honor, the very heart of Article III is integrity, probity and independence. The Presiding Officer. Correct. But you limited your charge for lack of competence, probity and integrity in three ways. Mr. Counsel, I do not know how you learned your art of pleading. I do not fault you, but I am basing my ruling on your allegations and nothing more. And if you are going to insist on your position, I say, I will not change the ruling. Representative Tupas. We respect that, Your Honor. Can I just finish my manifestation, with utmost respect? The Presiding Officer. No. You want me to order you to amend your Articles of Impeachment and send it back to the House?
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Representative Tupas. We would not. No, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. You have a choice. Representative Tupas. We respect that, Your Honor, but I just want to finish, Your Honor, that technicalities cannot be permitted to prevail in such an important proceeding… The Presiding Officer. This is not such a….For heaven’s sake, this is not a technicality! The grounds for impeachment are very clearly stated in Article XI of the Constitution. We are already very liberal. You are, in effect, asking us to review the decisions of the Supreme Court. Who are we to review the decisions of the Supreme Court? But we allowed it in order not to embarrass you, but you are going too far. Representative Tupas. We respect. Of course, we have a very high respect…. The Presiding Officer. Do you want me to lecture to you more? Representative Tupas. No need, Mr. Presiding Officer. Anyway, Your Honor, we just want to put that on record as the position of the Prosecution. The Presiding Officer. Well, I will tell you. If you want to allege the receipt of gifts, the receipt of valuable things by the Respondent then, amend your Articles of Impeachment because you are, in effect, alleging a crime which we will have to evaluate whether it is a high crime. You are, in effect, alleging that he was bribed to make that decision. Representative Tupas. But, Your Honor, the charge here, the ground here is the betrayal of public trust. Anyway, Your Honor, thank you for that, for giving us the opportunity. We just want to thank the honorable Presiding Officer for giving us that opportunity just to state for the record the position of the Prosecution. And now, may we request that one of our private prosecutors be recognized again, Atty. Marlon Manuel. The Presiding Officer. Attorney Marlon? Representative Tupas. Manuel, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Manuel. Representative Tupas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Manuel. Thank you, Your Honor. We will make a tender of excluded evidence, Your Honor, under Rule 132 of the Rules of Court, and we would like to state for the record that had PAL vice president for sales, Enrique Javier, been allowed to testify, he would present the following documents which were required to be submitted pursuant to the subpoena that was issued. First, Your Honor, and this was previously marked as Exhibit “BBBBBBB”, this is a certification and compliance signed by Enrique B. Javier, saying that Platinum Card No. A752 was issued in the
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name of Corona, Renato C., the date of issuance is December 2010, and the expiry date is December 2011. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please. The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute. I will allow the manifestation. What is the pleasure of the…? Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. Thank you very much, Your Honor. Mr. Cuevas. Well, practically, this is adducing evidence through a manifestation, Your Honor. Mr. Manuel. This is a tender of evidence…. Mr. Cuevas. The proffer of evidence, Your Honor, is proper only when there is a witness on the stand and a question had been propounded to him thereby an objection is made, thereby sustaining the objection. So that if the witness was not prohibited from further testifying then, his Counsel or the Counsel conducting the examination may make a proffer of evidence. That is the situation where that rule applies, Your Honor. Mr. Manuel. Your Honor, may we be allowed to respond? The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Manuel. Under Rule 132, Section 40, if the evidence excluded is oral, the offeror may state for the record the name and other personal circumstances of the witness and the substance of the proposed testimony. So, this is precisely the situation that we have now. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please. The Presiding Officer. We have discharged the witness. Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. That is why we are making the manifestation for the record on the substance of the testimony of the witness. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please, this is unprocedural. This is violative of the cardinal rules on evidence. As we have stated, that can be done only when there is a witness in the stand, there is an objection and the objection is sustained so that there could be a proffer of evidence. The Presiding Officer. Anyway, Counsel, even if I allow the matter to remain in the record, to me, it is not evidence yet, so let it be. Mr. Manuel. Thank you, Your Honor. Your Honor, based on … The Presiding Officer. What is a Platinum? I do not understand what is a Platinum? Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. A Platinum Card, Your Honor, … The Presiding Officer. But you cannot state it for yourself. Mr. Manuel. I am not stating, Your Honor.
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The Presiding Officer. You are not under oath. Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor, but I am referring to a record showing the benefits of a PAL Platinum Card. And this is based on the certification … The Presiding Officer. Counsel, that is improper for a counsel to state, you should have presented a witness for that purpose. Mr. Manuel. Your Honor, I am referring to an annex of the certification of the witness. This was already marked, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Let it stay as it is. The ruling of the Chair stays. Mr. Manuel. So may I be allowed to continue with the manifestation, Your Honor? The PAL Platinum Card was used based on the certification and compliance for four (4) roundtrip travels. One, Manila-Guam-Guam-Manila, dated April 20 and April 24, 2011, respectively; Manila-Singapore-Singapore-Manila, April 15, 2011 and April 19, 2011, respectively; Manila-Honolulu and Honolulu-Manila, December 25, 2010 and December 30, 2010, respectively; Manila-Hong Kong and Hong Kong-Manila, December 18, 2010 and December 21, 2010, respectively. And then the Platinum Card No. A753 in the name of Corona, Ma. Cristina R.; Date issued, December 2010; Expiry date, December 2011. And there are twelve (12) roundtrip travels recorded in the certification and compliance. Manila-Jakarta-Jakarta-Manila, July 10, 2011 and July 15, 2011, respectively; Manila-Guam-Guam-Manila, April 20, 2011 and April 24, 2011, respectively; Manila-Singapore and Singapore-Manila, April 15, 2011 and April 19, 2011, respectively; Manila-Bangkok and Bangkok-Manila, March 4, 2011 and March 7, 2011, respectively; Manila-Honolulu and Honolulu-Manila, December 25, 2010 and December 30, 2010, respectively; Manila-Hong Kong-Hong Kong-Manila, December 18, 2010 and December 21, 2010, respectively; Manila-Bacolod-Bacolod-Manila, July 28, 2011 and July 28, 2011, same dates; Manila-General Santos and General Santos-Manila, June 3, 2011 and June 4, 2011, respectively; Manila-Cebu and Cebu-Manila, March 18, 2011 and March 19, 2011, respectively; Manila-Tagbilaran and Tagbilaran-Manila, March 22, 2011 and March 24, 2011; Manila-General Santos and General Santos-Manila, March 2, 2011 and March 3, 2011; Manila-Cebu and Cebu-Manila, February 15, 2011 and February 16, 2011. Your Honor, Annex “A” of the certification and compliance refers to the benefits of the PAL Plantinum Card, and may I read for the record?
The Presiding Officer. The document speaks for itself. Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right.
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Mr. Manuel. Your Honor, in that case, may we make a manifestation … The Presiding Officer. Stop. You just present the evidence, you have already marked it as exhibit you said, so be it. Mr. Manuel. This was marked as septuple … The Presiding Officer. The contents of the document are the best evidence, you cannot add anything to it. Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. “PPPPPPP-4”, Your Honor, is the Passenger Name Record ZFUMB, in the name of Corona, Renato Mr., Corona, Ma. Cristina Ms.; Exhibit “PPPPPPP-5”, Passenger Name Record CFFTE2, Corona, Renato Mr.; “PPPPPPP-6”, Corona, Renato Mr.; Corona, Maria Cristina, Passenger Name Record, C6QIWN; Exhibit “PPPPPPP-7,” Passenger Name Record, BKEHT6 in the name of Corona, Renato and Corona, Maria Cristina; Exhibit “PPPPPPP-8,” Passenger Name Record, EHIZDW in the name of Corona, Maria Cristina. All with indications of “business class” and the use of the Platinum Card, Your Honor. We have also marked as Exhibit “PPPPPPP”—ah, okay, Your Honor. Those are referring only to the names in the Passenger Name Record. The Presiding Officer. Are you through? Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please, if the— Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Just a minute. You are offering this under Article III. Mr. Manuel. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. But you have not alleged any bribery, is it not, under Article III? Mr. Manuel. We have alleged the— The Presiding Officer. No, answer my question. You did not allege bribery. Mr. Manuel. Not bribery, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Finished. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please, on the part of the Defense, we move to strike out any and all manifestations made together with the documents now marked as exhibits.
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And this is the purpose, Your Honor: This is allegedly offered pursuant to the Rule on Proffer of Evidence. We are in conformity with Counsel that this may be done but not in this particular situation because here, there is an allegation under the Articles of Impeachment and the evidence is being presented not in accord or to sustain that. There is nothing in the Articles of Impeachment which will cover these particular matters. So the proffer of evidence is highly improper and should be excluded at all costs, Your Honor, because first, the manifestation was made not under oath. We cannot accept the veracity, authenticity and accuracy of what is being introduced into the records. The manifestation was made by Counsel; he is not under oath; he can be a witness if he wants to, Your Honor, so that we can cross-examine him. But this is not a case of not being able to answer a question because there was prohibition by the Court. This is a case where there is an impeachment article and the evidence sought to be presented is not embraced in that particular article. So this is decidedly illegal, Your Honor. It has no probative value whatsoever. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. In anyway, Counsel, I think you and I understand that this evidence is nothing… Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. … because it assumes something that has not been established yet. So let it remain as a manifestation of Counsel, and it will be appreciated by the Members in whatever they wish, but we will discuss this in due time. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. You know, with due respect to Members of the Prosecution panel, this Presiding Chair has been very lenient. I tried to help you but there is a limit to what this Presiding Officer can do. If your Articles of Impeachment are defective, that is your responsibility. You made an allegation, specific allegation charging the Respondent with lack of probity, integrity and so forth and so on, and you stated the basis of your conclusion. Your statement that he does not have competence, probity, integrity—and what else?—and independence is a conclusion of fact based on what you want to prove. And now you are offering a stranger in paradise to prove an allegation that does not exist in Article III. So I consider this a trash. So let it be part of your manifestation if you want to. Proceed. Next witness. You present your next witness. Representative Tupas. Mr. President, just one-minute recess, please. The Presiding Officer. Okay. Two-minute recess. Representative Tupas. Thank you. The trial was suspended at 4:55 p.m. At 4:59 p.m. the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. Trial resumed.
Representative Aggabao. Your Honors, in view of the development that one of our pivotal and important witness has not been able to testify today, we are constrained and this we ask most humbly, Your Honor, to ask for a continuance of the hearing until tomorrow.
Mr. Roy. We have no objection, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Until tomorrow?
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Representative Aggabao. Tomorrow, Your Honor, two o’clock, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Well, I would like to explain to the public that the discharge of your witness is because his testimony was considered irrelevant with respect to the allegations of Article III. It is not the fault of this Court. It was the fault of your way of presenting your case and in making your allegations in your Articles of Impeachment. Okay. Representative Aggabao. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. The requested continuance is approved. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Yes. Mr. President, we are in receipt of the explanation of both Senator Pimentel and Senator Pangilinan. I move that we include it in the record of the Impeachment Court. The Presiding Officer. Let those explanations of both be included. ___________________________________________________________________________________________________ By Senator Pangilinan I vote to uphold the supremacy of the Senate over the Supreme Court in the matter of these proceedings and as such oppose the temporary restraining order of the Supreme Court as it is my belief that the Supreme Court has no power of judicial review over the Impeachment Court. It is my considered opinion that the Impeachment Court did not violate the law when it issued the subpoena of the bank records of PSBank, including the dollar accounts. As a means to try and decide impeachment cases, the Impeachment Court has the power to issue order and rulings on the basis of our interpretation of our laws. The law in question is Section 8 of RA 64261. We took exception to the rule of absolute confidentiality cognizant of the fact that in the case of Salvacion v. Central Bank of the Philippines2, the Supreme Court relaxed the rules in order not to defeat the ends of justice. It cannot be denied that Respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has brought a petition before the Supreme Court seeking to ——————————
Section 8. Secrecy of foreign currency deposits. – All foreign currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by P.D. No. 1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under P.D. No. 1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any other entity whether public or private; Provided, however, That said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. (As amended by P.D. No. 1035, and further amended by P.D. No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.) G.R. No. 94723, August 21, 1997.
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enjoin the Senate from proceeding with the trial. He has sought relief from the institution which he heads to do what it cannot do under the Constitution. In the case Nixon v. US et al.3, judicial involvement in impeachment proceedings, even if only for purposes of judicial review, is counterintuitive because it would eviscerate the “important constitutional check” placed on the Judiciary by the framers. Nixon’s argument would place final reviewing authority with respect to impeachments in the hands of the same body that the impeachment process is meant to regulate. The majority decision to defer to what we believe to be an order violative of the Constitution is to say the least acquiescence to a constitutionally infirm act. We have turned things on its head. The disciplining authority is now being told by the institution whose head is being disciplined how we are to act and how it is we are to conduct our business. The disciplining authority with the sole power to try and decide cases before it is now being told how such a sole power is to be exercised. It is now being directed as to how it is to correctly and legally try the case. It goes without saying that how a case is tried will determine how it is to be decided. The majority in the impeachment court has unintentionally agreed to become party to an unconstitutional state of affairs. The issuance of the subpoena is a necessary process in a trial. To allow the Supreme Court to interfere in the exercise of this power at the trial stage is to render inutile the constitutional provisions4 that expressly provide that the sole power to try and decide impeachment cases rests with the Senate. In the context of the pertinent constitutional provisions, we find the absurd situation wherein the Impeachment Court, the only check on the excesses of the Supreme Court, is now being checked by the Supreme Court. While it is true that it was not Respondent Corona but PSBank which sought and was granted the restraining order, however one looks at it, the Supreme Court majority deciding on the issuance of a restraining order that would benefit its head who is now being tried in the Senate leaves a bad taste in the mouth. One cannot help but ask whether these justices can truly remain impartial and objective considering it is the head of the institution they belong to who is involved. Certainly, it is basic human nature to preserve itself when faced with threats to its powers and prerogatives. Needless to state, the impeachment proceeding is a political process, not a judicial process. This Impeachment Court, much like the Supreme Court, can and ought to interpret laws. We interpreted RA 6426 liberally and allowed for exceptions – as did the Supreme ——————————
506 U.S. 224 (1993). Article XI of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that: Art. XI, Sec. 2. The President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Supreme Court, the Members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and convictions of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law, but not by impeachment. Article XI, Sec. 3, par. 6. The Senate shall have the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment. When sitting for that purpose, the Senators shall be on oath or affirmation. When the President of the Philippines is on trial, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shall preside, but shall not vote. No person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two-thirds of all Members of the Senate. Art. XI, Sec. 3, par. 8. The Congress shall promulgate its rules on impeachment to effectively carry out the purpose of this section.
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Court in exceptional cases, hence the subpoena is legal and is not a grave abuse of discretion. Even assuming there is abuse, the remedy is not judicial review. The remedy is direct review by the sovereign will in the elections. Should our people believe that the senator-judges erred in their conduct on the trial, the remedy is for the people to reject these senator-judges or the political party they belong to in the polls. To strictly adhere to Supreme Court rulings will limit the scope of both our jurisdiction and authority. As much as we refer to Supreme Court rulings, we must also draw from other sources and precedents, whether executive, legislative or judicial. We must also educe from various laws and rulings, whether criminal, civil or administrative, both in the Philippines and in the United States, where the impeachment provisions have been borrowed. As the Supreme Court Justice of the United States John Marshall said in so many words that “The Constitution is what the Supreme Court says it is,” in our jurisdiction under Article XI, Section 3, paragraph 8 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution, “the impeachment proceeding is what the Impeachment says it is.” By Senator Pimentel Allow me to explain my vote to respect the Supreme Court (SC) Temporary Restraining Order (TRO), dated Februaryu 9, 2012, in the Petition filed by Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) against the Senate sitting as the Impeachment Court. I voted to respect that specific, particular, and singular TRO, dated February 9, 2012, subject to our unilateral modification that said TRO refers only to foreign currency deposit accounts. I have noticed the attempt of the SC to enjoin the implementation of the entire subpoena, dated February 6, 2012. When the entire subpoena is enjoined that would mean the inclusion of peso accounts, which should not be the case. Hence, the need for this Impeachment Court to unilaterally modify the wording and meaning of the TRO which it has decided to respect. (As an aside, I am reiterating my consistent appeal to the SC to write all of their decisions, resolutions, and orders very carefully, clearly, and accurately.) A TRO is only temporary and “in the meantime only.” In that same meantime, the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court will also vigorously defend before the SC its sole power to try and decide impeachment cases as provided in the Constitution itself. This limited issue of jurisdiction should be the only matter raised and argued by the Senate before the SC. I see no great damage to be suffered by the Senate and by the country if, in the meantime, we respect the SC TRO. However, my respect for the SC TRO is as temporary as the “T” in TRO. Since the SC did not exercise judicial restraint by issuing the TRO against the Senate, as a member of the Senate, I have opted to exercise senatorial statesmanship in order to give the SC the time and the chance to correct itself, which I expect it to do soon (maybe after hearing our vigorous defense of our constitutional power to be the sole trier and judge of impeachment cases). If I sense that the SC is already abusing or misusing its powers and prerogatives in order to protect a colleague and is already not being objective and is no longer dispensing blind justice based on law and/or equity, then I will certainly abandon my temporary decision to respect the SC TRO.
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I cannot say when this will happen but I will certainly know when power is being obscenely exercised when I encounter it. In this particular matter of the TRO dated February 9, 2012, what ultimately swayed my vote to respect the said TRO is the fact that I agree with the preliminary reading of the SC majority that foreign currency deposit accounts are of an absolutely confidential nature as provided in Republic Act No. 6426. I voted to be consistent with my humble understanding of Republic Act No. 6426. But I am still hoping that in the final disposition of the PSBank case, the SC will respect the constitutional power of the Senate to be the sole trier and judge of impeachment cases. Because in that particular case, what is primordially involved is no longer Republic Act No. 6426 but the Constitution, specifically the said constitutional power of the Senate to be the sole trier and judge of impeachment cases. What will I do if the SC does not act or decide as I have anticipated? Well, I will cross that bridge when we get there. What is not known to the public (since we did not publicly announce the names of those who voted for the issuance of the subpoena) is the fact that I did not vote for the issuance of the subpoena to require the President/Manager and/or authorized officers of the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) and the Manager of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to testify and to produce the original and certified true copies of documents pertaining to the bank accounts of Respondent Renato C. Corona because the said subpoena also covered foreign currency deposit accounts (like U.S. dollar accounts). Allow me now to explain my no vote to the request for subpoena involving foreign currency deposit accounts. I have no problem with local currency deposit accounts (pesos) because Republic Act No. 1405 is totally inapplicable to impeachment cases by an express provision in the said law itself. In short, in impeachment cases, there is no secrecy at all as far as peso accounts are involved. Since the exception of impeachment cases found in Republic Act No. 1405 is not found in Republic Act No. 6426, I cannot say the same thing about foreign currency deposit accounts. Republic Act No. 6426 is the later law, enacted on April 4, 1974, long after the enactment of Republic Act No. 1405. If the legislature intended the same exceptions to local currency deposit accounts to be applicable to foreign currency deposit accounts, then it could have easily adopted the same exceptions by simply copying the pertinent section of Republic Act No. 1405 and reproducing it in the later law or even just the exception of impeachment cases should have been the legislative intent. However, the legislature did not do this. The three (3) cases cited in support of the resolution granting the subpoena even concerning foreign currency deposit accounts find no application in the present case. The first case, the Salvacion case (G.R. No. 94723, 21 August 1997), is about the garnishment of the dollar account of an American tourist who molested a minor. The second case, the China Banking Corporation case (G.R. No. 140687, 18 December 2006), was decided “pro hac vice” by the Supreme Court. The very meaning of the term pro hac vice shows that the intention of the Supreme Court was to decide the case for that “one particular occasion” only. A ruling expressly qualified as pro hac vice
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cannot be relied upon as a precedent to govern other cases. This case involved a depositor who sued his co-depositor for stealing their jointly held funds. The third case, the Ejercito cases (G.R. Nos. 157294-95, 30 November 2006), involved local currency deposits and not foreign currency deposit accounts. What is therefore clear is that the SC has not yet decided a case involving inquiry into foreign currency deposit accounts in impeachment cases. Hence, in my humble opinion, it was safer and more logical for us to have simply relied on the text of the law especially since the law used simple, non-technical, common and ordinary words. Respectfully submitted. ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Senator Sotto. May we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an announcement, Mr. President. The Sergeant-at-Arms. Please all rise. All persons are commanded to remain in their places until the Senate President and the Senators have left the session hall. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The Presiding Officer. Any objection? [Silence] Hearing none, the trial is adjourned until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, February 22, 2012. The trial was adjourned at 5:01 p.m.
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