IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Monday, January 30, 2012

At 2:02 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile presiding.

 

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order.  (Gavel)

The Chair will lead this court in prayer.

PRAYER

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Secretary may now please call the roll of Senators.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  The honorable Senators Angara; Arroyo; Cayetano, Allan Peter ‘Compañero’; Cayetano, Pia; Defensor-Santiago; Drilon, Ejercito-Estrada; Escudero; Guingona; Honasan; Lacson; Lapid; Legarda; Marcos; Osmeña, Pangilinan, Pimentel; Recto; Revilla; Sotto; Trillanes; Villar; the Senate President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 19 Senator judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President, may I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make the proclamation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-at-Arms may do so.

THE SEARGENT-AT ARMS.  All presents are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is seating on trial on the articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that we dispense with the reading of the Journal of January 26, 2012, Journal of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence) There being none, the January 26, 2012 Journal of this Court is approved.  The Secretary will please call the case before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Case No. 002-2011..IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO C.  CORONA.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we ask the parties and their respective counsel to enter their appearances.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, good afternoon and to the honorable Members of the Senate.  For the House of Representatives prosecution panel, same appearances, Your Honors.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted for the prosecution.  The  defense panel?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Mr. President and the honorable Members of this impeachment court, for the defense, the same appearance, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted for the defense.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, on January 25, 2012, the impeachment court, through the Presiding Officer, issued its ruling on Article II of the verified complaint for impeachment, counsel for Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, however, moved in open court for a written resolution, which was granted by the Presiding Officer.  The impeachment court shall now promulgate its resolution on Article II of the verified complaint for impeachment.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Before we proceed, may I know the pleasure of the Gentleman Senator Trillanes.

SEN. TRILLANES.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I am hear to state for the record my positions regarding several issues raised in this impeachment court in the past few weeks.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I suggest, Your Honor, that that being the case, I will recognize His Honor  later, and we dispense with the preliminary matters first, with your indulgence.

SEN. TRILLANES.  Yes, Mr. President, but I think my positions will just be stated for the record, Mr. President.  It will only take a couple of minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. TRILLANES.  Thank you, Mr. President.  First, as regards the nature of impeachments, with all due respect to all those who have stated their different opinions, I have also researched extensively on the subject, and I am convinced that it is a political process with a judicial character.  It is where the public participates, through their representatives, in the formulation of public policy to resolve a policy issue of whether the conviction or acquittal of Chief Justice Renato Corona is in the best of our country.  I agree that it is in a class of its own, but in my own personal experience, it is akin to one of the most sacred traditions of the Philippine Military Academy which is the honored committee trial.  It is where a cadet, who is accused of violating the tenets of the honored code is tried by a jury of 8 members of the honored committee.  And only a unanimous vote of guilty can convict an accused.  The only difference that I can see with this impeachment trial is we don’t have brilliant lawyers like the ones performing before us.  And it is also the reason why we don’t have technicalities in our attempt to ferret out the truth.  Again and again, that is in a laboratory setting.

Secondly, as to the standard of proof, as a former soldier, navy officer, I will not even venture into defining and distinguishing between what is proof beyond reasonable doubt and substantial evidence because that is well within the expertise of my more seasoned colleagues.  But what I do know and what I will apply in this impeachment trial is the basic sense of justice that God has given every human being born in this planet.  Lastly, as regards the issue raised by Senator Chiz Escudero as to whether the acts committed by the Chief Justice prior to his appointment to the Supreme Court should be covered by this trial, my position is, yes, we should cover them all because I believe that part of what we are trying to find out in this trial is the moral fitness of the Chief Justice to remain in office.  Being a Justice of the Supreme Court is different from elected officials in the sense that elected officials are subjected to periodic elections to renew their mandate.  So you can have the worst possible moral record but once you get elected into public office, it is presumed that the public has already accepted your past and probably they have voted you for your other qualities or lack thereof.  But the Justices of the Supreme Court whose principal mandate is to administer justice to every citizen of this republic, they should possess the highest possible moral standards for public officials.

That is all, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

SEN. SOTTO.   Mr. President, may we continue with the resolution of the impeachment court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Clerk of court is directed to read the resolution of the impeachment court with respect to the issue of Article II first and later on with respect to the subpoena issued to the parties that were subpoenaed..

THE SECRETARY.    Resolution. This resolves the issue of whether or not the prosecution may present evidence to prove the allegations in paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 under Article II of the impeachment complaint.  The resolution of this issue becomes imperative in view of the defense’s consistent objections to the prosecution’s presentation of evidence exposing the properties of respondent Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, his wife…

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, with due respect, a number of our colleagues are asking that we just read the dispositive portion, that just distribute their copies of the resolution to the defense and the prosecution because this was earlier manifested by the Senate President last week.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If there is no objection, then I will approve the motion of the Majority Floor Leader.  The Chair hears none; the motion is approved.  Proceed.  The Secretary, acting as Clerk of this court may now proceed to read the resolution, the salutory portion of the resolution of this court.

THE SECRETARY.  In sum, therefore, this court resolves and accordingly rules, one, to allow the prosecution to introduce evidence in support of paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3 of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment..  Two, to disallow the introduction of evidence in support of paragraph 2.4 of the Articles  of Impeachment with respect to which this court shall be guided by and shall rely upon the legal presumptions on the nature of any property or asset which may be proven to belong to the respondent Chief Justice as provided under Section 8 of Republic Act No. 3019 and Section 2 of Republic Act No. 1379.  So ordered.  January 27, 2012.  Signed, Juan Ponce Enrile, Presiding Officer.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  On January 17, 2012, Mr. President , the impeachment court issued subpoena duces tecum ad testificandum directing Mr. Giovanni Ng, Finance Director of Megaworld Corporation, Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr. and Lourdes R. Reyes of Fort Bonifacio Development, Grace Evangeline F. Manangquil Sta. Ana and Nerissa Josef of Community Innovations Incorporated, and Rogelio T. Serafica of Burgunday Development Corporation, to testify and bring with them certain documents purportedly showing evidence of ownership of properties by Chief Justice Corona and/or his family members.

Mr. President, for the information of the parties and for the record, the Presiding Officer issued an order earlier today concerning the said subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum.

May I ask the Clerk of Court to read the order.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Clerk of Court may proceed.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  The whole order or just the dispositive.

SEN. SOTTO.  The dispositive portion, if possible, Mr. President.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Dispositive portion.

In view of the foregoing, Messrs. Giovanni Sy Ng and Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr. and Rogelio T. Serafica and Mdms. Lourdes R. Reyes, Grace Evangeline F. Manangquil Sta. Ana and Nerissa N. Josef, sought to be presented by prosecution as their witnesses, by virtue of the subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum issued by this Impeachment Court, may not be compelled to surrender and/or show documents and/or give testimony on details of transactions not involving Chief Justice Renato C. Corona and/or his family members in order not to violate the constitutional right of privacy of private persons and so as not to infringe upon the right of such private persons to secure their papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures.

So ordered, January 30, 2012, Juan Ponce Enrile, Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  (Gavel)

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Shorty before noon today, January 30, 2012, the prosecution filed a manifestation stating, among others, that in order to facilitate an expeditious trial, it behoves the prosecutors to present evidence for Article III before presenting the previously manifested Articles I and VII.

The prosecution further manifests that consequently, the prosecutors are constrained to seek the liberality of this honourable court to allow it to present Article III prior to Article I as previously manifested.  And as a measure of good faith and fairness to the respondent, the prosecutors also manifest that it shall exert its best efforts to present the impeachment articles in the following order:  Article II, Article III, Article VII, Article I, Article VIII, Article IV, Article V and Article VI.

Mr. President, inasmuch as this seeks to choose the order of presentation of evidence previously allowed by the court, I move to submit the manifestation by consideration for being consideration of the Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May we hear from the defense counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

In compliance with the order of this court earlier made, Your Honor, we were made to believe that the order of presentation of evidence on the part of the prosecution will be as follows:  First, Article II; second, Article I; and third, Article VII.

The proposed change now is entirely an overhaul of the said previous order made known to this honourable court by the prosecution.  We do not question, Your Honor, the prerogative and the authority of the prosecution to determine the order of presentation of their evidence in connection with the impeachment proceedings, Your Honor.  But there was already a previous order of the court, that order has been complied with, and we rode along on that order of this court following the suggestion made by the prosecution, Your Honor.

We see no reason, therefore, why there should be again a deviation, Your Honor.  Otherwise, there may be no end.  The next day, there may be another order, another setup and another date, and that will further delay the proceedings in this case, Your Honor.

It is not that we are not prepared to tackle the evidence that will be presented in connection with the order suggested, but we are made to believe that it is the right of the respondent, Chief Justice, Your Honor, to due process also.  Give him time to prepare for whatever eventuality may happen in the change of the order, Your Honor.

If this is precisely for that reason that we are making of record our objection to another proposed order of procedure in presenting the prosecution’s evidence, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

What is the pleasure of the chief o the prosecution panel?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Mr. President, we just want to say something.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  In response to the statements made by the defense counsel.  Your Honor, it is not a total overhaul of the articles.  We just put Article III ahead of Article I, because we believe in the orderly presentation of the articles, and Article II is about the dishonesty of the Chief Justice, then Article III is about the moral fitness.  So, it goes with the storyline and the proper presentation of our case.

And, in good faith, Mr. President, we filed a manifestation today to give not only the Senators, time, but as well as defense counsel.  The earliest that we could finish Article II would be this week.  So, at least, the Senators and the defense counsel will have, at the very least, one week, before we can present Article III.

And further, we already enumerated all the articles of impeachment, meaning the eight articles.  And we won’t change it again, Mr. President.  That is the order now of the presentation.  And we beg the indulgence of the defense counsel.  This is in good faith. This is for the orderly presentation of our case.  And we want as soon as possible—we want to finish presenting our evidence, witnesses, documents, as soon as possible.

Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chair would like to know, does the rule—do the Rules of the House, with respect to impeachment specifically state the ordering of the articles of impeachment?

REP. TUPAS.  It does not, Mr. President.  Under the Rules of the impeachment of the House of Representatives, there is no specific provision on the sequence of the articles.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, under your Rules, you can—in the presentation of your evidence in—you can reorder the presentation?

REP. TUPAS.  That is correct, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In the spirit of liberality, The Chair will allow the reordering of the presentation of the sequence of the presentation of evidence of the prosecution in accordance with their best rights.  But, I would like to request the prosecution to now fix the order of presentation.  You have enough time to go over the articles of impeachment and the assessment of your evidence, and by this time, I suppose, the panel of prosecutors are now familiar with the storyline, if I may use your term, of the prosecution.  And so, therefore, I would like you to tell us whether this is now the order that you want to be followed henceforth.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, that is correct, Mr. President.  That is the order that we would like to present our evidence, Articles II, III, VII, I, VIII, IV, V, VI.  That is the order that we filed in the manifestation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, the Chair approves the reordering of presentation of articles.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Mr. President, I was about to say something, Your Honor, …

SEN. SOTTO.  The defense counsel wants to be recognized.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  …in connection with the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  This new order now, in reality, partakes the nature of a motion for reconsideration.  Why?  Because in the order of based on previous manifestation of this Honorable Court, it was specifically stated that the order, as suggested by the prosecution, will be 2, 1 and 7, Your Honor.  Any deviation from this order, therefore, partakes the nature of of a motion for reconsideration.  And secondly, Your Honor, the House rules on impeachment could not possibly provide for the order of presentation because that falls exactly within the domain of the honourable Senate of the Philippines, Your Honor.  Because insofar as the House is concerned, it has only something to do with initiation and nothing more.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But the form and content of the articles of impeachment is a function of the House.  And when we talk of ordering of allegations, it is a matter of form, and so, therefore, in the spirit of liberality, this Chair approves the request of the prosecution.  Let us proceed with the trial.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, before I move to recognize Senator Bong Revilla for a manifestation, I am in receipt of a letter from Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, and the request is for me to read this letter during her sick leave following and read the following questions just after the start of the session.  So, if I may, Mr. President.

Question from Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.  I read to you the following provisions of the Rules of Court.  Rule 133 Section 1, Preponderance of Evidence, How Determined.  The Court may also consider the number of witnesses through the preponderance is not necessary with the greater number.  Under this provision, the Supreme Court ruled, the weight of evidence is not determined mathematically by categorical superiority of the witnesses testifying to a given fact.  Lim vs. Court of Appeals 254, SCRA 117, 1996.  Further, Rule 133, Section 6 provides.  Power of the court to stop further evidence.  The Court may stop the introduction of further testimony beyond any particular point when the evidence upon it is already so full, that more witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive.  But this power should be exercised with caution.  Thus, the power of the court to stop further evidence refers to corroborative testimony.

The question is this:  If there is no objection from our colleagues from the court, could each of the panels please submit a list of witnesses listing them as primary witnesses or as corroborative witnesses.  When the court is finished with this information, then the court could be guided in stopping further evidence consisting of corroborative witnesses.

With that, for the record, Mr. President, may I move to recognize Senator Bong Revilla.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Cavite, the distinguished Senator Bong Revilla aka Panday.

SEN. REVILLA.  Just a short manifestation, Mr. President.  I am just a bit worried finding out that the prosecution intends to present around 100 witnesses aside from the voluminous pieces of documentary evidence they are planning to present.  Kung isasama pa natin ang mga testigo ng depensa, at kailangan ng mga ebidensya, tiyak na napakahaba pa ng itatakbo ng paglilitis na ito.

Without trampling on the prosecution’s right to present their evidence and respondent’s right to establish their best defense, baka maaaring tingnan natin ang listahan ng kanilang mga testigo at ebidensya to determine kung ang lahat ng ito ay kailangan o ang iba ay iyong tinatawag na corroborative na lamang.  Walong araw na pol tayong naglilitis, Ginoong Pangulo.  At iilan pa lamang sa mga testigong ating naririnig.  We are going at a rate of just one witness per day on the average.  At kung magpapatuloy ang ganitong takbo, mukhang magtatagal pa tayo rito at baka abutin pa tayo ng isang taon.  We are spending time and resources that could be spent on other equally important activities.  Ang matitipid nating gastusin ay maaari pa nating ilaan sa mga bagay na mas kailangan n gating mga kababayan.  Alam nating importante ang isyung ito para sa buong bansa kaya naniniwala tayong nakabantay ang ating mga kababayan sa kahihinatnan ng paglilitis na ito.  Ang apela ko lang po sa magkabilang panig, sa prosekusyon at depensa, huwag na natin po itong patagalin.  Noong umpisa, we were led to believe that the prosecution will be finished presenting their case in three weeks.  Pero mukhang imposible na iyan.  Three weeks na tayo ngayong linggo at hindi pa tayo natatapos sa isang article.  After this article, may pito pa at ang bawat araw na lumilipas ay malaking epekto sa ating bansa at sa ating ekonomiya.  Aminin man natin o hindi ang malaking porsyento ng oras ng ating lehislatura, hudikatura at ehekutibo ay nailaan na sa impeachment na ito.  Maging ang marami sa ating mga kababayan ay mistulang tumigil na rin ang buhay dahil sa pagbabantay sa kahihinatnan ng pagdidinig nating ito.  We are all looking for the truth so let us bring out the truth.  Bigyan natin ng katarungan ang magkabilang panig sa pinakamabilis at epektibong pamamaraan.  Maraming salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.  Just a minute.  First of all, I would like to inform the public and the court that I understand the prosecution in their manifestation reserve the right to dispense with the presentation of their prospective presentation of their evidence as the need arises.  Is this correct, counsel?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, tama po iyan, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ngayon, ang mungkahi ko sana kung maaari, I am not going to dictate on you but I think we cannot spend more time that is reasonably required in this case.  And so may I present this proposal to both sides and think about it and tell us in the next hearing whether you agree or not.  For you to come together and lay your cards on the table and try to stipulate what testimonial evidence and documentary evidence could be agreed upon between the parties without the need of any probative matter to establish the truth or falsity of those facts and if that is possible, then we limit the area where evidence will be introduced by the prosecution as well as with the defense.  Of course , the defense we cannot curtail their right to defend their client because that is in the nature of our adversary proceedings but maybe the prosecution would explore the possibility of stipulation of facts.

REP. TUPAS.  We are willing to do that, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thy shall be done as suggested, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  So let us now proceed with the trial so that we can move on.  And with respect to the statements or remarks of the distinguished Senator from Iloilo, Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, we will take that under advisement.  That will be taken up by the members of the court in a caucus so that we can decide a quantum of evidence needed as a guide for us in making a judgment in this impeachment case as well as the manner by which we deal with the testimonies or testimonial evidence and documentary evidence that will be presented to us in such a number and volume.  So we are going to discuss this.  So we proceed with the trial today

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

We are now ready for the continuation of the presentation of evidence by the prosecution.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, but, Mr. President, siguro, pwede lang malagay sa record na iyong compliance na ito, Mr. President, this is 39 pages, compliance to the list of witnesses and documentary evidence is actually dahil doon sa directive noong January 24, 2012 by this honourable tribunal to the Senate President na mag-submit kami ng list of witnesses and documentary evidence.  That’s why we submitted within three days, we submitted on January 27 and we just want to assure the Senators and the public, Mr. President, that we agree with the Presiding Officer when he said that kailangan yung speedy trial.  At sa amin po, nag-manifest na rin kami noong isang linggo na on the part of the prosecution, ang gusto talaga namin ay mapabilis ang trial at hindi na naming ipe-present iyong lahat ng witnesses.

Ngayon po, nag-comply kami dito sa directive.  Nakalantad na po ito lahat.  Very detailed.  We just want to know, Mr. President, kung nag-comply rin iyon kabila, iyong defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We have it already, Your Honor.  We are supposed to have filed it this morning but we wanted to know further, based on the evidence that will be presented whether we should present more or additional witnesses from the standpoint of rebuttal, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Without prejudice to—You just submit your list.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And are not going to hold you to it.  If there is a need for this court to allow other witnesses in order to amplify what is not clearly proven, then so be it.  We will not be that inflexible.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will do that, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, let’s proceed with the trial.

Please call your next witness.

REP. TUPAS.  Our next witness, Mr. President, the first witness for the day and the seventh for the trial is the Finance Director of the Megaworld Corporation, Mr. Giovanni Ng.  May we call our first witness for today.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Call the witness to take the stand and swear him.  And who will present this witness on the part of the prosecution?

REP. TUPAS.  On the part of the prosecution, may we request that Atty. Joseph Jomer Perez be recognize, Your Honor, to conduct the direct examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Atty. Perez has the floor.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are welcome.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Sir, please raise your right hand.

Do you swear to tell the truth and nothing but the truth in this impeachment proceeding?

MR. SY NG.  Yes, I do.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  So help you God.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, I will first ask the witness to identify himself and …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please go ahead.  You can proceed to ask the preliminaries.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, can you give your full name?

MR. NG.  My name is Giovanni Ng.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And your age?

MR. NG.  I am 38 years old.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And you nationality?

MR. NG.  I’m a Filipino.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, this witness is being presented to produce, identify and authenticate documents mentioned in the subpoena dated January 17, 2012, issued to Giovanni Sy Ng, Finance Director, Megaworld Corporation.

The testimony of the witness is also being offered to prove that respondent, Renato Corona bought and acquired a property in McKinley Hill Village, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City, as well as the circumstances and particulars of said transaction.  This McKinley Hill property was not reported or disclosed in any of the SALNs of respondent Corona.

The testimony of the witness is also being offered to prove that the spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona, bought and acquired a penthouse unit with three parking slots in the Bellagio I condominium in 2009, as well as the circumstances and particulars of the said transaction, and of the properties subject thereof.

This Bellagio penthouse was not reported or disclosed in Corona’s SALN for 2009.  In his SALN for 2010, Corona did not truthfully disclose this Bellagio penthouse.  And also, Your Honor, for other related matters.

May I proceed, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   The Gentleman for the defense counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, if the testimony of the witness that will be enlisted, apparently, will deal with alleged unexplained wealth, then we will object, Your Honor, because this had already been the subject of the resolution of this honorable court.  ]

In any and all matters, dealing or pending to prove illegally acquired wealth, the same is excluded, Your Honor, and the prosecution is debarred from presenting the same.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, Your Honor, may I respond.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, just a minute.

ATTY. PEREZ.  I never mentioned.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.

ATTY. PEREZ.  I am sorry, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  Counsel for the defense, the court has just ruled that allegation, paragraph 2.3 of Article II was authorized to be the subject of proof.  So, I will disallow your objection.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Mr. Witness, what is your current occupation?

MR. NG.  I am the finance director of Megaworld Corporation.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And how long have you held said position?

MR. NG.  Well, I have been the finance director for probably, around seven or eight years.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Before that, what was your occupation?

MR. NG.  Before that, I was in industrial relations for the same company.

ATTY. PEREZ.  So, when did you start working for Megaworld Corporation?

MR. NG.  I have been with the company for probably around seventeen, sixteen, seventeen years.

ATTY. PEREZ.  As finance director, what are your basic duties and responsibilities?

MR. NG.  As finance director, part of my responsibility is to allocate financial resources to support our construction efforts.  In addition, I was authorized as signatory of the company.  I am tasked to represent the company in signing deed of absolute sale once financial review, clearance has been completed, indicating that the client has fully paid for the unit they have acquired.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we ask the witness to speak louder.  The other members are having difficulty in listening to him.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness is so instructed to fix the microphone and please speak clearly.

Go with the proceedings.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Ng, there is on record, a subpoena dated January 17, 2012, issued to Giovanni C.Ng, finance director, Megaworld Corporation.

Did you receive the said subpoena?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Under the subpoena, you were required to bring the deed of absolute sale involving the Bellagio penthouse unit and three parking slots, now titled in the name of spouses Cristina and Renato Corona.

Did you bring the said deed of absolute sale?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce it before the honorable court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Can you produce it, witness?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce it before the honorable court.

Your Honor, for the record, the witness has presented to this representation, a document, entitled, deed of absolute sale, consisting of three pages.  For identification purposes, the seller indicated is Mega World Corp.; the buyer are the Spouses Cristina Corona and Renato Corona; the subject matter is Unit 38-B of the Belagio Condominium with 3 parking slots; the unit consists of 303.5 square meters while the parking slots consists of 12.5 square meters each.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the indulgence of this honorable court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I think the document will be presented in evidence, Your Honor.  The data therein appearing will be of no …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, anyway, anyway, Counsel, he is just describing the evidence and it will not vary the contents of the documents.  Please proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Purchase price indicated is P14,510,225.00.  This is a notarized instrument, Your Honor, acknowledged before Notary Public Buenaventura U. Mendoza.  It is undated but it is entered in the notarial book Series of 2009.  Photocopy of this document was previously marked as Exhibit AAAA and has been compared with the original during the pre-marking.

Mr. Witness, you were also required to produce the contract to sell for this same property.  Did you bring the said contract to sell.

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May the Chair know the relevance of that contract to sell.  You already have the deed of absolute.  What is the relevance of the contract to sell?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, the contract to sell would be material regarding the circumstances of the transaction, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, again, did you bring the said document?

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Can you produce the said document?  For the record, Your Honor, witness has presented a document entitled Contract to Buy and Sell.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, at this juncture, may we request the honorable court to permit us to have this Exhibit AAA as our Exhibit 25.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is that Exhibit AAA?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Deed of Absolute Sale, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The deed of absolute sale.

ATTY. PEREZ.  It is AAAA, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  AAAA.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And the document denominated as Exhibit BBBB, which is a contract to buy and sell be marked as Exhibit 26 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let it be marked as requested.  You know, in this particular case, as an example, if you can come together, you can already agree, stipulate on these so that we will not waste time.  Anyway, the defense is accepting this document as its own exhibit.  So, I think we will be able to shorten the proceedings.  Please proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.  Mr. Witness, you were also required under the subpoena to produce the official receipts for the payments of this property.  Did you bring those official receipts?

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, for the record, the witness produced three official receipts.  For identification purposes, Your Honor, the first receipt is dated April 20, 2009 for the amount of P5 million, payor, Corona Spouses Cristina and Renato; subject 38B-the Belagio building-1.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, may we request that the said exhibit be marked as Exhibit 27 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, I am presuming that those exhibits which are also adopted by defense counsel, they are stipulating on the authenticity of said exhibits.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  I think, as I said, you sit down together and then you can agree about these things.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But just proceed with the trial.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.  The second receipt, Your Honor, is Official Receipt No. 677400 dated October 16, 2009 for the amount of P4,510,225., payor,  Corona spouses, Cristina and Renato.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request that this document be marked as Exhibit 28, Your Honor, for the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly for the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Which is Official Receipt No. 677400 dated October 16, 2009.

ATTY. PEREZ.  The third official receipt, Your Honor, is dated October 17, 2008 for the amount of P5 million, payor, Corona spouses, Cristina and Renato.  All of these official receipts, Your Honor, have been previously marked as Exhibits CCCC, CCCC-1 and CCCC-2.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request, if Your Honor please, that the said document be marked as Exhibit 29 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Now, Mr. Witness, let us go to the documents involving the Mckinley Hill property.  Under the subpoena you were required to produce the deed of absolute sale with respect to the Mckinely Hill property now titled in the name of Ma. Czarina Corona.  Did you bring the said document?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce it before the honourable court.  Your Honor, the witness produced a document entitled Deed of Absolute Sale consisting of two pages with a single page Annex A.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, may we request that said document be marked as Exhibit 29.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It has not been marked for the plaintiff yet.  Let us wait until they mark it for the prosecution.

AATY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, the photocopy of this same document was previously marked as Exhibit DDDD.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So let the request of the defense counsel be approved and marked it accordingly for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.  For the record, under this deed of absolute sale , it refers to the sale of Lot 1, Block 16 of the Mckinley Hill project between Megaworld Corporation and Ma. Czarina R. Corona represented by her attorney-in-fact, Renato C. Corona.  The property consist of 203 square meters, total purchase price of P6,196,575.  This document, Your Honor, is acknowledged before Notary Public Buenaventura U. Mendoza.  The buyer, Ma. Czarina R. Corona was represented by attorney-in-fact Renato C. Corona.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request, if Your Honor please, that Exhibit EEEE for the plaintiff be marked as Exhibit 31, Your Honor, for the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, is there any contract to sell for this property?

MR. NG.  No, sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  How about a reservation agreement?

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce the said document.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What agreement is that?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, this document is entitled Request for Reservation and Offer to Purchase dated May 9, 2006, property described as Mckinley Hill Village, Phase II, Block 16, Lot 1, 203 square meters.  For the record, Your Honor, the buyers name indicated is Cristina R. Corona.  May I request the defense to stipulate on the authenticity of this document.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will not merely stipulate, we will admit, Your Honor, because we are adopting same exhibit as our Exhibit 32 THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the prosecution, please proceed …

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … in the presentation of your evidence.  They are marking it also as their exhibit.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There’s no need for that side remark.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  For the record, Your Honor, this request for reservation was previously marked as Exhibit EEEE for the prosecution.

Mr. Witness, is there any Buyer’s Information Sheet for this transaction?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce it before the honorable court?  Your Honor, the witness produced a single-page document entitled Buyer’s Information Sheet.  Photocopy was previously marked as Exhibit IIII.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the materiality of that piece of paper of that document?  There is already completed transaction.

ATTY. PEREZ.  This document, Your Honor, will show that it was actually Renato Corona who acquired the property, because the buyer indicated in this Buyer’s Information Sheet is Renato C. Corona, and in fact, under this Buyer’s Information Sheet, the Deed of Absolute Sale was requested in the name of the spouses Renato and Christina Corona.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  Proceed.

Counsel for the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, that is no longer state—That is conclusion of fact made by the lawyer.

ATTY. PEREZ.  No, it is not, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, the best evidence will be the document they are presenting.  Are they doubting the authenticity and veracity of this …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Never mind.  Let the document be marked.  Anyway, that’s already a computed transaction.  It does not vary at all the nature of the process.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Okay then.  May we request, if Your Honor, please, that this document, Exhibit IIII, be marked as Exhibit 32 for the defense, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  By the way, Your Honor, the said document was previously marked as Exhibit IIII for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, you were also required to bring the official receipts for the payments for this property.  Did you bring these official receipts?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Will you produce them before the honourable court.

Your Honor, the witness, has just produced 27 official receipts previously marked as Exhibits FFFF up to FFFF-26.

For identification purposes, Your Honor, Exhibit FFFF-26 refers to Megaworld official receipt, dated July 3, 2006, for the amount of P200,000.  Name of payor, Renato Corona for property described as 16-01 McKinley Subdivision, Phase II.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request, Your Honor, that the said document marked as Exhibit 33, Your Honor, for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Exhibit FFFF-24 refers to Megaworld official receipt, dated August 8, 2006, for the amount of P494,016.40.  Name of payor, Renato Corona and Christina Corona.  Exhibits FFFF-1 up to FFFF-23, and FFFF-25 refer to 24 Megaworld official receipts with various dates between September 2006 until August 2008 for the amount of P57,834.70 each.  Name of payor, Renato and Christina Corona.

Lastly, Exhibit FFFF refers to Megaworld official receipt, dated August 29, 2008 to the amount of P4,858,114.80.  Payor, Renato and Christina Corona.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.  May we request, if Your Honor, please, that the prosecution’s evidence FFFF-24, be marked as Exhibit 34, Your Honor, Your Honor, for the defense, Exhibit 2222, Your Honor, which is official receipt number 268856, be marked as Exhibit 35, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark the document accordingly as requested by the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And Exhibit FFFF-26, Your Honor, which is official receipt no. 268665, dated July 3, 2006, be marked as Exhibit 36, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly for the defense.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, I refer you back to the request for reservation and offer to purchase involving this McKinley Hill property.

Can you state for the record, the name of the buyer indicated in the said request for reservation?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the materiality of that, and …

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, to show …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is that corroborating evidence or what?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, it is primary evidence to show, Your Honor, who bought, who actually bought and acquired the property.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But it is already in the deed of sale.  It is already in the other documents.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, but the deed of absolute sale was not in the name of the spouses Corona, but rather in the name of the spouses of Czarina Corona, contrary to the fact, Your Honor, established by these documents, that it was actually Renato Corona who bought, acquired and paid for the property.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Again, Mr. Witness, who is the buyer indicated in the request for reservation.

MR. NG.  The name written as a buyer is a certain Cristina R. Corona.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And in the buyer’s information sheet, who is the buyer indicated?

MR. NG.  In the buyer …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Will not the best evidence be the document itself, Your Honor?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, just for the record, because I am laying the basis for my future questions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May answer.

MR. NG.  The name indicated in the buyer’s information sheet is Renato C. Corona and spouse’s name Cristina R. Corona.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you.  And in the deed of absolute sale for this property, then, buyer’s name indicated is Ma. Czarina R. Corona.

Can you explain why this is so.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness may answer if he knows.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

MR. NG.  We received a letter indicating that we accomplished the deed of absolute sale for lot 1, block 16, phase II of McKinley Hills in favour of Ma. Czarina R. Corona.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, the witness is reading from a single page, handwritten letter request, dated September 8, 2008, photocopy of this document was previously marked as our Exhibit HHHH, and has been compared with the original during the pre-marking.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will request, Your Honor, that this Exhibit HHHH of the prosecution be marked as Exhibit 37 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly.

ATTY. PEREZ.  After you, receiving that letter, Mr. Witness, what steps did you take with respect to the letter?

MR. NG.  We proceeded in having a deed of assignment accomplished.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, the witness refers to a deed of assignment dated October 3, 2004, photocopy of which was previously marked, 2008, I am sorry, Your Honor, copy of which was previously marked as Exhibit GGGG, Your Honor.  It is a public document acknowledge Notary Public Buenaventura U. Mendoza, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If your Honor please, may we request that this Exhibit GGGG of the prosecution be marked as Exhibit 38 for the prosecution, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, for the record, I refer you back to the letter request September 8, 2008.  Can you read for the record the contents of this letter which is very brief, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I think you are going to transgress the best evidence rule.  It is written there.  That is open to the appreciation of this court.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.  Mr. Witness, according to this letter dated September 8, 2008, Justice Renato Corona and Mrs. Cristina Corona stated that it was their daughter who made all the payments for the said lot.  Now, Mr. Witness, I refer you to the official receipt No. 499170, based on that official receipt who made the payment?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, the best evidence will be the document itself.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, just for the record, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MR. NG.  Corona Renato C and Cristina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And based on Official Receipt No. 479367, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona Renato C and Cristina R

ATTY. PEREZ.  Based on Official Receipt 478719, who made the payment?

MR. NG. Corona Renato C and Cristina R

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No.  478511, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona Renato C and Cristina R

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 458882, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona Renato C and Cristina R

ATTY. ;PEREZ.  OR No. 441210, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 440875, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 413285, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 412971, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 4 …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will you kindly pronounce the last part of your answer because the Chair cannot understand the last word.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 412707, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 386359, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 386050, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 385812, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 358394, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 358169, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 357916, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 357636, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 321371, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 321184, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 320995, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 320851, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 320755, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 320561, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Christina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR No. 268973, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Cristina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR 268780, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Cristina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  OR 268856, who made the payment?

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C. and Cristina R.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Lastly, OR No. 268663, who made the payment.

MR. NG.  Corona, Renato C.

ATTY. PEREZ.  In all of these 27 official receipts, does the name Ma. Czarina Corona appear?

MR. NG.  No, sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you.  Your Honor, again, may I manifest that this particular property was not disclosed in any of the SALNs of respondent Corona.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, will that not be a conclusion?

ATTY. PEREZ.  It is a statement of fact, Your Honort.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But you are not testifying under oath how can we cross-examine you?

ATTY. PEREZ.  That is why it was a manifestation, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Precisely.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Reform the question.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, I will move on to another point.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just reform the question.

ATTY. PEREZ.  It was just a manifestation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Then we will move for the striking out of that manifestation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Strike it out.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, we will now move on to the Bellagio property.  Can you first tell us where is this Bellagio located.

MR. NG.  The Bellagio is located in Fort Bonifacio Global City.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Would you consider that a prime location.

MR. NG.  Yes.

ATTY. PEREZ.  The deed of absolute sale states the Bellagio Golf View Residences.  Do you have an idea why it states Golf View?

MR. NG.  It would be because the property has a view of the golf course.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Which golf course?

MR. NG.  The Manila Golf Course.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And where is Manila Golf Course located?

MR. NG.  This would be near Forbes Park.

ATTY. PEREZ.  In terms of quality, how would you describe this Bellagio Condominium?

MR. NG.  The property is, well, would basically have the amenities fitting for up scale residential condominium.

ATTY. PEREZ.  In terms of socio-economic class, who are the usual residents in the Bellagio Condominium?

MR. NG.  I believe this would be around the A-B class.

ATTY. PEREZ.  The unit bought by the spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona, is it a penthouse or an ordinary unit?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No basis, Your Honor.  There were no previous questions relative to the character of the property being testified.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Again, Mr. Witness, is it a penthouse or an ordinary unit?

MR. NG.  This is a penthouse unit.

ATTY. PEREZ.  How many bedrooms are there in this penthouse unit?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Witness is incompetent.  It had not been established.

ATTY. PEREZ.  If he knows, Your Honor.

THE  PRESIDING OFFICER.  Lay the basis, counsel.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, are you familiar with the basic characteristics of this penthouse?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Very leading, Your Honor.

ATTY.  PEREZ.  Your Honor, I am precisely asking if…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Translated as preliminary, go ahead.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Are you familiar with the basic characteristics or layout of this property?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This is precisely the same question, Your Honor, that we have been objecting to and we were sustained by the court.  There is no basis yet.  There is not even any showing that…

ATTY. PEREZ.  Actually, Your Honor, the objection was overruled.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness, are you familiar with this penthouse?

MR. NG.  Well, basically…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you familiar with the penthouse?  Have you been there?

MR. NG.  No, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So objection sustained.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Do you know, Mr. Witness, how many floors there are in the Bellagio penthouse?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Immaterial, Your Honor, unless we are shown the materiality.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the question be answered and let us see whether it is relevant or material to this proceeding.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Submitted, Your Honor.

MR. NG.  38 floors.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And this particular subject property, Unit 38-B, where is this located, which floor?

MR. NG.  On the 38th floor.

MR. NG.  We have  basically three penthouse floors, two units each.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Two units each floor?

MR. NG.  Yes.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you.

Do you know if Bellagio One is still under construction or is it already completed?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Again, Your Honor, the witness now is being made to testify on personal knowledge, and there is no basis.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If he knows.  Go ahead.

MR. NG.  This was completed already.

ATTY. PEREZ.  When was this completed, if you know?

MR. NG.  Sometime between the end of 2008 or late 2009.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we ask that the witness speak louder, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.  I’m also having a hard time.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Deciphering the statement, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Kindly articulate your vowels and your consonants.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Again, Mr. Witness, when was this completed.

MR. NG.  This was completed sometime between the end of 2008 and early 2009.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, based on the Deed of Absolute Sale previously marked as Exhibit AAAA, your represented Megaworld in the sale of the Bellagio Penthouse to Corona.  According to this Deed of Absolute Sale, the subject property was sold at P14,510,225.00.  Is this a regular price or a discounted price?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No basis, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, I am precisely asking the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Your reform it first …  (Gavel)

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … whether they are giving discounts or fixed price.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, at the time that the Corona’s bought the penthouse in late 2008, what was the regular selling price for a penthouse unit per square meter?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I thought you—Your Honor, please, with the kind indulgence of the honourable court.  I thought the witness was being made to testify solely on the basis of the documents that he had produced in connection with the transaction.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, he is asking whether there is a discount given.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But this is now a question which elicits an answer based on the personal knowledge of the witness.  And there is no predicate …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  (Gavel)  My understanding is that this witness was presented as a finance officer of the corporation and in charge of sale sa contracts dealing with the sale of the units.  So, therefore, that being the case, he must know the prices at which these units are being sold.  So, he may answer.  (Gavel)

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness.

MR. NG.  If I may clarify certain matters, Sir.  I have to explain that for that matter, pricing is really under our marketing department, and they would be the one that would be more familiar for that matter.

However, prior to this—since I have been subpoenaed, I have had made some inquiries.  And based on what I was told, for a long payment term which normally reaches up to around four years, you are talking of an estimated average price of around P78,000.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness, wait a minute.  You are now saying that you are basing your knowledge on the information of another?

MR. NG.  That is right, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, this is hearsay.  I sustain the objection.  (Gavel)

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, please, the witness is the one who represented Megaworld.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, but he is testifying—giving a hearsay evidence here.  And that is not prohibited. (Gavel)

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, we will invoke the independently relevant who so at the very least, Your Honor, we …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Explain.  Explain.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

It is independently relevant to know what was the information given to this witness with respect to the regular selling price of this particular …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Qualify then the witness so that he will be competent to testify.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, with the kind indulgence of the honourable court.  There is no question as to the conversation taking place between this witness and the other witness.  As to the accuracy of what stated or transmitted, we do not object.  But what we are objecting is the nature of the testimony.  Will that not be strictly hearsay?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, counsel, I will allow the question to be answered  and it’s up to you, your skill as a cross-examiner.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  Thank you, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, you stated that after receiving the subpoena, you made inquiries with respect to the regular price of this Bellagio penthouse.  Based on that inquiry, what did you learn?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Again, definitely, hearsay, Your Honor.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Pagkaliwa-liwanag, what did you learn from what has transmitted …

ATTY. PEREZ.  There has already been a ruling, Your Honor, on this point.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, I have …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the defense, let us allow the counsel for the prosecution to present …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Submitted, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just be understanding, allow him to—this is just a preliminary question—witness, answer.

MR. NG.  For long payment term, we have a—I was given an estimated average of around P78,000 to P80,000 per square with imputed pro-rata cost for parking.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You say estimate.

MR. NG.  That is right, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, it is not a fixed price, you are just estimating.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How valid is your estimate?

What is the basis of your estimate?

MR. NG.  I was, Your Honor, I was just informed of this estimate.  The actual method by which it was computed, I would not have been …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, Mr. Witness, you are telling us that you have no information, sufficient to form a belief, you are simply estimating, so, counsel, reform the question, lay the basis, so that we will not be dealing with this kind of an evidence.

We are dealing here with the sale of property with fixed values.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind indulgence of the honorable court, therefore, I now exercise my right to reservation—to my reservation, to ask or to request this honorable court for the striking out of the answer of the witness, because …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You can record your objection if you want, but I will allow this for purposes of liberality, but counsel, I admonish you to lay the basis for your questions, so that we will not have these objections.  And if the witness is not—you are not sure of the competence of the witness, qualify the witness.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, ordered.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Mr. Witness, you stated that among your functions, was the execution of deed of absolute sale.  Before you execute a certain deed of absolute sale, do you take any steps to ensure the regularity of the said transaction?

MR. NG.  We would normally have a financial review done.  And under finance, this is basically just to ensure that a unit or a property is fully paid, based on what was agreed upon by, within the contract to buy and sell or reservation agreement.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And you earlier stated that after you received the subpoena in this case, you made inquiries with respect to the pricing of the Bellagio penthouse.

Is that correct?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And with whom did you inquire?

MR. NG.  I have inquired with our senior vice president for marketing and sales, Noli D. Hernandez.

ATTY. PEREZ.  And do you have—based on these inquiries that you conducted, what did you learn about the price given to the spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona in their purchase of the property?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind indulgence of the honorable court, Your Honor, it is not merely reasonably apparent, but it is very clear that this testimony on the subject will definitely be hearsay, Your Honor, unless the other …

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, Your Honor, may I respond, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Counsel, why don’t you bring here the marketing director of Megaworld to testify on the prices, so that we will not wrangle with this kind of line of questioning, because indeed, this witness is to—was presented by you to testify on documents, on actual transactions already, but you are going far beyond and you are dealing with the question of bargaining.  And I don’t think he was involved in the bargaining.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, in that case, Your Honor, we will just request for a subpoena addressed to the person named by the witness, Mr. Noli Hernandez with respect to the pricing of the property.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then the Clerk of Court is ordered to issue the subpoena against the concerned person.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Misamis, Senator Koko Pimentel is recognized.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I want to ask a question to the counsel for the prosecution, Your Honor.  What is your theory?  Why are you focusing on the price and if there was a discount given?  What is the importance of all of these?

ATTY. PEREZ.  To be candid, Your Honor, we were informed by the witness that Chief Justice Renato Corona received a 40% discount from Mega World Corp. equivalent to about P10 million and we believe, Your Honor, this is highly material because it goes into the valuation of the property in the SALN.  Because in the SALN …

SEN. PIMENTEL.  So, under what article will that fall into?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Article II, Your Honor.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  Failure to disclose?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Failure to disclose and failure to truthfully disclose because, Your Honor, as we all know, a SALN is not just a piece of paper.  It must be under oath.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  We were thinking, receiving benefits.  But there is no article based on receiving benefits.  That is why I get curious about your theory why you are pursuing this line of questioning.

ATTY. PEREZ.  I was about to add, Your Honor.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  So, you are sticking to that.  It is Article II because it is failure to truthfully disclose the price.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Among others, Your Honor, not just Article II.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  What are the other articles?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Article III, Your Honor, refers to the probity and integrity of the Chief Justice.  We believe that a person with integrity and probity, especially a high public official, would not accept  a P10 million discount from a developer which might well be having pending litigation.

SEN.PIMENTEL.  So, in effect, the witness who will testify on the discount, you will be presenting him or her twice because for two articles, is that it, Articles II and III?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Our position, Your Honor, is that if the witness can serve more than one purpose, then we might as well ask him at the first instance so as to save time.

SEN. PIMENTEL. Well, I just wanted a preview on where this is all going.  So, thank you very much.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER..  What is the pleasure of the counsel for the prosecution?

ATTY. PEREZ.  We have no further questions for this witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, before we start on our cross-examination, may we request for a five-minute recess, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you going to cross-examine now?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, if the Court so allows.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

SEN. SOTTO.  The defense is requesting for five minutes.  We are more liberal than that.  I move to suspend the trial for 15 minutes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You prepare for your cross.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is suspended.

It was 3:28 p.m.

At 4:05 p.m. the trial was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is resumed.  Prosecution.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, with the permission of the defense, we just want to request the Presiding Officer to excuse one of our witnesses, we may not call her today, Undersecretary Virginia Torres of the DOTC.  May we request, Mr. President, that she be excused.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any objection?  There being none, the request of the prosecution is approved.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Before we ;proceed with the cross-examination by the defense, may we recognize Senator Jinggoy Ejercito-Estrada.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The President Pro-Tempore has the floor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I just would like to ask some clarificatory questions addressed to the witness.  Mr. Witness, are you comfortable in speaking Tagalog?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ginoong testigo, kalian ba ho nagsimula ang pagpapatayo ng Belagio?

MR. NG.  Basically, I believe that Belagio should have been started somewhat around 4 to 5 years prior to its completion.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Doon sa 38 storey, iyong completion noon will take around 4 to 5 years?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, when did it start, 2003?  When did the construction of the Belagio start, what year?

MR. NG.  I do not know the exact date but it should be around 2003 or thereabouts, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Kailan po natapos?

MR. NG.  Around the end of 2008, early 2009.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ito pong nasa akin ngayon, iyong contract to buy and sell, ang nakalagay po na ang purchase price nitong penthouse, 38B ay nagkakahalaga ng P14,510,225.00.  Ang tanong ko ho, ito ba ay binili as a pre-selling price o nakatayo na po iyong condominium unit?  Sa aking pagkakaintindi, pag bumili ka ng condominium na hindi pa tapos, ang tawag po doon, pre-selling, mas mura po yon, tama po ba ako?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, iyong pag purchase ni Chief Justice Corona nitong penthouse, nitong 38B, ano ho ang presyong ibinigay ninyo sa kanya, pre-selling o hindi?

MR. NG.  The purchase price of the unit purchased by Spouses Corona would probably be close to completion date.  So, in terms of pricing, it should be close to completion.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, you would not consider it as a pre-selling.

MR. NG.  I would suppose that it wouldn’t exactly be considered fully completed as well.  So, it isn’t exactly what we would call a ready for occupancy unit.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You mentioned awhile ago in your statement, o nabanggit mo kanina sa iyong salaysay na mayroon pong 6 na penthouse, tama po ba ako, sa 3 palapag?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, that means, 36, 37 and 38.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  And you have 2 penthouse in each floor.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alam ninyo ba ho kung magkano ang penthouse doon sa ibang floor?  Dahil nais ko lang pong ikumpara iyong pagbili noong condominium ni Chief Justice Corona doon sa ibang penthouse.

MR. NG.  I am afraid, Your Honor, I do not have the information for that.

SEN ESTRADA.  You are not competent to answer my question.  So, more or less, if you just know.

MR. NG.  If I may, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Yes.

MR. NG.  If I may just at least mention what I am familiar with and basically a little understanding of the situation of the company.  In our side, which is finance, normally we sign documents and deed of sales of probably around almost 3,000 a year so we don’t really go into the detail of the price of each and every unit.  This is the responsibility of our marketing department.  Now, as I mentioned before, prior to coming to this—because I was subpoenaed—I did have some inquiries regarding the purchase and all I really know is what I have been told on this matter by our marketing.  Now, would it be okay if I then mention this or share this.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You are free to do so.

MR. NG.  Well, basically I was informed that normally we give almost all buyers a 15% discount for a shorter term payment.  In this case, the unit  was paid in roughly around a year, if I not mistaken.  So we would normally give around 15% to most if not practically all buyers.  Secondly, I was informed as well by our marketing department that there are certain marketing considerations as well that is intricate in this actual purchase.  You see, according to the explanation given to me by marketing, this Unit 38-B it actually had some technical and finishing issues at that time.  That they had actually determined that it would be to the best interest of selling or marketing that they would have to rectify the unit and do some reworks on the unit.  They did, however, say that fortunately, they were able to find a client, in this case would be the spouses and that rather than going through a costly rectification of the unit, they just decided to factor in this cost and lower the price accordingly.  So if we were to say, they would say that the unit is not exactly the same as other units because they intended to rectify it.  Another factor is that at the time of acquisition, they had this gloomy sentiment.  Because at 2008 at the time of acquisition that was the exact moment of the onset of the global financial crisis when Lehman brothers, Freddie Mac and Fanny May, had gone into, you know, you had bankruptcy, conservatorship and at that time, they had a very boorish attitude towards sales so they just decided to factor this in when they decided the price.  So they were responsible, marketing is responsible for the price that they have to decide for them to sell.  So it is really, how would you say, their lookout.  It is their decision, it is their judgment decision and they have to be accountable for their decision.  Now the exact intricacies coming into this exact discount computation I am afraid I would not be, you would say, competent enough to know the details.

SEN. ESTRADA.  One more point, Mr. Witness, aren’t you checking the financial background of your prospective buyers or you just take them at face value?

MR. NG.  Basically what we would have is that normally, if we just say normally we would just require the clients to give us postdated checks and therefore…

SEN. ESTRADA.  Without even verifying their financial background, Mr. Witness?

MR. NG.  We would have the buyer’s information sheet but again, a sale for us is a sale so if we would be able to procure the postdated checks and the likes, then we would proceed with the sale.  If they don’t have the financial capacity to pay, eventually these checks would bounce and we just have to forfeit and …

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, hihintayin niyo pang tumalbog iyong tseke bago kayo magko-conduct ng background information?  Is that my understanding.

MR. NG.  Well, it’s not exactly a background investigation, Your Honor, but rather when we have a purchase, we would have the buyer, they’d give us an understanding who they are, but we wouldn’t really go into their financial capabilities.  We would require them to give us post-dated checks.  And if they bounce, they would just forfeit the payments and the unit as well.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay.  My last question, pano ba makakakuha ng malaking discount sa Bellagio na 40% o 50% discount?

MR. NG.  Again, as a …

SEN. ESTRADA.  Iyon ba ay dahil may pwesto?  Dahil kilala ng developer?  O kahit sinong ordinaryong mamamayan pwedeng kumuha ng—mag-avail ng 50% discount?  Kasi nagtatanong ho sakin si Senator Drilon kung pano makakakuha ng malaking discount.

MR. NG.  Well, as I have previously explained, normally we give 15% off if you pay in a short period of time.  Even higher, if it’s paid fully in one instalment.

Now, the rest of the—well, if you would say we would rather term it as an adjustment in price, it’s primarily because of at least what they have told me is that there are issues for the unit.

So, if you were to come to us buying a unit with the very same unit—the way I believe at least is if you come to us and you buy the same unit that has the same very issues at the time that Lehman Brothers collapses, maybe we would give you—most likely, we would give you the whole consideration, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, ibig niyong sabihin, pag merong diperensya po yung unit, katulad ng sinasabi niyo, merong mga defects, mas malaki ang discount?  Tama po ba?

MR. NG.  Well, I would say it depends  I would say it depends on the actual amount that you need to rectify in a unit.  It would vary from unit to unit because …

SEN. ESTRADA.  Kung wala pong depekto iyong unit, magkano po yung pinakamalaking discount na pwede niyong ibigay?

MR. NG.  Again, I would have to say that I am only from __ cash discount and the payment term discount which is 15%, and I believe maybe up to 20 full cash.  But the intricacies of the marketing and their strategies, I would have to admit that I am not exactly that competent on that matter.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Doon sa mga VIPs na gustong bumili?

MR. NG.  I’m sorry, I wouldn’t be really familiar with that.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay.  Iyon lang po.  Maraming salamat po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.  The defense counsel may proceed with the cross-examination.

Just a minute.  The prosecution presented this evidence under Article III?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Article II, Your Honor.  Article II.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ah, Article II.  So, this is under Article II?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ah, okay.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind indulgence of the honourable Chairman.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Magandang hanpon po, Mr. Ng.

MR. NG.  Good afternoon, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Now, I heard you stated awhile ago that you are Vice President for Finance of Megaworld, am I right?

MR. NG.  I’m the Finance Director.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  What does that mean?  Your are not the vice president but—are they two different officers?

MR. NG.  Well, vice president for us is actually a rank.  So, we have higher ranks as you go up.  They have different titles.  In my case, it’s the Finance Director.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, you are higher than the vice president?

MR. NG.  That is right.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Okay.  Thank you.

Now, at the time—I’m showing to you this Deed of Absolute Sale which have been marked as Exhibit DDDD for the prosecution and Exhibit 30 for the defense.  Will you kindly go over the same and …

MR. NG.  Which—Pardon?  Which …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’ll show it to you.  I’ll show it to you.

MR. NG.  McKinley Hills.  Deed of Absolute Sale.  Yes.  Yes.  McKinley Hills.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Kindly go over the same, more particularly, page 2 thereof.

Now, I direct your attention to an item under acknowledgement, under number 2, Renato C. Corona, in his personal capacity, and as attorney-in-fact of Ma.Czarina R. Corona, did you notice that?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You have no reason to doubt.

MR. NG.  No, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That the Corona—that Renato C. Corona spoken of—you mentioned in here is Chief Justice Corona.

MR. NG. Are you …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You have no reason to doubt that that is the Chief Justice Corona.

MR. NG.  Well, I do not personally meet the people that they signed, but …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But that is not my question, my question to you is, there is a statement here, Renato C. Corona, in his personal capacity and as attorney-in-fact, for Ma. Czarina R. Corona, did you noticed that entry?

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is absolutely correct and right.

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That the Chief Justice Corona is acting as attorney-in-fact for Czarina R. Corona.

MR. NG.  Well, that Renato C. Corona, is acting …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Right.

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And did you come to know why was he attorney-in-fact?  Was it because Czarina Corona was abroad several years prior to this transaction?

MR. NG.  I am not familiar with the matter itself, but we refer to a special power of attorney …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

MR. NG.  … wherein Ma. Czarina Corona …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Are you through?

MR. NG.  Ma. Czarina Corona, of legal age, Filipino citizen, and permanent resident of United States hereby appoint and constitute my parents, Renato C. Corona and/or Ma. Cristina R. Corona to be my true and lawful attorneys.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, that is correct, ….

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  … based on your examination of the evidence you have gone over, in connection with this transaction, the Bellagio transaction—McKinley transaction.

I am showing to you a photocopy of special power of attorney, and mentioned in here, which we request, Your Honor, to be marked as Exhibit 39 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And ask you whether you have seen that document before, therefore you are acquainted with it.

MR. NG.  It is a copy.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  Now, so, when you stated, Mr. Ng, that the payments were made by Renato Corona, you did not bother to inquire, was this payment made by him, in his capacity as attorney-in-fact of Czarina or you just accepted the payment, or you have nothing to do at all with the payment?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, objection.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the ground for the objection?

ATTY. PEREZ.  The best evidence of the payor, Your Honor, would be the official receipt, and this witness testified on the official receipts. …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, let the witness, he is under cross.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer

MR. NG.  Pardon again, can you kindly …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I think, I was—my question is, when you were receiving payments from the Coronas, and you mentioned that the payment was made by Renato Corona, were you aware or not of that power or attorney?

You were?

Witness examining the same, Your Honor.

MR. NG.  Basically, can I just explain the system?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, just kindly answer my question.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Respond to the question of the counsel.

MR. NG.  Well, basically, the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And you can explain afterwards.

MR. NG.  The special power of attorney is dated after the last payment made.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  What do you mean by last payment, please?

MR. NG.  It was dated after the OR dates, the official receipts dates.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Will that matter whether it was prior or subsequent?

MR NG.  We were not informed at that point.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I see.  You wanted to let us know that you are not familiar with the facts surrounding the transaction.

MR. NG.  That is right, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  As in fact, you made mention a while ago that insofar as the pricing is concerned, this does not fall within the ambit of your authority.

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And that everything you mentioned about the pricing was based on the information gathered from the marketing department, am I right?

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And you came to the conclusion that so much amount had been paid, and payments were made by Renato Corona based also on what your marketing director told you?

MR. SY NG.  Again, on that part, yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No answer.  Kindly listen because I am already old.  I cannot remember my question.  Sa iba, ulyanin na itong 83 eh.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will you kindly, do we have any stenographic notes of the …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Wala po eh.  Wala po yata eh.  Kung mayroon I will …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Kindly repeat the question.  Kindly read the question ..

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will request that it be read from the transcript.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Read the question to the witness.  Stenographer read the question to the witness.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, Mr. President, we have stenographic notes.  We will just give the microphone to the stenographer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness, pakinggan mong mabuti iyong question para masasagot mo.

STENOGRAPHER.  Your Honor the question, And you came to the conclusion that so much amount has been paid and payments were made by Renato Corona based on your marketing director told you.

MR. NG.  No, sir.  We basically use our records as payments.  At the time the official receipts were issued, our accounting department has not yet been informed of the assignment which is why they reflect it to the official receipts under the name of the original buyer which was written in the buyer’s information sheet and the reservation agreement.  Once the deed of assignment is executed, that is the only time that we on file amend our records, and, therefore, any official receipts that are issued afterwards would be under the name of an assignee.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Why do you agree to an amendment or a correction of the receipts?

MR. NG.  No, not amendment.  We would amend our record on file and any Ors issued after an assignment would be in the name of the assignee.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, it is probable that the original receipt may not be in the name of the real owner, am I right?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Hypothetical, Your Honor, objection.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer, if he knows.

MR. NG.  Well, the official receipts in actual practice, sometimes you would see that the name in the official receipts would be some of them would be in the name of an original buyer and some of them will be in the name of an assignee.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Clearly indicating that there may be a difference in the name stated in the receipt and the person actually making the payment.

MR. NG.  Hypothetically, yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, thank you.  Now, let’s go to this Bellagio property.  Have you examined this Bellagio property before and after the sale in favour of the Corona’s?

MR. NG.  How would you examine, physically visit the unit or…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I do not know, that is for you, you are a businessman.  Have you gone there personally?

MR. NG.  I have not gone to the unit personally.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You have not seen it personally.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Even at the time that the transaction took place.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So you would not know when it was purchased it was in skeleton form.

MR. NG.  I wouldn’t know, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Alright.  As of today, before you took the witness stand, have you gone to the place?

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I suppose you have not seen what it is.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You do not know whether it is habitable or an improved unit.

MR. NG. I wouldn’t know, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You will not be able to tell the honourable court whether it is still in skeletal form.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Alright.  So how about the reasonableness of the amount that your company charge the buyer, did you examine the condition of the unit with the amount paid?  I suppose not.

MR. NG.  I did not, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You did not.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is not part of your function.

MR. NG.  That is not part of my function.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is part of the marketing department.

MR. NG.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Now, when for the last time did you have a talk with the marketing people in connection with the Bellagio unit, Mr. Ng?

MR. NG.  Well, I had talked to them, well, when I received the subpoena.  I have inquired with them, that is the time.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So it is only about two or three days ago.

MR. NG.  18th of January.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.  Prior to that, you never did have any conference with them.

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You did not ascertain to them what is the condition…

MR. NG.  No, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So you would not know whether this is still in its skeletal form and inhabited.

MR. NG.  I wouldn’t know, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So you will not be able to tell this honourable court whether it is occupied or habitated as of now.

MR. NG.  I would not, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you very much.  That is all with the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  The Minority Floor Leader.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Good afternoon, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I would like to ask some clarificatory questions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  You have two minutes.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Mr. Witness, good afternoon.

You were looking at some receipts awhile ago, the yellow receipts.  That refers to the Mckinley property, is that correct?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Para lang maintindihan natin iyong proseso ano.  First question muna, cash ba iyon or tsek iyong pinangbayad doon sa receipt?  Naka-indicate ba iyon sa receipt?  Would you have any knowledge?

MR. NG.  Based on the official receipts, there is an indication BPI which would mean that it was paid by a check from BPI.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  And would it say kung kaninong checking account?

MR. NG.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  But you would have the records, pati check numbers?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Yes.

MR. NG.  All of these are supposed to be in the official receipt.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Okay.  Iyong proseso lang ano, kung bibili ka ng condominium unit  so in that case installment ito ano?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.P.).  Okay.  Hindi mo naman basta ia-approve iyong instalment sale ng hindi mo muna nakikita kung capable to pay ang bumibili.  Tama po ba?  If I come to you and say I want to buy a condo and nagkasundo tayo sa price and I say instalment, you will still ask me if I am capable to pay, right, or my capacity to pay?

MR. NG.  Well, Your Honor, normally if someone would come to us to purchase, well, this is handled by our marketing and then the main consideration is that they would execute the reservation, along with a reservation agreement and the reservation fee or the first instalment basically or first payment thereof.  Then once we have that, most of the time require that they submit. post-dated checks for the rest of the balances.

In terms of actually going into the capacity …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Let me clarify lang, no.  Kung cash ibabayad, wala nang problema iyon because you do not even have to know kung capable to buy.  Precisely may cash siya no.  Pero kung cash ibabayad, he can go to a bank and borrow money or pwedeng in-house sa inyo no?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  So, etong sinasabi mo na post-dated checks, eto yung in-house financing niyo?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Okay.  So, ang sinasabi mo, basta’t magbigay ng post-dated checks, so, you mean, pagka-nagbigay ng post-dated check kahit sino hindi niyo na titingnan kung capable siya?

MR. NG.  If I may explain again.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Yes, please.

MR. NG.  Most of the time, as mentioned before, they made reference to a pre-selling which we are still constructing something.  So, at that point, there is, in a financial point of view, there is actually no risk because you are actually paying us while we are still building something for you.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Okay.  So, pag tumalbog iyong tseke, di hindi mo ibibigay.  Saka contract to sell naman iyan, hindi naman contract of sale, right?

MR. NG.  That is right.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Okay.  So, what’s the policy of your company?  Nagba-background check pa ba sila or basta’t meron kang tseke, tatanggapin mo na iyon.

MR. NG.  We would not really go into going to a background check.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Okay.  Then last line of questioning, usual ba iyong may nagre-reserve o may nagbibigay ng tseke, then before mo makuha iyong titulo o iyong condominium certificate, papapalitan iyong pangalan?

MR. NG.  From time to time we do see that.  We do see some of the clients assigned units.  Some of them would be—

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  When you say assign, you’re not using assignment in the legal term which in the legal sense which means sale no?  You’re simply saying the layman’s term na ibibigay mo don or pangalan niya?

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  In law kasi, ‘pag sinabi mong in-assign mo, binenta mo sa kanya e.  So, when you’re using the word assignment when counsel for the defense was talking to you, you’re simply saying that kung nasa pangalan ni X, gusto niya ilipas sa pangalan ni Y, iyon ang tawag niyong assignment?

MR. NG.  Well, I have to admit that I’m not very familiar with legal matters.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  No, what do you mean by assignment?

MR. NG.  When you have an assignment, we are putting the name of the unit to whoever they’re assigning to.  And if the unit is not yet fully paid, then they would have to assume the obligation of …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  It doesn’t matter to you how it was transferred, whether it’s a donation, whether sa pangalan talaga niya binili iyon, whether he sold it to the—we’re using assignment in a generic sense.

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Who else would want to ask questions?

The Gentleman from Iloilo?

SEN. DRILON.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Just a few clarificatory questions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have two minutes.

SEN. DRILON.  First of all, in this Exhibit DDDD, in the acknowledgement, it says Renato C. Corona in his personal capacity and as attorney-in-fact for Ma. Czarina R. Corona.  Can you explain to us what this means?

MR. NG.  I’m afraid I’m not very familiar with the legal matters, Sir.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  Because on your part, it says Giovanni Sy Ng in his capacity as Finance Director of Megaworld.  And in the case of Renato C. Corona, it says, Renato C. Corona in his personal capacity and as attorney-in-fact for Ma. Czarina R. Corona.  You know what this means?

MR. NG.  Well, that he is signing in his personal capacity as attorney-in-fact.

SEN. DRILON.  He is signing in his personal capacity as attorney-in-fact.  Does that mean that he also own the property?

MR. NG.  I wouldn’t know that, Sir.

SEN. DRILON.  So, I’ll just ask you a few questions.  Do you confirm that, in fact, payments were made by Renato Corona and Christina Corona for both the McKinley Hill property and the Bellagio Condominium?

MR. NG.  Your Honor, I can only refer to the ORs on file and the …

SEN. DRILON.  And the ORs on file marked as the series FFF and CCC would in fact, confirm that?

MR. NG.  The ORs would stated the names Corona, Renato C. and Cristina R.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  Now, you would confirm that a deed of assignment was executed between spouses Corona and Czarina Corona, the assignee, on October 3, 2008, marked in fact, as GGGG.

MR. NG.  We have that on file, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Answer, yes or no.

MR. NG.  Yes, Sir.

SEN. DRILON.  Alright.  Now, you are a signatory in the deed of assignment, as conforme, what does this mean?

MR. NG.  Well, I can only answer for all practicality, why we do that is that, normally, we want to know on record, who we will transfer the title to.

So, as a policy, we usually require that for any assignment, the company conforms to it, so that we, on file, know who we will transfer the title to.

SEN. DRILON.  Alright.  So, in this particular case, you knew the transferor to be Renato C. Corona, and the transferee to be Czarina Corona.

MR. NG.  Well, in all honesty, when we signed these documents, it is just sent to my office to sign, I do not personally meet the clients.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  Now, what about the other signatories?  Were they present?  You would not know?

MR. NG.  I would not be there at that time when it was signed.

SEN. DRILON.  Have you ever met Chief Justice Corona?

MR. NG.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  And the wife …

MR. NG.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  You did not have an opportunity to inquire why they executed the assignment between them.

MR. NG.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Now, the purchase price stated at P6,196,575, for 203 square meters, a simple computation would indicate that the unit per square meter, it would cost P30,525, would you confirm that?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness, what is your answer?

SEN. DRILON.  It is a mathematical computation.

MR. NG.  P30,525.

SEN. DRILON.  P30,525.

MR. NG.  By dividing the total purchase price with the unit, …

SEN. DRILON.  Sorry.

MR. NG.  With the area, yes.  By dividing the total purchase price with …

SEN. DRILON.  By the area.

MR. NG.  Indicated in deed of absolute sale with the area of 203.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.  And the price is P30,525 per square meter.

MR. NG.  P30,525, I presume.

SEN. DRILON.  On or about that time, did you execute, I assume, similar sale agreements.

MR. NG.  Sir, we sign normally, but I do not really remember anymore.

SEN. DRILON.  Would a price of P30,525 per square meter be a normal price?

MR. NG.  I am afraid I am not familiar with the pricing.

SEN. DRILON.  Alright.  Do you confirm that there was a discount here, on the basis of this document marked EEEE?

MR. NG.  Which is the …

SEN. DRILON.  Which is the request for reservation and offer to purchase.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  A discount of P2,313,388 pesos was granted.

MR. NG.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  That is all, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the prosecution.

ATTY. PEREZ.  Your Honor, we have no redirect questions for this witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you discharging this witness?

ATTY. PEREZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, please, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness is excused.  Next witness.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Mr. President.  Before we call on our next witness, may we just request that another witness of the prosecution, Ms. Edita Orcilla, Chief, Document Division of the  NSO be excused for today.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are presenting her as a witness.

REP. TUPAS.  Not anymore.  Not anymore.  Not for today, not for today, at least.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are allowing her to go.

REP. TUPAS.  Please, yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, the witness mentioned is excused for today’s hearing.

REP. TUPAS.  And now, we want to call on our second witness for today, Mr. President, Your Honors.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  The name is Mr. Constante Caluya Jr., the Registrar of Deeds of Makati City.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness enter the room and place him on the witness stand and swear him.

REP. TUPAS.  To conduct the direct examination is Congresswoman Marlene Primicias-Agabas, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the Lady Member of Congress do the examination.

THE SECRETARY.  Please stand up.  Mr. Witness, please raise your right hand.  Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in this impeachment case?

ATTY. CALUYA. Yes, Madam.

THE SECRETARY.  So help you God.

REP. AGGABAS.  Your Honor, may I proceed.  Mr. Witness, will you kindly state your name, your address, your occupation, and other personal circumstances.

WITNESS.  Yes.  Your Honor.  Your Honor, I am Atty. Constante Caluya Jr, Registrar of Deeds, Makati City.  We hold office at the 5th Floor, Makati City Hall, J. P. Rizal St., Makati City.

REP. AGABAS.  Your Honors, we offer the testimony of the witness for the following purposes:  One, to establish that he is the incumbent Register of Deeds for the City of Makati and as such he is the official custodian of certificates of title evidencing ownership of real properties in the city of Makati, and other related documents; two, to prove that in the register of deeds of the City of Makati, respondent Chief Justice Renato Corona and Mrs. Cristina Corona are the owners of condominium unit 31B located at the Columns, Ayala Avenue, evidenced by Condominium Certificate 85716; three, to identify and authenticate documents in his official custody pertaining to ownership of condominium unit in the name of Chief Justice Renato Corona and spouse, covered by CCT 85716; and four, to establish material allegations in Article II of the verified complaint.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. AGABAS.  Mr. Witness, will you kindly inform this honorable court what is your present employment?

ATTY. CALUYA.  I am the Register of Deeds of Makati City, Ma’am.

REP. AGGABAS.  When did you become the Register of Deeds for the city of Makati?

ATTY. CALUYA.  I assumed my post last November 2, 2011.

REP. AGABAS.  Before you became the Register of Deeds for the city of Makati, what other positions, if any, did you occupy?

ATTY. CALUYA.  I was the Deputy Register of Deeds of Quezon City since 1999.

REP. AGABAS.  As the Register of Deeds for the city of Makati, what are your primary duties and responsibilities?

ATTY. CALUYA.  Yes, Ma’am.  Our office is the custodian of all transfer certificates of title and condominium certificates of title of properties situated in Makati City, Ma’am.  We are also tasked with the registration of transactions involving these properties.

REP. AGGABAS.  Mr. Witness, why are you here in today’s hearing of the impeachment court?

ATTY. CALUYA.  I am here In compliance with the subpoena issued by this impeachment court, Your Honor.

REP. AGABAS.  Do you have a copy of the said subpoena with you, if any?

ATTY. CALUYA.  Yes, Ma’am.

REP. AGABAS  Your Honors, permission to approach the witness.  Your Honors, the witness handed to this representation his copy of the subpoena ad testifcandum et duces tecum.  Mr. Witness, in the said subpoena, you were required to bring with you the original of condominium certificate of title 85716 in the name of Cristina R. Corona married to Renato C. Corona.  Iin relation to this order, what document or documents, if any, did you bring with you?

ATTY. CALUYA.  I have with me, Ma’am, the original copy of CCT No. 85716.

REP. AGGABAS.  Can you please hand it to me. Your Honors, may I make of record that the witness handed to this Representation the original copy of Condominium Certificate of Title No. 85716 in the name of Cristina R. Corona married to Renato C. Corona, pertaining to Unit 31-B, one-bedroom type with an area of 48 square meters located on the 31st floor with one parking unit of the Columns, Ayala Avenue, entered at the city of Makati on the 3rd day of November 2004.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What village?

REP. AGABAS.  The Columns, Ayala Avenue, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Columns, yes.  Proceed.

REP. AGABAS.  Your Honor, we would like to manifest that during the pre-marking, a photocopy of the original consisting of four pages was marked as Exhibit JJJ, JJJ-1 and JJJ-3 inclusive for the prosecution.  Mr. Witness, do you have a copy of the said document?

ATTY. BALUYUT.  Yes.

REP. AGABAS.  Mr. Witness, will you kindly tell this honourable court what is the relation of that photocopy to the original.

MR. BALUYUT.  The photocopies are true and faithful reproduction of the original.

REP. AGABAS.  Your Honors please, may we request the defense to please also compare the original with the photocopy and tell to this honourable court whether or not it is a true and faithful reproduction of the original.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense may do so if they wish.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection to the substitution, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. AGABAS.  Mr. Witness, also in the said subpoena, you were required by this honourable court to bring with you the original of the deed of absolute sale and the certificate authorizing registration issued by the Bureau of Internal Revenue.

MR. BALUYUT.  Yes, ma’am.

REP. AGABAS.  In relation to this order, what document or documents did you bring, if any?

MR. BALUYUT.  I have with me the deed of absolute sale and the original of the certificate authorizing registration.

REP. AGABAS.  Your Honors, may i make of record that the witness handed to this Representation the original deed of absolute sale dated October 1, 2004 entered between Community Innovations Inc. as seller and Cristina R. Corona married to Renato C. Corona, purchaser, pertaining to Unit No. 31-B, one-bedroom type, 48 square meters, more or less, with one parking slot for and in consideration of the total sum of P3,588,931.82.  Your Honors, we would like also to manifest unto this honourable court that during the pre-marking, a photocopy of the said document was marked as Exhibit KKK, KKK-1 to KKK-3 consisting of four pages for the prosecution, Your Honor.  Mr. Witness, do you have a copy of the said document?

MR. BALUYUT.  Yes, ma’am.

REP. AGABAS.  What is the relation of that document to the original, Mr. Witness?

MR. BALUYUT.  Exhibit KKK is a true and faithful reproduction of the original except for the size.

REP. AGABAS.  Your Honors, we would like to request the counsel for the defense to please make a comparison as to whether or not the said photocopy is a faithful reproduction of the original.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense may do so if they wish.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, if the purpose is substitution, we have no objection.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So counsel may proceed.

REP. AGABAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Lastly, the witness handed to this Representation the original certificate authorizing registration issued by the BIR in the name of Cristina Corona in the amount of P3,588,931. Your Honors, a photocopy of the said document was also marked as Exhibit LLL, LLL-1 for the prosecution.

Mr. Witness, do you have a copy of the said photocopy?

ATTY. BALUYOT.  Yes, ma’am.

REP. AGABAS.  What is the relation of that photocopy to the original, Mr. Witness?

ATTY. BALUYOT.  It is also a faithful reproduction of the original, ma’am.

REP. AGABAS.  May I request the counsel for the defense to make a stipulation as to whether or not said photocopy is a faithful reproduction of the original.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If the purpose is substitution, Your Honor, we have no objection?  It’s a faithful reproduction of the original.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel may proceed.

REP. AGABAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  That is all for the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any cross?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No cross, Your Honor.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What’s the pleasure of the prosecution?  Are you discharging this witness?

REP. AGABAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness is discharged from the witness stand..  (Gavel)

ATTY. BALUYOT.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Next witness.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we call now on our third witness for the day, from Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, Mr. Aniceto Bisnar Jr.  May we call on now on the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Aniceto Bisnar Jr. is called to the witness stand.  Take the stand to be sworn in to testify in this court.

REP. TUPAS.  May we request that Atty. Jose Antonio Hernandez be recognized to conduct the direct examination for the prosecution, Mr. President.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Atty. Hernandez is recognized.  (Gavel)

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Where’s the witness?  Where is your witness?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  I believe he is being call, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  On the way?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Mr. Witness, please rise and raise your right hand to swear.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth in this impeachment proceeding?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  So help you God.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed, counsel.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Mr. Witness, could you please state, for the record, your name, you age, address and your current occupation.

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, I am Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr., 47 years old with address at 31st Floor, Ayala Tower One Building, Makati.  I’m presently Vice President of Ayala Land under the strategic Landbank Management Group.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Your Honor, we’re presenting this witness for the following purposes:  No. 1, to prove that Christina Corona and Chief Justice Renato Corona purchased a condominium unit at the Spanish Bay Tower, Bonifacio Ridge in Fort Bonifacio in the year 2005 for over P9.1 million; No. 2, to have the witness identify and authenticate documents relating to that purchase; and No. 3, in the end to prove that Chief Justice Corona committed culpable violation of the Constitution and/or betrayal of public trust when he failed to include this condominium in his SALN for the years 2005 to 2009; and lastly, to prove other matters relating to the details of the foregoing and in general to support the complaint for impeachment.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What are the other matters?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Just the details of the purchase, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Now, Mr. Bisnar, you stated that you work for Ayala Land Incorporated.  Before working for Ayala Land, what other positions did you hold, if any?

MR. BISNAR.  I was seconded by Ayala Land in Fort Bonifacio Develoment Corporation, way back in October of 2004 up to July 2008.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And what exactly was your position at Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation.

MR. BISNAR.  I was designated as the head of commercial operations.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  What is the relationship, if any, of Ayala Land, with Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation?

MR. BISNAR.  Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation was—Ayala was part of the controlling company, Bonifacio Land Corporation, which owns 55% of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation.  The other 45 % is owned, Your Honor, by BCDA.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And going back to—when you were the head of commercial operations of Fort Bonifacio or FBDC, for brevity, could you tell us what were some of your primary functions and duties in this position.

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, as head of commercial operations, I was overseeing and managing the planning, development, estate management, sales and marketing of commercial lots, office spaces, leasing of properties and sales of projects of FBDC.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okayl.

MR. BISNAR.  Part of my duties then was also to sign contracts in behalf of FBDC.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  And so, you are here before this court by virtue of subpoena.

MR. BISNAR. Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  Now, the subpoena—these properties subject of the subpoena is unit 1902 Spanish Bay Tower, Bonifacio Ridge, located at The Fort, Taguig City, covered by CCT No. 5582, in the name of Cristina R. Corona, married to Renato Corona.  Are you familiar with these properties, Sir?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Why are you familiar with?

MR. BISNAR.  It was one of the projects that we took over from Metro Pacific, when Ayala Land came back into Bonifacio Global City.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And this project is—is it a condominium or a piece of land?

MR. BISNAR.  It is a condominium project, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And where exactly is this condominium located?

MR. BISNAR.  The condominium project is located along First Avenue near the corner of 31st St., near the office of FBDC in Bonifacio Global City.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  Just by way of reference, could you tell us what are some of the familiar landmarks which are nearby.

MR. BISNAR.  Bonifacio Ridge Condominium is just beside Manila Golf, it is along the boundary of Bonifacio Global City and Manila Golf.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  And was this condominium project finished, Sir?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor, the project was completed way back in 2005.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  The subject unit is unit 1902, on what floor is this unit?

MR. BISNAR.  The unit, Your Honor, is at the 19th floor of the 20-level condominium tower called the Spanish Bay Tower.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  19th floor out of how many total storeys?

MR. BISNAR.  The building has—for marketing purposes has 20 levels of residential condominium units, although there are no 4th floor and 13th floor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  So, it is on the 19th floor of a 20-storey building, is that correct?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  And who purchased this unit 1902?

MR. BISNAR.  The unit 1902 Spanish Bay Tower was acquired by a certain Cristina R. Corona.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And when was this purchase made, Sir.

MR. BISNAR.  The purchase was done in October 14,2005, with the signing of the deed of absolute sale.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Okay.  Was the purchase price paid in full?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Was the purchase price paid in cash or in instalment?

MR. BISNAR.  The condominium unit was paid under the cash category of payment terms.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Could you explain that to us, what do you mean exactly when you say the cash category?

MR. BISNAR.  The unit was acquired in an almost cash basis, with the buyer, issuing cheques for payment of the unit.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  So, in that case, you have the same terms and condition as if it were a cash purchase, is that correct?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.  It was considered as a normal cash payment term as compared to instalment payment which may take several years.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And you said that it was paid in full.  How can you be sure that it was paid in full, sir?

MR. BISNAR.  We have the deed of absolute sale, Your Honor, and the CCT transferred to the owner.  We will not transfer the CCT unless the owner has fully paid his obligations related to the deed of sale.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And offhand, do you recall the purchase price for this unit, sir?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, the unit was sold for P9.15 million in 2005.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Now, Mr. Bisnar, the subpoena issued by the court asked you to bring documents relating to this purchase.  Did you bring those documents with you?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, I brought documents related to the unit 1902, Spanish Bay Tower of Bonifacio Ridge condominium.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ. May I approach the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  For the record, Your Honor, the documents brought by the witness and showed to counsel were pre-marked as the prosecution’s Exhibits QQQ up to ZZZ.  Now, Mr. Bisnar, going to your documents, you stated that the Spanish Bay Tower unit 1902 …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What are these documents?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  We will identify them one by one, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Thank you.  You earlier stated that the unit 1902 was paid in full.  What documents did you bring to evidence the payment in full?

MS. BISNAR.  Your Honor, I have a copy of the original deed of sale and also receipts for the payment of the unit.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Could you produce the receipts first please.  Your Honor, for the record, witness is producing three separate receipts which have been previously marked as Exhibits QQQ, RRR and SSS for the prosecution.  We request the defense to confirm that the marked exhibits are faithful reproductions  of the originals.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection to the substitution, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you going to adopt the document as your exhibit, Counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  As of this moment, No, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, proceed.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Aside from the three receipts you showed to me, Mr. Bisnar, is there any other receipt which you did not include in the pre-marking which you have before you today?

MS. BISNAR.  Your Honor, I just have a Xerox copy of the provisional receipt dated March 31 2004.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  For the record, witness is producing the original document entitled provisional receipt no. 3762 dated March 31, 2004, received from Renato C. Corona in the amount of P2, 200,000.00.  And we would request that the marking be done on the photocopy after comparison.  That the marking be our Exhibit SSS-1.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We admit, Your Honor, that the document being identified is a faithful reproduction of its original.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And the deed of absolute sale which you produced—for the record, witness also produced a document entitled deed of absolute sale which was previously marked as the prosecution’s Exhibit UUU.  On Annex C of the deed of absolute sale, there is the purchase price which is P9,159,940.00 and exclusive of Value-Added Tax in the amount of P915,994.00.  We request that counsel after comparison.

On the third to the last page of this document, Mr. Bisnar, there appears signatures above the typewritten words, Aniceto Bisnar Jr. and Lourdes R. Reyes.  Do you know whose signatures these are?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Whose signatures are these?

MR. BISNAR.  That’s my signature and my colleague, the CFO, Lourdes R. Reyes.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And how do you know that this is Ms. Reyes’s signature?

MR. BISNAR.  I’ve been working with her for several years in FBDC.  Yes, I’m familiar with the signature, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Again, for the record, Your Honor, that was Exhibit UUU for the prosecution.  Now, another document you brought, Mr. Bisnar, is a one-page document entitled Buyer’s Information Sheet. Would you please produce that.  For the record, witness is handing over a document entitled Buyer’s Information Sheet which was previously marked as our Exhibit TTT.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection to the substitution, if Your Honor please.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Mr. Bisnar, another document you presented appears to be photocopies of two checks both dated January 28, 2005, both paid to the order of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, the account name is Renato C. Corona and the amounts of P290,007.40 for the first one; for the second one, P915,994.00 which was pre-marked as our Exhibits VVV and VVV-1.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Mr. Bisnar, what does this document represent? MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, the checks were issued to FBDC in payment of the VAT and transaction taxes.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Mr. Bisnar, another document that you presented is a one-page document under the heading Bonifacio Ridge which has the entry breakdown of other charges with a total P290,007.40 will just be marked as our Exhibit WWW.  Produce that document, sir.  And what is the relevance of this document, Mr. Bisnar?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, that shows the breakdown of the transaction cost that the buyer has to shoulder.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And did the buyer shoulder these costs?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  After comparison by the defense counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection.  Your Honor, please, no objection to the substitution.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Mr. Bisnar, you also presented a document consisting of two pages, entitled, Receipt for Title, and its attachment which appear to be photocopies of a driver’s license and a passport.  Could you tell us the relevance of this document in relation to the transaction?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, this document shows that the buyer has received the buyer’s copy of the owner’s duplicate of Condominium Certificate Title No. 5582, issued by the Register of Taguig, Metro Manila in the name of Christina R. Corona, covering a condominium unit 1902, with an area of 113 square meters, and located at 19th floor Spanish Bay, Bonifacio Ridge, Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, Metro Manila.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  So, it simply means that they received the title already?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And the attached photocopies of the driver’s license and the passport, who is this person whose identification appears on the attachment?

MR. BISNAR.  The identification states the name of Ma. Christina Rocco Corona.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Your Honor, this was previously marked as our Exhibit XXX and XXX-1.  We respectfully request that the counsel compare the photocopies with the original.

Last two documents, Your Honor.

You also presented, Mr. Bisnar, a one-page document entitled Certificate Authorizing Registration which was previously marked as our Exhibit YYY.  Could you produce that document?  Could you tell us what is the relevance of this document in relation to the transaction?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, the CAR signifies that all the taxes due to the government has been paid which is a requirement for the transfer of the Condominium Certificate of Title.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And who paid for these taxes, sir?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, the buyer paid for the transaction taxes.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  On the face of the document, would you be able to tell us how much the buyer paid in taxes?

MR. BISNAR.  It says here that for documentary stamp tax, a total of P457,000, certification fee of P137 and other fees of P100 for securing this CAR from the BIR.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  We request the defense counsel to compare the marked exhibit with the original.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection to the substitution, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  The last document would be the document entitled Documentary Stamp Tax Declaration/Return which was previously marked as our Exhibits ZZZ and ZZZ-1.  ZZZ-1 being the document entitled BIR Tax Payment Deposit Slip.  Could you please produce those documents, sir.

For the record, this document previously marked as our Exhibits ZZZ and ZZZ-1.  We request counsel to compare the marked exhibit with the document presented by the witness.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No objection to the proposed substitution, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let it be recorded.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Thank you.  Now, Mr. Bisnar, you said that the title to the property has been turned over to Mrs. Corona, is that correct?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And aside from the expenses that they have to incur in purchasing the property, could there be any other expenses that they would have to incur being property owners?

MR. BISNAR.  After acquisition, the expenses that they have to shoulder is the condominium association dues.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  And how much would this condominium association dues be?

MR. BISNAR.  Roughly, Your Honor, it is about P9,100  per month.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  That is for their unit of 113 square meters?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  I have no more questions, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Cross.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, may we request and/or ask that Atty. Esguerra of the defense panel be allowed to conduct the cross examinarion.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  With the permission of the honorable Presiding Officer and the presently—Members of the impeachment court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  I did not quite get your name.  You are?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, I am Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And how long have you been connected with the company, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation?

MR. BISNAR.  I was seconded way back in 2004 to 2008.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  What exactly is your position in this company now, after having been seconded?

MR. BISNAR.  Right now, Your Honor, I am with Ayala Land, back to Ayala Land, in the strategic plan, bank management group.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  During the development of this project, what is the name again of this development project?

MR. BISNAR.  The condominium project is called the Spanish Bay Tower at Bonifacio Ridge Condominium.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Were you involved in any way in the development, Mr. Bisnar?

MR. BISNAR.  I was overseeing the completion of the project since we had taken over Bonifacio Global City.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  The unit in question, which according to you, on the basis of the documents you have identified this afternoon, to have been sold by your company to Mrs. Cristina R. Corona, have you seen the unit?

MR. BISNAR.  Not exactly the unit, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Not exactly the unit.  And you did mention that apart from the cost in acquiring this particular unit from your company by Mrs. Corona, there were additional costs by way of condominium dues, association dues, did I hear you right?

MS. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And are you monitoring the payments of the condominium dues or association dues by the unit owner, now Mrs. Corona?

MS. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So, you do not know whether or not Mrs. Corona is actually paying the dues since the purported acquisition of this unit in 2005?

MS. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Thank you.  Would you know when the acceptance of the unit has been made, the turnover exactly, the unit being handed physically to Mrs. Corona?

MS. BISNAR.  The unit was turned over sometime in 2005, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Is there a notice of acceptance that should accompany this delivery, Mr. Bisnar?

MS. BISNAR.  Usually, Your Honor, our people from our sales and marketing services group accompany the buyer so that they can see the unit and see if there are defects that need correction and other things that need to be corrected before they accept the unit.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Let me be specific, Mr. Bisnar.  Is there a notice of acceptance of the unit evidenced in writing that you have in your possession?

MR. BISNAR.  I do not have a copy of an exact acceptance of the physical …

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So, you are just telling the honourable court, based on your memory on your recollection when the unit was actually physically delivered to Mrs. Corona?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And normally, ordinarily, Mr. Bisnar, is it not that there is a notice of acceptance that must be signed by the buyer when the unit is physically transferred to the buyer by the developer?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Objection, Your Honor, already answered.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  No, it is not.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.  The question is different.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor, the buyer is usually written that the unit is available for acceptance.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And you do not have that again.

MR. BISNAR.  I think we have documents stating that the buyer was informed that the unit was available.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  That the unit is available, Mr. Bisnar, is different from the unit being accepted.  And what I am asking you very, very clearly, I don’t know if you understand me clearly, is a notice of acceptance that you may have in your possession as representative of the developer to show when exactly Mrs. Corona received the unit.

MS. BISNAR.  I don’t have a specific record as of now, Your Honor, of the exact date that the unit was accepted in 2005.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  That will be fine, Mr. Bisnar.  Can you go to that particular document, may I ask the good counsel for the prosecution who has examined you to hand you over what has been marked as receipt for title.  I think this is XXX.  That document has been marked, the document is entitled receipt for title under the letterhead of Ayala Land Inc., Exhibit XXX for the prosecution.  Can you hand it over to him, please.  Thank you.  Do you have it with you now, Mr. Bisnar?

MS. BISNAR.  Yes.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  May I invite your attention to the date indicated.  And this is handwritten in that particular entry, date, there is adate there 4 July 2006.  Can you confirm that?

MS. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So, while the unit has been sold in 2005 according to you, on the basis of the deed of absolute sale, the title was actually given and received by Mrs. Corona only on 4 July 2006, am I right?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY.ESGUERRA.  Thank you.  Now, the delivery of the title, Mr. Bisnar, the date rather of the delivery of the title evidenced by this Exhibit XXX for the prosecution would not be the same date as the acceptance date or the physical delivery of the unit.  Would I be right in saying so?

MR. BISNAR.  It is different, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So it would be possible that the unit was physically delivered although you do not have the notice of acceptance sometime after the delivery of the title.

MR. BISNAR.  The unit was received before the delivery of the title.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  But you don’t have the acceptance, that is what I’m saying.  How possible is it, therefore, Mr. Bisnar, that the title may have been received on this particular date or July 2006 but the unit was actually physically transferred or received by the buyer  only after.

MR. BISNAR.  Usually, Your Honor, the buyer accepts the unit before we even give the title to them.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  That’s our problem, you are only basing your testimony in this particular aspect on your recollection.  Am I right?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Thank you.  Now, have you seen any copy of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth of Chief Justice Renato Corona

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Objection, Your Honor.  It is beyond the scope of the direct examination.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Well, Your Honor, the purpose was very clear earlier—that they are presenting this witness to show that this particular unit was only reported in 2010 not in 2005.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness will answer.

MR. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor, I have not seen any statement of assets and liabilities…

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  By the way, before coming over, did you ever talk to any one of the prosecutors on the subject matter of your testimony?

MR. BISNAR.  We conferred, Your Honor, when we were bringing the documents  last January 19 and January 24.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  When was this conference that you had with the prosecutors?

MR. BISNAR.  As I said, they conferred with us, Your Honor, when we brought the documents and they examined the documents that was subpoenaed by the Senate.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Where was this?

MR. BISNAR.  Here at the Senate.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Where did you meet with them, in the holding room?

MR. BISNAR.  At the holding room, I think, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Who among the good prosecutors were with you in that conference?

MR. BISNAR.  Atty. Noni Hernandez shortly met with us, sir.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  It’s me, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Very good.  Any other from the prosecution?

MR. BISNAR.  None that I can remember, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So it was only the good counsel now here in the rostrum of the prosecution who was with you in that conference.

MR. BISNAR.  Together with my other colleagues in Ayala Land, sir, when we were seated at the witness waiting area, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Did the good counsel explain to you the subject matter of your testimony?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.  He explained that we are being subpoenaed in relation to the impeachment case.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  The details of your possible testimony, Mr. Bisnar, were those discussed?

MR. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.  He browsed on the documents that we had and just advised us to tell the truth.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Did the good counsel ever machine copied these documents that you brought?

MR. BISNAR.  During the marking of the documents, Your Honor, on January 24 when we came back, we presented the documents for marking together with the defense and prosecution representatives .

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Thank you, Mr. Bisnar.  Going back to the unit.  You said that you have not visited the unit, I mean the one, the subject matter of this examination.

MR. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And, therefore, you would not know whether or not the unit is bare?  Skeletal is the word used to describe the unit insofar as the other condominium units are concerned.  It is bare, you do not know.

MR. BISNAR.  When we sold the units of the whole Bonifacio Ridge, it was semi-finished.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Semi-finished.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What do you mean by semi-finished?

MR. BISNAR.  There are wooden plank floors, Your Honor, together with individual airconditioning units, some built-in cabinets, all the units are two-bedrooms uniform, average size of 113 square meters, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The floors are completed?

MR. BISNAR.  The floors, Your Honor are completed with ..

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The partitions were completed?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor, there are partitions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The walls are completed?

MR. BISNAR.  The walls have basic paint, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What do you mean by basic paint?

MR. BISNAR.  A few layers of paint, Your Honor, but the buyer has the option to repaint it.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And the ceilings?

MR. BISNAR.  The ceilings are fixed, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And the fixtures?

MR. BISNAR.  Just the basic fixtures, Your Honor, are the built-in cabinets, like the faucets and other finishings of the basic …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Lighting system?

MR. BISNAR.  Basic light only, Your Honor, not the expensive ones.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed, counsel.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Mr. Bisnar, you said you have not seen the unit.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And the details which you just testified in describing that the unit is semi-finished will be based on your general idea of how it is when it is delivered to the buyer.

MR. BISNAR.  I have been going in the project during my tenure as Head of Commercial Operations, as I was also inspecting complaints of buyers so that we can address them.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Okay.  The question is, the unit according to you is semi-finished?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And you described in detail by what do you mean by semi-finished.  Did I hear you right?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So, my question is simple.  The unit, when delivered, if at all delivered, and the exact date of which you do not know would not necessarily be based on your specific knowledge of how the unit looks like when it was actually delivered.

MR. BISNAR.  The exact details are actually attached in the Deed of Sale, the exact specifications of the unit that was sold to the buyer.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  The semi-finished nature?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And then you are telling me that you have not seen the actual unit.  You are basing it simply on what is stated on the document that you have identified.

MR. BISNAR.  I have seen other units in the Bonifacio Ridge but not the exact unit acquired by …

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  That’s my point, Mr. Bisnar.  You have not seen the actual unit and you are describing to the court a unit different from this actual unit.

MR. BISNAR.  Because, Your Honor, the units we were selling at that time have uniform finishes.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  That’s your assumption.  Whether or not there are problems insofar as this unit delivered to Mrs. Corona is beyond you because you did not see the actual unit.

MR. BISNAR.  I did not see the actual unit.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Okay.  That will be fine.  We will go to another point, Mr. Bisnar.

The SALN, you said that you have not seen a copy of any of the Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth of the respondent, Chief Justice.  You would not therefore know whether or not in 2005, the SALN, if I may refer to it, Your Honor, SALN of brevity, since you have not seen the SALN or any copy of the SALN of the Chief Justice, you would not know whether or not this particular unit bought in that year was stated in the 2005 and 2006 SALN of the Chief Justice.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And the same—you will have the same answer …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  What do you mean by yes?

MR. BISNAR.  I did not know, Your Honor, whether the unit was included or not in the SALN of the honourable Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  Proceed.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And you will agree with me that you will give the same answer to this honourable court if I ask you for the SALN of the Chief Justice in 2007, that having not seen the SALN of the Chief Justice for that year.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And the same is true if I ask you insofar as or relative to the SALN of the Chief Justice for 2008.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And that will be true also for 2009, because you have not seen the SALN of the Chief Justice for 2009, on whether or not the unit bought from your company has been stated in the SALN of the Chief Justice for 2009.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  What about the SALN for 2010?  Will your answer be the same as in your previous answers, with respect to the SALNs?

MR. BISNAR.  I have not seen the 2010 SALN, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And therefore, you are not in the position to tell the honorable court whether or not this particular unit that was bought by Mrs. Corona from your company has been stated, declared in the SALN for 2010.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Sir.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Now, you would not also know that in the 2010 SALN of the Chief Justice, there is an entry there about the purchase of the unit from your company?

MR. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Objection, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Already answered, Your Honor.

He said no.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Your Honor, with respect to this line of questioning, the witness already answered that he did not see the SALN.  I do not see the purpose of continuing with …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He is under cross.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let him answer.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  So, you would not know therefore, whether or not the Chief Justice declared in that particular SALN of his, in 2010, that he indicated there that the two units were sourced from or the purchase price of this unit from your company was sourced from a loan that he obtained, would you would not know that?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  I will object, Your Honor, the best evidence will—now is going into the contents of the SALN …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, he is asking whether he knows whether—if the source was from a loan, per the SALN.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Yes, Your Honor, but the witness already testified that he has not seen any of the SALNs …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  I sustain the objection.  Reform the question.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  Your Honor, may I ask the witness straight.  You have not seen the SALN for 2010, and therefore—of the Chief Justice, and you would not know, whether or not there is an indication there in the SALN that the purchase price for the unit bought from your company was actually sourced from a loan, you would not know?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Same objection, Your Honor, best evidence.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  How can that be the best evidence?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, already answered.  So, let it stand in the record.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  There were payments made to your company, of course, in the purchase of this unit in question, Mr. Bisnar.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  And I do not want to be presumptuous but let me clarify this for the honorable impeachment court.  Would you would not know where the sources of funds of the Coronas in buying this property?

MR. BISNAR.  No, Your Honor.

ATTY. ESGUERRA.  I think, that will be all for the witness, Your Honor.

Thank you so much.  Thank you, Mr. Bisnar.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Cross ended.  The Gentleman from Pampanga.

SEN. SOTTO.  And then, Senator Estrada, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, you have two minutes.  Who is the next one?

Senator Estrada, two minutes.  Who else?

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Maraming salamat.

Thank you very much, Mr. President, just a few clarificatory questions to the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Mr. Witness, good afternoon.

Just a clarification, the unit 1902 was paid in full, when?  Kailan binayaran ng buo iyong unit 1902?

MR. BISNAR.  Based on the receipts that we have, the unit was paid, almost in full by April 2004.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  By April?

MR. BISNAR.  April 2004, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, kapag sinabing almost in full, ano ang ibig sabihin noong almost in full, 90%?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, there was P2.2 million cheque issued in FBDC, then the balance of P6.9 million, but the VAT was paid in January 2005.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Teka, P2.2 and then P6.

MR. BISNAR.  6.9.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Gaano katagal iyon?

MR. BISNAR.  Within one month.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, isang buwan.

MR. BISNAR.  Oho, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Ang total noon would be?

MS. BISNAR.  P9.15 million, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, hindi ito   payment by instalment.

MS. BISNAR.  Hindi ho, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, hindi instalment ang bayad, dalawang bulto within a period of one  month.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And in two different years.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  And two different checks.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In two different years.

MR. BISNAR.  Same year, Your Honor, 2004.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Same year.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ah, same year.

MR. BISNAR.  April 1 and April 30, 2004, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, sorry.  Sabi mo cash payment.  Pero tseke ang ibinayad.  Parang manager’s check siguro.

MR. BISNAR.  Check ho, Your Honor, but in our term it is considered as cash payment term.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  And the check was signed by Cristina Corona?

MR. BISNAR.  One of the checks I think was issued by Renato C. Corona and the other one by Cristina R. Corona.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, one check was by Renato Corona and another check by Cristina Corona?

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Which was which, would you recall?  Alin iyong ibinayad ni Renato Corona check payment, alin iyong ibinayad ni Cristina Corona check payment?

MR. BISNAR.  Based on the provisional receipt No. 3762, Your Honor, we received the P2.2 million from Mr. Renato C. Corona on March 31, 2004.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  And the other one was …

MR. BISNAR.  While the other one was April 30, 2004 based on Official Receipt No. 6259 with an amount of P6.959 million.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Okay.  So, sino ang buyer dito?  Si Cristina Corona ba o si Renato Corona?

MR. BISNAR.  Your Honor, based on the deed of sale, the buyer was Cristina R. Corona.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  But based on the check payments, mayroong payment si Chief Justice Corona, may payment si Cristina.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Medyo confused ako dahil dito sa VVV-1 may dalawang tseke na naman addressed to Fort Bonifacio, isang P200 plus thousand and 900 plus thousand, parehong binayaran ni Renato Corona.  VVV-1, Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, 28 January 2005 at P290,000.00 and then Fort Bonficio Development Corporation,  28 January 2005, P915,000.00 both paid by Renato Corona.

MR. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  What did he pay for?

MS. BISNAR.  This is for the VAT and for the other transaction taxes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, while Cristina Corona is the buyer, Renato Corona is the one who pays for the VAT and for the documentary stamp tax based on this check payment.

MS. BISNAR.  It appears on this document, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, this happens, iyong mag-asawa nagtutulungan, nagbabayad, ganoon ba iyon?  Nangyayari ba sa mga sales ng Fort Bonifacio iyon, na minsan iyong lalaki ang nagbabayad, minsan iyong babae.

MS. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  But in this case nga, ang owner is Cristina Corona.

MS. BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Based on the deed of absolute sale.

MS.BISNAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  No other questions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Suspended for one long minute.

It was 5:49 p.m.

The session was resumed at 5:52 p.m.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The trial is resumed.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, Senator Estrada has withdrawn but Senator Pimentel wishes to have the floor, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Senator Pimentel has the floor.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  Just one clarificatory question, Your Honor, to the witness about the certificate of acceptance of the unit.  I just want to be clarified.  Did you say that you don’t have the certificate of acceptance of the unit with you today or you don’t have it at all?

MR. BISNAR.  We cannot find the document, Your Honor, considering it was seven years ago, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Lost.

SEN. PIMENTEL.  Thank you very much.

MR. BISNAR.  Thank you.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, the prosecution, yes.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we are done with our witness and may we request that he be discharged.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I thought Senator Estrada wanted to ask…

SEN. SOTTO.  He has withdrawn, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He has withdrawn.  So you are discharging this witness.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, we are requesting.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness is discharged.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  The prosecution has informed us that there are other witnesses that they have but they are ready and the impeachment court will be ready to receive them tomorrow.  Just as a little housekeeping, Mr. President.  Earlier, you already mentioned the compliance of the prosecution to the order of the court for list of witnesses and documentary evidence but there is just this request by Senator Santiago about the classification of primary and corroborative witnesses.  So with that, Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an announcement.

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.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move to adjourn

ADJOURNMENT OF HEARING

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move to adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, January 31, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  Hearing none, the trial is hereby adjourned until two o’clock of Tuesday, January 31st, 2012.  (Gavel)

It was 5:55 p.m.

 

 

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