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Republic of the Philippines
Record of the Senate
Sitting As An Impeachment Court
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
AT 2:01 P.M., THE PRESIDING OFFICER, SENATE PRESIDENT JUAN PONCE ENRILE, CALLED THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF SUPREME COURT CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO C. CORONA TO ORDER. The Presiding Officer. The continuation of the Impeachment Trial of the Hon. Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order. We shall be led in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Batangas, Sen. Ralph G. Recto. Senator Recto. We seek Your blessing, O Lord, so today we will only hear the facts not the fable, the truth not the trickery, the authentic not the alibis. We ask You, Heavenly Father, to enlighten those who will speak here today so they will impress us with their honesty and not indulge us with their evasion, gain our respect with their candor and not lose it through their excuses, clarify our doubts instead of adding to our confusion. We beseech You, Dear God, to guide those who sit in judgment today so we will be curious without being caustic, be inquisitive without being insulting, be probing without being hurtful. We plead to You, our Master, to grant the bigger jury out there the wisdom so they will be able to witness the proceedings with kindness in their hearts and fairness on their minds, to erase their biases and embrace a thought that judgment should be put on halt until the accused has been heard, to know the important from the immaterial, to discern the substantial from the subterfuge. Guide us as we search for the truth and when with Your Grace we find it, then be assured that the truth shall not make us mad, the truth shall not make us miserable, and that the truth shall set us free. Amen.
ROLL CALL The Presiding Officer. The Secretary, reading: The Secretary now please call the roll.
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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 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 Jr. ..................................................... 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 23 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 May 16, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court and consider it approved. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the May 16, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court is hereby approved. The Secretary will now please call the case before the Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court. The Clerk of Court. Case No. 002-2011, In the Matter of the Impeachment of Hon. Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
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The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader is recognized. Senator Sotto. May we ask the parties and/or their respective Counsel to enter their appearances for the Prosecution and the Defense. Representative Tupas. Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President, and honorable Members of the Senate. On the part of the House of Representatives, Prosecution panel, same appearance. We are ready, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Noted. Defense. Mr. Cuevas. For the Defense, Your Honor, we have the same appearance, and we are ready, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Noted. The Floor Leader is recognized. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, before we proceed to the business of the day, last week, in connection with the testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, some Members of the Court have requested to subpoena the managers of the banks concerned as well as certain bank documents mentioned by the Ombudsman in the course of her testimony. I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the request, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Thank you. The Chair is well-aware of the validity and importance of the motions made. In that connection, however, I would like to remind all of us Members of the Senate, sitting here to perform a function to judge the Respondent, that we are not conducting this inquiry in aid of legislation. We are here as hearers of facts. And in the course of our trial and judgment, we will interpret the law according to our best light. We are receivers of the evidence from the Prosecution and the Defense. We are not an inquisitorial court and so, therefore, with that in mind, this Court cannot issue the subpoena suggested to make the appearance here of certain persons to act as witnesses. The Rules of Procedure suggests that this is an adversarial proceeding although run by the representatives of the people. And so, therefore, we must define who, for whom will the witnesses who will appear here will stand as witnesses. Are they going to stand as witnesses for the Prosecution? Are they going to stand as witnesses for the Defense? Are we authorized as hearers of fact and receivers of evidence to call anyone we want to testify here to enlighten us on certain factual issues? Having these in mind, this Chair has decided to resolve to respectfully deny the motions to call for this Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court to call witnesses motu proprio to testify in this proceeding. So ordered. Senator Sotto. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader is recognized. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, pursuant to the May 16, 2012 Order of the Court for Mr. Harvey Keh to submit a written explanation within 48 hours why he should not be cited for contempt, Mr. Keh filed with the Court his compliance on May 18, 2012, expressing his apology and praying that he not be cited in contempt. I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the matter. The Presiding Officer. Well, during our trials of this case last week, Mr. Harvey Keh appeared here as a witness for the Defense, and this Chair, because of certain previous incident, asked him
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to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt. A Member of this Court had spoken calling the concerned witness that he committed certain improper conduct as far as this Court was concerned. Given that and in view of the apologies given by the gentleman cited to show cause, and in the spirit of liberality, this Court simply admonishes the person concerned never to try his luck again, as he did. So ordered. The Floor Leader. Senator Sotto. Mr. President, the Court is now ready for the continuation of the presentation of evidence by the Defense. The Presiding Officer. Is the Defense ready to present its last witness? Mr. Cuevas. May we request for a one minute recess, Your Honor. We are fetching the Chief Justice. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] There being none, the trial is suspended for one minute. The trial was suspended at 2:11 p.m. At 2:11 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The session is resumed. While the Chief Justice is awaited to this Hall, I would like to make some statements before we administer the oath to him as a witness for the Defense. As agreed upon during our caucus yesterday, the Members of the Court are respectfully requested by this Chair to observe the two-minute rule as provided under the Rules of this Court, to limit their inquiries to questions of facts, to avoid any manifestations or discussions of purely legal issues, and to help in the orderly proceedings in this trial. Should any Member of this Court require more time to propound questions later on, an extension of not more than two (2) minutes will be allowed to him or to her. However, for an orderly proceeding, so that there will be no interruption in the testimony of the distinguished Respondent who will appear before us, I would suggest that we finish with the direct examination by the Defense, with the cross-examination of the Prosecution, and then, if there is any redirect, let the redirect be done and, if there is any re-cross, let the re-cross be completed before any Member of this Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court will propound questions to the distinguished Respondent acting as a witness. Unless I am disauthorized by this Court, I would like to adopt that as the system for an orderly proceeding in this trial today and thereafter. So ordered. Now, is the Respondent ready? Mr. Cuevas. We sent somebody, Your Honor, to have him fetched. The Presiding Officer. Okay. We suspend the trial for a few moments to wait for him. The trial was suspended at 2:14 p.m.
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At 2:15 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The session is resumed. I would like to add, before the Chief Justice is sworn in as a witness, to request the gallery to observe strict decorum in this trial. Avoid any expression of your approval or disapproval about anything that is happening in this court. No clapping, no shouting, no unnecessary commotions. Otherwise, this Court—and I will be frank with you—will exercise its powers to maintain order in this trial. This is a trial authorized by the Constitution, authorized by the Filipino people. You authorized this trial, and it must be conducted in an orderly manner without any disruption befitting the nature of this case and the person involved in this proceedings. So Ordered. Is the Defense ready? Mr. Cuevas. He is coming, Your Honor. Mr. Chief Justice, welcome to this Court Mr. Corona. Good afternoon po. The Presiding Officer. And may I request you to take your oath before we proceed with the trial. The Clerk of Court. Your Honor, do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this impeachment proceedings? Mr. Corona. Yes. The Clerk of Court. So help you God. Mr. Corona. So help me God. Representative Tupas. Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader. Representative Tupas. Mr. President, the Prosecution. The Presiding Officer. Yes, the gentleman from the Prosecution. Representative Tupas. The Prosecution would like to ask permission from this Honorable Court to allow one of our private lawyers, Atty. Mario Bautista, to receive the testimony of the Chief Justice and to conduct cross-examination. The Presiding Officer. Granted. Representative Tupas. Thank you. Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor may please, before we proceed with the taking of the testimony of the Honorable Chief Justice, may I place—may I be permitted to place on record some pertinent matters in connection with his previous actuation in connection with his appearance before this Court, Your Honor.
The Presiding Officer. Proceed.
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Mr. Cuevas. Now, there never was a time when it was the intention of the Chief Justice not to appear before this court, Your Honor. But an examination of the constitutional provision on the matter, together with the rules of evidence, had in one way or another strengthened his resolve in the first place not to appear before this Court, not in order to defy the majesty and the authority of this Court, Your Honor, but rather to enable him to exercise his right as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to Article III, Section 17, which provides: “No person may be compelled to testify against himself.” It is his humble opinion during our discussion that this provision applies to all kinds of proceedings, whether criminal, civil, quasi-judicial or administrative, Your Honor. And that is governed by the various jurisprudence on the point. Secondly, it is his contention, it is his belief that insofar as his cross-examination is concerned, the rules of evidence say, being likened to that of an accused, he may only be cross-examined on any matter taken up on the direct. Thirdly, Your Honor, he had monitored all the proceedings day-by-day before this Court and he was a little bit frightened or, shall we say, confused, because there were several occasions that there were statements to the effect that these proceedings will be judged not only by this Impeachment Court but, likewise, by the people in general. I have told him that there were many instances, Your Honor, where this Impeachment Court, through the Honorable Presiding Judge-Senator, stated that the decision in this case shall be based on the evidence on record and there is no power nor any person who can dictate upon this Court in order to render an impartial and correct decision. That was too encouraging in his favor, and I told him that even the Rules of the Impeachment Court appears to warrant this impartiality. For instance, under Rule III, paragraph 3, it says: “Senators shall observe political neutrality during the course of the impeachment trial. ‘Political neutrality’ shall be defined as the exercise of a public official’s duty without unfair discrimination and regardless of party affiliation or preference.” This is rather assuring, Your Honor, and consoling to the Chief Justice because he believes that with the observance of this rule, there will certainly be an impartial decision that will come up after the trial of this case. Now, fourthly, Your Honor, we have examined the Oath of Office of the Senator-Judges which states: “I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment… now pending before this Court, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and to the law of the Philippines:….” That practically negates, Your Honor, whatever misapprehension he has, that is why he has chosen to appear brought about by the respect of this Impeachment Court and to render himself submissive to the power and authority and jurisdiction of the honorable Impeachment Court. Thank you, Your Honor, for the opportunity. The Presiding Officer. Thank you for reminding the Members of this Impeachment Court about these principles. And I would like, as Chair of this Court, to assure you that we are conscious from the very start of this proceeding that we are performing a solemn and sacred duty, not for ourselves,
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but for the Filipino people and for this country and for the world to see that this country, through its elected senators, can render impartial justice to anyone who will appear here to answer any charge made against him or her. Now, we are all lawyers. The Chief Justice is the highest magistrate of the land, the highest lawyer in the country. He is aware of the Constitution, very well-grounded on the Constitution. He knows when to answer a question and when not to answer a question in order to protect his own personal interest and his rights under the Constitution. So, we can assure you that we will observe this. Now, insofar as judging this case is concerned, as I have said at the start of this proceeding, in my opening statement, we will judge this case on the basis of the evidence presented to us by the Prosecution as well as by the Defense, and that no one of us here, including this Chair, will attempt to influence the mind of any of these 23 souls acting as judges in this Impeachment Trial, not only because we want to comply with our oath as judges in this case, but because of our notion that we respect each other’s judgment. Each one of us is an entity unto himself in this case and he alone will be responsible for his judgment in this case and no one else so that each of us will respect each other by not trying to influence the judgment of each one or any one of us. So, I can assure you, Mr. Counsel, that we are well aware of the things that you are concerned about. And so, with that, let us proceed with the trial. So ordered. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor, for that very assuring pronouncement. Mr. Bautista. Mr. President, from the Prosecution, please, may I be allowed to say something. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Proceed. Granted. Mr. Bautista. Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon, Senator-Judges. Chief Justice, good afternoon, Sir. I would just like to make several points on what was mentioned by Justice Cuevas. There has been never any compulsion for the Chief Justice to testify. So, your mention of the constitutional right against being compelled to testify is irrelevant. In fact, if you will recall, the Prosecution subpoenaed the Chief Justice and the Honorable Court denied the subpoena. Secondly, with due respect, Justice Cuevas, I disagree with your reading of the rules of evidence regarding cross-examination of accused. Under Rule 115, Section 1(d), an accused can testify voluntarily on his behalf, as the Chief Justice is doing today, but he is subject to cross-examination. Under the case of People vs. Ayson, G.R. 85212, July 7, 1989; and Ladiana vs. People, G.R. No. 144293, December 4, 2002, an accused who testifies will be treated as an ordinary witness. He can invoke his self-incrimination right only regarding questions that tend to incriminate him for some crime other than that he is charged of. And with respect to the rights of the Chief Justice on selfincrimination, we will raise our objections at the appropriate time. Thank you, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Thank you. Are you ready to proceed with the trial?
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Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. Only one minute, Your Honor. Only one minute. The Presiding Officer. Granted. Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor, please. I never stated in my manifestation that the Chief Justice is being compelled to testify against his will. What I mentioned and placed on record is the constitutional provision on the matter, under Article III, Section 17, which provides that “no person may be compelled to testify against himself.” I stated that to show to the Honorable Court his vacillation during the early stage of the proceedings. That was the only purpose. Now, in connection with the coverage of the cross-examination, I dare to dispute the manifestation on the matter by the learned Counsel. Insofar as cross-examination of an accused in a criminal case, to which respondent Honorable Chief Justice is concerned, his cross-examination shall be limited only to matters taken up in the direct. That is the intendment. The Presiding Officer. May I suggest that we proceed with the trial and we will deal with these problems along the way. That is why you have a Presiding Officer in this proceedings. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. I am through. I only placed my reply. The Presiding Officer. All right. Are we ready with the trial? Mr. Cuevas. We are. Mr. Corona. May I request, Mr. Presiding Officer, to make a statement not only to this Honorable Tribunal, but to the Filipino people. The Presiding Officer. Granted. Proceed, Mr. Chief Justice. Mr. Corona. Mga minamahal kong kababayan. Ako po ay nandito sa Impeachment Court na ito upang tumupad sa aking pangako sa sambayanan na ako ay magpapaliwanag ng lahat. Kailangan po sigurong tanungin ng ating sambayanan kung bakit ba tayo nagkakaimpeachment trial na ito. Hindi naman po kaila sa ating lahat na ginamit na po ng gobyerno, ng administrasyon, ang buong makinarya ng gobyerno laban sa akin. Ibinuhos na po ang buong pwersa ng pamahalaan para lamang sa pagtanggal ng isang tao. Bakit po ba nangyayari ito? Huwag tayong maniwala na itong impeachment trial na ito ay laban sa katiwalian. Dahil kung ganoon rin lamang, mayroon ba silang katiwalian na ibinintang sa akin sa kabila ng lahat ng pagkakalkal, sa paghahanap ng mga huwad na ebidensiya, at kung anu-ano pang ginawa sa akin at sa aking pamilya? Wala naman pong ibinibintang sa akin ng katiwalian. Ako po ba ay hadlang? Ako po ba ay sagabal sa kung ano o kung kanino? O dili kaya ay tinik sa lalamunan ng ninuman? So far po, lahat ng nakita ko rito magbuhat nang umpisa itong impeachment trial na ito ay hatred, galit sa isang tao, benggansa sa isang tao. Kailan po ba tayo matututo sa lahat ng kabubuan ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas? Parati na lamang pong ganito ang nangyayari. Hindi po ba tama na sabihin ko ngayon, “Tama na ang pagkawatak-watak ng ating bayan”? Hindi po ba ito ang dahilan—itong mga hidwaan, itong mga galitan na ito—ang dahilan kung bakit tila hirap na hirap na umusad ang ating pamahalaan?
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Ibig ko pong sabihin sa ating kasalukuyang administrasyon, hindi po lahat ng hindi kaalyado ay kalaban. Hindi po lahat ng hindi kasama ay hindi puwedeng maging katuwang para sa ikabubuti ng sambayanan. Porke’t hindi magkapareho ng kulay ay hindi na Pilipino. Bakit po ba ganito na lamang ang galit sa akin nitong kasalukuyang administrasyon ni Pangulong Aquino? Ano ba ang kasalanan ko sa kaniya? Ano ba ang kasalanan ko sa bayan? Wala akong pagkakasalang alam ko. At iyan ang dahilan kung bakit ako ay buong loob na tumitindig dito sa harap ninyo at sa harap ng sambayanang Pilipino nang walang takot, walang nerbiyos, sapagkat sigurado po ako, siguradong sigurado po ako, wala akong kasalanan, wala akong ginawang katiwalian, at ako ay hindi nagnakaw sa gobyerno. Hindi ko po isasama, I will not drag my family dito sa impeachment na ito kung sa kalooblooban ko, may katiting na dahilan na ako ay nagduda sa sarili ko na ako ay may ginawang mali o masama. Hindi ko po itataya ang buong pamilya ko, ang napakabait kong maybahay, ang aking tatlong anak, at ang aming anim na apo, at idamay lahat ng mahal sa aking buhay kung ako ay naniniwalang ako ay may kasalanan. Hindi na po ako makikipaglaban. Siguro po ay nagbitiw na ako sa tungkulin sapul sa simula. Malinis po ang aking kunsensiya at ito po ay sinasabi ko sa sambayanang Pilipino. Uulitin ko po, malinis po ang aking konsensiya. Malinis po ang konsensiya ng aking pamilya. Wala kaming ginawang masama; wala kaming ginawang kawalanghiyaan tulad ng pinalalabas sa iba’t-ibang sektor ng media. Kahit sino sa atin.... The Presiding Officer. Mawalang-galang, Mr. Chief Justice. Kami po ay naghihintay na sabihin ninyo sa amin ang inyong pakay at sana kung maaari ay i-address na lamang ninyo ang issues dito para sa ganoon ay tapusin natin itong kasong ito. Pero you can proceed, Mr. Chief Justice. Mr. Corona. Maraming salamat po. Dahil ito pong aking sinasabi ngayon ay pinatutungkol ko, gaya nga ng nasabi ko, hindi lamang dito sa Impeachment Court, sa kagalang-galang na Impeachment Court na ito, kundi sa buong sambayanang Pilipino na pinangakuan ko na ako ay magpapaliwanag. Kaya nandito po ako at nagpapaliwanag. Siguro naman kahit sino sa atin hindi papayagang masaktan ang ating pamilya at ang ating mga mahal sa buhay. Kung tayo ay may masamang budhi o may maitim na budhi, o may mga nagawang kasalanan na dapat nating ipagsisi, hindi na siguro natin gagawin ito at harapin ang kalbaryong hinaharap namin. Sapagkat iyan po ang pinagdadaanan namin ngayon— kalbaryo po. Hindi po madali ang pinagdaanan namin nitong limang buwan na ito. Nakita naman ninyo ang paninira sa pagkatao namin, sa reputasyon namin, lahat na yata ng kasinungalingan ay sinabi at lahat ng putik ay itinapon laban sa amin. Sa kabila ng pagbabanta ng kahihiyan at kapahamakan, lumaban po ako. Malakas po ang loob ko na lumaban sapagkat malinis po ang aking konsensiya. Iisa lamang po ang paliwanag diyan. Walang katotohanan at pawang kasinungalingan ang pinaparatang sa akin. Mayroon pa hong isang nagsabi, isang senador na nagsabi, na huhubaran daw niya ako sa publiko. Tingnan po natin. Napakadali sanang takasan nitong problema at kalbaryong ito. Marami na nga rin ang nagsabi sa akin, “Bakit ka ba lumalaban? You cannot fight Malacañang. Magbitiw ka na lamang
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sa tungkulin. Magiging tahimik na ang buhay mo, wala nang maghahabol sa iyo, ang pamilya mo ay hindi na masasaktan, titigil na ang panggigipit, titigil na ang black propaganda laban sa iyo at titigil na ang kasinungalingan.” Pero ano naman po ang kahulugan nito kung ako ay nagbitiw na sa tungkulin? Ang nangangahulugan ho noon ay parang umatras ako sa laban at parang nanalo na lamang iyong kabila na without having to prove anything. Kawawa naman po ako at ang aking pamilya. At hindi po ito ang aking kinasanayan at hindi ito ang itinuro sa amin ng aming magulang—na ipaglaban pag ikaw ay nasa tama at nasa lugar. Maraming beses na pong pinag-uusapan sa media ang umano’y tungkol sa alleged o hindi maipaliwanag naming yaman. At maraming beses na rin po kaming hinusgahan. Ang tanong ko po ay ito: Bakit po ba? Pondo po ba ito ng bayan? Ito po ba ay ninakaw sa kaban ng bayan? Ito po ba ay kinurakot ng Punong Mahistrado? Iisa po ang sa sagot diyan. Hindi po. At uulitin ko, hindi po. Lahat po ng aming ari-arian ay pinaghirapan sa malinis na paraan at wala naman pong naisiwalat o naibintang sa akin na ginawa kong katiwalian. Walang-wala po. Lahat po ng aming naipundar ay nanggaling sa pagsisikap, paghihirap ng maraming taon, maraming dekadang pagtatrabaho nang malinis at maayos. Bago po ako nagsilbi sa gobyerno, ako po ay isang matagumpay na abogado na ng maraming taon. Hindi naman po ako katulad ng pinalalabas ng Prosekusyon na ako ay kung sino lamang patabi-tabi riyan na biglang yumaman nuong ako ay pumasok sa gobyerno. At ito po ay sinasabi ko sa inyo: Nagkakamali po kayo. Simple po ang aming naging pamumuhay. Hindi po kailanman kami namuhay nang maluho. Lahat po ng nakakakilala sa amin, taong malalapit sa amin, taong mga lumaki kasabay ng aking mga anak ang makakapagsabi na nakita nila kung gaano kasimple ang aming pamumuhay, magbuhat noong araw hanggang ngayon. Nilabag na lahat. Tila nilabag na po ang lahat ng batas para hanapan ako ng kasalanan. Bakit nga ba? Pumunta sila sa Hukumang ito na walang ebidensya, walang maiakusang katiwalian laban sa akin. Kaya sa pamamagitan ng paglilitis na ito, naghanap sila, binaluktot ang mga batas na dapat ay nagbibigay ng proteksiyon at siguridad sa mamamayan para lamang ako ay madiin. They broke all laws to fish evidence against me. They attempted to pin me down via means that undermined our laws and our Constitution. Bilang Punong Mahistrado ng bayan, bilang tagapagtanggol ng batas, hindi po ako makapapayag dito at ito ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa akin. Binaboy nila ang proseso ng Saligang Batas para yurakan ang aking mga karapatan—mga batas ng foreign currency deposit, ng AMLA, and due process sa ilalim ng Constitution at iba pa. Nakababahala po ito, bayan. Hindi lamang dahil sa aking sarili, kundi na rin sa ating demokrasya at sa ating mamamayan. Kung kaya nilang gawin ito sa pinakamataas na Mahistrado ng ating gobyerno, hindi ba nila ito magawa sa ordinaryong mamamayan? Hindi ba nila magawa sa inyo, mga Ginoong Senador at Ginang Senador? Hindi ba nila magawa ito kahit na kaninong opisyal ng gobyerno? Ang mga akusasyon nila sa akin ay pawang kathang-isip lamang. Mga ebidensya na minaniobra, pineke. The Presiding Officer. Mawalang-galang, Mr. Chief Justice, how much more time do you need?
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Mr. Corona. Sandali na lamang po kasi po kung mamarapatin po ninyo, mawalang-galang po sa inyo. The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Corona. At higit sa lahat, ginamit po ang puwersa at makinarya ng gobyerno laban sa isang taong walang kalaban-laban sa kanila. Bilang Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema at pinuno ng Hudikatura, labis kong dinaramdam at kinukondena ang pagyurak sa aking karapatan, sa ating mga batas, at ang masamang epekto nito sa ating demokrasya. Kaisa ako sa pananagutin ang may kasalanan. Kaisa ako sa hangaring pairalin ang batas, ngunit ako ang unang-unang lalaban kapag ito ay ginawa ng walang basehan at hindi naaayon sa ating mga batas, lalaban sa anumang paglalapastangan sa ating Saligang Batas, sa karapatan ng ating mamamayan. Ito lamang po ang tanong ko sa bayan at ito rin po ang tanong ko sa Prosecution. Ladies and gentlemen of the Prosecution, ito lamang po ang tanong ko sa inyo. Kung talagang malakas ang inyong kaso na isinampa sa akin, bakit kayo kailangang mag-imbento ng ebidensya? Sagutin po ninyo iyan sa taong-bayan. Bakit kailangang mag-black propaganda, mag-imbento, magsinungaling, at maghukay ng walang hanggan? Bakit kailangang humantong sa madumi, sa masama at sa mapanakit na paraan? Nawa ay huwag na sana pong maulit ang nangyari, ang malungkot na kabanatang ito sa ating kasaysayan, at sana ay huwag na muling mangyari sa kaninuman ang pang-aapi na methodical na pagwasak sa mga institusyon: sa simbahan, sa military, sa bureaucracy. Sa aking pananaw po, tatlo pong dahilan kung bakit ako ay sinampahan nitong impeachment complaint na ito. Ang una po, ang matinding galit ng hacienderong Pangulo sa pagkakatalo niya tungkol sa Hacienda Luisita. Ano po ba ang karapatan ng Pangulong Aquino na ikagalit sa pamamahagi ng Hacienda Luisita sa magsasaka? Ang lupaing ito ay ipinahiram lamang sa kanila. Inagaw lamang itong lupang ito sa mga ninuno ng mga kasalukuyang magsasaka. Halos animnapung taon na pinakinabangan at pinagkakitaan nila ang Hacienda Luisita, at pagkatapos ngayon, ayaw na nilang isoli? Mr. Bautista. Mr. President, for the Prosecution please. May I say something? The Presiding Officer. What is the pleasure of the Prosecution? Mr. Bautista. This is highly irregular. The Chief Justice is taking advantage of this platform, and he is being allowed to speak without the benefit of direct examination. All the issues he has mentioned are irrelevant here. The Presiding Officer. Anyway, Counsel, my understanding is that the Chief Justice is making an opening statement that will be a part of his testimony. You can exercise your right of crossexamination at the proper time. So, let us allow the Chief Justice to finish. Mr. Bautista. Just for the record, Mr. President. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Bautista. There are parties here who are being accused, maligned.... The Presiding Officer. I said let the Chief Justice proceed. Mr. Bautista. Yes, Your Honor.
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Mr. Corona. Ginoong Prosecutor, kausap ko po ang taong-bayan. Hayaan naman po ninyo akong kausapin ang taong-bayan. Mr. Bautista. Sige po. Mr. Corona. Halos 60 taon na pinakinabangan at pinagkakitaan ang Hacienda Luisita, at pagkatapos ngayon ay gusto pa silang bayaran ng bilyon-bilyong piso na kapalit. Pangalawang dahilan: Ang kagustuhan ng Pangulong Aquino na kontrolin ang tatlong sangay ng gobyerno at sirain ang pagkapantay-pantay ng Executive, ng Legislative, at ng Judiciary; paggamit ng lakas at kapangyarihan para makuha lamang itong layuning ito. Pangatlong dahilan: Ang unti-unting pagmamaniobra at pagsakop ng kaliwa sa pamamahala ng gobyerno at ang kanilang napipintong take-over ng ating bansa. Tila hawak na hawak ni Ronald Llamas at ang kaniyang mga kakosa sa leeg ang Pangulong Aquino. Gusto ko pong sabihin ngayong nandito na po ako sa puntong sino po ba si Renato Corona. Si Renato Corona po ay isang simpleng tao na nanggaling sa mahusay na pamilya, simpleng pamilya naman po. Kami po ay naturuan ng family values, disiplina, maging madasalin, tahimik na pamumuhay, pagmamahal sa bayan, mahusay na pagkatao.... The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, under the rules of evidence, good character is not admissible unless impugned. But in the interest of liberality, we will allow you to finish your statements. Mr. Corona. Preliminary lamang po. Thank you, Your Honor. Ako po ay naturuan ng magandang pagkatao ng aking magulang, nakapag-aral sa Ateneo, sa Harvard Law School at sa UST. Hindi naman po kami nanggaling ng aking maybahay sa maralitang pamilya at hindi naman po ako maralita nung ako ay pumasok sa gobyerno. Ang akin pong asawa at ang aking pamilya, tatlong anak at anim na apo, ay nanggaling naman po sa mahusay na pamilya rin. Iyong kaniyang great grandfather po, si Jose Maria Basa Sr., ay naging pangalawang pangulo ng Katipunan, iyong una po ay si Deodato Arellano at si Jose Maria Basa Sr. ang pangalawang pangulo, at ang pangatlo po ay pinalitan na nila ang pangalan, si Andres Bonifacio ang tinawag na nilang supremo. The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, may I plead with you to wind up so that we can proceed with the trial. I will give you, how many minutes more do you need, Mr. Chief Justice? Mr. Corona. Sandali na lamang po. Importante kasing makita ito ng sambayanan natin sapagkat limang buwan na po akong araw-araw 24/7 na siniraan nang siniraan doon sa media sa labas. The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, you have the floor unless I am disauthorized by the Members of this Court. You may proceed and finish your statements. Mr. Corona. Kailangan pong malaman ng sambayanan natin kung sino ako. Kasi dahil doon sa media campaign na naganap ng Prosecution doon sa labas nitong Impeachment Court na ito, napakasama po ng tingin sa akin bilang tao ng maraming tao. At siguro, ito na lamang po ang kahuli-hulihang pagkakataon na maitama ko ang impression ng tao tungkol sa akin. Ano po ba ang lifestyle naming pamilya? Ang lifestyle po namin ay napakasimple, napakatipid at hindi mapag-aksaya. Hindi po kami mahilig sa sosyalan, nakatutok sa pamilya. For 40 years po, kami ay nakatira sa parehong bahay na minana ko sa aking magulang. Kailanman, the past
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
40 years, hindi kami nakapagbayad ng upa or amortization sa housing loan. Simpleng buhay at tahanan lamang—hindi man kami gumagamit ng aircon sapagka’t napakadali po naming magkasakit sa lamig. Simpleng pagkain lamang ang kinakain namin sa bahay, at sa maniwala po kayo at sa hindi, kami po ay walang katulong sa bahay. At, iyan ang sinasabi kong katotohan sa inyo. Ganoon kasimple po ang aming pamumuhay na paminsan-minsan lamang na may dumadating na naglilinis ng aming bahay o nagplaplantsa ng aming damit. Halos dalawa lang po ang pinagkakagastahan namin ng aking maybahay— iyong aming pagkain po at iyong ginagastos namin para ipagpaaral dahil marami po kaming pinag-aaral na mga kabataan. Masuwerte po ako. Maayos naman po ang lagay ng aming mga anak kaya hindi rin nakakabigat sa amin. Masuwerte po ako na ang napangasawa ko 42 years ago ay isang babae na napakasimple at napakatipid din. These past, more than 40 years na kaming mag-asawa, wala po kaming nabiling mamahaling property sa buong buhay namin. Tulad ng magagarang bahay sa exclusive subdivision o hindi kaya ay mamahaling kotse o painting. At ito ay hindi ho exaggeration. Sa aking tanda po, the past 45 years since I started working, wala pong lumipas na kahit na isang buwan na hindi po ako nakapag-save ng bahagi ng aking kinita noong buwan na iyon. Kaya hindi naman po nakakapagtaka na marami po kaming naipon. Kaya nakakasakit po ng kalooban, totoong nakaka-insulto na matapos kaming magtipid at mag-ipon for almost 45 years, kami po ay tatanungin ngayon at sasabihin sa amin, “Bakit ka maraming cash? Siguro magnanakaw ka.” The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, are you through? Mr. Cuevas. The Witness, Your Honor, is appearing to be very emotional. He is on the verge of tears. I wonder whether the Court will be magnanimous enough to grant us even a two-minute recess only in order to enable him to gain his composure, Your Honor, and we will wind up within that period, I assure the Court. The Presiding Officer. The trial is suspended for two minutes. The trial was suspended at 2:58 p.m. At 3:10 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. Session resumed. Mr. Cuevas. with his— Your Honor, please, may we ask permission that the Chief Justice proceed
The Presiding Officer. Yes. The Chief Justice may proceed. And may we respectfully request the Chief Justice to wind up so that we can proceed with the direct examination. We will allow you, Mr. Chief Justice, to finish your statement. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Corona. Marami pong salamat.
Papasok na po ako doon sa mga bagay at mga issue na alam kong hinihintay nitong Impeachment Court na ito. But just a few preliminary statements before that, but I will be going into that shortly.
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Bago po tayo nag-break, gusto ko po sanang itanong, ihayag sa publiko kung bakit kami ay hindi namili ng magagarang property these past 45 years, at bakit nasa cash ang aming mga investments. Mahirap pong intindihin ito kung hindi ko ibabahagi sa inyo at ikukuwento sa inyo ang masaklap na nangyari sa pamilya ng aking asawa. During several sessions ago, several trial dates ago, mayroon pong mga testigong tumestify (testify) dito at nagsiwalat ng mga bagay-bagay na tungkol halimbawa doon sa Basa-Guidote Enterprises. At ito nga pong eksperyensa nitong pamilya ng Misis ko ang dahilan kung bakit wala kaming masyadong hilig mag-invest sa property, at in-invest namin instead iyong aming resources sa foreign exchange. May isang hearing date po tayo na kung anu-ano na yatang masamang adjective ang naipukol sa aking maybahay tungkol doon sa auction nung shares ng Basa-Guidote. Hindi po ninyo maiintindihan iyan kung hindi ko ibibigay sa inyo ang background ng problema at ng hidwaan sa loob ng pamilya nila. Malungkot nga ho at kailangan kong ikuwento dito sa harap ng publiko. Pero siguro oras na nga rin siguro na malaman ng ating taumbayan kung ano nga ba ang nangyari sa loob nitong pamilyang ito kung bakit ganoon katindi at ganoon kalalim ang hidwaan at alitan doon sa pamilyang iyon. Marami pong dahilan. Pero isa po sa pinakamalaking dahilan sa hidwaan diyan sa pamilyang iyan ay iyong two-hectare Basa Compound doon sa Libis, malapit po sa Eastwood, malapit doon sa property ni nasirang Col. Rolando Abadilla at kung anuano pa iyong ibang property. Noong araw po, iyong titulo ng praperting (property) iyan, ng Libis property, two (2) hectares po iyan na sa kasalukuyang mga presyo ay conservatively P2.5 billion worth. Billion po, hindi po million. Noong araw po, ang titulo po niyang two-hectare Basa Property na iyan, Basa Compound sa Libis ay nasa pangalan ni Jose Basa III at ng aking mother-in-law, Asuncion Basa Roco. Hindi po namin malaman at walang makapagsabi kung papaano nakapagpa-issue si Mr. Jose Basa ng titulo doon sa Basa Compound na iyon na ngayon ay nagkakahalaga ng P2.5 billion conservatively at nakapagpa-issue siya ng titulo at nawala iyong pangalan ng aking mother-in-law at nakapagpaissue siya ng titulo sa pangalan lamang niya. Iyan po ang isang napakalaking dahilan diyan sa hidwaan ng pamilyang iyan. Kaya kung makikita po ninyo, bakit may mga kasong mahigit na 30 years na pong pending diyan sa RTC ng Manila? Dahil nga po diyan sa matinding samaan ng loob dahil diyan sa Basa Compound na iyan sa Libis. Nawala na lang po ang kalahating share ng mother-in-law ko. At hindi lang po iyan. Ang problema po kasi sa pamilya nila ay napakayamang pamilya pero iyong mga kanilang ari-arian ay nakatali sa property. Alam naman po nating mga abogado, from our experience, pag kayo ang nagpamana ng property, sigurado maraming beses away. Kasi sasabihin noong isa, “O bakit iyan yung napunta sa kanya, iyon ang gusto ko? Bakit ito lang ang binigay sa akin, eh ayaw ko nito?” Sasabihin noong isa, “Eh kasi naman, mas marami ka nang nakuha kaysa sa akin,” kung anu-anong dahilan. At madalas po na sa ating ekspiryensang mga abogado, iyan ay pinagsisimulan ng mga kaso-kaso at iyan din po ang istorya nitong Basa Guidote na ito. Sino po ba? Five months na po kaming ininsulto ng ininsulto ng walang tigil sa isang pahayagan kung bakit ganoon kasuwapang daw iyong aking maybahay, tuso daw, walanghiya at kung anu-anong adjective ang ginamit sa kanya. Hindi po—hindi po, wala pong katotohanan iyan. Hindi po si Mr. Jose Basa ang inapi. Siya po ang nang-api sa aking mother-in-law at sa pamilya ng aking mother-in-law.
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Ayaw ko na po sana—limang buwan na po kaming binabatikos ng walang katigil-tigil diyan. Kami po ay tumahimik lamang. Wala po kaming sinasabi. At bakit po kami walang imik? Sapagkat iyong tao ay patay na kaya ayaw na namin sabihin sana kung ano iyong mga nagawa niya. Pero ngayon po mapipilitan po akong isiwalat sa buong bayan ang katotohanan po, hindi lang po iyong side nila ang nadidinig, na parang kami ang napakawalanghiya at kami ang napakasalbaheng tao. Maliban po sa pagkawala ng pangalan nuong—pagkaka-issue ng bagong titulo noong Basa Compound na nawala iyong pangalan iyong kalahating share nuong aking mother-in-law. Si Mr. Basa po, I am sorry to say this again, I am sorry and I really apologize to have to say it now pero kailangan po sigurong malaman ng bayan. Wala naman po siyang trabaho eh. Buong buhay naman niya spoiled brat po, anak mayaman. Tuwing may kailangan po, takbo kay Mama, kay Lola Charing, hingi ng pera. ‘Pag walang pera yung matanda, sige benta, benta kaliwa’t kanan, benta kaliwa’t kanan. Ilan po ba ang anak niyang pinaaaral? Siyam po ang anak ni Mr. Jose Basa. Wala naman po siyang trabaho. At yung kaisa-isang property na pong natira doon sa matanda, yun na nga po yung Basa-Guidote property dun sa Sampaloc na kinuha at binili ng City of Manila. Pati yun po gusto pong ibenta ni Mr. Basa. Ang sabi ng mother-in-law ko, “Enough is enough. Tama na naman. Tama na naman, nakuha mo na yung share ko dun sa Libis, nawala na yung pangalan ko, tumahimik ako. Ang dami mo nang kinuhang property sa Mama, hindi ako umimik. Pati ba naman itong kaisa-isang ito kukunin mo pa at gusto mo na namang ibenta?” Nadinig ko po kayo, Mr. Senate President, nung dini-discuss po yung auction nung shares ng Basa-Guidote. Nadinig ko po ang—magwalang-galang na po, medyo— The Presiding Officer. Go ahead, Mr. Chief Justice, I remember what I said. Mr. Corona. Opo. Magwalang-galang na po, parang mga tanong po ninyo ay parang, bakit parang napaka-tuso at napakawalanghiya nung aking asawa na binid (bid) po for P28,000 yung shares ni Mr. Basa na meron namang P34.7 million, nandun sa ilalim. Ito nga po ang nangyari dito. Dahil nga kinuha na niya ang kalahati ng Libis na hindi umimik yung mother-in-law ko. Kakapiranggot lang po ito doon sa nakuha niya roon sa Libis na binura yung pangalan ng aking mother-in-law at napa-issue niya ng titulo na pangalan na lamang niya ang natira. Ngayon po, tinanong po, nadinig ko po nung dini-discuss itong BasaGuidoteng ito, parang nadinig ko sa inyo na gusto niyong malaman, ano ba ang nangyari dito sa mga shares na ito? Bakit ganun ang nangyari? Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang nangyari sapagkat wala po ako roon at ang Misis ko po ay may sariling abogado niya. Kaya ang ginawa ko po ay ipinasalaysay ko sa aking anak, yung si Carla po, kung ano ang nangyari. Ang sabi ko, “Ilagay mo in writing yung recollection mo nung nangyari at ito ay babasahin ko sa Impeachment Court dahil, I think, this is relevant to the discussion of the issue at hand. Kaya ito po, babasahin ko po yung sulat sa akin nung aking anak na dinedetalye kung ano ang nangyari doon sa auction ng shares. “Mommy”—and I am now quoting from the report of my daughter to me—”The auction sale complied with the process and requirements of the law. Mommy went to the Quezon City RTC in the morning of September 30, 2003, with her lawyer to get paid for the damages brought on by the libel suit against the Basas.”
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Ano po ba itong libel suit na ito? Ito po yung nagpa-publish po sa diaryo si Mr. Basa. Almost one page yung advertisement on a Saturday and a Sunday of Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Inquirer, obviously for maximum damage to the reputation of my wife at nilagay na kung anu-anong masasama ang nilagay doon. Siya ay dinemanda ng libel ng aking maybahay at nanalo naman sa lahat ng libel cases. So ipagpapatuloy ko po: “To get paid for the damages brought on by the libel suit against the Basas. She mentioned,” my wife, mentioned, “this auction to me,” to my daughter, “in passing a few days prior and told me it had been published for several weeks.” Iyung notice of auction, pinablis (published) for several weeks. “I have been looking for something to invest my savings in so I entertained the possibility. I have serious reservations about it though because I didn’t really want to get involved in that family squabble. The greed and cunning of those people were enough to make anyone sick.” “After selling away the properties of my Mom’s grandmother, and not giving my grandmother her share of the proceeds repeatedly, they still wanted all the remaining properties for themselves always with the end in view of selling them kasi wala naman po siyang trabaho and not giving my grandmother her share. Their rationale: they are the Basas and my grandmother,” iyung grandmother, iyung mother-in-law ko po “has become a Roco and is well-provided for by my grandfather’s income as a respected lawyer and business executive.” “The risk of buying,” eto po importante, “the risk of buying shares of Basa-Guidote Enterprises were explained to me. The festering family feud was obviously a big risk. Cases are pending to this day,” more than 30 years na pong pending sa RTC of Manila: “one in the Court of Appeals for a convenyance of title, for a property that belongs to Basa-Guidote but got registered fraudulently under the name of Jose Maria Basa III. This case was resolved by the RTC of Manila in 2001, after a 16year litigation period in favor of the corporation. Jose Maria Basa III, appealed to the Court of Appeals.” “Another case is pending in the RTC of Manila for the probate of the will of Lola Charing,” iyung ina po noong aking mother-in-law. “Two other cases are pending in the RTC of Manila for determination of ownership of shares. When these cases are decided with finality, only can the corporation be liquidated and dissolved. Shareholders can thereafter sell one other remaining property and get their portions of the proceeds of the sales of corporate property.” “My mother,” my wife po, referring to my wife, “has to observe due process and wait for these cases to be resolved in accordance with the law. These cases started in 1989,” more than 30 years na po “when my father,” ako po raw, “was still a private citizen and had no influence on the courts. Now, that he is in the judicial system, my mother has been very careful,” meaning my wife, “has been very careful not to be perceived as using my Dad’s influence over the magistrates. She has left it to her lawyers to file the proper motions and he is careful to the extent of not attending the hearings.” “If what my Dad’s accusers,” iyung mga accusers ko pa daw po, “are saying is true about using his influence,” iyung influence ko daw po, “would these cases still be pending in 2012 after more than 30 years?” At iyan po ang katotohanan talaga. Kung ginamit ko po ang aking impluwensiya tapos na po itong mga kasong ito at nanalo po kaming lahat. Ipagpatuloy ko lang po. “It is the Basas who are prolonging the cases. For instance, after litigating their claim over a title for 16 years, after the judge decided the case in favor of Basa-Guidote Enterprises based on the evidence and the law, they still appealed it to the Court of Appeals.
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
“We also have the libel cases which started in 1996 for four cases, one per publication. Jose Maria Basa III and his wife, Raymunda Basa”—iyong pinalalabas po sa mga dyaryo at sa media na naaapi daw—were convicted in all four cases of libel against my wife in various years. “In the RTC of Quezon City, they were convicted and sentenced in 2001. They opposed the writ of execution to further delay the payment of damages.” “Finally, partial damages were paid on September 30, 2003, through the auction of their BGEI shares. Two other sentences in RTC of Manila were appealed to the Court of Appeals thus prolonging further the payment of damages.” “Now, who is oppressing whom? My mother,” iyong wife ko daw po, “was the victim of a very grievous crime against her honor and reputation. Jose and Raymunda Basa fled the country,” tumakbo po sila, eh. Nang sila ay nasentensiyahan, tumakas po sila. “They fled the country and refused to pay damages and serve their prison term. “Jose Maria Basa III and Raymunda had their day in court. They were arraigned. They were allowed by the court to defend themselves on the witness stand. They were convicted and sentenced in 2001. Jose Maria Basa III was very much alive when he committed the crime, when he was arraigned and while the proceedings were going on. He was found guilty. He must pay the damages that he is being ordered to pay by the court. His death did not extinguish his debts. “I know about these cases,” I, meaning my daughter. “I know about these cases involving the shares of stock and they could go whichever way.” Ito po ang importante. “The risk of buying into a very messy corporation like this was so grave that I was willing to bid only as high as P50,000. Yes, there are proceeds from the sale of corporate property. But the ownership of the shares is being disputed and is still under litigation. Per the BGEI Articles of Incorporation, Jose Basa III owned only 110 shares and his wife Raymunda owned another 110 shares.” “Since these shares were valued at P100 per share, the total value, therefore, of their combined shares was only P22,000. “Jose Basa III was claiming that he owned 4,860 shares because he claimed to have bought and paid for the shares of the other stockholders, namely; Mario Basa, the late Sister Concepcion Basa and Sister Flor Basa” who is always appearing on TV. “After weighing the pros and cons, I,” meaning my daughter, “decided to invest my savings in the said shares. I remembered telling Mommy,” iyong wife ko po, “that I,” my daughter, “was willing to go as high as P50,000. But if there were others who were willing to bid higher than I would, then I would forego participating in the auction. It was better for her to get paid for the damages. But there was nobody else who showed up at the auction”. “So, I paid the P28,000 in cash, and that was it. I cannot stress enough that there was a great risk in acquiring them, so I do not see how anyone can say I did not pay enough. No one else wanted to sink in their money in such an uncertain corporation with so much infighting among the heirs. I was also told,” iyong daughter ko, “was also told that the lower,” ito po importante po ito sa understanding po ng mga Senador at ng ating taong bayan. “I was also told that the lower my bid, the easier it would have been for Jose III and Raymunda Basa to redeem the shares. Jose III and Raymunda could redeem their shares within one year. They would only have to pay me back my bid price of P28,000. Thereafter, they could regain ownership of the shares. But they did not. “Jose III and Raymunda Basa were convicted of libel against Mommy,” my wife po, “and since they fled to the U.S. to evade arrest, Mommy had no choice but to garnish their shares. They were
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very unfair to Mommy. Instead of paying for the damages, they fled to escape accountability and serving out their prison term. It was only fair that Mommy would be paid damages. The court of law convicted Jose III and Raymunda Basa, issued multiple warrants of arrest, and ordered them to pay damages. They were guilty of destroying Mommy’s reputation and making her suffer the pain, the anguish, the sleepless nights, the emotional turmoil, the damaged reputation and endless adverse effects of such crimes. No compensation, in fact, is sufficient to pay for their crime.” Iyan po ang nangyari at sana naman po ay huwag ninyong tawagan ng kung anu-anong masamang adjective iyong aking asawa knowing what happened dito sa pamilyang ito kung bakit napakalalim po ng hidwaan at alitan nito. At mabalik naman po ako sa— The Presiding Officer. By the way, Mr. Chief Justice, just to clarify. What adjective was used? Mr. Corona. Parang nadinig ko pa yata, if my memory serves me right, parang may nadinig ako na “nakaisa,” “nakagulang,” “nakapangtuso.” Iyon po ang nadidinig ko. The Presiding Officer. Was that— Mr. Corona. Hindi po kayo, hindi po kayo. The Presiding Officer. Ah, hindi po ako.
Mr. Corona. Hindi po kayo, hindi po kayo. The Presiding Officer. Tinanong ko lang po iyong sa sheriff kung um-object si Mrs. Corona doon sa bid price of P28,000 because of the fact that at that point, the corporation had a cash asset of P34.7 million. And the judgment to be satisfied was P500,000. And I was wondering as a lawyer, and I am sure if you were in my place, you will probably wonder since the judgment is P500,000, halfa-million, then at least the bid price ought to have been pegged at not less than half-a-million considering the asset of the corporation. But I understand from the—I am sorry to clarify this, in order to be fair to everybody, the sheriff said that the valuation of the shares that he exposed to bidding was provided by Mrs. Corona. I just want to put this on the record. What I said is, “Did Mrs. Corona raise any objection or a whimper— I remember I used the word “whimper”—to object to the sale at auction of the shares of stock controlling almost 91 percent of Basa-Guidote Corporation?” And the sheriff said, “No. Only the two of them, the mother and the daughter talked to each other.” I just want to put that into the record because I do not remember having used any adjective— Mr. Corona. No, hindi po kayo. The Presiding Officer. —that would extend or in any way imply any unwelcome or unpleasant conduct of Mrs. Corona. So, you may proceed, Mr. Chief Justice. Mr. Corona. Iyon nga po, pinaliwanag ko po iyong dahilan noong hidwaan nila at alitan na napakalalim na hidwaan na ako po mismo ay nahihirapan na rin noon kasi gusto ko nga sanang magkaayus-ayos na sila pero hindi ko po nakayang pagkasunduin sila. Ngayon po, mabalik po ng kaunti lang kung bakit nga po iyong pasya namin nung aking maybahay na hindi kami namimili ng mamahalin at magagarang property magbuhat noong araw pa po. Kasi nga po nakita namin itong problema sa pamilya nila. Kaya po ang pasya namin
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ay i-invest na lang namin sa cash, sa foreign exchange po, para hindi po mawala iyong halaga at para madali pong paghati-hatian kung saka-sakaling may mangyayari sa amin, idi-divide lang po by three, madali, walang problema at walang inggitan kung ano ang makukuha ng sino. May isa pong dahilan before I go into the other—more substantial things—may isa pong dahilan pa kung bakit nagpasya na kami na i-invest po sa cash o manatili sa cash iyong aming mga savings. Ako po ay isang diabetiko, matagal na po itong sakit kong ito, 1986 pa po. The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, I would like to caution you. We, at the behest and motion of your lawyers, when we were considering the evidence being presented by the Prosecution, we did not authorize the introduction of evidence to establish ill-gotten wealth and there is no allegation as of today that will support the presentation of evidence regarding ill-gotten wealth. If at all, the reentrant of this issue of ill-gotten wealth was not provided by the Prosecution, to be fair to them. It was provided by your own lawyers who presented a witness here to testify on the totality of the income of your family to justify the purchases of certain concrete assets, condominium and land and so forth and so on. And so I am saying this that there is no issue of ill-gotten wealth here. Mr. Corona. Correct po, malinaw po iyon. The Presiding Officer. Correct. The simple issue is simply inclusion and exclusion of property in your SALN. That is covered by Paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 of Article of Impeachment No. II. So, for the introduction of evidence regarding wealth that it is honestly done or dishonestly acquired, will really bring back into the picture paragraph 2.4 of Article II, of the Articles of Impeachment which we already granted to be suppressed as far as introduction of evidence is concerned. So if you are going to revive this with your testimony, then it will become open to a cross-examination by the Prosecution and maybe by the Members of this Court. Mr. Corona. Hindi ko po reni-revive ito. Binabanggit ko lang po ito sapagkat malinaw po na nalason po ang pag-iisip ng publiko sa mga atake sa amin sa labas. The Presiding Officer. I will allow you to proceed, Mr. Chief Justice, kaya lang po, I am cautioning you because this is, as you know, an adversarial trial that you will be opening yourself to cross-examination in this area. But anyway, it is your responsibility and I will allow you to continue with your statement. Mr. Corona. Opo. Ayun, ako po ay magpapatuloy na doon sa aming properties. Ako po ay pinaratangan na may 45 ari-arian daw at ito ay sapul sa simula ay sinabi kong malaking kasinungalingan. Alam naman po ni Eulalio Diaz III, Administrador ng LRA at pamangkin ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales at ni Justice Antonio Carpio at matalik na kaibigan ni Pangulong Aquino, na wala naman akong 45 properties eh. Alam naman niya iyon eh. At iyong listahan na taglay-taglay niya dito sa hearing na ito ay exaggerated, huwad, at hindi totoo. Ngunit linabas pa rin niya sa media po. Ang tingin po tuloy ng mga tao doon sa labas kung anong....”Sino ba itong taong ito, may 45 properties?” Pati po ako nagulat, pamilya ko nagulat, 45 properties, wala pa akong nakikilala pong tao dito sa Pilipinas na may 45 properties. Ang sinasabi ko po sa bayan ngayon at ako ay nagbubukas ng kalooban sa inyo at sa ating bayan, wala po akong 45 properties. Lilima lang po ang akin diyan at iyan ay pinatunayan na namin at lahat ay nakadeklara po sa aking SALN. Wala po akong tinago na ari-arian na hindi
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ko linagay sa aking SALN. Kahit na ang binabatikos sa akin dito sa Impeachment Court na ito na bakit ko raw hindi inilagay ang acquisition cost? Ang sagot ko po ay nakadeklara naman po iyong asset sa aking SALN. At iyong mga asset na iyan ay nakarehistro sa Register of Deeds na kung saan nakarehistro din iyong mga public documents covering that asset. It is something that I am not hiding because it is a public document that can be checked anytime. Ngayon nadinig ko po rito sa Impeachment Court na ito, “Bakit ginamit mo iyong fair market value ng tax declaration at hindi mo linagay iyong fair market value ng kasalukuyan?” Unang-una po, hindi ko naman po alam iyong fair market value ng kasalukuyan dahil kung ganoon po ang ating pagbabatayan, di lahat po ng nanunungkulan sa gobyerno na may ariarian, every year, kailangan pong tumawag ng appraiser para ma-revise iyong fair market value ng kanyang ari-arian. Hindi naman siguro iyon ang intensiyon noong SALN Law. Ngunit nakalagay po at nakasaad doon sa tax declaration ng fair market value ay periodically ina-adjust po ng assessor in accordance with present realities. Maaaring hindi tumugma sa actual selling price na gusto ninyo pero still, it is being updated periodically by the assessor. Between the assessors’ fair market value determination and the actual selling price if you were to sell it at present-day prices, as far as the SALN is concerned, mas reliable po ang values na nakalagay sa tax declaration because primarily iyon po ay ginamit ko on a very consistent basis. Magbuhat noong araw hanggang ngayon, iyon na lamang po ang aking inilalagay doon. Kung gagamitin naman natin ay acquisition cost, iyong property na halimbawa ay binili ko noon 1992 for P3 million, kung iyon ang gagamitin kong value sa aking SALN, ngayong 2012 na nagkakahalaga ng sampung milyon halimbawa, example lamang po, ay P3 million pa rin ang ilalagay ko. Kaya hindi rin po updated at hindi rin po accurate. Kaya in good faith po, inilagay po iyong fair market value na nakalagay sa tax declaration dahil iyon ay mas reliable kaysa sa actual price na hindi ko naman alam kung magkano ko ibebenta dahil hindi ko naman ibinibenta. The only way na malalaman ko po iyon ay tatawag ako ng appraiser every year at ipapa-appraise ko iyong property. Pinatunayan din po namin na iyong acquisition cost, at ito po iyong sinasabi ninyo kanikanina ay nakapasok naman doon sa abot-kaya naman ng aking kinita at kung may kulang man ay may pondong pribado naman pong pinagkunan na wala naman po sa pananaw ko, mawalang-galang na po, walang koneksyon po dito sa impeachment trial na ito. May inilabas din po sa media na marami raw kaming ari-arian sa Amerika. Kahit na isa wala naman pong napatunayan. Kasi wala naman po kaming ari-arian sa Amerika. Iyong sinabi nila na ari-arian namin sa Amerika, iyong listahan po kasing peke nung LRA list ng 45 properties. Nanggaling po sa isang pekeng manunulat na isang nagpapanggap na journalist daw siya. Malinaw na malinaw po na iyon ay inilabas lamang para makasira ng reputasyon. Ito na po, siguro ito na ang inyong pinakahihintay na topic. Iyong aming cash. Noong pinatawag po namin si Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, hati po iyong mga nagmamagandangloob sa amin. Mayroon pong nagsabi tila nagkamali yata kayo sa pagpatawag sa kaniya. Mayroon namang nagsasabi na hindi tama na ipatawag ninyo si Ombudsman Conchita CarpioMorales. Ako po, sa kaibuturan ng aking puso, naniniwala po ako na tama ang pagpapatawag namin at pagsu-subpoena kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. Sabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, ako raw po ay may US$10 million hanggang US$12 million po sa 82 bank accounts. Wala po akong kilalang tao na may 82 bank accounts. Ewan ko lang po kay Ombudsman Morales, baka siya mayroon kaya nakatanim sa isip niya iyong 82 bank accounts.
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Ang katotohanan po, ako ay nagulat sa sinabi ni Ombudsman Morales lalung-lalo na noong siya ay nag-PowerPoint presentation, na klineym (claimed) po niya na ako daw ay may 82 dollar accounts. She misleadingly alleged that such information was based on the report provided her by AMLC. Ito pong AMLC Report na ginamit ni Ombudsman Morales dito sa Impeachment Court na ito, na ginamit dito sa Impeachment Court na ito, ay hindi po authenticated. Walang predicate crime, walang imbestigasyon, walang court order, walang notice sa depositor. Clearly, it came from a polluted source. Ang ginawa ko po ay tumawag po ako ng isang team ng accountants. Napag-aralan yong listahan na winawagayway dito ni Ombudsman Morales at malinaw na malinaw po na ang kaniyang testimony was one of deception, exaggeration, and misrepresentation. Gusto ko po sanang humingi ng pahintulot sa Honorable Impeachment Court kung puwede rin po ako gumamit ng PowerPoint presentation. The Presiding Officer. You are granted, Mr. Chief Justice. Trial is suspended for one minute for the Chief Justice to prepare his PowerPoint presentation. The trial was suspended at 3:58 p.m. At 4:17 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The trial is resumed. Mr. Chief Justice, are you ready with your PowerPoint presentation? Mr. Corona. Yes, Mr. Senate President, I am ready. The Presiding Officer. Well, you may proceed. Mr. Cuevas. May we request, Your Honor, that Attorney Sta. Ana, who prepared this PowerPoint presentation, be allowed to assist the Chief Justice. The Presiding Officer. Just a minute. Will you repeat your request? Mr. Cuevas. May we request, Your Honor, that Attorney Sta. Ana who principally prepared this PowerPoint presentation, Your Honor.... The Presiding Officer. What is the nature of the assistance that will be extended? Mr. Cuevas. Computer technical matters, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Then place the one assisting the Chief Justice under oath because he is going to be, in effect, participating in the.... Mr. Cuevas. We agree, Your Honor. We will comply very religiously. Attorney Sta. Ana, will you come over? You swear under oath. The Presiding Officer. The gentleman from Iloilo is recognized. Senator Drilon. Mr. President, I think the lawyer will only operate the machine, if I got it correctly, and will not testify. So, maybe we do not need to have him placed under oath because he will not testify. He will just operate the machine.
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The Presiding Officer. He will not assist in explaining the information that will be shown to the Court? Senator Drilon. No. Mr. Sta. Ana. Mr. President, I will just be assisting in the operation of the laptop computer and I will not testify on that. The Presiding Officer. All right. Then you do not have to take the oath. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. Mr. Sta. Ana. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. So ordered. Proceed. Mr. Corona. With the permission of the Honorable Court. The Presiding Officer. Proceed, Mr. Chief Justice. Mr. Corona. Kagaya po ng nasabi ko kanina bago tayo nag-break, narito ako para pabulaanan ang sinabi ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales na ako raw ay may US$10 million to US$12 million sa 82 bank accounts. Wala pong katotohanan iyong sinasabi ni Ombudsman Morales. Noong siya ay mag-testify po dito, nag-assemble po ako ng team of accountants to analyze her presentation at gagamitin ko po ang sariling diagram ni Ombdudsman Morales para i-expose ang napakatinding pagsisinungaling niya para siraan o sirain ang aking reputasyon. Ito po ang report ng aking mga accountant, iyong kanilang analysis noong explanation ni Ombudsman Morales. The Presiding Officer. The Prosecution, since the Honorable Chief Justice is actually testifying now under oath and he has been doing this. If there is any objectionable portion of the testimony of the Chief Justice, you may raise your objection and the Court will consider the objection. Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor please, in consonance with the pronouncement made by the Honorable Presiding Justice, may we now move that all the statements of the Witness in his opening statement be considered as part of his testimony on direct examination, Your Honor. Anyway, that is under oath. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Actually, the Chief Justice was placed on the witness stand, took his oath— Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. —to testify and he testified in a narrative way. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. And that is why earlier I said, with the objection or opposition being raised, that the statements of the Chief Justice, his opening statements, is a part of his testimony already and that it is open to cross-examination. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you then, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Cuevas. Very clearly...
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The Presiding Officer. You may make your motion so that it will be officially recorded. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. That is why I was making my motion that all the statements or testimony made by the Chief Justice in connection with the opening statement be considered as part of his direct examination, subject, of course, to the cross-examination required or prescribed by law on the matter. The Presiding Officer. What is the position of the Prosecution? Because there were hearsay portions of the narration of the Chief Justice. Mr. Bautista. If Your Honor will recall, I earlier tried to raise objections to the manner by which the “testimony” of the Chief Justice is being presented. The Presiding Officer. So, you will agree that we will consider the testimony of the Chief Justice as his actual evidence in chief? Mr. Bautista. Yes, but we would like to raise our objections, Your Honor, please. The Presiding Officer. You will raise your... Mr. Bautista. Our continuing objection to the testimony of the Chief Justice. And if I may discuss. The Presiding Officer. Go ahead. Mr. Bautista. First of all, as the Chair has noted, the testimony of the Chief constitutes hearsay. It likewise constitutes irrelevant testimony. And he is incompetent to testify on some of the subject matter. What I would like to stress here, Your Honor please, is that the Chief has been hurling accusations, charges against individuals who are not even parties to this complaint and who are not here to defend themselves. And I think that is a gross violation of their rights. The Presiding Officer. But anyway.... Mr. Bautista. I would just like to put that on record because it might be said that we just sat down and did nothing. I would also like to put on record in the strongest, most vehement terms the charges of the Chief that the Prosecutors have resorted to trickery, shenanigans or presenting evidence that is fake. Under the guidance and stewardship of our very competent, firm, and wise Presiding Judge, with the support of the other Senator-Judges, how can we possibly do that? In fact, when we filed our formal offer, our formal offer was admitted in evidence by the Senator-Judges. So, may I.... Mr. Cuevas. May we know the.... Mr. Bautista. Excuse me, I am not yet done. It is not fair. The Presiding Officer. Let the Prosecution finish. Mr. Bautista. Mr. Chief, we are lawyers here. We are under oath to push our cases as hard as we can as your Defense Counsel has admirably done. But to just cast aspersions on my team without any basis is unfair. And I object to it.
Mr. Cuevas. Are you through? May we....
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The Presiding Officer. All right, we take note of your objection. But, anyway, this Court will focus on the testimony of the Chief Justice and we will consider what is relevant and what is irrevelant; what is material and what is immaterial. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. So ordered. Counsel for the Defense. Mr. Cuevas. May we now.... The Presiding Officer. Proceed. Mr. Cuevas. May we now request permission for the Chief Justice to continue with his presentation. The Presiding Officer. Yes. The Chief Justice may now continue. Mr. Corona. As I was saying earlier, Ombudsman Morales accused me of having US$10 to US$12 million in 82 bank accounts. That is a malicious lie. And I will be using the Ombudsman’s own diagram which you will see on the screen to expose the malicious lie she unleashed which was intended for no other reason but to destroy my reputation. A careful analysis of the AMLC Report would show that many of these accounts were already closed and the funds thereof transferred to settlement accounts. These bank accounts represent time deposits or investments. Each time a time deposit would mature and be rolled over, a new account would be created or consolidated to make a new placement to earn higher interest. These funds would then be transferred from one account to another in order to earn more interest. I repeat. Ladies and gentlemen of this Honorable Tribunal, inuulit ko po sa taumbayan, wala po akong 82 bank dollar accounts. I do not have 82 dollar accounts as charged by the Ombudsman. The alleged AMLC Report itself, contrary to the Ombudsman’s misleading representations, will show that there are only four (4) dollar accounts by December of 2012, four (4) not 82. For example, in BPI-Acropolis branch, which only had seven (7) and not eight (8) bank accounts, all these bank accounts in BPI-Acropolis were closed as early as 2004 to 2005 and transferred to BPI-Tandang Sora and PSBank-Cainta. Thus, there were no longer any bank accounts in BPI-Acropolis. For BPI-Tandang Sora branch, the Ombudsman said that I allegedly had 18 accounts in said branch. But the alleged AMLC report will also show that all these accounts were closed during the period 2004 to 2007 and transferred to BPI-San Francisco Del Monte and PSBank-Cainta. Makikita po ninyo doon sa screen, paliit nang paliit iyong pie na sinabi ni Ombudsman Morales na mayroon daw ako. The same goes for the 34 accounts in BPI-San Francisco Del Monte. The accounts in this branch were closed beginning 2007 to December 2011. Iyon po, makikita ninyo, kakapiranggot na lamang po ang natitira. The last account to be closed was the main account, Account No. 3244108104. BPI-MIC, the BPI Investment Management Incorporated account was sourced from the BPI-San Francisco Del Monte main Account No. 3244108104. This was closed on December 19, 2011 and the funds therein transferred to main Account No. 3244108104.
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For Allied bank, these placements include the Citibank and two (2) Deutsche Bank accounts. The main account for Allied Bank is Account No. 1582002676. The alleged AMLC records show that most of the Allied Bank accounts, including those accounts representing the placements made by Allied Bank in Citibank and Deutsche Bank were closed, and the funds thereof transferred to the main account, and this main account was closed in December of 2011. For PSBank, all the bank accounts in PSBank-Cainta were closed between August and October of 2008, and the funds in these accounts were transferred to PSBank-Katipunan. In PSBankKatipunan, the alleged AMLC report shows only the last two (2) PSB-Katipunan accounts: Account Nos. 0141024292 and 0131002826. Iyan po, payat na payat na po ang natitira. Hence, contrary to the Ombudsman’s testimony, the alleged AMLC report shows that there were only four (4) dollar accounts as of December of 2011, namely: BPI-San Francisco Del Monte, Account No. 3244108104; Allied Bank Account No. 1582002676; PSBank Account Nos. 0141024292 and 0131002826. Iyan po ang natira sa sinasabing one big pie ni Ombudsman Morales. Mayroon po akong tanong kay Ombudsman Carpio-Morales. Ginang Ombudsman, kayo po ba ay pinapatulog pa ng konsensiya ninyo, kung mayroon po kayo niyon? Alam mo namang wala akong US$10 million to US$12 million deposits at wala akong 82 bank accounts. Bakit mo naman pinangangalandakan sa publiko ang kasinungalingang ito? Mr. Bautista. Your Honor, please, may I move to strike out those statements? They have no place in a trial. Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor, please, may I know the legal basis? Because that is a conclusion on the part of counsel. The Presiding Officer. What is the objection? Mr. Bautista. The objection, Your Honor, it is a personal aspersion on the character of people who are not here to defend themselves. Why do you not just testify on the facts and leave any conclusions as to the motives of a person to the Judge? The Presiding Officer. Anyway, the Chief Justice is the highest magistrate of the land, and he knows the law, he knows the Rules of Evidence. And I will give him the leeway to answer the question or to state his position. You can exhaust all your skills to cross-examine him after he finishes his narration. I think it is about to end, anyway. Mr. Bautista. I will do that, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Corona. Ombudsman Morales, nung ikaw ay tumestigo, tinanong ka kung magkano ang balanse ng mga accounts ko. Ang sabi mo, hindi mo alam. Alam kong alam mo. Ayaw mo lamang sabihin sapagkat mapapabulaanan ang sinabi mong mayroon akong US$10 to US$12 million. Base na rin sa mga dokumento na sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, na galing daw sa AMLC, ang suma-total ng aking deposits ay malayung-malayo sa sinasabi niyang US$10 to US$12 million na nasa apat (4) na accounts lamang, hindi 82. Ang exchange rate po nung nag-umpisa kaming mag-ipon nitong mga foreign exchange na ito nung late ‘60s, ay nasa 2:1 pa lamang. The Presiding Officer. How much?
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Mr. Corona. 2:1 po nung nag-umpisa kaming mag-ipon ng mga dollar namin, 2:1 pa lamang po ang exchange rate. The Presiding Officer. When was that, Mr. Chief Justice? Mr. Corona. Mga late ’60s po. Dahil ako po ay nagsimulang magtrabaho 1968. Ngayon po ay halos 45:1 na ang exchange rate. Kung matatandaan po ninyo,.... The Presiding Officer. Are you sure that late ’60s or early ’60s? Mr. Corona. Late ’60s. The Presiding Officer. That is after 1965. Mr. Corona. Opo. The Presiding Officer. All right. Mr. Corona. Kung natatandaan po ninyo, nang matapos ang 1969 presidential elections, hanggang noong November or December of 1969, nung naganap iyong 1969 presidential elections, ang exchange rate po ay 2:1. At nag-devalue tayo sa floating rate nung January of 1970, from 2:1, naging 6:1. Maayos at maalwan naman po ang kita ko nung mga panahong iyon lalo na noong ako ay naging abogado na. Lahat po ng savings namin pinalitan namin nang pinalitan sa U.S. dollar. Ang tanong naman po, bakit naman sa U.S. dollar? Sapagkat wala po kayong lugi sa U.S. dollar. Dahil ito ay napaka-stable kung ikukumpara ninyo sa Philippine pesos. Ikaw ay liquid at ito ay madaling palitan kung kailangan at mabilis umakyat ang halaga. At hindi naman po kami nagkamali sa pagkaka-invest namin po sa foreign currency sapagka’t ang exchange rate po ay tumalon na to almost seven times ang valor doon sa pagkabili namin halos 40 years ago. At dahil halos hindi namin nagagalaw ang interest, dahil mayroon naman po akong kita sa aking trabaho at sa practice, lumago po nang lumago ang halaga noong mga investment namin sa foreign exchange. Isa pa po, mahaba po ang history nitong mga pondong ito. Nag-umpisa po ito na matagal na matagal na, dekada na po ang binibilang noong ako ay may mga account pa po sa Far East Bank at isa pa o dalawa pang bangko. Inuulit ko po sa inyo, mga Ginoong Hukom, wala po akong US$10 to US$12 million katulad ng sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales. Wala din po akong 82 bank accounts. Ang lahat ng nasa amin ay nanggaling sa mabuting paraan, sa sariling sikap at wala po akong ninakaw sa gobyerno kahit na isang kusing; wala po akong ninakaw sa gobyerno kahit na isang pera. The Presiding Officer. Are you through, Mr. Chief Justice? Mr. Corona. Malapit na po. Kinita po nang malinis ang lahat ng aming pinag-ipunan noong ako ay nasa pribadong sektor pa. Nagbayad po ng tamang buwis at mahaba ang fund history ng mga pondong ito. At bakit naman wala sa SALN ko? Sapagka’t may batas po, Republic Act No. 6426 na naggagarantiya ng confidentiality ng dollar deposits. Ang pagkakaintindi po sa pagbasa ng batas ay hindi kailangan ideklara ang U.S. dollar deposits sa SALN dahil sa confidentiality provision ng batas. This is an absolute rule. Mismong si dating Director Estrella Martinez ang nagsabi na sa
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loob ng tatlumpu’t dalawang taon niya sa pagsusuri ng mga SALN, noong siya ay naninilbihan pa sa Bureau of Internal Revenue, wala pa siyang nakitang nag-deklara ng dollar deposits sa SALN. Ako po ba ay may itinatago? Sinasabi ko po sa inyo at tumitingin ako ng diretso sa mga mata ninyo, wala po akong itinago sapagka’t kung ako ay may itinago, hindi ko po ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang kuwarta kong ito. Kung ako ay may itinago, hindi ko ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang mga perang ito. Dekada na po ang binibilang buhat noong kami ay nag-invest sa foreign exchange. Ako naman po ba ay may peso deposits? The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, I just want to clarify. I hope you do not mind. Mr. Corona. Opo. The Presiding Officer. Your dollar deposits were only earning interests, or are you engaged in buying and selling foreign currencies? Mr. Corona. Compounded po. Compounded annually, interest po. The Presiding Officer. Interest lang. Mr. Corona. Opo. The Presiding Officer. Okay. Mr. Corona. May mga peso deposits ba na nasa pangalan ko? Opo. Pero, taliwas sa mga sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales na may 31 peso deposit accounts daw ako, ito po ay hindi po totoo sapagkat tatatlo lang po ang aking peso deposit accounts. Nakakapagtaka nga po, LRA list, 45 properties daw, iyon pala’y lilima (5) lang. Dollar accounts, 82 daw pong dollar accounts, iyon pala’y apat (4) lamang. At ngayon naman, 31 peso accounts daw po, iyon pala’y tatatlo (3) lamang. Ang hilig naman pong mag-imbento. At bakit ko naman hindi idineklara ang pesos ko na ito sa SALN ko? Sapagkat ito ay commingled funds na hindi naman namin pag-aari. Sino po ang nagma-may-ari nitong mga pondong ito? Ito po ay binubuo ng expropriation proceeds ng pag-benta ng Basa-Guidote property sa City of Manila noong 2001. At sa nakaraang 11 years po, ito naman po ay kumita ng interest, nandiyan din po iyan. Noong taong mga 1990, noong ang aking ina po ay na-diagnose na may colon cancer, inihabilin po niya kung anuman iyong natitirang pera niya sa bangko sa akin. Sabi niya, “Ikaw na ang mangasiwa niyang pundong iyan, ikaw na ang bahala sa pagbayad ng mga doktor ko, pag-oospital ko, at lahat ng”—sorry to say it—”iyong funeral expenses ko.” Nandiyan din po ang utos ng aking ina na kung may matitira, pagkatapos mabayaran ang kanyang mga doctor, hospital bills, at funeral expenses, ang natitira pong pera ay pangangasiwaan ko para kung sino man po sa pamilya ang mangailangan for any emergency. At ito na nga po ay nagkatotoo sapagkat iyong aking nakakatandang kapatid, si Toti po, ang aking Kuya Toti, si Arturo po, mga two years ago po, ay malubhang nagkasakit sa puso at nangailangan na malagyan ng stent, lima pong stent. Matagal na pong siyang hindi nakakapagtrabaho dahil siya ay masakitin. Maliban sa kanyang sakit sa puso, siya rin po ay may scoliosis of the spine. He is in constant pain and almost perpetually confined to bed. Dito ko po kinukuha dahil hindi na po siya nakakapagtrabaho. Dito po kinukuha ang binibigay ko sa kanya tuwing buwan, mga
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gamot niya. At noong siya ay na-confine sa Medical City para mangailangan ng stent na halos isang milyon po ang nagastos namin, dito po kinuha. Andiyan din po ang interest na kinita nitong mga account na ito sa BPI, pera po noong aking dalawang anak si Carla at si Francis na commingled po diyan para makakuha kami, na magsama-sama, makakuha ng mas malaking interest. At iyong peso savings po nuong anak kong si Charina na iniipon namin para pagpagawa niya nuong bahay sa McKinley Hill, nakalagay po dito, natalakay po dito sa Impeachment Court na ito iyong ari-arian noong aking anak na si Charina sa McKinley Hill na ang bintang sa akin ay akin daw, na tinatago ko sa pangalan nuong aking anak na si Charina, na hindi naman po totoo sapagkat siya po ay isang physical therapist na malaki ang kinikita sa Amerika. Matagal na po siya, almost 10 years na po siya doon. Napakasipag na bata. Dalawa po ang trabaho na kanyang hinahawakan. Parehong mataas ang kanyang puwesto sa dalawang ospital, na nagtratrabaho din iyong kanyang asawa. Kung wala po itong impeachment trial na ito, siguro po ay abala kami ng aking maybahay sa pangangalaga at pangangasiwa noong pagpapatayo niya nuong bahay na iyan sa McKinley Hill. Dahil bago pa man siya umalis, almost 10 years ago sa Pilipinas at pumatungo sa Amerika, siya po ay may mga naiwan pang mga savings din dito. Nandiyan din po iyong savings ni Charina sa pesos na iyan. I have come here to disclose the information regarding these accounts, especially the dollar accounts. I must declare, however, that as I said, there are good and valid reasons why I have no obligation or duty to execute the waiver which some people have been asking me to execute because I am guided by the letter of Republic Act No. 6426 which, as you know, affords all depositors of foreign currency, full and absolute confidentiality. As the records will show, I have never declared these accounts in my SALN consistent with the belief that there is no legal duty to do so. The situation po is not my doing. It has been in place for a very long time. It is a common view that Republic Act No. 6713 does not amend the secrecy of foreign currency deposits. In fact, there is no jurisprudence or ruling on the matter. On the contrary, Supreme Court decisions confirm that the secrecy afforded by Republic Act No. 6426 is absolute. Certainly, I should not and cannot be penalized for abiding and relying on the letter of the law. The inaccuracies in my SALN do not constitute an impeachable offense. Not every omission, not every inaccuracy is an impeachable offense. In this case, the Prosecution itself, in fact, admitted in open court right here that an omission or inaccurate declaration in the SALN, while it may constitute perjury, is not a high crime. Ito po ay record nung Senate sitting as an Impeachment Court on Thursday, February 2, pages 18, 19. Nothing in what I have done or omitted to do amounts to an impeachable offense. My accusers talk about my moral fitness to remain as Chief Justice. “What moral fitness?” I ask. This has never been alleged in the complaint, much less has there been evidence presented to prove it. Moreover, this only sprang up in the discussion because of the propaganda and surveys manipulated and timely released to create a popular perception that I am no longer morally fit to remain in public office. And who claims unfitness on my part but the very same accusers who have done everything to destroy me and my family from the very beginning? At this point, I would like to thank all those who stood by me and the cause I am fighting for. Win or lose, we shall continue fighting because we know right is with us and no one can take that away from us. Be that as it may, I have here with me a waiver which I will sign right now. Ito po, pirmado ko na po.
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The Presiding Officer. Ano po ba iyang waiver na iyan? Mr. Corona. Babasahin ko po. Babasahin ko po.
“I, Renato C. Corona, hereby waive my right of confidentiality and secrecy of bank deposits under Republic Act No. 1405, as amended, and authorize all banking institutions to disclose to the public any and all bank documents pertaining to all peso and foreign currency accounts under my name. I hereby authorize the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Land Registration Authority to disclose to the public any and all information that may show my assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connections, to include those of my spouse. I am likewise authorizing the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court en banc, with permission from the Supreme Court en banc, to immediately release to the public my SALN for the years 2002 to 2011. “Wherefore, with God and the Filipino people as my witnesses, I affix my signature this 22nd day of May 2012 at Pasay City, Philippines. Signed, Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The Presiding Officer. Mr. Chief Justice, that is limited to Republic Act 1405? Mr. Corona. Nakalagay po, foreign currency deposits. The Presiding Officer. The foreign currency deposit refers to Republic Act 64— Mr. Corona. 6426. The Presiding Officer. —26? Mr. Corona. Opo. The Presiding Officer. So you are also waiving that? Mr. Corona. Yes. I will write it here in my handwriting. The Presiding Officer. Yes. Mr. Corona. Just a typographical error because the original draft had it. Ah nakalagay naman po dito, under Republic Act 6426 and Republic Act 1405, as amended. The Presiding Officer. That is why I wanted to clarify— Mr. Corona. Opo, nakalagay po, nakalagay po. The Presiding Officer. –in order to make it clear. Are you through, Mr. Chief Justice? Mr. Corona. Madali na lang po, madali na lang po. It authorizes any or all banks to release information about dollar accounts in my name and peso accounts in my name, specifically the number of the accounts, the opening and closing balance. As I speak, my Counsel are distributing blank copies of the waiver that I have signed. I am humbly asking—I am humbly asking all 188 complainants from the House of Representatives, led by the congressmen in the Prosecution Panel, and Senator Franklin Drilon to join me in a moment
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of truth as a gesture of transparency and reconciliation with the Filipino people and to one another. I am asking them to sign these blank forms and to join me sapagkat hiling po ito ng bayan. Let us face the people together. The nation is at a standstill. Our people are watching all of us. Our people have been drawn into this intriguing web of dissension and divisiveness. We or this proceeding has divided the nation. We owe it to the people. Let us together show them that we are first and foremost their public servants. And we surrender to their call for transparency and accountability. Let us rise to the occasion and prove to them that we deserve their trust, that we are willing to answer to them whatever the consequences. I beg you, gentlemen, ladies and gentlemen of the Prosecution, not to engage me in any arguments about who is on trial here. We, you and me, are all on trial here. Let us stop all the posturing and show the Filipino nation what we are made of. This is no trick or manipulation. This is an invitation, a challenge for public accountability made only with the hope that we can altogether give our nation one shining moment in public service. You may choose to turn down this invitation, this challenge for whatever reason, whatever. But if you decline, then you will affirm to me and all who are watching that there is, in fact, no legal obligation or duty to disclose foreign currency holdings and deposits. If any of you should choose to decline, I regret that there is no point in my waiver because it will only allow the completion of the persecution I have suffered. I am no thief; I am no criminal; I have done no wrong. But Honorable Senators, I am also no fool. I pray that these gentlemen will accept my invitation; otherwise, I stand by my actions as being completely founded on the law itself. Isusumite ko po ang aking waiver sa kinauukulan kapag kumpleto na ang pirmadong 189 waivers. Kung hindi sila papayag sa hamong ito, bibigyan ko po ng direktiba ang aking Defense panel na i-rest na po ang aking depensa, total wala naman silang napatunayang paratang laban sa akin. Maraming salamat po. Pagpalain po tayo ng Poong Maykapal. And now, the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused. [Applause] (At this juncture, the Chief Justice stood and left the Session Hall) Mr. Cuevas. If Your Honor please, the Chief Justice as Respondent in this case had been on the witness stand and testified for more than three (3) hours… The Presiding Officer. Wait a minute. Mr. Bautista. He has not been discharged. Mr. Cuevas. No, I am not discharging him. I am making a manifestation. The Presiding Officer. Order. We have not discharged the Chief Justice, with due respect to him. Counsel for the Defense, will you kindly advise your client to return to the witness stand? I respect him as a Chief Justice but this Court must be respected. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Quiet.
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Mr. Cuevas. May I request for a recess? There was misunderstanding, Your Honor. May I request even for one minute, Your Honor? We will have him called back, Your Honor. I am very sure it is not out of disrespect to the Court. The Presiding Officer. All right. The trial is suspended for one minute. Please let the Chief Justice come back. Sergeant-at-Arms, isara ninyo iyong kwan… The trial was suspended at 5:08 p.m. At 5:09 p.m., the trial was resumed. Mr. Cuevas. If, Your Honor please, I apologize to the seeming disrespect to this Honorable Court. There is no intention whatsoever. There is a misapprehension, Your Honor. In fact, he is taking his medicine and attending to personal necessity. [Boo.] The Presiding Officer. The session is resumed. Ladies and gentlemen, we have been patient. I warn you, if you are going to continue to be disorderly, I will ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to escort all of you out of this Session Hall. So I hope you understand the decorum required by this Court. You may do it in some other place but not in this Court. So ordered. Mr. Counsel, is the Chief Justice coming back? Mr. Cuevas. I was told, Your Honor, a while ago, I do not know how true that— Sorry. The Presiding Officer. Nobody can get out of the Senate. I have ordered all the doors closed and I do not want any defiance of the powers of this Impeachment Court. If you are going to do disrespect in this Court, this Court will make a decision of this case right now. Mr. Cuevas. May I be permitted, Your Honor, to check up on his whereabouts? The Presiding Officer. All right. Session is suspended for one minute. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The trial was suspended at 5:11 p.m. At 6:02 p.m., the trial was resumed. The Presiding Officer. The trial is resumed. Mr. Counsel, where is your client?
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Mr. Cuevas. Your Honor please, despite the fact that he is suffering from hypoglycemia, Your Honor, and the fact that....I am sorry. If Your Honor please.... The Presiding Officer. You know, Mr. Counsel, you placed the Chief Justice on the witness stand. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. We allowed him to narrate his defense. If he does not want to be crossexamined, you know the consequences of that. I will order the striking out of all his statement from the Record and we will decide the case on the basis of the evidence on record. So, it is your play. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. Now, I wanted to assure the Court that there is no such plan, Your Honor. In fact, after having started with his testimony I was about to make a manifestation. I did not realize that he was already suffering from chest pain, difficulty in breathing, and dizziness, Your Honor. In fact, a couple of minutes before these things actually took place, Your Honor, he was already taking medicines. He can be viewed now by the Court. And hypoglycemia—I am speaking from experience because I have two brothers who died one year apart, Your Honor, and that is why I was a little apprehensive also and panicky. And I would like to assure the Court that there is no intention to violate nor to degrade the authority of this Court and I take it upon myself, Your Honor, to commit.... The Presiding Officer. Mr. Counsel, he is the Chief Justice. He knows the decorum in the courts and he could very well have said, “I am not feeling well. May I be excused by this Court.” Mr. Cuevas. That is correct, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Not to me,— Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. —but the Court. Mr. Cuevas. I could.... The Presiding Officer. But the fact is, he said, “I am the Chief Justice, I want to be excused.” Mr. Cuevas. Hinihingi po namin ang inyong kapatawaran at unawa, Kagalang-galang na Hukom, sapagkat po.... The Presiding Officer. I think that we did not volunteer to be judges here. We are here by virtue of the mandate of the Filipino people. And I will tell you, Mr. Counsel, I have high respect for the Chief Justice. Mr. Cuevas. Thank you, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. I have high respect for the institution that he represents, but I equally demand respect for the institution that I represent. And I am not going to allow any sleight, any abuse of authority, against this Court for as long as I am the Presiding Officer. Mr. Cuevas. Alam po namin iyon, Your Honor.
The Presiding Officer. If you are not going to allow your client or he will not allow himself to be cross-examined, we will decide this case on the basis of the evidence on record.
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Mr. Cuevas. Hindi po naman ganoon, Chief, dahil iyon pong manifestation kong ginagawa na magtapos siya ay manifestation to the effect that we be allowed to start with our direct examination questions. And it is only after we are through with the direct examination, Your Honor, that crossexamination may be... So, we have no intention to... The Presiding Officer. Your client has been testifying. What direct examination are you going to ask him? He has already made his case. Mr. Cuevas. Yes, Your Honor. But there are quite a number of, for instance, the AMLC Report, the circumstances that brought about the filing of the...A lot more, Your Honor. Just to show to the Court that we were not really intending to let him get.... The Presiding Officer. Why did you not stop your client— Mr. Cuevas. Hindi ko po... We cautioned him
The Presiding Officer. —so that you can ask the direct questions? several times.
Mr. Cuevas. Tama po iyon. Kaya nga po sinisisi ko rin, komo nag-panic na rin po ang pamilya, eh. Hindi po malaman kung ano ang gagawin. Ang dapat sanang ginawa nila, kahit na isa man lamang sa kanila nagsabi sa akin, humingi ng permiso. And I could make any manifestation, Your Honor. I think the Court will be liberal enough to.... The Presiding Officer. namin siya. Mr. Cuevas. Tama po. Nirerespeto namin ang Korte Suprema. Kami naman dito ay ipinakita namin sa inyo na nirerespeto
The Presiding Officer. Mr. Cuevas. Tama po.
The Presiding Officer. Pinagbibigyan namin. Marami sa akin ang pumupuna sapagkat pinabayaan ko na magsalita nang napakahaba. Huwag naman kaming babastusin. Hindi ko papayagan na bastusin itong Husgadong ito ng maski sino man. Mr. Cuevas. Dinaramdam po namin at ikinalulungkot namin na magkaroon ng ganitong pangyayari sapagkat wala naman po intensiyon ang kagalang-galang na Chief Justice ni ang kaniyang pamilya. Ang tingin ko po ay maaaring nag-panic na rin ang pamilya dahil hindi makahinga, namumutla, bumaba po ang sugar. Ni hindi po makatayo, eh. Tutal noon pong iniksamen ng.... The Presiding Officer. Ngayon, para wala ng mahabang usapan, ano ba ang gusto ninyo? Mr. Cuevas. Di ipagpapatuloy po namin ang pag-testigo niya.
The Presiding Officer. Kailan? Ngayon? Mr. Cuevas. Kung ngayon po ay hindi po siguro dahil tulirado po ang aming kliyente. Ang ibig kong sabihin, he is not physically able and I believe not mentally suited also to carry on the examination, more particularly if there will be cross-examination. The Presiding Officer. What is your pleasure?
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Mr. Cuevas. Kaya nga po nakikiusap kami, kung ang kaniyang kondisyon po, batay sa report maski po ng doktor ng Senado ay puwede na siya, kahit po bukas. Ako po, I arrogate it unto myself to take the trouble of bringing him here. The Presiding Officer. Ang ibig ba ninyong sabihin ay depende iyan sa kaniyang kalagayan at hintayin namin na pasiyahan itong kasong ito kung kailan niya gustong bumalik dito? Mr. Cuevas. Hindi po. Hindi po kung kailan niya gusto. Hindi po ako sasang-ayon doon. The Presiding Officer. Kailan nga? Mr. Cuevas. Bukas po kung ayos na siya, tuloy na po.
The Presiding Officer. Kung hindi siya ayos. Mr. Cuevas. Patawarin po ninyo na sabihin ko....
The Presiding Officer. Counsel, I am telling you, to be considerate to him, we will give him until tomorrow to return. Mr. Cuevas. Okay then, Your Honor. The Presiding Officer. Then if he will not return for cross-examination, we will consider this case submitted for resolution. Mr. Cuevas. We will abide by Your Honor. And we are heavily thankful.... The Presiding Officer. I would like the Impeachment Court to express their position here. Is there any objection to this position? The Floor Leader? Senator Sotto. Mr. President, we support your decision. There is no objection from any Member of the Impeachment Court. The Presiding Officer. We will give you until tomorrow. You must bring the Chief Justice back for cross-examination. And you know the rule. What he said here is nothing, unless he is cross-examined by the opposing Counsel. If he will not appear, I will be forced to issue an order to strike out everything he said here from the Record, and we will then consider his case submitted for decision. Mr. Cuevas. Thy shall be done, Your Honor, as directed. The Presiding Officer. So ordered. Senator Sotto. announcement. With that, Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an
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. The Presiding Officer. The Floor Leader.
TUESDAY, MAY 22, 2012
Senator Sotto. I move that we adjourn today’s trial until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23, 2012. The Presiding Officer. Is there any objection? [Silence] Hearing none, this trial is adjourned until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23, 2012, without any postponement. The trial was adjourned at 6:11 p.m.
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