By Joyce Pangco Panares
Manila Standard Today
MALACAÑANG said Friday the showdown between Chief Justice Renato Corona and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales will be the most crucial battle in the chief magistrate’s impeachment trial.
“The two most important testimonies will be that of the chief justice and the ombudsman,” presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said.
“That is where the battleground should be and will be.”
Lacierda said it would be an “open season” on Corona once he took the witness stand before the Senate, where Corona is on trial for alleged betrayal of the public trust.
“Once the chief justice sits [in the witness stand], it will be open season for all the people who will be cross-examining him—the prosecution as well as the senator-judges—as to the existence of [Corona’s alleged $10-million] dollar account,” Lacierda said.
“We expect the prosecution will be prepared to cross-examine the chief justice.”
Lacierda said the Palace would be closely monitoring Corona’s testimony. It didn’t matter whether the $10 million was proven or not as long as it was shown that he had dollar deposits that were not declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
Two Palace allies who have been summoned by the impeachment court—former Akbayan party-list Rep. Risa Hontiveros and Harvey Keh—had earlier said they did not have personal knowledge of Corona’s alleged dollar accounts.
On Wednesday, Hontiveros said she didn’t know how the Ombudsman came up with the $10-million figure. She said her complaint-letter only contained evidence on Corona’s alleged $2-million deposits, which had already been presented to the Senate.
Keh’s spokesman Jess Lorenzo said his client wasn’t “not sure of the authenticity of the documents” on Corona’s supposed foreign currency deposits. Both Hontiveros and Keh, however, expressed willingness to obey the Senate impeachment court’s summonses.
Corona’s lawyer on Thursday told the ANC news channel that the chief justice decided to take the witness stand because the news reports and documents detailing his alleged dollar accounts had angered him.
“When the chief justice was confronted with the copies, he got mad, fuming mad, saying in front of me that these were fabrications,” said Ramon Esguerra, one of Corona’s lawyers.
“We were ready actually to close last Tuesday, but this matter developed and that changed the entire color of the trial.”
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Corona hasn’t signed waiver on dollars
Source: ABS-CBN News
MANILA, Philippines – A defense panel spokesman on Thursday said Chief Justice Renato Corona has yet to sign a waiver allowing senators to scrutinize his dollar accounts.Lawyer Ramon Esguerra said Corona was “fuming mad” over Harvey Keh’s allegations that he owned $2 million in several local bank accounts.
Asked if Corona will sign a waiver on his dollar accounts, Esguerra said: “I can’t answer that now. We still have to meet on that because the Chief Justice is currently out of town. Hopefully, over the weekend, we can address that.”
House prosecutors said Corona’s testimony can be an opportunity for him to regain the respect and trust of the Filipino people.