IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Monday, February 6, 2012

At 2:11 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile presiding.

 

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

We shall be lead in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Cavite, the honorable Senator Panfilo M. Lacson.

PRAYER

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Secretary will 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 21 Senator Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make the proclamation.

THE SEARGENT-AT ARMS.  All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is seating in 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 dispense with the reading of the February 2, 2012 Journal of the Senate, seating as an Impeachment Court, and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  The motion of the Majority Floor Leader is approved.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we call the case, Mr. President.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Case No. 002-2011 in the matter of impeachment trial of honourable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we ask the respective counsels to make their appearances—enter their appearances.

REP. TUPAS.  Good afternoon, Your Honor, for the House of Representatives Prosecution panel, same appearance.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted, for the prosecution.

Defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The same appearance, Your Honor, for the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted, for the defense.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, we may now call on the prosecution for the continuation of the presentation of evidence.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The presentation may now proceed to present their evidence in chief …

REP. TUPAS.  As was manifested, sorry, sorry …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Your next witness.

REP. TUPAS. Your Honor, as was manifested last week, we are calling back the Commissioner of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, Kim Henares.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the Commissioner of Internal Revenue the Honorable Kim Henares, to enter the hall and take the witness stand and to testify under the same oath.

REP. TUPAS.  And, Your Honor, may we request that one of the private prosecutors, Atty. Arthur Lim, be recognized for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Atty. Arthur Lim is recognized.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Good afternoon.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, the witness will be testifying under the same oath.  With your kind permission, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, before I proceed to propound a few additional direct-examination questions, may I manifest for housekeeping purposes and for orderly presentation of evidence by the prosecution, the following:  With your permission, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At this juncture, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute, to clarify.  The honorable Commissioner of Internal Revenue testified on direct-examination, correct?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And then there was a cross.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is this correct?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, you are doing a re-direct question?

ATTY. LIM.  No, not yet, Your Honor please, because it will be recalled and the records will bear this Representation out, Your Honor, that the prosecution specifically this Representation, did not yet terminate the direct-examination.  Although we thank the honorable Senate, particularly the honorable Presiding Officer for his patience in receiving the testimony.  We were also directed, Your Honor, to submit a legal memorandum  …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no, wait a minute.  Don’t clatter the issue.  The issue is the order of proof.  You made a direct-examination.  There was a cross-examination already.  That means that you stopped.  You ended your direct-examination.  Now, you are recalling the witness to the witness stand, did the defense finish his cross-examination?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, Your Honor, we have gone so far, Your Honor, but time caught up with us.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Would you allow the prosecution to complete their direct-examination before you proceed with …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We wanted very much, Your Honor, but we regret we cannot do that because we will be violating the rule on the orderly presentation of evidence.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, why don’t you do this?  So that there will be an orderly proceeding, allow them to cross-examine, then you can ask your additional question during re-direct.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, with your kind indulgence, just a brief manifestation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  The Journal of January 26, 2012 discloses that the direct-examination by this Representation was not terminated.  As a matter of fact, the honorable Presiding Officer even directed the witness, as well as the prosecution, to submit a legal memorandum on the issue of whether or not a CAR, certificate authorizing registration, is required for the transfer of shares of stock outside of the Philippine Stock Exchange.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is correct.  That is from the Chair.  That is not a part of your evidence-in-chief.  That is a requirement  of the Chair.  But as far as you are concerned, you have finished your direct-examination and I could not have authorized the cross-examination unless you ended your direct examination.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, just one more brief statement.  Justice Cuevas was even hesitant to conduct a cross.  He pointed out that this representation has not yet terminated his direct.  It was only in compliance with the directive of the honourable Presiding Officer that Justice Cuevas started his cross.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  In order that we will not, with your forbearance, we will not wrangle in this, let us allow the prosecution to complete their direct examination.  So ordered.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, this is in the form of additional direct?

ATTY. LIM.  Continuation of direct.

THE PRESIDING OFFiCER.  Yes.  In other words, you will start your cross- examination anew

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, we will just place on record, Your Honor, with the kind indulgence of this honourable court, on the matter now being threaded upon by the honourable court because we were made to understand that we can conduct the cross- examination because the direct examination had already been terminated.  There was no mention of any reservation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Senator Pangilinan.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, Mr. President.  I think the records will bear us out that the prosecution had not completed its direct examination and in fact the Chair had inquired as to the defense as to whether they were willing to proceed or start their cross-examination despite the fact that the prosecution had not terminated their direct examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I have examined the records, Your Honor, and I do not see any reservation to that effect.  What remains hanging is the alleged directive of the honourable Presiding Judge requiring certain memorandum in connection with what is alleged by the witness in her direct examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That has nothing to do with the direct examination.  That was a request by the Chair because in his recollection, there is no need for the participation of the Bureau of Internal Revenue with respect to the transfer of shares not pass through the Stock Exchange when those shares are sold privately and the final tax is paid.  So, anyway, that is a side issue.  Now, with the  indulgence of the defense, I will allow the additional direct so that you can start your cross examination, anyway, you are just starting the cross-examination when we broke off with the honourable internal revenue commissioner as a witness.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.   We are almost through, Your Honor.  We have examined the records of the proceedings, Your Honor, and we were almost through probably with two or three more cross-examination questions.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, it is the order of the Chair to allow additional direct.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor, with your kind indulgence.  Madam Witness, good afternoon.  You indentified the CAR or the certificate authorizing registration for the La Vista property which was sold by spouses Renato Corona and Mrs. Cristina Corona in 2010 to their daughter Carla Corona Castillo married to Constantino Castillo III for the sum of P80 million.  My question is this, ma’am–when you conducted the review of the documents for the transaction, did you also review the ITRs or income tax returns, if any, that were filed by Constantino Castillo III?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the relevance of that question, Mr. Counsel?

ATTY. LIM.  We are proving, Your Honor please, an unreported asset and the honourable court had already previously allowed the marking and identification of Carla Corona’s ITRs, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct, correct.  But speak a little softer.  Correct.

ATTY. LIM.  I am sorry, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I know that we have booming voices but let us lower the tone of our discourse.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But the Chair would like to know the relevance of the ITR because what the allegation to be supported by proof is non-inclusion of an asset in the SALN.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And I beg the indulgence of the prosecution, the Chair would like to know, what is the relevance of the ITR with respect to the non-inclusion, because if you introduce the ITR, the tendency is that you will proving paragraph 2.4 which is actually not authorized with the court to be the subject of reception of evidence.

ATTY. LIM.  May I answer, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. LIM.  The sale, Your Honor, was in favour of Carla Corona Castillo and husband Constantino Castillo III.  Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is the understanding of the court correct that what you are trying to show is that the buyer in this case did not have the financial capacity to buy, ergo, this property belongs to the respondent?

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you for stating it very well for us, your Honor.  That is the purpose, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   So the ITR that you are discussing here is the ITR of the buyer?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

Beside, Your Honor, on page 59 of the Journal of January 26, the Honorable Senator Ralph G. Recto was asking the prosecution—was asking about these ITRs, and there is a statement here that, the way I understand it, the honorable Senator was inquiring whether these ITRs precisely should be presented.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chair will allow the question to be answered without accepting that evidence as an evidence that is linked with paragraph 2.4.

So order.  (Gavel)  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Can I restated the question, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.

ATTY. LIM.  Madam Witness, when you conducted the review of the documents on that particular La Vista property transaction from the spouses Corona, meaning the responded and his wife in favour of their daughter Carla and husband Constantitno Castillo III, did you also review the ITRs, if any, that were filed by Constantino Castillo III, the husband of Carla?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This seems to be another question now, Your Honor.  Besides, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What was the question before that?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Only the ITR of Chief Justice Corona and his wife Christina.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, that was what I heard.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This is another ITR, Your Honor.  And if we examine the subpoena addressed to the honourable witness, Your Honor, it merely directs her to produce documents before this court and not testify on any of these matters, Your Honor.

So, this has a tendency, Your Honor,  to be violative of the order issued by this honourable court that in no case will evidence tending to prove illegally acquired wealth under paragraph 2.4 will be allowed, Your Honor.  And that had never been reconsidered, that had never been revoked, much less, superseded by any order from this court, Your Honor.

ATTY. LIM.  I will just request for a reading of the question as propounded in the first instance, it refers to …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Prior to the last question.

ATTY. LIM.  Prior to the last question.  It’s the same question that I asked, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The stenographer is requested to go to the record and state the question previous to the question bearing on the ITR of Mr. Castillo.

So ordered.  (Gavel)

STENOGRAPHER.  The question, Your Honor, was, “Madam Witness, good afternoon.  You identified the CAR or the Certificate Authorizing Registration for the La Vista property, which was sold by spouses Corona in 2010 to their daughter, Carla, married to Constantino, for the sum of P18,000,000.

My question is this, Ma’am, when you conducted the review of the comments for the transaction, did you also review the ITRs, if any, that were filed by Constantino?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  By …

STENOGRAPHER.  Constantino.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Constantino, Your Honor, who is a—he is not a co-conspirator in this impeachment proceedings, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, let the witness answer.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.  I reviewed the ITR of Dr. Constantino T. Castillo III.

ATTY. LIM.  Is he a registered taxpayer, Ma’am?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.  He is registered as a professional.

ATTY. LIM.  Did you bring the ITRs or income tax returns of Constantino Castillo III, as required of you in the subpoena?

MS. HENARES.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Immaterial, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.  I brought the ITR for tax year 2005 to 2010 with me, Sir.

ATTY. LIM.  Can you kindly produce them, Ma’am?

Witness handling to counsel, Your Honor, a document which is inside a folder …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Was that document marked already as an exhibit?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Identify it according to the exhibit, if it was recorded already.

ATTY. LIM.  The witness, Your Honor, has produced before the honorable court, Exhibit QQQQQ, which is the folder containing the ITRs of Constantino Castillo III.  May I request that the originals of the ITRs from the year 2005-2010, as produced by the witness, be shown to the defense, with a request for stipulation that the photocopies marked, which included markings also of various receipts, from QQQQQ-1 up to QQQQQ-11—up to QQQQQ13-U, Your Honor, which include the documents like certificate of creditable tax withheld at source, balance sheet, income statements and the annual ITRs for the years 2005 up to 2010.

May we request for the stipulation that the photocopies marked before the Secretariat are faithful copies of the originals brought by the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense may stipulate if they wish—if it wishes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If the purpose, Your Honor, is substitution, we do not merely stipulate, we admit that the documents being identified by the witness are faithful of their respective original.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, plus the under the matter.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.  Can we ask the witness—I will request permission, Your Honor, to state for the record, the taxable income and the tax …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, the contents of the documents are stated in the documents.  You cannot—the witness cannot add anything, unless you want to prove that there is ill-gotten wealth.

ATTY. LIM.  We will not be proving that, Your Honor.  The only purpose …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well then, companero, you know the best evidence rule, I am sure.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the purpose of asking the witness about the contents of the document?

ATTY. LIM.  It is just to record …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For propaganda?

ATTY. LIM.  No, Your Honor.  It is to record it in the Journal.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, those are marked exhibits and they are official records of the proceeding.

ATTY. LIM.  We submit, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So ordered.

ATTY. LIM.  May we have the stipulation on all the exhibits as marked.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, we already admitted, not merely stipulated.  We admit to be able to be of assistance to you, Mr. Counsel.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Your Honor please, in compliance with the directive of the honourable Presiding Officer, the Bureau of Internal Revenue has prepared a reply or a position paper or a letter dated February 3, 2012 which I would like to elicit formally from the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There is no need.  That was requested by the Chair from the witness.  The Members of the Senate will read that memorandum.  And there is no need for you to submit it as evidence.

ATTY. LIM.  May we seek guidance, Your Honor.  We will no longer mark this but we will just leave it to the BIR to submit.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There is no need.  There is no need.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PREIDING OFFICER.  The fact is that, there is no dispute that the respondent own those club shares, is there?  Any dispute about that?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  None, Your Honor.  It is not even an issue here.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, in line with the legal opinion of the Bureau of Internal Revenue that there are internal revenue regulations which allow the requirement for a CAR for transfer of shares of stock outside the Philippine Stock Exchange, may I, therefore, be allowed to mark in evidence the CAR for said Palms Country Club shares and the deed of absolute sale as an exhibit also, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You can mark them.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  We request for stipulation that the CAR for the transfer of the Palms Country Club shares of stock marked Exhibit PPPPP is a faithful reproduction of the original, Your Honor.

Finally, Your Honor, just a few housekeeping matters, if the honorable Presiding Officer will allow for the sake of clarity of the records.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  May I respectfully request, Your Honor, that the inadvertent mistake committed in recording in the Journal, a particular manifestation found on January 25, 2012 Journal, page 30 line 12 from the top, reading or relative to the remarks “But these are evidences against her when she is not a respondent.”  As recorded, the remark was ascribed to this representation.  It should be to Mr. Cuevas, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the manifestation be recorded so that we can do something about that error in the Journal.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we be allowed to examine the Journal, Your Honor, in order to gain time.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense is authorized to examine the document.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And in order to gain time, Your Honor, may we make our manifestation in connection with this or observation by the end of the testimony of this witness.  So that we can move on, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

ATTY. LIM.  Secondly, Your Honor, we would like to just respectfully clarify that the certification issued by the BIR commissioner on the alpha list income for the years 2007 to 2010 of Mrs. Cristina Corona from John Hay Development Corporation is Exhibit HHHHH, Your Honor.  The certification by the BIR commissioner as to the per diems and bonuses received by Mrs. Cristina Corona is also included in Exhibit HHHHH.  That is only one certification, Your Honor

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And what is the purpose of introducing those evidence?

ATTY. LIM.  It is just to clarify the correct marking, Your Honor, because the alpha list income was indicated in the Journal as Exhibit HHHHH.  The per diems and bonuses is also indicated in the Journal as Exhibit HHHHH.  But this data, alpha list income and per diems and bonuses, are found in only one certification so as not to cause any confusion in the minds of the Senators-Judges when they peruse the Journal, Your Honor.  Thank you.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, we wanted to accommodate our esteemed colleague but the manifestation apparently deals with substantial matters and we would prefer that in order that the record may speak the correct occurrences, that this be the subject of the examination, Your Honor.  Anyway he was granted by this honourable court to conduct additional direct examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. LIM.  There are just two more, Your Honor, manifestations.  I had…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no, no, let us finish this first.  What is your reaction to the position of the defense?

ATTY. LIM.  That we will do it after…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, no, no.  Am I allowed to…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  My understanding is that you want…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Correction.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … to correct the Journal with respect to those two identified exhibits.

ATTY. LIM.  No, no, no, Your Honor, I did not request for any correction.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What did you request?

ATTY. LIM.  I was just manifesting, Your Honor please,  that the exhibit marking HHHHH relates to only one document which is the alpha list income of Mrs. Cristina Corona and her per diems and allowances.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, okay.  They are contained in the same document.

ATTY. LIM.  Same document.  Just a simple manifestation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

ATTY. LIM.  The only correction was with reference to the remark of Justice Cuevas which was attributed to this representation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Our point, Your Honor, is this appears not to be a mere innocent error which was committed through inadvertence.  This appears to be substantial.  The documents being involved in one document, Your Honor, did not come from the witness so this must be established, Your Honor.  The way we understood it, Your Honor, a certain parcel of exhibit had been marked.  It is alleged to contain several matters, Your Honor.  If that is born out by the records, why the necessity for clarification?  On the other hand, if it is not,, then it is substantial and, therefore, this must be the subject of direct examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will you kindly clarify then, counsel, so that there will be no dispute about this, whether the alpha list mentioned contained what data?

ATTY. LIM.  The alpha list of Mrs. Corona, Your Honor, is marked Exhibit HHHHH.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And what does that document contain?

ATTY. LIM.  It was testified to by…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alpha list marked as exhibit?

ATY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor, as Exhibit HHHHH.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. LIM.  And as testified to by the witness on the witness stand…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct, yes.

ATTY. LIM.  … this includes…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What does it contain?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.  The gross compensation…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And per diems.

ATTY. LIM.  … and per diems, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Period.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Tapos.

ATTY. LIM.  And, Your Honor please,…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You know, the problem is when you describe these documents, you do  not describe them with precision.  You clutter them with so many other details that are unnecessary so please proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor, just two more questions.

Going back, Madam Witness, to the Palms Country Club shares of stock.  You identified or you testified last hearing about a Deed of Sale of common shares which however, the honourable Presiding Officer did not allow you to identify pending submission of your legal memorandum.

Now that you have submitted your legal memorandum, will you kindly identify for the record this Deed of Sale of common share marked as Exhibit PPPPP-2.  And we are showing the photocopy, Your Honor, we are showing the certified—There is no need for stipulation, we are just requesting the honourable Kim Jacinto Henares to identify her certification.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  Who is the seller and who is the buyer?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.  The seller, Your Honor, is Filinvest Alabang Inc. and the buyers are spouses Renato C. Corona and Christina R. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s contained in that document marked already as exhibit?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor, PPPPP-2.  And the date, Your Honor, is September 11, 2009.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I don’t think there’s any dispute.  Are you disputing the authenticity of that document, counsel for the defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I was about to object, Your Honor, on grounds of immateriality, Your Honor, because this is by Filinvest to spouses Corona, Your Honor.  I hope the court pardons me.  We have examined the impeachment articles, Your Honor, and there is nothing mentioned about this.  If the purpose is only to show that there was such a transaction but not entered in the SALN, then this is not the evidence that should cover the situation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  My understanding is that they are presenting this as a not included asset, is that correct?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Precisely, Your Honor, but the honourable Commissioner will be testifying on a document to which she is not a party, according to her.

Maybe she has examined it, but examination alone does not justify viewing of testimony on any particular document, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  At any rate, their purpose is to introduce that document to show, under paragraph 2.3, to show that this asset was not included in the SALN.  Let the witness answer.  (Gavel)

ATTY. LIM.  Lastly, Your Honor, please,—I’m sorry.  I’m sorry, Your Honor.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, this Exhibit PPPPP-2 is the Deed of Sale of common shares that was attached to the payment of capital gains tax.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

ATTY.  LIM.  Lastly, Your Honor, please, may I request the witness, Madam Witness, kindly identify your signature on this one-page certification for the alpha list income of the respondent for the years 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010 which data were already elicited from you during questioning by Senator Recto.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is the defense disputing the signature of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, Your Honor.  If it is only for purposes of acknowledging the signature, we have no objection, Your Honor.

ATTY. LIM.  May we request that that document be marked in evidence as Exhibit CCCCC-7.  That is all.  I’m now terminating my direct examination without prejudice, Your Honor, to redirect on the cross …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s in the Rules.  You do not have to make that reservation.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I was a little bit surprised.  He is practically revolutionizing the Rules on Procedure in Evidence, Your Honor.  I thought I know enough evidence in procedure.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the defense, are you ready to cross-examine?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Good afternoon, Madam Commissioner.

MS. HENARES.  Good afternoon, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  It’s nice to have you around again.

Now, I understand that you came here to testify pursuant to a subpoena issued by the honourable Impeachment Court, am I right?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And the scope of what you will do in connection with the subpoena is mentioned in the subpoena?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Sir.  Now, I have examined the subpoena issued to a certain Commissioner Kim S. Jacinto Henares and I do not see any statement in there that you are under legal obligation to examine the returns and the SALN of the persons enumerated therein.  Am I right?

MS. HENARES.  It does not to examine returns is an inherent function of the commissioner of Internal Revenue, I do not have to ask anyone’s permission to examine the same.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request—we move to strike out the answer the witness.  It is not responsive, Your Honor.

ATTY. LIM.  We ask that it remain, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Our question is, whether the subpoena issued to her require her or imposes upon her the duty to examine and review the documents which is—we are testing the credibility of the witness …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Madam Commissioner, please answer the question.  The previous answer is stricken of the record.  Answer the question.

MS. HENARES.  The subpoena is to present the document and to testify.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And to testify, meaning, on the documents themselves.

MS. HENARES.  I have no idea what I will be asked in—to testify about.  It just said that I have to appear to testify.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, how did you understand the subpoena addressed to you, to appear, testify and bring the following documents?

MS. HENARES.  I am to appear to testify and I am to appear to bring the document, to testify on whatever questions will be asked of me.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I see.  Now, did you consider the fact that what is involved in here are statement of assets and liabilities, together with income tax returns?

MS. HENARES.  I am being asked to bring the document, like I stated before, the impeachment proceeding, it is about SALN.

So, I presumed that the income tax return that I bring will have to be connected to the statement of assets and liabilities and networth.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This is the first time that you have engaged in a proceeding similar to the one under consideration now?

MS. HENARES.  In an impeachment proceeding, Sir?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Right, Ma’am.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir, this is the first time.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Were you—when you mentioned you examine the documents, were you under legal obligation pursuant to the subpoena, to examine the documents?

MS. HENARES.  No, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, Sir.  So that was on your own volition?

MS. HENARES.  It is my duty to examine the document.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And the data that you found in there, you immediately—on the basis of the data you found in there, you immediately come to the conclusion that the person claimed to be the buyer does not have enough funds to carry on the transaction of sale.  Am I right?

MS. HENARES.  I did not come to any such conclusion.  The paper, the doc—I only said, it warrants further investigation, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.  So, you’d ever made the conclusion that the alleged buyer did not have the necessary means to purchase the property?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, which alleged buyer, Sir?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This one that you testified in your direct examination.

ATTY. LIM.  There are many buyers, Your Honor.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, which of the buyers, Sir?  There is Mrs. Cristina Corona, there is Chief Justice Corona, there is Ma. Carla Corona, there is Ma. Charina Corona.  Which of—I testified on all of them.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  I withdraw that question, Your Honor.  We are locating the particular statement, Your Honor.

Now, based on the SALN of Chief Justice Corona, does it admit of the correction allowed by law, pursuant to what is provided for in the SALN Law?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, I am not the person to ask for SALN.  I am–National Internal Revenue Code sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, that is not within your competence, that is how I understood you, am I correct?

ATTY. LIM.  Misleading, Your Honor. The witness already stated, last hearing that when she files tax evasion cases, she deals with SALNs of all government officials.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is not my question, Your Honor.  I am on cross-examination …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.  There is no assumption of fact not proven.  My goodness.

MS. HENARES.  My understanding as a government official is that, when I submit the SALN, it has to be complete  and true and that I don’t have any chance to amend it especially if a case is filed against me.  That is my understanding of how I prepare my SALN..

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Do you have a copy of your SALN today?

MS. HENARES.  No, sir, you did not ask for me to bring it, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Will you be able to produce it if required by the court?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Together with your income tax return?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Now, thank you for that.  Now, my understanding is that the SALN may be corrected if there are entries in there made not accurate and so on.

ATTY. LIM.  Already answered, Your Honor.  The witness…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Wait, wait.  Hindi pa ako tapos.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.  She is a very intelligent witness.  She is under cross-examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In this particular case, which you said you have examined SALN of Chief Justice Corona, did you come to the conclusion that this is one which can be corrected pursuant to law?  Or it may not be corrected at all.

MS. HENARES.  My personal opinion is that, it cannot be corrected at all.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Why?’

MS. HENARES.  Because first, in the first place, it is sworn to under oath and then second place, like I said, I am a government official and I would think the SALN requires me to completely list all my assets because it is a way for the public to determine whether at the end of the day I have enriched myself because of my position. So, if it can be amended at any time, then it is a useless exercise to even require government official to submit a SALN at all.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, you came into the conclusion that this may not admit of correction.  And that is your opinion only.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will move to strike out the answer of the witness, Your Honor.

ATTY. LIM.  Why do you have to strike out after asking the witness?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, I am asking her for a definite and categorical …

ATTY. LIM.  You asked the witness and the witness answered.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Your witness answered already.  Why should you ask for the striking out of her answer?  She is under cross-examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.  Because apparently, what is being stated by the witness has no basis.  That is her personal opinion, according to her.  Along those lines that I am asking the striking out of the answer.  Only that particular portion, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What basis do you want to establish before a question could be answered to your witness, Counsel?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The fact that there was …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no.  I am asking the prosecuting attorney.  Because he said, you have to lay the basis for your question.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor, I am objecting to the motion to strike …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Because you said there is no basis for the question.

ATTY. LIM.  No, Your Honor.  I did not state that, Your Honor, with due respect.  I objected to the motion of the defense lawyer to strike out the answer already given which was in direct response to his question.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Let us stop.  Proceed, counsel for the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Now, after your examination, both of the SALN together with the ITR, was there any proceeding conducted by your office in connection with the alleged irregularities in both documents of the Chief Justice?

MS. HENARES.  We are conducting an investigation on the differences.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You mean, when you say “we”, not you personally but your office.

MS. HENARES.  The Bureau of Internal Revenue.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And the Chief Justice was already summoned in order to appear in that investigation, or you are just still evaluating it?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, I think you should ask the Chief Justice about it.  He would be the …Because whatever investigation we are conducting, it is confidential and it should be only the party whom you are on investigation …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, the witness here should not be allowed to argue with Counsel.  I am asking her for a fact.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just answer the question.

ATTY. LIM.  The witness is answering, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If you know the answer, please answer.  If not, just say so.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, it is a confidential information under Section 71and …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, the question is, are you investigating?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, I already said I am investigating.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  What was the next question?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So without the Chief Justice being informed, is that what you wanted to tell the honourable court?

MS. HENARES.  No, that is not what I want to say.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Will you kindly tell the honourable court what you meant by conducting the investigation without the knowledge of the particular person involved, more specifically Chief Justice Corona.

ATTY. LIM.  Misleading, Your Honor, without the knowledge.  The witness said please ask the Chief Justice because this is confidential according to the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, may I ask for a waiver from the counsel of the Chief Justice that I can answer.  Because it is confidential information, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No.  The tendency of the question, Madam Witness, is—are you conducting an investigation on the Chief Justice and you said yes.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you obligated to inform the Chief Justice that you are conducting an investigation bearing on his income tax position and you said it is confidential.  Meaning you did not, isn’t it?  You did not inform him.

MS. HENARES.  We have informed him and I think he is in receipt of a notice that we are investigating him.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Did you send a notice to him that he is under investigation?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You just explain the procedure in investigation of income tax returns.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.  We issued a letter of authority to him.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  A letter of authority to your agents to investigate him.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, not to him.

MS. HENARES.  No, the letter…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Did you supply him with the letter of authority that he is under investigation?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir, we issued…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely.  Please answer the question so that hindi tayo nagtatagal dito.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir, we issued a letter of authority addressed to Chief Justice…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Your agent.

MS. HENARES.  No, no.  There is a letter of authority notice that we sent to the Chief Justice telling him that certain revenue officer is auditing his income tax return.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So you notified him that there is an ongoing internal revenue investigation bearing on his income tax.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.  We issued that after the hearing.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What hearing?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, when I was called here for the impeachment hearing, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  After the hearing here?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What hearing was that?  When you appeared here?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir, January 25 or 26.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So it is only now that you are conducting an income tax investigation of the Chief Justice.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Not before.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, before we even determine whether we will really…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Just for the information of the court, what year is involved in your investigation?

MS. HENARES.  Starting from taxable year 1992 up to 2010.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you conducting a net worth investigation?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay, proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I am showing to you, Madam Commissioner, three letters which purportedly letter of authority which we request, Your Honor, respectively as Exhibits 56, 57, 58 and 59, for the defense.  Kindly go over the same and tell the honourable court whether—Your Honor please, we notice, the witness is not supposed to discuss this…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the prosecution, please do not go to you witness…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, no, the gentleman with an eyeglass, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … during cross-examination.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, he is my chief of staff so, he brings the original document.  Therefore, I should consult him whether—Sir, I don’t have the original, but I believe that this is the letter of authority that we issued for Ma. Carla Castillo Corona from taxable year January 1, 2007 to December 31, 2010, for Renato Corona from January 1, 1997 to December 31, 2010, for Christina Rocco Corona from January 1, 2001 to December 31, 2010, and for Constantino Castillo III from January 1, 1998 to December 31, 2010.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we now proceed, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And you are proceeding with that investigation notwithstanding the pendency of this impeachment proceedings involving the SALN and the income tax return of the honourable Chief Justice Corona?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Sir.  You did not find anything objectionable in that which may smacks of persecution to the eyes of the public?

MS. HENARES.  No, Sir.  I think …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Nothing wrong with it?

MS. HENARES.  No, Sir.  If the public expect us to do it, so there’s nothing wrong with …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Which public are you speaking of?

MS. HENARES.  The public expect us to implement the national Internal Revenue Code, and from the moment there’s something wrong, then we should investigate it, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, but you have been speaking of the public.  May we be informed, whom do you refer to by the word public?

MS. HENARES.  The public we serve as revenue collector of the Philippines.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The public …

MS. HENARES.  We serve as revenue collector of the Philippines, Sir.  Whoever that public might be.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Madam Witness, but what I’m questioning is the propriety of that investigation being conducted now while this impeachment proceedings is going on covering the same subject matter?  Do you not find that …

MS. HENARES.  Sir, …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’m sorry, I’m sorry.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, the alternative is to be told that we are sleeping on our job.  So, I think the better alternative for the Bureau of Internal Revenue is to do its job.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.  So much so that if there is a complaint involving any of the prosecutors here and the rest of the other members thereof, you will investigate the case?

MS. HENARES.  Of course, Sir.  Yes, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  Thank you very much then.

That’s all with the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Redirect.

ATTY. LIM.  With your kind permission, Your Honor.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  During your cross-examination on January 26, 2012 as recorded on page 46 of the Journal, the following exchange took place:

“Question, Mr. Cuevas.  Now examining the SALN of the Chief Justice Corona which you saw while you were here already to testify.  Based thereon, kindly tell the honourable court whether you noticed any discrepancy or falsity in said SALN?

Answer by Ms. Jacinto Henares.  I noticed a lot of discrepancy in the SALN that I saw that the media gave me because I measure it in relation to the SALN I have to submit.”

My question is, showing to you this documents previously marked as Exhibits A up to N-1 …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What documents is that?

ATTY. LIM.  SALNs, Your Honor.  Are these the SALNs of Chief Justice Renato Corona, copies of which were given to you by that media person while you were in the holding room of the Senate on January 19, 2012?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No basis, Your Honor.  I’m sorry to object, Your Honor.  And we will explain it if we’re allowed.

ATTY. LIM.  Why no basis?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You are quoting but there is only one SALN that was discussed in the question.  You are now presenting a lot of SALNs.  So, no basis.

MS. HENARES.  Generic.  Plural.  The witness can clarify that, Your Honor, whether it was just one year SALN or from 2002 up to 2010.  That’s why I’m asking the witness …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Witness may answer.  (Gavel)

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Witness examining the documents shown to him by the private prosecutor, Your Honor.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.  It seems to be the same document, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  It seems to be.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The same document to what?

MS. HENARES.  To the SALN that was given to me by the media person that was marked supposedly as exhibits.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Given to you by …

MS. HENARES.  One of the media person, when they tried to interview me.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why the Bureau of Internal Revenue does not have any—a copy of the SALN?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, the National Internal Revenue will only have—the Bureau of Internal Revenue will only have a copy of SALN when we request from the custodian of the SALN.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, you did not have the SALN before it was given to you by the media?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.  No, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, proceed.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What SALN—these SALNs are for what year?

ATTY. LIM.  From 2002 up to 2010, when he was already a member of the high court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Of the Chief Justice?

ATTY. LIM.  Of the Chief Justice Renato Corona.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, because he is being blamed for allegedly—he is being faulted for allegedly not filing his SALN.  It now appears that the 2000 …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So the Chief Justice filed for those years?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, for those years …

ATTY. LIM.  As exhibits …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no, the court would like to know …

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Those are SALN of the Chief Justice for those years mentioned.

ATTY. LIM.  But tainted by …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, for this, just answer the question.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   So, what is your comment?

ATTY. LIM.  Tainted by violations, as to accuracy, truthfulness, untimeliness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is your opinion.

ATTY. LIM.  Well, Your Honor, I was just …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have not shown yet they are inaccurate.  So, I am just asking a factual statement from you.

Those are SALN for the Chief Justice for the years mentioned.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Those are facts.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.

ATTY. LIM.  May I proceed, Your Honor.  I invite your attention, once again, Madam Witness, to this SALN which you already identified and previously marked as exhibits A up to N-1, inclusive, what were the discrepancies you noticed or noted in this SALN?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Objection.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  I think—is this witness competent to testify on those discrepancies?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor, because the defense …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why?  Why?

ATTY. LIM.  The defense, no less …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no, why?

ATTY. LIM.  Because the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is she competent?

ATTY. LIM.  She is filing her own SALN.  The defense qualified her as an expert witness.  You can therefore …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, you did not qualify this as an expert witness.  There is a procedure to qualify a person as an expert witness.  Please …

ATTY. LIM.  I am fully aware of that.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please do so.  You are directed to qualify her as an expert witness.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.

Madam Witness, how long have you been in the government service?

MS. HENARES.  This …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This is no longer redirect, Your Honor.  The coverage of redirect, Your Honor, are only matters taken up in the cross.  We have never …

ATTY. LIM.  I am complying.  That is …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We asked the witness very categorically well, whether she is testifying solely on the basis of the document.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Actually, actually, may I suggest, Mr. Counsel for the prosecution, produce evidence allunde to prove the discrepancies.

ATTY. LIM.  Your Honor please, just one brief manifestation.,

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no.  I am suggesting this to you.  That is the procedure.

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor, but may I also be allowed to respectfully point out, Your Honor, the conclusive presumption under Section 2, Rule 131 of the Rules of Court, which applies suppletorily and which is the applicable provision in the absence of a similar rule in the Senate impeachment rules.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the presumption?

ATTY. LIM.  The conclusive presumption is, whenever a party has, by his own declaration, act or omission, intentionally and deliberately led another to believe a particular thing true and to rely upon such belief, he cannot, in any litigation, arising out of such declaration, act or omission, be permitted to falsify it.  Hindi po kami ang nag-qualify sa witness po.  Defense counsel ang nagtanong sa ating testigo kung ano-ano ang mga discrepancies nakita sa SALN ni Chief Justice Corona.  Seryoso pong pagtatanong iyon.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

ATTY. LIM.  Hindi natin masabi na nagbibiro lang iyong si Justice Cuevas.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, that is correct.

ATTY. LIM.  Ngayon po, bakit nating pigilan, and I say this with all due respect, bakit pipigilan ng defense ang katotohanan na lilitaw dito.  Tinanong nila ang witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

ATTY. LIM.  Thank you, Your Honor.

MS. HENARS.  For year 2002, there are nine properties that were not reported in his SALN.  Discrepancies … then for year 2003, the SALN did not show also the nine properties from Marikina and the property in La Vista, instead of P3 million should have appeared as P11 million; the other property TCT N-35812 which was reported at P821,080.00 should have been reported at acquisition cost of P2.508.  And, therefore, his networth is understated because the networth he reported was P7 million when it should actually be P14 million, not including the Marikina property which were not reported.  Now, for year 2004, again the same discrepancy, the property in Marikina; there is another property in Diliman, Quezon City, TCT No. 141891 that was not included in the SALN; the condominium certificate title for the Columns of P3.589; or a total of P27,235,000.00.  Or his networth should actually be P21,065,000.00 whereas it was report at 7. something.  For year 2005, again the discrepancies that I mentioned, then there is the Fort Bonifacio property that should have been reported on this year; and then the networth that he showed is P8.3 million whereas it should be P31.224, 940, that is for year 2006.  For year 2007, same thing; it should have a networth of P24,735.000.00 whereas it only showed a networth  of P11 million.  For 2008, his networth is the same, there are discrepancies there.  The networth should be around P25 million, instead it is P12 million.  Then for 2009, the networth should actually be P52 million because of the property in Bellagio I and instead the reported net worth is only P14.5 and for 2010 that is where the net worth went down but this is because of the La Vista sale of P18 million.  So that is based on our own analysis because we used the net worth method in assessing tax deficiency against taxpayers.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the indulgence of the honourable court,…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Have you issued a tax deficiency assessment?

MS. HENARES.  We have just issued a letter of authority to audit them based on this finding so we are investigating him further.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For year 2000…

MS. HENARES.  For 1997 all the way up to…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Year by year.

MS. HENARES.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For purposes of deficiency assessment.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.  We are auditing his taxable year 1997.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Now, the discrepancy that you mentioned refers to the non-inclusion of the real estate mentioned in this proceeding as belonging to the Chief Justice, the respondent, or only with respect to the values?

MS. HENARES.  Sir, the amount we are mentioning does not even…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Only with respect to the values?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir, not including the one that are not included.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  But the RES, meaning R-E-S, the RES, the thing, was included in the SALN?

MS. HENARES  No, sir, there are some that were not included.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there were some that were not…

MS. HENARES.  Included in the SALN.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there were some that were included but the values are different.

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind permission of the honourable court…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The counsel for the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are compelled to move for the striking out of the testimony of the witness on all those points, Your Honor.  Because if we have to examine the Articles of Impeachment, there is nothing mentioned in there upon which they can predicate this kind of evidence, Your Honor.  He is not being impeached for filing a, what we call, forced declaration and this is not one of the grounds for impeachment, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the defense, I am sure that, you know, you can traverse that in your evidence…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will but we wanted to raise a point, Your Honor, that this kind of evidence should not find…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, let it be a part of the testimony of the witness.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Okay.  Admitted, Your Honor.

ATTY. LIM.  One or two more questions, Your Honor.

Madam Witness, I noticed that when you were testifying just now, you were perusing or consulting some papers or records.  I just want the honourable court to know what are those, ma’am.

MS. HENARES.  It is just a…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the relevance of those records?

ATTY. LIM.  To complete, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Huh?

ATTY. LIM.  To complete the testimony.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MS. HENARES.  It is a tabular computation of the net worth, in effect, a scratch paper in excel form of the net worth of Chief Justice Corona.

ATTY. LIM.  That is all, Your Honor.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  You are already computing the net worth based on what document?

MS. HENARES.  Based on our own document, the CAR, and based on the statement of asset and liability and net worth that was introduced here.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   But you have not completed the investigation.

MS. HENARES.  No, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why are you now talking of discrepancy—how do you know that those things shall not be justified?  That is why I asked you—have you issued a deficiency assessment?  You said you have not.  So you have not yet determined whether there is really any tax liability arising.

MS. HENARES.  Sir, before we issue a letter of authority so that the taxpayer will not say we are picking things out of the air, we first do a preliminary study of the tax profile of the taxpayer and determine whether there is a need for further investigation or there is really no need because the taxpayer is already tax compliant.  And because of the analysis done, we saw that there is a need for us to issue a letter of authority and investigate the Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Those are only tentative…

MS. HENARES.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … data that gives you a reason  to issue an authority to examine the taxpayer for possible deficiency income tax assessment, isn’t it?

MS. HENARES.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed, counsel.  (Gavel)

ATTY. LIM.  That is all.  Thank you very much, Your Honor, for your patience.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Nor re-cross, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you through with the witness?

ATTY. LIM.  Yes, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No re-recross,  Madam Commission.  Thank you for being patient with us.

SEN. SOTTO.  We’re ready to discharge the witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness is discharged.  (Gavel)

SUSPENSION OF TRIAL

SEN. SOTTO.  I move for a suspension for 15 minutes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial suspended.  (Gavel)

It was 3:25 p.m.

The trial is resumed at 5:23 p.m.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is resumed.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, we have pending matters.  As a matter of fact, number one on the list is the request for a subpoena by the prosecution panel.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is correct and the Senate has resolved the issue and has returned a resolution of this particular issue and I am now directing the Majority Floor Leader to read the resolution of the court disposing this issue.  So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Shall I read the entire resolution, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, in toto.

SEN. SOTTO.  Resolution.  This resolves the twin request for issuance of subpoena both dated January 31, 2012 filed by the House of Representatives.  On January 31, 2012, the House of Representatives, through its prosecutors, filed a request for issuance of subpoena seeking to require the president, manager and/or other authorized officers of Philippine Savings Bank (PS Bank) to testify and produce before the court the original and certified true copies of the following documents:

a.         Customer identification specimen signature card of the bank account under the name Renato Corona which won P1 million in the PS Bank monthly millions raffle promo as listed in the official list of winners as of March 13, 2008;

b.         Monthly bank statements from the time of opening to January 2012 of the bank accounts under the name Renato Corona which won P1 million in the PS Bank monthly million raffle promo as listed in the official list of winners as of March 13, 2008;

c.         Other bank accounts including time deposits, money market placements, peso/dollar accounts and the like that are in the name of Renato Corona and/or Christina Corona.

On the same date, the prosecution filed another request for issuance of subpoena seeking to require the manager of the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) to testify and to produce before this court the original and certified true copies of the account opening form, monthly bank statements for January 2005 to December 2010 and December 2011 of Bank Account No. 1443-8030-61 in the name of Renato C. Corona which was referred to in Exhibits VVV and VVV-1 and such other accounts that are in the name of Renato Corona and/or Christina Corona.

The defense opposed both requests through its opposition to the request for issuance of subpoena, PS Bank and opposition to the request for issuance of subpoena both dated January 31, 2012 which had both filed on February 1, 2012.  The prosecution filed a reply dated 2 February to the two oppositions to the request of issuance of subpoena.

On February 3, 2012, the prosecution filed its supplemental request for subpoena reply designating bearing the particular bank accounts in PS Bank which the Chief Justice allegedly has.  For its part, the defense filed a consolidated opposition and rejoinder.

The court resolves to grant the issuance of the subpoena but sets specific limits to the same in determining whether the production of the documents described in a subpoena duces tecum should be enforced by the court.  It is proper to consider:  First, whether the subpoena calls for the production of specific proof, and secondly, whether the proof is prima facie sufficiently relevant to justify enforcing its production.  A general inquisitorial examination of all books, papers and documents of an adversary conducted with a view to ascertain whether something of value may show up will not be enforced.

It is jurisprudentially accepted rule in this jurisdiction that in order to entitle a party to the issuance of a subpoena duces tecum, it must appear by clear and unequivocal proof that the book or document sought to be produced contains evidence relevant and material to the issue before the court, and that the precise book, paper or document containing such evidence has been so designated or described that it may be identified.

After an examination of the documents sought to be produced in both requests, this court is of the strong view that the production of documents pertaining to the bank accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona should be closely related to the filing of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth, inasmuch as the funds in said bank accounts may be considered as his personal properties which are required to be properly and truthfully declared in the SALN.

The court takes due notice of the fact that the date of the SALNs of the Chief Justice are all dated as of the 31st day of December of the years 2002 to 2010.  Thus, it is reasonable to issue the subpoena for the production of bank records as of the 31st of December for the years requested.

The court had to consider whether or not the issuance of the subpoena with violate existing laws on secrecy of bank deposits.  Under Republic Act 1405, as amended, and the Anti-Money Laundering Act with disclosure of information relating to bank accounts in local currency cannot be made except in five instances, namely:  A, upon written  permission of the depositor.  B, in cases of impeachment.  C, upon order of a competent court in the case of bribery or dereliction of duty of public official, or when the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.  And E.  In cases of violation of the Anti-Money Laundering Act.

However, it appears that for foreign currency bank accounts, the disclosure may be made only upon written permission of the depositor, pursuant to Section 8 of Republic Act No. 6426.

However, the court has taken due notice of the fact that the Supreme Court, has in several decisions, relaxed the rule on the absolute confidential nature of bank deposits, even foreign currency deposit accounts.  In the cases of Salvacion vs. The Central Bank of the Philippines, GR No. 94723, August 21, 1997, and China Banking Corporation vs. Court of Appeals, GR No. 140687, December 18, 2006, and Ejercito vs. Sandiganbayan, GR No. 157294-95, November 30, 2006.

The Majority is of the view that the present impeachment proceedings present a valid exception to the general rule on confidentiality of information on bank accounts, even for foreign currency bank accounts.

The court would like to emphasize that the non-disclosure of information relating to the bank accounts of individuals is still the general rule and it has no intention of going against the public policy on this matter.

However, the court is only issuing the subpoena relating to the bank accounts of Chief Justice Corona because of the pendency of the present impeachment proceedings and for no other reason.

Wherefore, in view of the foregoing, the Majority votes to grant the prosecution’s request for subpoena to the responsible officers of the Philippine Savings Bank, and the Bank of the Philippine Islands, for them to testify and bring and/or produce before the court, documents on the alleged bank accounts of Chief Justice Corona, only for the purpose of the instant impeachment proceedings as follows:  A.  The branch manager of the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Ayala Avenue Branch, Explore SGV Building, 6758 Ayala Avenue, Makati City, is commanded to bring before the Senate, at 2:00 p.m., on February 8, 2012, the original and certified true copies of the account opening forms, documents, for Bank Account No. 1445-8030-61, in the name of Renato C. Corona, and the bank statements showing the balances of the said account as of December 31, 2005, December 31, 2006, December 31, 2007, December 31, 2008, December 31, 2009, and December 31, 2010.

B.  The branch manager and/or authorized representatives of Philippine Savings Bank, Katipunan Branch, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City, is commanded to bring before the Senate, at 2:00 p.m. on February 8, 2008, the original and certified true copies of the account opening forms, documents, for the following bank accounts, allegedly in the name of Renato C. Corona, and the documents showing the balances of said accounts as of December 31, 2007, December 31, 2008, December 31, 2009 and December 31, 2010, 089-19100037-3, 089-13100282-6, 089-121017358, 089-121019593, 089-121020122, 089-121021681, 089141-00712-9, 089141-00746-9, 08914100814-5 and 089-121-01195-7.  So Ordered.  6 February 2012.”  Signed  Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  I would like to announce on record, Your Honor, that we are seeking a reconsideration of the aforesaid ruling in the light of the jurisprudence, more recent jurisprudence on the point dealing with the issues discussed in this case, Your Honor.  If the court so allows, I am prepared to argue our point, Your Honor.  But if the court pleases, we may file a written motion for reconsideration Your Honor.  As of this moment, I just would like to touch on one important point, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And that is, the case of Ejercito vs. Sandiganbayan. Your Honor, was cited as an authority for the resolution of this honorable court, Your Honor.  There were several documents required by the Sandiganbayan to be produced by Mr. Ejercito.  One of the grounds is that, for refusing or motion to quash rather the subpoena was that,  he is not involved in the plunder case before the honorable Sandiganbayan.  But the more important thing is this, Your Honor.  What is the difference of the setting, factual setting, of that case with the present case?  The ERAP case, Your Honor, is a plunder case.  And the main allegation in that plunder case is that the accused, President ERAP, committed acts constitutive of plunder resulting in the amassing of ill-gotten wealth, Your Honor.  So, the issue of ill-gotten wealth was principally and categorically raised, Your Honor, in the proceedings, Your Honor.  This case is not a criminal case, Your Honor.  It is an impeachment case, Your Honor.  Now, there are provisions in the Bank Secrecy Law that in cases of 1405, Your Honor, impeachment is an exception.  What does that mean?  That when the case involves impeachment, then the privacy of bank deposit may no longer be invoked.  That is correct, Your Honor.  And we agree with that a hundred percent.  But it must be shown that the impeachment case has something to do with the alleged deposits, Your Honor.  If the bank deposits has nothing to do with the impeachment case, Your Honor, the mere fact that it is involved in the impeachment proceedings does not justify any court of justice to rule against the privacy, Your Honor.  The issue is, is it enough that the cases on impeachment is an impeachment case in order that the exemption may be claimed, Your Honor?.  Our answer is no simply because the case is an impeachment case.  But the subject matter thereof is not in connection with this impeachment case, Your Honor.  For instance, certain documents, Your Honor, such as checks were issued and negotiated in an impeachment case.  But they have nothing to do with the issue involved in the impeachment case.  It is not a case of unlawful exercise of the right to issue bank checks, Your Honor, neither is it involved in the issue, principally involved in the impeachment case.  In that case, the exemption holds water.  The privacy of the bank deposit may not be inquired into.  I just wanted to emphasize the point that the nature of the proceedings is not conclusive as to debar a bank depositor from claiming the privilege under the bank … If we will be given the opportunity, Your Honor, we will submit our motion for reconsideration.  I just went that far in order to show to the honorable court our interest in the ruling made in today’s proceedings, Your Honor.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In the view of this Chair, Mr. Defense Counsel, it is the right of any person, party to a case like this to explore all legal remedies.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, the Gentleman from Sorsogon.

SEN. ESCUDERO. Mr. President, I would just like to raise a point of order, with due respect to counsel for the defense.  As we have previously agreed upon and ruled, a motion for reconsideration is not proper on the part of the parties.  Only a member of the Senate can seek a reconsideration from the ruling of the Chair.  I guess the remedies being alluded to by the Senate President will be that outside of the Senate unless a Senator-Judge would stand up and seek a reconsideration from the ruling of the Chair which is the ruling of the Senate.  It is the same ruling we gave in relation to a motion for reconsideration also filed in previous occasions by the prosecution, Mr. President.  I raise that point of order, Mr. President.  But, Mr. President, having said that, may I have the floor  just for a few concerns and manifestations.

The Senate was liberal in the sense that it granted the request for subpoena made by the prosecution.  However, I would like to raise some concerns.  Ang dahilan ho kung bakit binasa iyong desisyon para hindi ito mag-cause ng isyu o panic sa banking sector o business community.  But I will place on the record, Mr. President, that the prosecution in requesting for the issuance of a subpoena attached certain bank records which under the law is still prohibited since the subpoena was only issued today.  In their request for subpoena, they stated it was from an anonymous source.  In fact they were not vouching for its authenticity as stated in the petition.  I raised this concern, Mr. President, because whoever released these documents violated the secrecy of Bank Deposits Law.  May I inquire from the signatories of the petition for the issuance of subpoena, either Congressman Tupas or Congressman Abaya, who this source is because they owe fealty. and candor to this court insofar as any evidence that may have come to their knowledge or possession legally or illegally.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor please, this is regarding the customer identification and specimen signature card and all other documents attached to the pleading.  It came from an anonymous source, Your Honor.  It was given to me last Thursday night from one of the prosecutors and when I asked him, it came from anonymous source.  And we just truthfully declared that and the pleadings, Your Honor.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  May we ask the circumstances as to how this was obtained?  Sino po iyong prosecutor na nagbigay sa iyo at alangan namang multo o iniwan ho ba sa opisina niya iyong dokumento, mineyl ba sa kanya?  Because I fear, Mr. President, Your Honor, that we might be violating indirectly the Secrecy of Bank Deposits Law with the possession of these types of documents that the impeachment court issued a subpoena only in relation to that today.

REP. TUPAS.  It was given to me Thursday night around 7:30 in the evening in one of the hotels along Roxas Boulevard and the prosecutor is here inside the session hall.  So one of the prosecutors, Congressman Reynaldo Umali.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  And it was given by who to him?

REP. TUPAS.  We can ask him, Your Honor, if you wish.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  May we request.

REP. TUPAS.  May I give the floor now to Congressman Umali, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Mindoro is recognized.

REP. UMALI.  Thank you, Your Honors.

Your Honor please, last Thursday, I left the Senate halls during the hearing.  I went to do my job as a Congressman of the Second District of Oriental Mindoro.  I went to the Department of Public Works and Highways to follow-up my projects in said department and on the way out, I couldn’t really actually recall what particular instance that this document was given me.  I was handed this envelope and immediately I gave it to my aid and went directly to the Department of Public Works and Highways.  And then on the way back from the Department of Public Works and Highways, I went to the hotel mentioned by Prosecutor Tupas in Roxas Boulevard, and we had a meeting there but I had to leave shortly after I handed this document to him.

After seeing the document that I felt it was so important for the prosecution to know and to discuss on how to go about it.  But I was no longer present in the meeting because I had to attend to a TV show Duelo with one of the spokespersons of the defense in that particular program.

So, I couldn’t actually recall—I could recall a small lady but the lady was—I couldn’t remember at all who this person was because it was just handed to me and I was on the way out already.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Mr. President, I thank the good Gentleman for his explanation and also Congressman Tupas.

Mr. President, I raised this issue actually if only to place on record and manifest in granting the subpoena, the Senate is not in any way, and that’s my understanding, tolerating any violations of the law in order to obtain evidence or details of evidence to be subpoenaed.

But in so issuing the subpoena, as specified by the order of the court, that the Senate does not in any way allow, nor does it give its consent for such practices in violation of the law to be done by either side, either by the prosecution or by the defense.

I submit, Mr. President.  Thank you, Your Honor.

REP. UMALI.  If I may just manifest, Your Honor, if your Honors, please.  There was no intent to violate.  I guess this was an action taken by a concerned citizen who wanted this thing out and it was handed to this Representation, Your Honor.

And precisely, I gave it to the prosecution team for them to study …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Where was the envelope given to the Congressman?

REP. UMALI.  I couldn’t exactly recall …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Was it in the Department of Public Works?

REP. UMALI.  Not at all, Your Honor.  I was here in the Senate and then I left at about, more or less, two-thirty, and then I went to—I couldn’t exactly recall where because there were just so many documents that were handed to me on that particular …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You mentioned about a lady.

REP. UMALI.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Where did you see that short lady?

REP. UMALI.  It could have been, Your Honor, in the Secretariat or on the way out before I rode my vehicle going to the Department of Public Works and Highways, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And, your said that the lady handed the envelope to you?

REP. UMALI.  She just passed on and I thought …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To whom?

REP. UMALI.  To me, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To you?

REP. UMALI.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And, you do not know the lady at all?

REP. UMALI.  Not at all, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, we’ll leave it at that.

I would like to explain that the resolution of this court was simply to authorize the issuance of a subpoena.  And whether those evidence subpoenaed are admissible evidence, given the fact that they apparently appear in violation of existing laws is a question that must be resolved in due course.

I had that misunderstood.  We are not prejudging the admissibility or non-admissibility of this evidence.  And this issue will come up at that point when the subpoenaed material and testimonies are offered in evidence.  And all of these incidental issues will be open for scrutiny at the proper time.

You know the Republic Act 6426 is a very strict law, far stricter than Republic Act 1405.    .  It imposes a penalty for each violation, and nobody is immune from that penalty whether you are a member of the court, whether you are a member of the Legislature, whether you are a member of the Executive Department, whether you are public or private person.

That is the mandate of Section 10 of Republic Act No. 6426, whether the appearance of this document, in violation of Republic Act No. 6426, will impair its admissibility as an evidence is something that can be resolved at a later date.

This court, cannot at the moment, resolve that issue.

So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Again, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Well, in response to what Senator Escudero mentioned, perhaps the Senate CCTV may be of help to determine who that lady is.

The Sergeant-at-arms, I am sure would be able to look into that.

Anyway, Mr. President, in compliance with the directive of the Presiding Officer, given in open court in February 1, 2012, SEC Director Benito A. Cataran, submitted on February 2, 2012, his legal memorandum on the SEC’s power to revoke the franchise or certificate of registration of corporations, for the information of the court, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.

SEN. SOTTO.  Also, Mr. President, we are in receipt of the entry of appearance of additional private prosecutors under the control and supervision of the panel of prosecutors of the House of Representatives.

The entry is signed by Representative Tupas and Representative Tugna, and the private prosecutors named therein.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If, Your Honor, please, with this avalanche of private prosecutors, there may be a necessity of additional P10 million appropriation to take care of them.  And that is—that is our money, Your Honor.  That is money of the taxpayer.  And even the rules of the House states, the prosecution of this case filed before …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense should be flattered that …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, we were flattered, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … avalanche of prosecutor is a raid against …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are very much flattered, Your Honor, but we are concerned also with the depleting of the resource of the Republic of the Philippines.  That is your money, that is my money, the money of everybody here, Your Honor.

If they are not spent in accordance with law, then, this could be technical malversation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.  Noted.

REP. FARINAS.  Your Honor, may we make a manifestation regarding the appearance of our private lawyers.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. FARINAS.  Your Honor, all of these private lawyers are appearing here, pro-bono, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Pro-bono.

REP. FARINAS.  … on behalf and to represent the House of Representatives.

Now, with due respect to the counsels for the defendant, we are also surprised with the calibre of lawyers that they have because they are appearing pro-bono for the Chief Justice, and this is prohibited under Republic Act No. 6713, and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, because they are giving their gift services for free to the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.  And they come from big law firms, and they have pending cases before the Supreme Court, and the Chief Justice had successfully given the impression to the public that this is an attack against the Judiciary.

And we feel, Your Honors, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, Counsel, the respondent is also entitled to a lawyer—to a counsel of his choice.  You cannot deny that from him.

REP. FARINAS.  What we are saying, Mr. President, is that—ang sinasabi lang po naming ay bawal po sa isang public official ang tumanggap ng regalo na nagkakahalaga po ng malaki dahil ang mga magagaling na abogado pong ito, alam ko po, de campanilla, mahal po ang mga rates ng mga ito, binibigay po nila ng libre, baka nasisira po iyong independence ni Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is a separate issue altogether.  If there is evidence of any illegal gift or bribery or whatever, then, let the prosecution service of the government take the proper action.

REP. FARIÑAS.   Salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo.  Nasabi lang po namin iyon dahil nasabi po na baka lumaki iyong sampung milyon eh libre po lahat itong mga abogado na ito na ginagawa sa pangalan ng House of Representatives.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Eh sabi ninyo pro bono, pero sabi ho  ng defense pro bono, pero hindi natin alam kung pro bono nga.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Pro bono po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Iyan ang sabi ninyo.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Under my oath as an elected official, Mr. President, puro libre po itong mga abogadong ito.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ipagpalagay na natin na ganoon, ito ay para sa bayan.,

REP. FARIÑAS.  Salamat po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Para matuklasan nating ang katotohanan.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President, before things get out of hand, may we ask the Sgt-At-Arms to make an announcement.

(The Sgt-at-Arms made the announcement)

ADJOURNMENT OF TRIAL

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, February 7, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial adjourned and set according to the statement of the Majority Floor Leader.

It was 5:56 p.m.

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