At 2:09 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 honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona, is hereby called to order. We shall be led in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Misamis Oriental, Senator Aquilino L. :Pimentel III.
(Prayer by Senator Pimentel)
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Amen. Thank you. Thank you for that, Mr. Senator from Misamis Oriental. The Secretary will now please call the roll of Senators.
THE CLERK OF COURT. The Honorable Senators: Angara; Arroyo; Cayetano Allan Peter “Companero”; Cayetano, Pia; Defensor-Santiago; Drillon; Ejercito-Estrada; Escudero; Guingona; Honasan; Lacson; Lapid; Legarda; Marcos; Osmena; Pangilinan; Pimentel; Recto; Revilla; Sotto; Trillanes; Villar; the Senate President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. With 17 Senator Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Majority Floor Leader.
REP. SOTTO. Mr. President, may I ask the Sergeant-At-Arms to make the proclamation.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sergeant-At-Arms will please make the proclamation.
SGT-AT-ARMS. All presents are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting 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 February 13, 2012 Journal of the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, and consider the same as approved.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any objection? There being none, the February 13, 2012 Journal of this Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, is hereby approved.
Majority Floor Leader. The Secretary will now please call the case before the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court.
THE SECRETARY GENERAL. Case No. 002-2011..IN THE MATTER OF IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO C. CORONA.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Appearances. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Appearances. May we ask the respective counsel to enter their appearances, Mr. President.
REP. FARINAS. Mr. President, for the prosecution, same appearances. At ipagpahintulot po ninyo na sa ngalan ng aming Speaker at lahat ng kinatawan ng House of Representatives, kami po ay bumabati sa inyo ng maligayang kaarawan.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Maraming salamat po.
REP. FARINAS. (Ilocano language)
THE PRESIDING OFFICER (Ilocano language)
SEN. SOTTO. For the defense.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. For the defense.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. For the defense, Your Honor, the same appearance.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Noted. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, before the Business for the Day, may we recognize Senator Gregorio Honasan, and then Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for a manifestation.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Sorsogon, the honorable Gregorio Honasan is recognized.
SEN. HONASAN. Thank you, Mr. President. Mr. President, I have only one question for clarification which I would like to propound to both the prosecution and the defense counsels.
Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, yesterday, the court through some Senator Judges called the attention of the prosecution and the defense to issues that are related to unverified information and allegations that impact on the impeachment trial. This unverified information we did not even bother to authenticate, but it is not anybody’s fault. Mr. President, as we search for the truth and pursue our mandate to render justice, the court will continue to be confronted with these very same issues. Mr. President, some, many, if not all of us, have been victims of some form of injustice. We have always been on the receiving end. Many of us. And during those times we cried to high heavens when we were not even sure that somebody was listening but, apparently, somebody was listening because we are all here now.
Now, we have a court and senator-judges who listen. They do not only listen. They move. They act. And again, we have an opportunity not only to this right but to do this well. In fact, Mr. President, nabanggit ko po iyon dahil marami na tayong naririnig na komentaryo galing sa mga political analysts, mga students of history na tayo raw po, eh, komentaryo lang naman nila ito. We never missed an opportunity to miss an opportunity. In my attempt to gather my best lights and as prayed hard, I started reading the Constitution again and I came upon the Bill of Rights. And I now call the attention of both the prosecution and defense to Sec. 2 of Article 3 of the Bill of Rights. Hindi ko memorize ito kaya babasahin ko ito, pero I am sure, alam ninyo ito. “Section 2. The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizure of whatever nature and for any purpose shall be inviolable and no search warrant or warrant of arrest shall issue xxx” Ito po ang gusto kong itanong “xxx except upon probable cause to be determined personally by the judge after examination under oath or affirmation of the complainant and the witnesses he may produce and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized.” Ang tanong ko lang po and if it pleases the court, Mr. President, kahit na two to three minutes na paliwanag lamang. I am not asking for a correct answer. I am asking for an answer, so that I can incorporate this as we move inevitably towards that moment of judgment where we render a verdict.
So, I am going to ask, I wanted to ask both the prosecution and the defense, if this rule, this principle, applies from where you seat to the impeachment trial proceedings even if we look at this as a process that is political in nature.
Mr. President, I have no follow up question and I will take my leave and sit down and listen to two to three minutes explanation para maintindihan ko lamang ito.
Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you, Senator Honasan. I will start through by order of proof here in recognizing the parties to speak first, the prosecution.
REP. FARIÑAS. Thank you, Mr. President. Unang-una po, ang usapin po dito ay hindi tungkol search warrant or warrant of arrest. Eto po ay subpoena na ipinalabas ng hukumang ito dahil po sa relevant evidence na natanggap po namin tungkol po doon sa accounts ng nasasakdal po dito o iyong respondente po. Kasi po ang utos po sa amin ng Kagalang-galang na Senado ay dapat liwanagan namin kung ano iyong mga accounts na tinutukoy namin at talaga naman po, masama naman po iyong mag-issue ng subpoena na nilalahat o general. Kailangan po specified. Kaya po, doon po aming pleading patungkol po dito, iyong request for issuance of subpoena, eh, nakalagay po dito sa aming paragraph 10, at sinasabi po dito, itagalog ko po, “Kamakilan lang nakatanggap kami ng anonymous source, an anonymous source provided the prosecution with photocopies of what appears to be PSBank documents. These documents, copies attached as Annexes A to A-4 contained the following details:” so, nilaad po dito kung ano po iyon, mga account number, date opened, lahat po na nakasaad po doon sa dokumento nilahad po namin dito. Tinatawag ko po ang pansin ng Kagalang-galang na Senado dito sa 12 paragraph na ang sinabi po namin noong mga pumirma iyong aming Chief Prosecutor who is on the way po, papuntpo dito dahil dito dahil galing po sa House of Representatives, nakalagay po dito, “While it cannot vouch for the authenticity of the said documents, the prosecution believes that it is the duty to submit the documents to this honourable Impeachment Court, as they may have a bearing on the court’s resolution of the pending request for Subpoena. So, maliwanaga po na sinasabi po namin na hindi po naming pinapatunayan na ito pong mga dokumento na ito ay talagang authentic kung ano man po dahil para mapakita naman po iyong good faith ng prosecution e simple po lang sana na inilahad na lang naming po iyong numero ng mga accounts. Pero sa pag-aakala na iyong napasakamay sa amin, sa mga kasamahan naming ay totoong dokumento po, eh, inilagay na po naming doon. Kkung kami po ay may alam na ito ay hindi totoong dokumento ay talagang hindi naman po naming isasama doon dahil kami po ang mananagot doon. Kaya inilahad naman po naming dito ng maliwanag na habang hindi naming pwedeng panindigan itong mga dokumento na ito ay totoo, ang pakiramdam naming ay obligasyon naming na ipaabot naming ito sa kagalang-galang na Senado para po sa paggabay sa pag-isyu ng Subpoena. At dito nga po nag-isyu po iyong kagalang-galang na Senado ng Subpoena Ad Testificandum at Subpoena Duces Tecum at hindi naman po inobject ng kabilang partido iyon at talagang grinant. Ang kinwestyon lang po ay ang tungkol sa dolyar na account at iyon na nga poi yon na-issue ang TRO kaya wala pong usapin sa legalidad noong pag-issue ng kagalang-galang na Senado ng Subpoena Duces Tecum dahil sapat po at tama po iyong basehan.
Salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Salamat. The defense.
ATTY. CUEVAS. Your Honor, please, the gist of the question is, whether this apply to articles of impeachment proceedings, Your Honor. My answer is yes and definitely yes. This is part of the due process right of an accused or an impeached public official in connection with the charges levelled against him. Since the issue involved now is merely the propriety of a subpoena issued by this honourable Court to compel the production of various documents, Your Honor, enumerated in the Subpoena, it is akin or similar to a general warrant, Your Honor. And if it is akin to the general warrant, then, any and all proceedings in connection therewith must be considered against the right of the impeached public official to due process. Why do we say so, Your Honor? Because the right of an accused in this case, an impeached public official is not merely limited to freedom from arrest, freedom from determination of probable cause, Your Honor, but also in cases that are akin to this kind of privilege or right, Your Honor. A general warrant does not specify the definite properties to be the subject of production or seizure, and therefore, there is always a leeway for an abused on the public officer exercising the right to enforce any obligation on the part of the respondent to an abuse of the authority, Your Honor.
Here, for instance, may we be allowed to quote the Subpoena, Your Honor. It refers to the various documents, current accounts, time deposits, certificate of deposit, settlement account, investment market, trust account, unit investment, trust funds, mutual funds, or any and all financial instruments offered by the Bank of Philippine Island, Ayala branch in the name of the Chief Justice. If this is in the form of warrant, Your Honor, there could be no question, and we feel that it is beyond contradiction that this will be a general warrant. Why? Because there are no specifications, Your Honor. They can immediately seized. For us, the production of any of these documents, Your Honor. If that is so, then, the right of the impeached public official to due process is violated, and if its violated, therefore, the entirety of the proceedings relative to the production of these documents must be against the constitutional right of the accused to due process, Your Honor. It the right of the impeached public official to due process is violated or infringe, Your Honor, then, there is abundance jurisprudence to the effect that the entirety of the proceedings relative thereto is a nullity, and therefore, in order to save or to give impetus or enforcement to the right of an accused to due process, this must be circumscribed—the matter of subpoena, Your Honor, must comply with rules on search warrant. It must be specific, it must be determinative and it must refer to a particular account not merely a search warrant that can be utilized by a public officer in abusing the rights of an accused in violation of his right to due process. That is our humble submission. Whether it applies, our answer is yes because the Constitution is very clear, Your Honor. If there is a violation of this right, Your Honor, it says, any evidence obtained in violation of this or proceeding section shall be inadmissible for any purpose in any proceeding, impeachment proceeding notwithstanding. That is our humble submission, Your Honor. Thank you.
REP. FARIÑASA. Pwede po kami ng one-minute na…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you, I will just—the Gentleman from Cavite.
SEN. LACSON. Thank you, Mr. President, if I may add to the confusion. Sayang naman po kung hindi ko magagamit itong legal research ng aking staff. Tama po iyon, inviolable, under our Constitution iyong pagiging secure ng mga tao, mga private citizens. Pero may mga jurisprudence po na nakalahad dito, ang sinasabi po rito, kung walang intervention ang estado at isang pribadong indibidual, I will start my short manifestation and end it with a question dahil po medyo na-confuse din po ako dahil magkabilang panig magkaiba iyong posisyon, pareho kayong magagaling na abogado.
REP. FARIÑAS. Salamat po.
SEN. LACSON. Ang sinasabi po rito sa People versus Andrei Marty, GR No. 81561, January 18, 1991 ay minensyon pa rito iyong Fourth Amendment ng Estados Unidos at hinalimbawa iyong isang security guard or parking attendant na illegally sinerch na iyong kotse na naka-park sa kanyang binabantayan na area at nakakita siya ng marijuana. Noong ito ay dinala sa korte, ang sinabi ng korte admissible ito dahil walang intervention ang estado at walang tulong ang poder ng gobyerno, ng pamahalaan. So ito po ay pinayagan. Ang tanong ko po dito sa issue at hand ay maituturing ba nating itong ating mga public prosecutors na mga Kongresmen, ito ba ay maituturing natin na mga ginawa na nila ito bilang pribadong indibidual o sila ay gumamit ng power ng poder ng estado o bale sa kanilang pagiging Kongresista sila ba ay natulungan ng otoridad ng ating pamahalaan? Iyon lang po ang aking tanong para maliwanagan ang aking isip pero hindi po absolute iyong sa inyo pong dalawa. Alam ko pong hindi absolute iyong sinasabing inviolable iyong pagiging secure ng isang mamamayan laban sa mga illegal searches and seizures dahil alam naman natin pagka in plain view, halimbawa po, at pagkatapos ito ay search of a motor vehicle at iyong customs enforcement hindi po nasusunod iyong search warrants. So iyon lang po ang gusto kong maliwanagan bilang non-lawyer dahil sa aking pagbabasa rin ay mukhang may konting confusion. Salamat po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Kung gusto ng mga abogado ng magkabilang panig na sagutin iyong tanong ng ating kagalang-galang na Senador ng Cavite, Senator Panfilo Lacson, ay open ang hukuman na ito na dinigin ang sagot ng magkabilang panig.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If we will be given the opportunity, Your Honor, we will do so.
REP. FARIÑAS. Ipagpahintulot po ninyo, Ginoong Pangulo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. And prosekusyon.
REP. FARIÑAS. Opo. Doon po sa sinabi ni kagalang-galang na Senador Lacson, kumporme po kami doon iyong mga warrantless searches po iyon. Pero dito po ay nag-issue po mismo ang Senado ng subpoena. So maliwanag po ito na kapangyarihan ng Senado ang mag-issue ng subpoena at ng in-issue po iyong subpoena, very particular po hindi po general subpoena ito dahil pirmado po ito ng Ginoong Pangulo po ito, subpoena ad testificandum at duces tecum dated February 6. Napakaliwanag po dito, sabi po dito, to bring with you the original and certified true copies of the open documents of the following bank account numbers. One, two, three, four, sampung accounts po, in the name of Renato C. Corona and the banks statements showing the year-end bank balances for the said accounts as of December 31, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010.
Ang pinagbabawal po ay yung, sabi po nga ni Justice Cuevas, yung pangkalahatan po na warrant na kung ano-ano lang ang padadala mo diyan at bahala ka nang magkalat don at kung ano. Dito po napaka-specified po e, napakaliwanag po kaya it confirms with the constitutional mandate that the warrant or the search warrant described with particularity. Ang liwanag po, napakaliwanag po.
At isa pa po, nung na-issue po itong warrant, meron naman pong remedy yung kabila na pina-quash sana ito kung mali yung subpoena po. Kung talagang ang sa tingin nila ay labag ito sa Saligang Batas, dapat po pina-quash po nila yung subpoena.
Hindi po e. Tumahimik po sila at sa katotohanan po ay kinross-examine pa nila yung witness, pati yung mga dokumento. Nandito po sila. At ang ating jurisprudence po, yung pagkakamali ng abogado ay talagang the client is bound by the mistake or lapses—Ipagpatawad po ninyo kung—kasi po hindi naman po nila inobject. Pwede naman po nilang ipa-quash.
Katulad po yung isang subpoena po ngayon, ino-object po nila kaya hanggang ngayon hindi pa po natin nadedesisyonan.
Pero ito po ay talagang in-issue ng Senate President. Wala pong imangal sa mga Miyembro. Wala rin pong umangal sa mga partido. At sa katunayan po, lahat po nung tinawag na mga dokumento dito, napasok na po, namarkahan na po namin, kaya sa tingin po namin, nadon po, hindi lang po presumption of regularity ang pagka-issue ng kagalang-galang na Senado kung hindi tumalima na rin po yung kabilang partido dito po sa subpoenang ito.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ang depensa.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor, please, I’m sorry to dissent from the opinion and comment made by the honourable counsel for the prosecution, Your Honor, because we have on record, Your Honor, a consolidated opposition and rejoinder which we filed February 6, and we have a copy thereof, questioning the legality or the issuance the subpoena which had issued by this honourable court.
Now, the subpoena in question now, Your Honor, is the subpoena requiring the appearance and production of various documents mentioned in here which appearance and production must be made at two o’clock in the afternoon on the 14th day of February, 2012.
We did not have the opportunity even to object, Your Honor, much less a motion to quash. We are preparing it and with the kind indulgence of this honourable court, we’ll be filing it today, Your Honor. So, time constraint forbids us from immediately acting on this motion, Your Honor.
Now, we do not question, I hope we will not be misunderstood, Your Honor, we do not question the authority of this Impeachment Body, Your Honor, to issue the subpoena prayed for, Your Honor. But since this is duces tecum not only testificandum, there must be a showing of the materiality, relevancy of the documents so to be produced and that—otherwise it will be considered as oppressive and to the detriment of the impeached public officer because it is a violation of his right to due process, Your Honor.
Why do we say so? A mere examination of the subpoena in question, Your Honor, will sustain or lend credibility to our postulation, Your Honor. It mentioned any and all peso savings account, current accounts, time deposit, certificates of deposit, settlement account, investment fund, management and trust fund, unit investment trust fund, mutual funds and any and all other financial instruments. Is that not convincing enough to show that this is equivalent to a general search warrant, Your Honor?
What, for instance, are the materiality of this document? What are they, in the first place? Will they be relevant or material to the issues involved?
The way we understood this, Your Honor, as we go along trial of this impeachment case, this is merely in support in connection with paragraphs 2.2 and 2.3, and never on the issue of ill-gotten wealth, provided for and spoken under 2.4, Your Honor, because there is already a resolution of this honorable court that the prosecution is debarred or prevented or hindered from presenting evidence towards that end. That ruling had never been modified, much less, revoked or withdrawn by this honorable court.
It is along those lines that we submit, Your Honor, that this is practically the equivalent of a general search warrant, giving all the leeway and paving the way for grave abuse of discretion on the part of the party serving the subpoena to compel the production of this document.
If this is served upon member, for instance, of the prosecution, what documents will they present? What year and so on, and what is the purpose, Your Honor? Because it is not enough that there is a subpoena, that is beyond dispute, Your Honor. We never questioned the right and authority of this impeachment court to issue the subpoena. It has the power to, but in the exercise of that power, it must be within the prerogatives and within the ambit of our Constitutional provision, Your Honor, that had been succinctly declared, and it had been indelibly discussed in the case of Francisco et al vs. The honorable Court of Appeals.
We submit, Your Honor. Thank you very much.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Taguig, the Minority Floor Leader.
SEN. CAYETANO (A.). Mr. President, magandang hapon. Being a very special day, the day of love and hearts, and being the natal day of our good Senate President, I will try not to argue with anyone.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Happy Valentine to you and to everybody.
SEN. CAYETANO (A.). Happy Valentine and it is our pleasure to share your birthday with you today, Sir.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Birthday or no birthday, we work for the country.
SEN. CAYETANO (A.). So, I will try not to argue with people today. Defense counsel, Sir, Justice Cuevas, you may want to answer through the memo that you are going to submit or through a memorandum, or if you’d like to expound, depending on the time of the court.
I thank you for bringing up this issue and tingin ko po, dapat talaga himayin yong thin line kung meron man na—kung thin man o makapal ang line between the rules of a search warrant and a subpoena, pero para lang sa paglilinaw po sa akin, kapag binasa ko po iyong mga memo nyo, ng prosecution at ng defense.
Number one, ang pagkaintindi ko po sa search warrant ay utos ng korte, because may probable cause, ibig sabihin, hindi ito fishing expedition, kung hindi dahil may probable cause because merong nanumpa doon po sa huwes na nagsasabing may mahahanap sa isang lugar, so, mayroong search na mangyayari. So, halimbawa, sa isang bahay, dokumento man, drugs man, counterfeit na pera, hindi pwedeng basta dadating doon at hahalukayin yong buong bahay. Kailangan may probable cause. Kailangan specific yong warrant. Anong bahay? Saang Bahay? Pero hindi kailangang specific na isang kwarto lang, pwedeng yong buong bahay, halimbawa ang hahanapan noong droga, halimbawa.
Ang subpoena naman po, ang pagkakaintidi ko, ito ay utos ng korte na, number one, mag-testify ang isang tao, or number two, magdala ng dokumento.
So, going back—ang rule sa search, pag unreasonable iyong search or arbitrary, o sinasabing fishing expedition yon, illegally obtained, ibig sabihin, walang search warrant at hindi nagpo-fall sa mga exception na sinabi ni Senator Lacson, ay ang pumapasok na batas doon, iyong fruit of the poisonuous tree, o iyong sinasabing, lahat ng makuha mo doon, hindi pwedeng gamitin, hindi pwedeng tanggapin ng korte, kahit isang tonelada ng shabu ang nasa harap natin ngayon, at aminado na sa kanya galing, pero kung masasabing illegal ang search, hindi pwedeng gamitin yong ebidensya na yon. Until that point, we agree, but until the point of the subpoena, when you issue a subpoena, you are merely requiring someone to produce something. We did not require the bank to bring any—we did not subpoena the BSP and say, any bank account of Justice Corona. There was certain bank account numbers given by this court.
Number two, while the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree is clear, and all lawyers will know that when it comes to illegal searches, sa subpoena po, ang lumalabas po, di ba, pag me exclutionary rule, ibig sabihin, nakalagay sa batas na yon, any evidence obtained through this cannot be used in court, then, malinaw na hindi pwedeng gamitin. Pero pag walang exclutionary rule, ibig sabihin, pwede pa ring gamitin. Halimbawa po—or at least question mark, and I will allow you to explain if your view is that even without an exclusionary rule, puwedeng gamitin. Halimbawa po, sa bank accounts, ang nakalagay doon paparusahan lang ang taga-bangko na naglabas noon. Pero walang nakalagay doon sa batas na iyon na hindi puwedeng gamitin. Kaya iyong testimony ni Clarissa Ocampo ay ginamit. Or to use an example na mas alam ng ating kababayan, si Senator Lacson po, noong lumapit sa kanya si Mr. Udong Mahusay, may dala ho siyang mga bulto ng dokumento, may mga bank accounts allegedly ni First Gentleman at ni Jose Pidal. Kung ano-ano ang nakalagay doon. Morgan Stanley, sa mga bangko, may mga iba pang hindi nilabas si Senator Lacson, dahil tingin niya ay compromising iyon. Iyon po, theoretically, ay nakaw ni Udong allegedly kay First Gentleman. Bakit? Hindi naman sa kanya iyon. Pero hindi siya illegal search dahil hindi naman gobyerno at hindi naman po mga taga NBI o pulis ang kumuha. So, iyon po ba ay … I am not asking the specific case. But just so that we can understand and I can understand. Ang pagkaintindi ko po, walang exclusionary rule iyon. May violation of the Bank Secrecy Law dahil iyong isang katiwala ni First Gentleman ay naglabas ng dokumento na hindi sa kanya at ninakaw niya iyon. Pero, hindi naman illegal search. Hindi naman Chief PNP si Senator Lacson noong panahon na iyon at lumapit sa kanya. So, sir, when you make the memo of law, I get what you are driving at. But can you help us by showing us that fine line. When is a subpoena legitimate and when do you think a subpoena will now become illegal or unreasonable search giving us the logical conclusion that it will fall under the doctrine of the fruit of the poisonous tree? Or where is a subpoena either legitimate or when is a subpoena defective but it does not affect the admissibility of the evidence. As to relevance and materiality, I hear where you are coming from, ibang issue iyon. I am just talking about the exclusionary rule, the rule of whether evidence can be accepted or not. So, I think this is something that both parties have to clarify on that issue.. Saan po ang thin line at saan po nagkakaiba ang subpoena at ang search warrant po o unreasonable search.
Thank you Mr. President.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. There being a request from a Member of the court for a submission of memorandum to clarify this issue, it is the mind of this Presiding Officer to request both parties to submit their respective memorandum on this specific issue not only for the information of the public but for the guidance of this court as well. And this Presiding Officer will make a statement after everybody has spoken.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If Your Honor please, very willingly, we will comply, Your Honor.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted. May I just let the defense counsel first to finish …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Very willingly, Your Honor, we will comply. But may we request that we be given at least five days, Your Honor, in view of the importance of the issue involved, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor.
REP. FARINAS. May we ask for the same period as well, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Pampanga.
SEN. PANGILINAN. Yes. On the issue of the memorandum. If we may also consider explaining to this court why you would consider a subpoena of this court In the same category as a warrant of arrest or a search warrant, please. Thank you.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Definitely we will.
REP. FARINAS. Yes, sir.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may we recognize Miriam Defensor-Santiago on another issue.
SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO. This is a legal manifestation addressed to both panels.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The gentle Lady from Iloilo is recognized.
SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO. Thank you. Gentlemen, you may take your seats. In the first place, I don’t understand why we are discussing a search warrant. This court has not issued a search warrant. What search warrant are we talking about? What we issued was a subpoena. Therefore, the issue should be what are the effects of the subpoena considering that when the subpoena was requested for by the prosecution, it attached what purported to be bank documents but immediately the prosecution disavowed any knowledge of the authenticity of the document. Therefore, the issue is can counsel, in any proceeding, attach—request for a subpoena and document about which he knows nothing? That is the issue. Hindi mo pala kung ano iyon, eh, bakit mo sisingilin kami na isyu kami ng subpoena, eh, ano iyon? That’s only a scrap of paper. Why are you doing this to the court? Why don’t you go, hit your law books? Kung anu-ano ang pinagsasabi n’yo. Hindi naman ito pakursunada, eh, siguro ito sa jurisprudence. Dito sa inyong supplemental request for subpoena/reply dated February 3, paragraph 11.
Now, I will start even earlier. Paragraph 10, “Recently, an anonymous source provided the prosecution with photocopies of what appears to be PSBank document.” without more. Pwede na ba iyon sa korte? “Anonymous source told us,” so, we are alleging it in our request for a subpoena. Is that allowed? Can you allege something in open court or even in a written pleading with the court that you have information but it is based on an anonymous source? My goodness, if you bring this to any trial judge in the entire country particularly in Metro-Manila, you will be cited for contempt.
I know that I said that impeachment is quasi judicial and quasi political. But you cannot tamper with the Rules of Courts, which are suppletorily applicable to our Rules of the Senate on impeachment.
Saan ka nakakita ng pleading na somebody anonymous said like this to us who were going to ask the court to do something? What kind of respect to the Supreme Court are you entertaining in your minds?
Pangalawa, basahin ko sa inyo, these are very, very strange bazaar document. Imagine, telling me, if I were the trial judge anonymous source told me, Your Honor, that something happened, so, will you please issue a subpoena. Can that be a basis for issuance of subpoena?
Paragraph 11, “Moreover, it seems to the media itself all source of information.” Kailan naman na ang judge pwede mong hikayatin o pwede mong pakiusapan na gumawa ng kung anuman action na gusto mo, issuance of a subpoena on the basis of the media account? My goodness. Is this government by media or is this judicial system by media? Again, this is the ground for contempt. If I were the trial judge, I will say, “You are wasting my time. Sheriff, take him to City Jail.” Direct contempt iyon, eh. Eh, biro mo, if you are going to the court in a serious frame of mind, you are met by this kind of a pleading. May narinig kami sa isang babae na hindi namin masabi kung sino iyon, may nabasa kami sa diyaryo.
Opposing counsel, in all trial courts of our country will go up of eclectic, objecting to that kind of a request. May I just point that out to those people who have never been to trial court.
Paragraph 12, “While it cannot vouch for the authenticity of the said documents, the prosecution believes that it is its duty to submit the document to this court as they may have a bearing on the court’s resolution on the pending request for a subpoena.” Ha, say again. One, I heard someone whom I cannot identify say something. Number two, I read it in the media. Now, it is my duty to bring it to the attention of the court, duty, my foot. It is not your duty. It is your liability, but it is disgrace to the judicial system. And I have basis for saying that. I will read you the case in these cases of fake documents, which just relayed, the bank manager exuberated and said “That’s a fake document.”
In the case of document introduced in court, here is what the Supreme Court had to say, based on administrative cases against certain judges. An administrative case is a case for disbarment. Ganoong katindi, ‘pag nagbigay ka ng peke na dokumento, peke na testimonya sa korte. Ganoong katindi iyan. Pwede iyang base na ipa-disbar mo iyong abugado. There are two cases, one, where the lawyer himself did not know that the document was false, did not participate in its preparation and the other is, for the lawyer wilfully introduced what you knew to be fake documents.
Let’s talk about the first instance, the lawyer wilfully knew the document is fake. Here is what the Supreme Court said, in Samala V. Valencia, I beg the indulgence of this Court, I am hyperventilating because I am very, very upset, I will leave this Court immediately because I am sure I have hypertension.
Samala B. Valencia, 512 SCRA1, decided in 2007. Here is what the Supreme Court said: “Respondent cannot play ignorant of the facts that the title he submitted was already cancelled”. In other words, the Supreme Court say: “We are concerned, we are aghast that the lawyer knew that the documents he submitted was false. Respondent failed to comply with Canon trend of the Code of Professional Responsibility, which provides that the lawyer shall not do any falsehood nor consent to the doing of any court of any in court, nor shall mislead or allow the court to be mislead by any artifice. It matters not that the trial court is not mislead by respondent’s submission. Notice, the court said even if that false document did not mislead the court, still, the lawyer is liable. Because the burden should not be placed on the court to determine whether the document is true or not, it is the duty of the lawyer who is introducing it. It matters not that the trial court was not mislead by the respondent’s submission. What is decisive in this case is the respondent intent in trying to mislead the court by presenting this document”t. That is what the Supreme Court said. If the lawyer wilfully introduced fake documents, the Supreme Court will condemn the lawyer. I will see what the penalty was.
Accordingly, the Court finds the lawyer guilty of misconduct and violation of Canon’s 21101 of the Code of Professional Responsibility. He is suspended from the practice of law for three years effective immediately upon receipt of this resolution. That is a decided case. It binds us all here. But that is in the case of a lawyer who knowingly and wilfully introduced a fake document.
Now, let us grant the presumption of innocence to the prosecution panel. Supposed they did not know as they indeed said in their pleading, they could not vouch for the authenticity of the document, do they still have any liability? Yes. No other than former Chief Justice Enrique Fernando, one of the most brilliant lawyer, produced by this country. Justice Fernando wrote in the case of Berenguer V. Caranza, 26SCRA, 673, promulgated in 1969. “In the preparation of the fake document, the lawyer had nothing to do with it. And therefore, the charge of deliberate deception obviously cannot be sustained”. But, the court went on,” would that of himself entirely exculpate him from any responsibility”? The answer must be in the negative. Maski hindi mo sinadya, maski hindi mo naintindihan na peke pala iyon, pag na-introduce mo iyang evidence at natuklasan na peke pala ay may pananagutan ka pa rin pala.
As was correctly pointed out in the complaint, his failure to exercise greater care, did result in the confusion and promulgation of the suit. Kasi nalilito kami eh. Under the circumstances, to be to err on the side of undue leniency, if you would be held blameless, he had incurred liability, he should delegate to his oath as attorney was less than entire.
Every member of the bar must be on his guard, lest to oversight or inadvertence, the way he conducts his case or the evidence he presents could conceivably result in a failure of justice. Even if there is no intent to deceive, no intent to deceive therefore, a lawyer whose conduct as in this case, betrays inattention or carelessness should not be allowed to free himself from a charge thereafter instituted against him by a mere plea that his conduct was not wilfull and that he does not consented to the doing of the falsity. The Supreme Court found him guilty and issued a penalty of reprimand with a warning that repetition of the offense will more severely left with. This is the ruling of the Supreme Court. Pinalitan na ba natin itong mga ruling na ito? Pwede na pala ngayon maski media ka pwede mo ng i-narrate sa korte na hindi mo naintindihan kung tama iyon o totoo iyon o binigay iyan ng dirty tricks department ng kung sinong PR firm—come on, wake up. We all know how politics is done in this country. Just because we admit that this is a quasi political proceeding does not mean that we can turn this into a completely political circus. Kaya I submit to my colleagues, I respectfully submit to my colleagues, what is the role of media while this trial is pending, while this trial is subjudice? Pababayaan na lang ba sila na magbibigay ng kung anong lead diyan na identify tayo isa-isa—itong mga Senador na ito pro-Aquino ito. Ito naman pro-Corona. What does this say of our integrity? Pababayaan lang ba sila? Libreng-libre ba sila in the name of freedom of the press? I think we should think very carefully about the subjudice rulings. While a case is pending in court, there is a gag rule. No person may orally or through other means, by media, for example, comment on the merits of the case. Even we are not allowed to do that, shall we allow media to do that? Nilista tayo isa-isa, dito kaliwa, dito sa kanan. May kaso dtto a. E di kung ganoon pala if this is going to be a trial by publicity, let us invoke the Constitution and ask for a change of venue, perhaps out of the country. We all know that the Constitution itself recognizes that public opinion can be so prejudicial in a pending trial. That under the Constitution the Supreme Court may order a change of venue. Ganoon ka tindi ang ayaw ng korte, ng public opinion that will teach lawyers who have trained for nine years to become lawyers on what the law is or how it should be applied by people who have never applied the law in trial court. Okay, kung ganito ito huwag na tayong magbasa pa. That is all, Your Honor. Thank you.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you.
Now, may I now state the position of this humble Presiding Officer and this position is subject to the opinion of the court, of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
The Senate, you see, it is by the humble view of the Presiding Officer that the Senate as an impeachment court must at all times observe the rule of law. It cannot transgress any of the applicable provisions of the Bill of Rights. It must be guided by the presumption of innocence before the pronouncement of guilt. It must at all times observe the principle of procedural and substantial due process. It cannot use its power to issue compulsory processes to compel any witness to appear and testify and in testifying is forced to commit a crime. It cannot compel a witness to testify against himself. It cannot arbitrarily declare a person guilty of contempt and deprive that person of his or her liberty. It cannot violate the laws passed by Congress of which it is an integral part. That is the humble position of this Presiding Officer
of this Senate seating as an Impeachment Court.
Now, as far as the subpoena duces tecum involved which was issued by this Presiding Officer upon the behest of the prosecution, this Presiding Officer assumes full responsibility for issuing that subpoena and is ready to defend his position in any court of law if there is a need for that.
I will not pass the back to the Senate seating as an Impeachment Court. It was my decision as a Presiding Officer, and I am personally bound to assume the consequences of my action as a Presiding Officer.
Having said that, I do not wish to delve on the issue of whether the exercise of the power to issue compulsory processes by this court, in this particular instance, involving Republic Acts 1405 and 6426.
I do not want to make any pronouncement on that because precisely this court, through this Presiding Officer, exercise the discretion to heed the request of the prosecution to issue a subpoena duces tecum to help them obtain the evidence they wanted in the face of proscriptions by laws of the land, passed by Congress. And that is the subject matter now of the case before the Supreme Court filed by a private party, asserting its rights under the laws of this country and under the Constitution, to be protected from any liability. And that is the reason for which the Supreme Court issued a TRO. And that was also the reason why this court or a majority of this court yesterday ruled in an open, uninfluenced voting, that this court must respect the order of the Supreme Court to issue its temporary restraining order, whether or not in the end this court abused its discretion or committed a grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction will be decided or has to be decided by the Supreme Court, being the highest court of the land, and the final arbiter and interpreter of the Constitution of this country, for no one else was given by the sovereign people in their Constitution the power to make a final determination or interpretation of what the Constitution ought to be or what a law ought to be except the Supreme Court. Not the Executive, not Congress, but only the Supreme Court.
And so, it is my bound and duty as a Presiding Officer of this Impeachment Court to respect the authority—the power of the Supreme Court to review acts of this impeachment court in interlocutory matters, meaning, matters bearing on the manner by which this court would conduct the trial of this particular impeachment case. But it is my humble view that the Supreme Court, in spite of the fact that it has the power of judicial review, cannot assume jurisdiction over the power, the sole power of this Senate, seating as an impeachment court, to try and decide this impeachment case.
That is the position of this humble Presiding Officer.
The Gentleman from Iloilo.
SEN. DRILON. We do not wish to debate on this point. Just to register that we have a different view on the matter, of the Supreme Court, having jurisdiction over interlocutory orders of this court, we just want to register that position on record, and we do not wish to argue that point, but just so to preserve our position on that point, Mr. Chairman.
Thank you very much.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Noted.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Anyone else?
Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may we now call on the prosecution for the continuation of the presentation of evidence.
REP. FARIÑAS. Mr. President, may we make a manifestation po, Ginoong Pangulo, tungkol sa mga witnesses po natin, dahil yong testigo po na manager ng BPI, e ang pakiramdam po nya, baka manganak na siya, kung pwede, unahin na daw po sya. Ready po raw siya kung …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Nasa sa inyo po kung sino ang gusto nyong unang uupo na testigo nyo.
REP. FARIÑAS. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Hindi kinokontrol ng hukuman na ito ang order of presentation ng mga ebidensya ng magkabilang panig dito. Nasa inyo yan.
REP. FARIÑA. Salamat po, Ginoong Pangulo.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If, Your Honor, please.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The defense counsel.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If the witness referred to, Your Honor, is Madam Tiongson …
REP. FARIÑAS. No, no, Mrs. Dizon of the Bank of Philippine Islands.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Dizon, Your Honor, however, the records will show that the direct examination, together with the cross examination had already been terminated. So, I do not see how she can be called again for further questioning, Your Honor, either by the prosecution or by the defense. That will be violative of the rules of procedure, Your Honor. Once the testimony of the witness had been terminated by the termination of the direct and cross examination, he may not be recalled or she or he may not be recalled without the permission of the court and for good caution, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let the prosecution perform their job, make the proper—follow the procedures in the recall of witnesses.
REP. FARIÑAS. Ang pagkasabi po ng aking hepe dito po ay siya po daw ay tinawag ng kagalang-galang na Senado po na magdala ng mga ibang dokumento yata na kailangan po ng kagalang-galang na Senado po, kaya po …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ang tanong, ang testigo po nyo, kung sino ang pauupuin nyo sa upuan ng testigo.
REP. FARIÑAS. Tinatawag po namin si Mrs. Dizon, manager po ng Bank of the Philippine Islands, Ayala Branch.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Pero ang sabi ng depensa ay pinaupo na ninyo yang testigo na yan at natapos na ninyo ang kanyang direct examination.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We have—even …
REP. FARIÑAS. May I ask that the Atty. Art Lim, one of the private prosecutors be recognized, Mr. President.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That will be violative of the rule on supervision and control by the private prosecutor of the-–by the Representatives of the House of Representatives, Your Honor..
REP. FARIÑAS. Hindi po, because she will appear under our direction and control but it was him who was handling the witness, so I do not know the final points, as to where we stopped, as to what the precise stage of the proceedings are we in, Mr. President. So, …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. So, if, Your Honor, please, it is now the public prosecutor under the control and supervision of the private prosecutor.
REP. FARIÑAS. Not at all, Mr. President.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is decidedly …
REP. FARIÑAS. In fact …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The situation is this. Let me clarify. It is true that the prosecution has control over their panel. Precisely, they are asking now the court to allow their private counsel to take the podium to explain and that is an exercise of the power of control of the panel of prosecutors designated by the House of Representatives. So, I will permit it.
REP. FARIÑAS. Thank you, Mr. President.
SEN. ESCUDERO. Mr. President. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Sorsogon.
SEN. ESCUDERO. Point of information, Mr. President, and I hope the records will bear me out. I think, indeed, both direct and cross were finished in the previous hearing only that some Senator Judges had questions of this witness. And, in fact, I think, one of our colleagues asked for a subpoena so that the witness can produce some documents, if my recollection serves me right. It was Senator Osmena who had some queries of this witness. So, Mr. President, I think that is the stage where we are in right now. The witness was recalled so that a Senator Judge can propound questions with respect to additional documents he requested and not for either of the parties to propound additional questions on direct or on cross.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Correct. That is correct. That is why this Representation caused the issuance of a subpoena because a member of this court wanted the witness to be recalled because he wanted to ask further questions by way of clarification.
SEN. DRILON. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Iloilo.
SEN. DRILON. The statement of Senator Escudero and the Presiding Officer are confirmed on page 64 of the Journal of the impeachment trial, Journal No. 16 dated Thursday, February 9, 2012. Additionally, Your Honor, in addition to what Senator Escudero and Your Honor mentioned, this Representation, if you recall, also was interested in looking at the monthly statements which counsel for the defense voluntarily said will be available for examination. And again, that is found on pages 64 and 65. In fact, if I may quote the Presiding Officer, it says: “In the case of this particular account that we are now discussing, in effect, the depositor already gave permission for the examination of all accounts, month by month, from the beginning of the opening of this account up to the year ending December 31, 2010.”
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is also the recollection of the Presiding Officer.
SEN. DRILON. So, really, this witness can be recalled to testify on these two items, Your Honor. I am just confirming it.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Then the witness is ordered to enter the plenary session, take the witness stand, and testify under the same oath. Proceed.
ATTY. LIM. May it please the honourable court. Atty. Lim, as private prosecutor, under the control of the public prosecutor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you going to make a re-direct?
ATTY. LIM. Your Honor, this will be additional direct because …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. No, I will not allow it. I will allow the member of this court that requested for a subpoena to direct questions on this witness.
ATTY. LIM. We submit, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. So, the Gentleman from Illoilo may now proceed to ask questions on the witness.
SEN. DRILON. Thank you, Mr. President. Madam Witness, the Senate President during the last hearing, asked you to produce the monthly statements of the peso account of the Chief Justice Corona from 2005 up to 2010. It will be recalled that counsel for the respondent, the Chief Justice Corona, manifested before this Court that he was willing to accompany, to go to the offices of your bank and examine these documents. And it is, at this point, that we ask that this court be allowed to share, be notified and be informed of this document. Do you have these documents with you?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, if I intervene, Your Honor, and object, I will be ruled out of order.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes. What is the pleasure of …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. I just want to make a manifestation, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. There was no statement made by us that we are all willing to reveal all these things, Your Honor. We were asking for the breakdown of that deposit because we feel that, this being a current account, there are monthly statements, Your Honor. And the reason for that is, we have conferred, insofar as this matter is concerned, with Chief Justice Corona, but after, he assured us that we have this document with us, we find no necessity to go over the documents in possession of the bank, Your Honor. In fact, we have filed the manifestation, which we filed on February 13, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Correct. That is also the understanding of this Chair that we were talking about this specific bank account and the monthly bank reports for the depositor from 2005, I think, it was all the way 2010. And only the running balance of this account. If you remember, we were talking about an ending balance as of 2010 of P12 million, I think if I remember correctly.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Fourteen million something, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Anyway, whatever it is. And then, I said, “This is a current account and it was opened in 1989. And I asked whether the ending balance whatever that amount was whether it was P12 million or P14 million is a sum total of all the transactions, deposits and withdrawals over that long period of time.” And I was corrected by the counsel for the defense when he said that only from 2005 up to 2010.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is correct, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. So, that is the situation.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. It did not call for any other documents outside of those monthly balances for the operation of that current account.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. This was brought about by our cross-examination, Your Honor, and it was—what we were trying to clarify is what makes up the alleged P14 million deposit whether it was one single transaction or various transactions. And considering that up to that time, there was no assurance on the part of the Chief Justice that we have the necessary documents with us, we made the request, but finding out that we have the necessary documents, Your Honor, to explain or further this amount of P14 million, we have chosen to withdraw.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. And in fact, …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. And we cannot be compelled by, I am sorry, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. And we cannot be compelled by the prosecution much less by a single Senator-Judge to do whatever is not in accordance with our postulation or articulation, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICE. By the way, this started when the defense counsel agreed about the submission of the monthly statements for this particular current account of the respondent. And I even suggested that both the prosecution and the defense ought to go to the bank, themselves, to expedite the proceeding to look at those bank accounts. But later on, the defense counsel said, they have some of the records in the possession of the depositor and which actually the respondent in this case; and that is where some discussions again ensued. That is the recollection of the Chair.
ATTY. CUEVAS. That is correct.
ATTY. LIM. Your Honor, please.
ATTY. CUEVAS. May I be able to read into the records, Your Honor, what precipitated that particular issue by way of discussing the same, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.
ATTY. CUEVAS. I am referring to the minutes of the proceedings of Thursday, February 9, 2012, Your Honor,
“PRESIDING OFFICER. This is a simple problem, let them decide who is going to confer with the very able defense counsel. So, you want to deal with the head of the panel? I think, since they have control over their panel and their defense counsel, they can designate whoever they want to go with the defense counsel to examine the records.
MR. CUEVAS. This is my point, Your Honor, Your Honor please.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. While the Court is debating among its members, the matter of inspection or production of the statement of account, Your Honor, my co-counsel in the defense received a call from Chief Justice that he has these documents, Your Honor. Some of these documents I am referring to, the statement of accounts are with him. I would not know which will be material to us. If this is true, then in effect we are withdrawing the motion because we have them already with us. That is my point, Your Honor, we will not unduly burden our colleagues, Your Honor”.
That is the end of the discussion, Your Honor. We cannot be dictated upon. I beg permission of the Court, Your Honor, by stating this on record on how we should handle the defense for our client. That is our sole responsibility to our client, Your Honor. Neither the prosecution can tell us what to do because we are not under the control or supervision of the prosecution.
ATTY. LIM. Your Honor, please, may the prosecution.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let the defense speak first.
ATTY. LIM. Sorry, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I am not bright enough to have all of you talking at the same time.
ATTY. LIM. My apologies, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.
ATTY. CUEVAS. Then the Presiding Officer.
“THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Then, why you cannot talk to your client and then communicate with.
MR. CUEVAS. We will do that, Your Honor, precisely that is why we are asking up to Monday, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let it be Monday.
MR. CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor”.
ATTY. CUEVAS. That was the end of the discussion, insofar as the statement of accounts are concerned. Why we will be compelled to go to the bank and examine this when we have the documents that we wanted to present, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you through?
ATTY. CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor, thank you very much.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. The Prosecution.
ATTY. LIM. Thank you very much, Your Honor, my apologies once again for the …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. No, don’t apologize anymore. No more pasakalyes, just go direct to the point.
ATTY. LIM. Your Honor, with due respect to the defense counsel, what he has stated are not in accordance with the record. The record of February 9, 2012 will bear out that there are now three sets of documents. The first set of documents were those required to be produced in the Subpoena of February 6, 2012, which this humble representation elicited from the witness, and after completing the testimony, indeed, I confirm now that I stated that is all for the direct and Justice Cuevas started on his cross. Unfortunately, for the defense, during their cross-examination, they, themselves went into the matter of monthly statements which were not in the subpoena. But motu propio, of their own volition, they went into monthly statements.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct.
ATTY. LIM. Yes, Your Honor, and then, there was that agreement, initially, for both sides to go to the bank when I withdrew my opposition that he will go there by his lonesome, and then the honourable Presiding Officer was judicious enough to suggest why don’t the two sides go together.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Up to that point, correct.
ATTY. LIM. Yes, Your Honor. And so, there was that subsequent manifestation by the defense counsel that, after all, they were interrupted in their strategy for cross by their own client who said, do not go to the bank with the other counsel. I have the statements here in my possession and so he appeared to have withdrawn the motion. But then there was again a caveat–we will still clarify with the Chief Justice, give us up to Monday whether we will really withdraw the motion to go there together or not. And then Monday afternoon, they filed a manifestation. They realized perhaps their mistake they now do not wish to go to the bank. That is the first point.
Second point, Your Honor, is that that is the first set of documents. The second set of documents now are those set of documents allowed already by the honourable impeachment court through the honourable Presiding Officer to be brought before this august body by this same witness as requested by Senator Drilon.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is a separate matter all together.
ATTY. LIM. Yes, and this is found on page 70.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is not your concern, that is the concern of a judge of this court.
ATTY. LIM. It is my humble submission, Your Honor please, if you will please kindly allow…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.
ATTY. LIM. … that in the same manner that the defense counsel would not wish to be dictated upon in the defense of their client, the prosecution would also want to see to it that the search for truth is not hampered by technicalities. They themselves opened the matter about monthly statements. Senator Drilon merely pursued it and Senator Drilon requested those monthly statements to be brought here and the honourable Presiding Officer allowed that.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let a judge of this court deal with that matter.
ATTY. LIM. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. You have finished your direct examination of this witness.
ATTY. LIM. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The only issue was whether you go to the bank to examine the monthly statements or they will produce the monthly statements and if you are not satisfied about the authenticity or accuracy or integrity of those bank statements, that will be a matter that can be decided again by this court. Alright, okay?
ATTY. LIM. Just a final manifestation. I was merely discharging my duties to Your Honor,…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I know that.
ATTY. LIM. … as an officer of the court to assist the court in keeping track of the proceedings. In fact I will end, Your Honor, with a last manifestation that there is a third set of documents—those requested by the honourable Gentleman from Cebu which the honourable Presiding Officer also allowed. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. We are quite aware of this even if we are 88 years old. I assure you that. So please, limit yourself to your role as a prosecutor and I am sure that the judges in this Senate can take care of their problems. Understood?
ATTY. LIM. Yes, Your Honor. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Okay. So that we will not bog down in this incidental arguments. So counsel for the defense, what is your objection now?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, before we go into that, may we be allowed to state for the record, Your Honor, that when we read the matters you stated awhile ago, that is not our opinion, Your Honor. It is on the basis of the transcript of the stenographic notes, pages 69 to 70, which carries the statement, certified true correct, Antonia P. Barros, Director III, Legislative Records and Archives, Your Honor. The same holds true with Section 69. I just wanted to make of record that we did not invent these occurrences but this is borne out by the records of the case, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor. Now, our objection is, the witness had been presented, she was subjected to direct examination. After the direct examination, we conducted a cross. And after the cross, we are through with the witness, Your Honor. We do not know in what capacity the recall of the witness is made. There is no motion, there is no ground, there is no justification whatsoever.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. There was a request by a member of this court for the recall of this witness, and that is a prerogative of a Member of this court according to our Rules, to ask questions, clarificatory question from the witness.
I do not know what is in the mind of the Member of the Senate in requesting for the recall of the witness. I cannot control, as a Presiding Officer, any Member of this Senate seating as an Impeachment Court to perform his job as a Member of the Senate as a body of jury to try this case.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is—If we may be allowed to say something, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is our apprehension, Your Honor, and very real, because every time we make a manifestation or objection as against the direct examination or examination conducted by a Member of this court, we are overruled. And this because we cannot object. So what will be our remedy if the Judge-Senator, Your Honor, proceed to ask question which to us are objectionable?
We cannot just immediately go to the Supreme Court for a lift against that irregularity which to our mind is very, very irregular, because we are not merely acting as judges, Your Honor. They’re practically appearing to us as private prosecutors.
I hope we are pardoned for that, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Wait a minute, Mr. Counsel. (Gavel)
As I said in my opening statement, this is not an ordinary court. We are legislators assigned to perform a function outside of our function as legislators. We are not one mind. We are 23 minds in this court. That is why I called it a body of jurors. And if anyone is interested to find out what’s the meaning of a juror, you are free—it’s in the dictionary.
Now, anyway, as a body of jurors, each one has his own perceptions and interest in this case to be able to make a judgement, a final judgement on this case. And I am not in a position to deny that right to any Member of this body of jurors.
So, let the Senator from Iloilo ask his question. (Gavel)
SEN. DRILON. We have asked the question, Your Honor, but before we proceed any further, just to clarify, the record will show that all of these arose first out of the questions of the Presiding Officer to this witness. That is found on page 61 of the transcript.
And on top of page 62 of the transcript, let me quote it, and it says, “Mr. Cuevas. In view of the answer of the witness, Your Honor, may we respectfully request that the statement of account covering these periods 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 be produced by the witness at the most convenient time considering her condition now, Your Honor. Our purpose, Your Honor, is to show that this figure is not made in one single deposit and one single withdrawal, Your Honor.”
And then the Presiding Officer said, and I quote, “All right. So the witness is ordered by this court to produce the documents that the defense counsel requested.”
So all of these statements of counsel appear to be not supported by record.
But having said that, I have a pending question on the witness, and has the witness brought these documents requested?
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. By the way, before the witness will answer, is this a peso account?
SEN. DRILON. Yes, Sir, it is a peso account.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The witness may answer. (Gavel)
SEN. DRILON. Did you bring these documents?
MS. DIZON. Your Honor, if you’re referring to the bank statements for 2005 to 2010, …
SEN. DRILON. The monthly bank statements.
MS. DIZON. Monthly bank statements. No, Your Honor.
SEN. DRILON. Why?
MS. DIZON. Because my understanding and our understanding is that we are waiting for the final instruction, whether we will present those documents to this court.
SEN. DRILON. The Presiding Officer of this court, has in fact, instructed you to bring these documents, so, can you bring it tomorrow?
MS. DIZON. Right …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Madam Witness.
MS. DIZON. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. With the permission of the Gentleman from Iloilo, yesterday, this court ruled that we will respect the TRO, to the extent that the TRO covers the foreign currency deposit accounts. And that is why I will prevent any discussion of any foreign deposit account, because that is the ruling of this impeachment court, but as far as the peso accounts which appears to be covered by the TRO of the honorable Supreme Court, our ruling yesterday will not cover the peso account. And so therefore, you are instructed—ordered by this Presiding Officer, to answer the question of the Gentleman from Iloilo.
SEN. DRILON. Sir, if, Your Honor, please, the witness has said that she has not brought the document. In deference to her condition, may we request that as per order of the Presiding Officer and the order of this court, that the witness come back tomorrow, we have no choice but to ask her to come back tomorrow to bring these documents because he did not bring it this afternoon, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Prosecution, what is your pleasure?
REP. FARIÑAS. May we manifest, Your Honor, that in case she gives birth, can she send a …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. No, no, just answer the question. Do not make anymore dramatics.
REP. FARIÑAS. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is your position?
REP. FARIÑAS. We submit, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. The defense.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We cannot object, Your Honor, that is the order of this honorable court. We will willingly submit—submitted, Your Honor, to the discretion of the court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The witness is directed to bring the requested records tomorrow afternoon at two o’clock, tomorrow at two o’clock in the afternoon, during the trial of this case at that time.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Lady from Taguig.
SEN. CAYETANO (P.). Mr. President, just a clarification. Given that the monthly statements are now the subject of the subpoena or the order to the witness, instead of a voluntary offer of the defense, given their manifestation that they, upon consulting with their client, they will no longer need to go to the bank and to look at it with the prosecutors, I would just like to raise a question, it is not an objection, it is just a clarification. If the witness produces the monthly statements, how is this relevant to Article II, which is the declaration of the SALN and the December 31?
I just want to be sure that we do not clutter the court with information that is unnecessary. We need to focus on what the objective is, and that is to determine if an accurate and complete statement of accounts were made in the SALN.
My understanding of the SALN is that the declaration must be based on December 31. So, I would just like to know from the prosecution if the monthly statement is relevant to their defense of Article II.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is correct. But the understanding of this Chair is that, all evidence that is going to be presented will be in connection with paragraph 2.2 and 2.3 of Article II, 2.2 being disclosure of the SALN and 2.3 being non-inclusion of assets. The purpose of allowing those documents will only be limited to the determination of whether there are assets or peso assets, currency assets, cash assets of the respondent for the specific years covered that were not included in his SALN and not to be authorized to be used in connection with 2.4, for in the mind and understanding of this Presiding Officer, paragraph 2.4 of Article II is actually non-existent allegation that is capable of being proven by any evidence that will be presented in the course of this trial. So Ordered. The Gentleman from Cebu.
SEN. OSMENA. Thank you, Mr. President. Preliminarily, may I remind the court that it was the defense counsel that offered the monthly statements. We never asked for it and I think, Senator Judge Drilon has said well, they are offering it . It must useful in their defense because they would not have offered it if it would be useful to the prosecution. Anyway, not being a lawyer, I hesitate to go futher into arguments like this. Now, the subpoena, Ms. Dizon, that you were sent yesterday had to do with producing certain documents, including accounts, savings, current, time deposits, CDs, settlement accounts, investment, management and trust accounts, unit investment trust funds, mutual funds, etc., did you bring those documents with you?
MS. DIZON. Your Honor, I have with me the bank statements showing the balances of the current account previously subpoenaed, the 1445803061 for the period ending December 31, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2011.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If Your Honor please, without being disrespectful to Senator Osmena, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. No. Go ahead.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor, there was a subpoena addressed to the witness, Your Honor, which was issued by this honourable court on the 13th day of February. We did not have enough opportunity to question the validity and legality of the subpoena pursuant to the law on subpoena. But this afternoon, at 2:55, Your Honor, we filed a motion to quash the subpoena. And it seems that this had not been brought to the attention of the Court. There is no ruling on this particular objection on the request for the issuance of the subpoena. So, we feel, with due respect to Senator Osmena, that this will be very material, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Counsel for the defense, I would like you to bear with me. The accounts are very specific here. Original and certified true copies of the account, opening form, documents, bank statements showing the balances of the accounts as of December 31, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 2009, 2010, 2011. The word accounts suggests to me that it refers to the account, this is the BPI, no..
MS. DIZON. Yes, sir.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The account in the Bank of the Philippine Islands which was mentioned in the original subpoena. There is only one account. It simply that the noun, account here instead of being singular, it was made plural.
MS. DIZON. Yes, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Alright.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Correct. So, if it relates to that particular account, this Chair will allow it, but if it goes outside that account, with due respect to the members of this court, I will not allow it. So Ordered.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. In this connection, Your Honor, may we, with the kind permission of the Honorable Court, Your Honor, …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. … direct the attention of this court to the statement appearing in the subpoena, “And any and all other financial instruments by the Bank of the Philippine Islands, Ayala Branch in the name of Chief Justice.” It is in this particular instance, Your Honor, that there seem to be parallelism between this subpoena and a general warrant of arrest issued.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. But the account is specific.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. General search warrant, I am sorry.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I am talking of the account.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Because, as the gentleman from Cebu already stated, if I open an account in a bank and I put P1 billion in that account, I could make that P1 billion disappear by putting it in money placement, or in savings account, or in similar instruments. And the thrust of the question of the gentleman from Cebu. And I think it’s a reasonable demand, given the fact that our purpose here is, indeed, to find out whether the respondent has not included in his SAL an asset that is sprang from the account like the one with the bank of the Philippine Islands because it has been removed because it was invested in some other instruments. That is my understanding of the interest of the gentleman of Cebu. If we are going to prevent that, then, we will become a party to wrongdoings and aims that about ready to cover up for anybody, so, the witness may answer.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Yes, Madam Witness.
Preliminarily, Mr. President, just to clarify, it has been said here regarding this issue, may I just quote from the February 9 Journal of this court, “Senator Drilon speaking and he says: Now, Senator Osmeña is saying that apart from these accounts there could be other monetary instruments which were existing as of December 31 of any particular year to show a difference between what is stated as assets in the SALN and what actually exists whether in the form of a checking account, of a saving account, a time deposits and other monetary instruments as of December 31 ending 2010.”
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Related to these accounts.
SEN. OSMEÑA. That is correct.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. And laid with these accounts.
SEN. OSMEÑA. That is correct.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Or throwing out of these accounts.
SEN. OSMEÑA. That is right. So, on that basis, Ms. Dizon, did you bring with you the requested, the subpoena documents?
MS. DIZON. The only documents that I have with me, Your Honor, aside from the ending balance or the previous years, the 2005 up to 2010 that were submitted last Thursday, I have with me the bank statements showing the balances of account as of December 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2011.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Alright. So, any related time deposits?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. None exists?
MS. DIZON. None exists, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Certificate of deposits?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Settlement accounts?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Investment management and trust account?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Unit investment trust funds?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Mutual funds?
MS. DIZON. There is none, Your Honor.
SEN. OSMEÑA. So, I was wondering why is the defense so hecked up about this kung wala naman eh.
Anyway, I thank the …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let us avoid these things. Anyway, the witness has answered. There are no allied documents whether time deposit, money placements, or mutual funds, investment or whatever that growing or link from or to that account. So that is the answer. Already finished.
SEN OSMEÑA. Thank you, Mr. President. May we just ask her to submit that list and for the committee Secretary to take it as an evidence for the Court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The request is granted.
SEN. OSMEÑA. Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The witness will take it.
SEN. OSMEÑA. I have no more question for the witness, and we shall await for her return tomorrow for the request of Senator Judge here.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Okay. Trial is suspended for one long minute.
It was 3:51 p.m.
RESUMPTION OF TRIAL
At 4:23 p.m., the trial was resumed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Trial resumed. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may we ask the prosecution if they have another witness. But before that, the defense panel would like to have the floor, Mr. President.
ATTY. CUEVAS. If, Your Honor, please, today is February 14, Your Honor, the natal day of the Presiding Officer of this Honorable Court, Your Honor, in addition to that, it is Valentines Day, baka ho pwedeng ipahingi na ninyo sa amin ang araw na ito para naman makapiling naming ang aming mga minamahal sa buhay. Tutal, alas kwatro beinte singko na po eh, in short, I am asking for a declaration of secession
of hostility, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank You.
ATTY. CUEVAS. Hindi po maganda eh.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Okay. Majority Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, the prosecution wants the floor, Mr. President, before we …
REP. TUPAS. Your Honor, we joined the manifestation of the defense. Happy Valentines Day and Happy Birthday, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you. Peace be with you.
SEN. PANGILINAN. Mr. President.
SEN. SOTTO. Senator Pangilinan, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Pampanga.
SEN. PANGILINAN. Mr. President, I just want to express my agreement with both the defense and prosecution, and that I would like to say that because today is the birthday of our Presiding Officer, I think the work that he has done, his able steering of this procedure, Mr. President, he deserves this early suspension or adjournment of this trial. He has earned every peso ika nga, every second.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you very much, Senator.
SEN. PANGILINAN. Happy Birthday.
ATTY. CUEVAS. Happy Birthday again, to the Chief.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you for being kind to a man on the departure room pre-departure room. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may I be allowed to do some housekeeping chores.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.
SEN. SOTTO. First of all, we received a memorandum from the prosecution. In compliance with the directive of the court, the prosecution submitted yesterday its memorandum on the powers of the Chief Justice for the information of the court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. May we request that the members of the court be given a copy that memorandum that will be a guide for us if we come to the other articles of impeachment.
SEN. SOTTO. Yes, Mr. President. The Clerk of Court will do that. Also, Mr. President, the prosecution filed a manifestation on February 9 informing the court that it is temporarily discharging Ms. Marissa O. Bondoc, Corporate Secretary of the John Hay Management Corporation for appearing before this court until further notice.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. This is the prosecution.
SEN. SOTTO. Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Will the prosecution bring this witness back to the court or are you permanently discharging her?
REP. TUPAS. Your Honor, we are permanently discharging her as our witness.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Why?
REP. TUPAS. We feel that we do not need any more to put her on the witness stand.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright.
REP. TUPAS. And because she has resigned already, Your Honor, from her post recently.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright. The discharge of—what is the name of the…
REP. TUPAS. Marissa Bondoc, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The manifestation of the prosecution to discharge permanently from this trial Ms. Marissa Bondoc as a witness for the prosecution is hereby granted.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, in compliance with the subpoena duces tecum issued by the court, Mr. Noli D. Hernandez, Senior Vice President for Marketing of Megaworld Corporation, submitted on February 8, 2012 his compliance. Annexed to the compliance are nine documents concerning the Bellagio Golf View Residences. For the information of the court and the parties, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICE. Any comment, any objection? Hearing none, we note the compliance.
SEN. SOTTO. And finally, Mr. President, we are in receipt of a manifestation and motion for the Philippine Airlines dated and received February 9, 2012 requesting that they be given adequate time to collect and collate the documents required to be produced under the subpoena ad testificandum et duces tecum issued to them and praying that they be granted such period deemed adequate by the court for the production of the said documents.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is…
SEN. SOTTO. May I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the motion, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What period are we going to give them?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We interpose no objection, Your Honor, to granting them sufficient time.
SEN. SOTTO. May we move for February 21, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Any objection? Well, notify the Philippine Airlines that their request is granted but they will have to submit it on or before February 21, 2012.
SEN. SOTTO. One final question from Senator Estrada, Mr. President, on the witness that will be presented tomorrow.
SEN. ESTRADA. Thank you, Mr. President. Just a point of inquiry, Mr. President. May I know from this court if bank manager of the PS Bank is coming back tomorrow, M. Annabelle Tiongson.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Manager of the PS Bank. Are we talking about the manager of the PS Bank?
SEN. SOTTO. Yes.
SEN. ESTRADA. Yes, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. How about the president?
SEN. SOTTO. I think they were summoned also, Mr. President, yesterday. They are here.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Well, we will instruct the president of the PS Bank and the manager of the PS Bank Katipunan Branch to appear in this court, in the trial of this impeachment case at 2 o’clock in the afternoon of…
SEN. SOTTO. February 15.
SEN. ESTRADA. No, Wednesday, Mr. President.
SEN. SOTTO. Tomorrow, Wednesday, February 15.
SEN. ESTRADA. Tomorrow.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. … February 15, 2012, at two o’clock in the afternoon. (Gavel)
SEN. ESTRADA. Thank you, Mr. President.
SEN. SOTTO. Thank you.
Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an announcement.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sergeant-at-Arms must now 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.
ADJOURNMENT OF HEARING
SEN. SOTTO. I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, February 15, 2012.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any objection? (Silence) The trial of this impeachment case is hereby adjourned until two o’clock of Wednesday, February 15, 2012. (Gavel)
It was 4:30 p.m.