REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES SENATE

'12 JAN 25 AlO :08

SITTING AS AN IMPEACHMENT COURT
Hr " t';'"L_i~,
',< ',J;

BY:~ ~/l1'-rlI.

IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT OF RENATO C. CORONA AS CHIEF JUSTUCE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES, CASE NO. 002-2011 REPRESENTATIVES NIEL C. TUPAS, JR., JOSEPH EMILIO A. ABAYA, LORENZO R. TANADA, III, REYNALDD V. UMALI, ARLENE J. BAG-AD, ET AL.,
Complainants.

x ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

MEMORANDUM
(Re: Article II of the Verified Complaint for Impeachment)

with

OPPOSITION
(To: Respondent's Motion to Quash Subpoena [Issued to BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares])

The HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, y its Prosecutors, respectfully states: b

MEMORANDUM A.

L

The caption of Article"

of the Impeachment Complaint provides:

"II. RESPONDENT COMMITIED CULPABLE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR BETRAYEDTHE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE FAILED TO DISCLOSETO THE PUBLIC HIS STATEMENT OF ASSETS,

LIABILITIES, AND NET WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDER SEe. 17, ART. XI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION." (Underscoring ours)

2.

In his

Memorandum

[On Article /I of the Verified Complaint] dated 24 January

2012 (the "Memorandum"),

Respondent Chief Justice Renato e. Corona ("Corona") insists that wealth" is "irrelevant, improper and

insofar as Article II is concerned, evidence on his "ill-gotten violative of (his) constitutional rights."

He claims that since Article II merely charges him with

failure to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth ("SALN"), any evidence on the veracity of the contents of the SALN would be immaterial. and shows Corona's misappreciation of the constitutional requirement This view is baseless

of filing a SALN.

3.

The gravamen of the charge in Article II goes far beyond a mere failure on the

part of Corona to mechanically file or disclose his SALN. His duty to disclose his SALN to the public necessarily implies a duty to be truthful, honest, and accurate in the sworn contents

thereof (this is why the law requires the SALN to be under oath). Corona's disclosure of a false, dishonest, and incomplete SALN is as much a betrayal of public trust as his failure to disclose his SALN. Simply put, the "disclosure" honest and accurate. SALN requirement; of the public trust. contemplated by law is disclosure of a SALN that is true,

Anything less would be a useless, futile exercise; make a mockery of the to a culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal

and be tantamount

4.

The significance

of the truthfulness

of the contents

of the SALN cannot be requirement was

overemphasized.

It springs from the purpose for which this constitutional

created in the first place, that is - to curtail a public official's unlawful accumulation through graft and corruption. instructive in this regard, thus: The ruling of the Supreme Court in

of wealth

Ombudsman v. Va/eroso1 is

1 G.R.

No. 167828, 2 April 2007, 520 SCRA140, see also Carabeo v. CA, G.R. Nos. 178000 & 178003, December 4,

2009.

"Section

8 above, speaks of unlawful

acquisition

of wealth,

the evil

sought to be suppressed and avoided, and Section 7, which mandates full disclosure of wealth in the SALN, is a means of preventing said evil and is aimed particularly at curtailing and minimizing, the opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. 'Unexplained' matter normally results from 'non-disclosure' or concealment of vital facts. SALN, which all public officials and employees are mandated to file, are the means to achieve the policy of accountability of all public officers and employees in the government. By the SALN, the public are able to monitor movement in the fortune of a public official; it is a valid check and balance mechanism to verify undisclosed properties and wealth." (Underscoring ours)

5.

All told,

the

prosecution's

evidence

on Corona's

accumulation

of ill-gotten It shows that

wealth strikes at the very heart of his failure to disclose his SALN to the public. Corona has not been truthful and honest in his SALN, and has therefore Such proof is, therefore,

violated the very spirit

and the letter of the SALN requirement.

very material and relevant.

Notably, Corona, through counsel, marked and adopted the SALNs as his own evidence, thereby admitting that the contents of the SALN are material and relevant to Article II.

B.

6.

In any event, Corona's accumulation

of ill-gotten wealth and his commission of Complaint, as is evident from

graft and corruption were sufficiently alleged in the Impeachment the following excerpts from the Impeachment Complaint:

6.1 "As Chief Justice, Respondent has been lavish in the spending of public funds; blind to ethical standards of behavior expected not only of him, but his family; intrigued and conspired against his fellow justices; and behaved more like a scofflaw than Chief Justice in refusing to disclose his assets and liabilities." (page 6, Complaint); 6.2 "x x x; and even reportedly engaging not only in illicitly acquiring assets of high value but even resorting to petty graft and corruption for his own personal profit and convenience." (page 10, Complaint); 6.3 "Respondent betrayed the Public the Constitution and Graft and Corruption in the Respondent committed culpable violation of the trust when he failed to disclose to the public his Worth as required under Sec. 17, Art. XI of the the Complaint); Trust, committed Culpable Violation of following manner: x x x constitution and/or betrayed the public Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net 1987 Constitution." (page 11 and 22 of

6.4 "It is also reported that some of the properties of Respondent are not included in his declaration of his assets, liabilities and net worth, in violation of the antigraft and corrupt practices act." (paragraph 2.3, page 22, Complaint); and 6.5 "Respondent is likewise suspected and accused of having accumulated illby his income

gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits. x x x. Is this acquisition sustained and duly supported as a public official? (paragraph 2.4, page 22, Complaint).

7.

Corona claims that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint are conjectural and of fact that might require a denial.

speculative, and do not amount to a concrete statement

Corona ignores the reality that these proceedings have long left the realm of pleadings and allegations, and have now reached the stage of the presentation the sixth day of trial. rejected. That said, Corona's arguments of proof. Today will already be baseless and should be

are utterly

In the first place, Corona has already waived this objection and is now estopped from Consider

rehashing it again and again just to avoid trial and facing the evidence against him. the following:

7.1

First, if Corona truly believed that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 were merely he should have moved to strike these allegations outright

speculative and conjectural, before filing his Answer.i

He did not do so.

7.2

Second, when he filed his Answer, Corona denied Article II, as a whole,
He also affirmatively alleged that he "acquired toils" and

and paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 specifically. his assets from legitimate

sources of income, mostly from his professional a 300-sq.m. apartment

that "he and his wife purchased on installment

in Taguig, which the

was declared in his SALN when they acquired it." issues of whether whether or not the contents

In other words, Corona "joined" accurate

of his SALN were, indeed,

and/or

or not he had accumulated

ill-gotten wealth.

Upon a joinder of such factual

issues, trial and presentation

of evidence thereon should necessarily follow.

2

See Section 12, Rule 8 of the Rules of Court.

This is not an admission

that the Rules of Court provisions

on

pleadings are applicable to these proceedings.

It is cited merely because the movant himself (Corona) cites the

Rules of Court.

7.3

Third, in his 29 December 2011 Motion for Preliminary Hearing, which
Corona failed to move for the wealth and instead, relied Corona's failure ill-gotten

prayed specifically for the dismissal of the Complaint,

dismissal of the charges against him for amassing ill-gotten exclusively on the supposedly defective Verification to argue the insufficiency of the allegations

of the Complaint.

against him for accumulating

wealth prevents him from raising this ground anew in his Memorandum. Motion" rule" states that "a motion attacking a pleading x x

The "Omnibus all

x shall include

objections then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived."

7.4

Finally,

during

the

18 January 2012 trial,

Corona, through

counsel,

expressly agreed to "abide" prosecution objections to present

by the Honorable

Presiding Officer's

ruling to allow the despite Corona's

evidence on the Articles of Impeachment of the allegations in paragraphs

to the sufficiency

2.3 and 2.4 of the

Complaint, to wit:

"JUSTICECUEVAS.

x

x

x

First, the issue of Article II, Your Honor, which is allegedly the SALN, the illegally acquired wealth, Your Honor, is or could be found in paragraph 10 and 11 of their-In paragraph 10, Your Honor, ... THE PRESIDINGOFFICER. Go ahead. JUSTICE CUEVAS. Paragarah 2.2, Your Honor, it is stated, 'Respondent failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth as required by the Constitution. If we go deeper into the import and denotation of this particular allegation, the essence of the imputation is the failure to disclose. Nothing mentioned about the problem of illegally acquired wealth. Paragraph 2.3, it states, and may I be permitted to read for the record, Your Honor, and by way of emphasis, 'It is also reported,' we underscore the word reported, 'that some of the properties of the respondent are not included in his declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.' THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I give you an additional wind up. one minute to

3

See Section 8, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court. Again, this is not an admission that the Rules of Court provisions on pleadings are applicable to these proceedings. It is cited merely because the movant himself (corona) cites the Rules of Court.

JUSTICECUEVAS. Thank you. Thank you, Your Honor. Paragraph 2.4 say, 'Respondent is likewise suspected and accused of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquiring assets and so on with huge deposits." It has been reported. In other words, this allegation gravitates or centers on the alleged suspicion, on the alleged report which cannot be accepted as valid allegations in cases of pleadings required by our Rule of Procedure because our Rule of Proceeding states that the pleadings should contain a brief concise statement of the ultimate facts upon which the pleader relies. On the part of the plaintiff or discourse of action on the part of the defendant for his defense. It has been ruled on so many occasions that report and suspicion cannot form part of allegations of the ultimate fact because they cannot be relied upon. Secondly, if we examine the verification that they are claiming in

this case, they never stated they appealed the report and so on and so on. So, to us, it will be a deprivation of our right to continue

presenting evidence in this court by reason of the fact that they would be allowed to present evidence of this matter without any resolution before this honourable court on whether these are in accordance with the procedure laid down by our Rules of Court and Rules of Procedure, Your Honor. THE PRESIDINGOFFICER. Are you through, counsel? JUSTICECUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. Thank you very much. THE PRESIDINGOFFICER. Thank you very much. The Chair would like to plead for understanding by both parties about the proceeding. We cannot waste our time arguing with these technicalities. I am sure that as seasoned lawyers, we can handle the situation as comes inside a courtroom whether the starting point of the

it

presentation of the proponent of the case is anywhere within the allegations in the complaint, the defense, I am sure that they are prepared properly could meet the challenge. So, may I appeal to you that let us proceed with the merits of this case so that the people will not think that we are delaying this proceeding. The Chair, therefore, rules that since yesterday there was a request to reorder the burden of proof to be done by the prosecution, which they have done now, let us comply with that now, and I order that it be so. JUSTICECUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor. We will abide." (Underscoring and emphasis ours)

c.
8. Even assuming arguendo that Corona can still question the sufficiency of the in paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 are

allegations at this late stage, the fact is that the allegations sufficient.

9.

As early as 1960, the Supreme Court in the case of Abe v. Foster Wheeler

Corporation.' held that a complaint is sufficient "if it contains sufficient notice of the cause of
action even though the allegations may be vague or indefinite, or in the form of conclusions, in

which event the proper recourse would be, not a motion to dismiss, but a motion for a bill of particulars." The test therefore is whether the allegations in the complaint are adequate

enough to put the defendant, accused or respondent on notice of the charges or claims against him.

10. administrative.

This rule applies regardless of the type of proceeding

-

be it civil, criminal or of the Dangerous

Thus, in People v. Elamparo,5 a criminal case for violation

Drugs Act, the Supreme Court ruled that "it is not the designation Information that is controlling

of the offense in the

but the allegations therein which directly apprise the accused of

the nature and cause of the accusation against him?" In Santos v. Spouses De Leon', a civil case
for forcible entry, the Supreme Court reiterated the doctrine that "a complaint is sufficient if it

contains sufficient notice of the cause of action even though the allegations may be vague and

tndeftnite."

Further, the complaint

"does not have to establish or allege the facts proving the

existence of a cause at the outset; this will have to be done at the trial on the merits of the

case.:" Also in Domingo v. Rayala,lO an administrative
designation of the offense charged is not controlling.

case, the Supreme Court held that the Rather, the description of the offense and

4

G.R. No. L-14785 & L-14923, November G.R. No. 121572, March 31, 2000. Emphasis supplied. 21, 2005. G.R. No. 140892. September

29, 1960.

5

6,d., 7 8

td., Emphasis supplied.
G.R. Nos. 155831, 155840 & 158700, February 18, 2008.

91d. 10

the particular fact recited therein complained

are to be taken into consideration.

The acts or omissions

of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient to know what offense is intended

to enable a person of common

understanding

to be charged, and enable the court to

pronounce proper judgment."

12.

Here, the Impeachment

Complaint

(including

paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 thereof)

sufficiently apprised Corona that he is being charged with amassing ill-gotten wealth, to wit:

"2.3. It is also reported that some of the properties of Respondent are not included in his declaration of his assets, liabilities, and net worth, in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act. 2.4. Respondent is likewise suspected and accused of having iIIgotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits. It has been reported that Respondent has, among others, a 300sq. meter apartment in a posh Mega World Property development at the Fort in Taguig. Has he reported this, as he is constitutionally-required under Art. XI, Sec. 17 of the Constitution in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)? Is this acquisition sustained and duly supported by his income as a public official? Since his assumption as Associate and subsequently, Chief Justice, has he complied with this duty of public disclosure?" (Emphasis and underscoring ours)

13.

There is also no merit in Corona's claim that the allegations in paragraphs 2.3 the charges stated in Article II. They are referring to of Article II should be read in expressly states

and 2.4 are improper as they "expanded" the caption/heading of Article II.

But the caption/heading

harmony and together with its supporting allegations. Indeed, the Constitution that it is the Verified Complaint

(taken as a whole), and not the mere captions or headings Article XI, Section 3(4) of the

therein, which constitutes the Articles of Impeachment.12 Constitution expressly provides:

"(4). In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment is filed by at least one-third of all the Members of the House, the same shall constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith proceed."

11ld., citing People v. Dimaano, 121987 Constitution.

G.R. No. 168168, September

14, 2005, 469 SeRA 647,666-668.

Article XI, Section 3(4).

13.1.

If it is true that, as Corona now claims, the charges should only be limited of the Articles, why did he file a 79-page Answer, Complaint?

to the specific captions/headings denying, admitting,

and refuting all the allegations in the Impeachment

14.

Corona further argues that his Constitutional

right to due process of law will be

violated if the Prosecution will be permitted to introduce matters "outside" Article II. This claim is patently baseless.

15. impeachment

Impeachment

does not involve a deprivation

of life, liberty or property.

Rather,

is a mechanism for determining

the continued fitness of a high official to hold of a penalty of imprisonment or fine. Neither claim over anytime

public office. It does not involve the imposition does it involve a deprivation public office.13 of property,

since a public officer has no proprietary

Rather, public office

is a mere privilege,

which can be revoked

especially if there is a showing of unfitness to hold office. (citing Justice Story), impeachment

As explained by Fr. Joaquin Bernas

is "a proceeding, purely of a political nature, is not so much It

designed to punish an offender as to secure the state against gross political misdemeanors. touches neither his person nor his property, but simply divests him of his political capacity."

16.

More importantly,

the essence of due process is the opportunity

to be

heard."

What the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the absolute absence thereof and lack of opportunity the prosecution to be

heard." In the instant case, even if this Honorable Court allows

to present evidence on paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint, there are for Corona to be heard and defend himself, including of the prosecution's witnesses, vigorous

numerous avenues and opportunities raising objections cross-examination

in the course of the presentation of the prosecution's

witnesses, and the presentation

of defense evidence.

17.

Corona also argues that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint

are not in

accordance with the "law on pleadings" or the Rules of Court. He ignores Rule VI of Resolution
De Leon. The Law on Public Officers and Election Law (2008),
v. Civil Service Commission

13

p.3.
19, 1991).

14 Medenilla

(G.R. No. 93868, February

15 td., citing Tajonero

v. Lamarosa, 110 SeRA 438 (1981),

39, otherwise known as the Senate Rules on Impeachment, which states that the Rules of Court shall apply suppletorily on questions of evidence. There is nothing in the Constitution, the

Senate Rules or in jurisprudence,

which states that the Rules of Court should strictly apply with proceeding.

respect to the pleadings filed in an impeachment

18.

And even assuming arguendo that the Rules of Court would apply in matters of liberally in order to

pleading, the same specifically states that the rules shall be construed promote their object and to assist the parties in obtaining

just, speedy, and inexpensive

determination

of every action and proceeding.16 This is supported by a long line of cases where the liberal interpretation of the rules so as not to frustrate the

the Supreme Court permitted ends of substantial justice, viz:

"The fundamental purpose of procedural rules is to afford each litigant every opportunity to present evidence on his behalf in order that substantial justice is achieved. Court litigations are primarily for the search of truth, and a liberal interpretation of the rules by which both parties are given the fullest opportunity to adduce proofs is the best way to ferret out such truth. The dispensation of justice and vindication of legitimate grievances should not be barred by

technicalities.V"

(Underscoring ours)

D.

19.

In the final analysis, the nation's search for truth should not be obstructed

by

one man's blind and reckless adherence to technicalities is ready to face trial in the Senate18).

(contrary to his previous boast that he

In Corona's own words as the ponente in the case of

Republic v. Sandiqanbayarn'"

"In all the alleged ill-gotten wealth cases filed by the PCGG, this Court has seen fit to set aside technicalities and formalities that merely serve to delay or impede judicious resolution. This Court prefers to have such cases resolved on the merits at the Sandiganbayan. But substantial justice to the Filipino people
Rules of Court, Rule 1, Section 2. Metro Rail Transit Corporation "Haharapin ko nang buang tapang of Tax Appeals, G.R. No. 166273, September 21,2005. at talina ang mga walang basehang paratang na ita, punta par punta, sa akong humarap sa paglilitis./1 (Dee. 14, 2011 speech)

16

17
18

v. Court

Senado. Handanghanda
19

G.R. No. 152154. July 15, 2003.

and to all parties concerned, not mere legalisms or perfection of form, should now be relentlessly and firmly pursued. Almost two decades have passed since
the government initiated its search for and reversion of such ill-gotten wealth. The definitive resolution of such cases on the merits is thus long overdue. If there is proof of illegal acguisition, accumulation, misappropriation, fraud or illicit conduct, let it be brought out now. Let the ownership other assets be finally determined delaying ours) technicalities and annoying procedural of these funds and (Underscoring and resolved with dispatch, free from all the sidetracks."

OPPOSITION

To Respondent's Motion to Quash (Subpoena issued to 81R Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares)

20.

The Prosecution

adopts

the foregoing

discussion

in support

of its herein

Opposition to Corona's Motion to Quash (Subpoena issued to BIR Commissioner Kim Henares).

21.

In the said Motion to Quash, Corona argues that the income tax returns documents are "irrelevant and immaterial."

(ITR's)

and other tax-related and other documents

This is baseless. The ITR's

subject of the instant subpoena are very relevant and material to the Complaint (and even to some of Therefore, it is

charges against Corona under Article II of the Impeachment the other Articles for that matter). highly material to determine

He is accused of acquiring ill-gotten wealth. the numerous expensive properties

whether

he has acquired,

under his name or that of his family, can be explained by his declared sources of income in his ITR's. Under Section 2 of R.A. 1379 or the Forfeiture Law, properties are "manifestly out of proportion" of a public officer which

to his lawful income, are "presumed

prima facie to have

been unlawfully acquired."

Notably, in Republic v. Sandiganbayan,

supra, which was penned by
ITR's in

no other than Corona himself, the Supreme Court considered the therein respondents'

determining whether the properties amassed by them during their incumbency in public office were derived from their lawful income.

22.
Prosecution

Corona's SALN's have now been presented and marked in evidence by both the
and the Defense. In his SALN's, Corona has admitted under oath, his assets and

liabilities during the periods covered therein.

To ascertain the truthfulness

and accuracy of

these sworn admissions in his SALN's, it is necessary to examine the ITR's which he, his wife and his family members have been filing during the same period. The ITR's will show Corona's (and his family's) financial ability or inability to legally acquire the assets he indicated in his SALN's.

23.

Corona also argues that the ITR's of his children and son-in-law are irrelevant, as Complaint. This reasoning is both simplistic and

they are not named in the Impeachment

flawed, because under the Forfeiture Law (RA 1379), unlawfully not only those in the name of the respondent "concealed by [their]

acquired property may include but also those which are spouse,

public official,

being recorded in the name of, or held by, the respondent's

ascendants, descendants, relatives, or any other person."

24.

Accordingly,

the instant

Motion

to Quash, based solely on the ground

of

irrelevance, should be denied.

PRAYER

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully for in Corona's Memorandum

prayed that: (1) the reliefs prayed

be denied; (2) the Prosecution be allowed to continue presenting Complaint and on and (3) the

evidence on Article II, including paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4, of the Impeachment all the Articles and their supporting allegations in the Impeachment

Complaint;

Motion to Quash Subpoena (Issued to BIR Commissioner

Kim Jacinto Henares) be denied and

that she be allowed to testify and present in evidence the documents subject of the subpoena.

Other reliefs, just and equitable, are likewise prayed for.

Quezon City, Metro Manila, 25 January 2012.

By: HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES PRO ECUTORS PRIVATE PROSECUTORS

TI

A

PTR No. 3184702, Jan. 09, 2012, Makati City Lifetime IBP No. 00060, Makati City Roll of Attorney's No. 30196 MCLE Compliance No. 1110008479,2-9-2010

Copy furnished (By Personal Service):

JUSTICE SERAFIN R. CUEVAS (RET), ET AL. Counsel for Respondent Chief Justice Renato Corona Suite 1902 Security Bank Centre 6776 Ayala Avenue Makati City, Philippine 1226

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful