IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Wednesday, February 15, 2012

At 2:05 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile presiding.

SGT-AT-ARMS.  Please all rise for the arrival of the Senate President and the Senators

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The continuation of the impeachment trial of the Honorable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona of the Supreme Court is hereby called to order.  We shall be led in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Batangas, Senator Ralph Recto.

(Prayer by Senator Recto)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Amen.  The Secretary will you please call the roll of Senators.

THE CLERK OF COURT.  The Honorable Senator-Judges:  Angara; Arroyo; Cayetano Allan Peter “Companero”; Cayetano, Pia; Defensor-Santiago; Drillon; Ejercito-Estrada; Escudero; Guingona; Honasan; Lacson; Lapid; Legarda; Marcos; Osmeña; Pangilinan; Pimentel; Recto; Revilla; Sotto; Trillanes; Villar; the Senate President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 19 Senator-Judges present, the Chair  declares the presence of a quorum.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes. The Majority Floor Leader.

REP. SOTTO.  May I ask the Sergeant-At-Arms to make the proclamation, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make a 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 we dispense with the reading of the February 14, 2012 Journal of the Senate, seating as an Impeachment Court and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  There being none, the February 14, Valentines Day, 2012 Journal of the Senate seating as Impeachment Court is hereby approved.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we ask the Secretary, Mr. President, to call the case.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Secretary will now please call the case before the Senate seating as an Impeachment Court.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For appearances

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For the prosecution.

REP. TUPAS.  Good afternoon, Your Honor.

For the House Prosecution panel, same appearances, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.  For the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  For the defense, the same appearances.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, in compliance with the Order given in open court by the Presiding Officer last February 13, the prosecution submitted at 7:11 p.m. last night its Compliance concerning annexes A to A-4 of the supplemental request for subpoena/reply dated February 3, 2012.

The members of the court have earlier been furnished copies of the Compliance.  So, Mr. President to allow our colleagues time to go over the Compliance, I move that the matter be taken up at our caucus on Monday, February 20, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  (Silence)  The Chair hears none; the Compliance shall be considered by this court in a caucus on Monday, February 20, 2012. (Gavel)

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  The counsel for Chief Justice Corona filed a Reiterative Motion to Quash the Subpoena issued by the Court to PS Bank branch Manager Ms. Annabelle Tiongson.  I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the motion.

THE PRESIDING OFFIER.  Well, just like what the Chair said yesterday, since the bank account deposit number is a  peso account, the Chair reiterates its ruling given yesterday that our purpose here is to find out whether the respondent has not included in his SALN and assets that sprung from the accounts, the account like the one before us, the Bank of the Philippine  Island.  And so, it is removed from the ambitably TRO given by the Supreme Court being a peso account, so therefore, it is open for examination.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, Senator Legarda wishes to ask question, then, Senator Pia Cayetano would like to make a manifestation on the Journal.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentle Lady from Antique, Malabon and the Republic of the Philippines has the floor, Senator Legarda.

SEN. LEGARDA.  Thank you, Mr. President.

I simply wish to make a manifestation, in fact, just a question to the Presiding Officer.  How do we, members of the Impeachment Court, regard the testimonies of the witnesses who were subpoenaed based on the allegedly inauthentic or fake documents submitted to this Court.  I do not think that the Presiding Officer has made a ruling on that unless I did not quite understand it.  So I want to clarify how would we regard that.  On the other hand, there had been news reports that I have read where Malacañang or through its spokesman has said that these documents are not fake and are in fact authentic which is not confirmed through the testimonies of the witnesses from PS Bank.  So, will this representation, Mr. President, be clarified on the matter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, at this point we cannot make any ruling on this particular matter.  As you know, we are all aware of it that there is a pending case before the Supreme Court whether the subpoena duces tecum issued by this Presiding Officer violates the bank secrecy provided in Republic Act No. 6426 so it is the position of this Chair to await the disposition of the Supreme Court with respect to that and take up this particular legal issue at the time when those documents or those testimonial evidence and those documentary evidence would be offered in evidence by the respective parties that would do it provided that at that point in time the Supreme Court shall have rendered already a final decision on the matter.

With respect to the peso deposit, I think there is no question.  We are the authority to scrutinize them there being a clear exception given in Republic Act No. 1405 with respect to such deposits in relation to an impeachment case pending before this court.

SEN. LEGARDA.  Thank you, Mr. President.  How would the authenticity of the document’s then and the attachments be material in this case considering that based on the testimonies of the witnesses, more specifically the president of PS Bank, he had actually confirmed the existence of those accounts and did not counter the testimonies based on the allegedly fake documents that were in fact existing accounts that had similar if not the same numbers of accounts and the same balances, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I think at this point the court cannot take a position on that.  It is up to the contending parties to do their job, to deal with that matter.  That’s a matter to be taken up in the course of the trial by the contending parties.  I would not wish to suggest the remedies available to each side on this particular matter.  I know that as trial lawyers, they know the procedures.

SEN. LEGARDA.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Senator Pia Cayetano, Mr. President, on the Journal.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The gentlelady from Taguig.

SEN. CAYETANO (P.).  Thank you, Mr. President.

This is a continuing concern I also have on the discussion earlier yesterday on the treatment of the alleged fake bank documents attached to the supplemental request for subpoena.  I would just like to clarify the records, Mr. President, that yesterday, when the prosecution had the floor, Representative Fariñas made a statement and this can be found on the Journal, page 8, sabi po niya:  “Ipagpatawad po ninyo kasi po hindi naman po nila in-object.  Pwede naman po nilang ipa-quash.  Katulad po noong isang subpoena namin ngayon ino-object po nila kaya hangga ngayon hindi pa po na natin nadedesisyunan.  Pero ito po ay talagang inisyu ng Senate President.  Wala pong umangal sa mga partido.  Kaya sa tingin po namin, nondoon po, hindi lamang ang presumption of regularity noong pagka-issue ng kagalang-galang na Senado kundi tumalima na rin po yung kabilang partido dito po sa subpoenang ito.”

Nais ko lang pong ilagay sa record na hindi po tama na wala hong umangal.

In our Journal, pages 34 to 35 of February 6, 2012, Senator Escudero stated:

“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 that in granting the subpoena, the Senate is not in any way, and that’s my understanding, tolerating any violations of law in order to obtain evidence or details of evidence to be subpoenaed.

That in so issuing the subpoena, as specified by the order of the court, 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.”

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the …

CAYETANO (P.).  Well, I just want to clarify because I would have stood up on the same issue.  I just want to be sure that we do not take as the truth the statement na wala ho sa Senado na umangal kasi meron po, si Senator Escudero, and if I recall, it was left at that.  So to my mind, that is a pending issue.  And as His Honor said, we now have the compliance which we will take up in caucus.

So, that is an issue, the Senate has not in any way prevented from acting upon this because it is not an issue that we let pass.

That is all I’d like to put on record, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I just want to state for the record, that my thought on this is to hold this in abeyance until they have taken it up in a caucus.  But I just want to advance the thought that reading the supplemental request for subpoena, I think this was dated 12 February 2012, is this correct, Madam Clerk of Court?  This is the supplemental request for subpoena.

MS. CLERK OF COURT.  February 3, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  February 3.

REP. TUPAS.  February 3.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  February 3, rather.  February 3, 2012.

It is during this time that Mr. Prosecution, it was in accordance with this supplemental request that the questioned document was attached to this pleading?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Now, I’m not accusing anybody, but I think that the requesting party knew very well that the source of the material was of questionable nature.  In fact, the mere knowledge that the source was anonymous should have given the prosecution enough caution to scrutinize the document before they presented it to this court as a basis for a compulsory process.  They cannot pass the back to this court because in our system of adversarial proceeding, it is the obligation made the duty of the party seeking the assistance of this court to make it sure that the request is valid in every respect, and more so in the case of the prosecution when the matter under consideration of the court involves a prejudice on the liberty or rights of a party.

As the Lady Senator from Iloilo said yesterday, the ethics of the profession requires every lawyer, representing a client to assume that responsibility.

On the other side of the coin, the court, whether it is a court belonging to the judicial system or a special court like this impeachment court, must give due course, and presume the good faith of the requesting party, with the knowledge that it has exercised the necessary caution to present to the court hearing the case, an authentic and valid document as a basis for the request for a compulsory process.

So, I will leave it at that and we will take this matter in a caucus of the impeachment court on Monday.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, please.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please.

REP. TUPAS.  Please, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May the defense answer.

REP. TUPAS.  May the prosecution say something, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The prosecution first.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, this is regarding the query earlier by the honorable Senator Loren Legarda, regarding the—the query was how do the impeachment tribunal deal with the authenticity or not of the said document which was attached to our supplemental request for subpoena.

I just want to call the attention of the tribunal to page 83 of the Record of the Senate, Monday, February 13, 2012.

The Presiding Officer was questioning Ms. Tiongson, and I want to read,  “The Presiding Officer, you are the manager of Kalayaan Branch of the Philippine Savings Bank, you are ordered by this court, no longer by a subpoena, you are orally ordered by this court to bring the original of the document that was shown to you, if it exist, or a document of a similar nature, in the possession of the bank for the examination of this court to compare it with this document attached to the supplemental request for subpoena, and to bring it here at two o’clock, tomorrow afternoon during the trial of this case.  And also to notify your President to come back here to be examined by any Member of this court who wishes to examine here on this document, because you said, the head office of your bank carries—does your head office carries documents?  Does your head office carry the documents annex to the supplemental request for subpoena?”

Ms. Tiongson said, “This document, Your Honor”

And then, the Presiding Officer said, “Madam Witness.”

Then, Ms. Tiongson said, “All documents pertaining to his account are in the head officer, Sir.”

So, Mr. President, there was a directive by this honorable court for the branch—for the branch manager to bring the original, and we were informed that she is here.

I just want to put that on record, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is correct, but it turned out that the account involved is a—covers a foreign currency deposit.  And there is a TRO which the majority of this court opted to recognize.

REP. TUPAS.  So, which is the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then came the issue of authenticity, and the witness said, it is a fake document.  So, the issue is, is this really a fake document or not?  I repeated it to the witness, are you sure that this is a fake document?  And she confirmed that it is a fake document, under oath.  And that stands in the record as the answer of the witness.  And unless you have a controverting evidence, that will stand on the record as a characterization by the bank of this document.  And you are bound by it because you presented that witness as your witness.

REP. TUPAS.  If I may say something, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If you have read the rules of evidence, …

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … I think you will agree with me that that is the rule.  That the presenting lawyer of a witness must be bound by these admissions and statement of the witness presented by him or by her.  That is the ruling of the court.  So proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. Presidient, if I may say something.  I may read again from the records.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

REP. TUPAS.  That is February 13, 2012.  “The Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you objecting to the ruling of the court?

REP. TUPAS.  No.  No.  I am not objecting, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the purpose of the ..

REP. TUPAS.  We just want to manifest.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  “The Presiding Officer.  Are you saying that these documents are false documents?  Ms. Tiongson said.  Yes, sir.  It seems fake.  Presiding Officer.  Then Ms. Tiongson.  They are fake documents.”  What I am saying here, Mr. President, is that Ms. Tiongson is saying it seems fake.  And if there are repercussions whether as a result of the authenticity or not of the documents, there are grave consequences.  And to us, if we may manifest, Your Honor, the best evidence here is the document itself.  And at the very least, the witness here should bring the document to show …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is not my understanding, Sir.  .The law must be respected.  There is a law that prohibits disclosure and the Supreme Court has issued a TRO and this court, by a majority vote, opted to respect the TRO of the Supreme Court.  Now, your witness, not my witness, not the defense witness, characterized the document as a fake document.  Now, if that is so, and that is under oath, you are bound by that statement.  If you want to controvert it, you are free to do it.  There is a remedy for it if you know how to present it.

REP. TUPAS.  Well, we leave it up to the wisdom of this honourable tribunal.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It is not my wisdom.  That is the rule of trial.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If you studied your trial technique very well, that is the rule.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, may we request for two or three minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Defense counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  There was a statement here made by a member of the prosecution staff, Your Honor, that we are precluded in now questioning the issuance of the subpoena made by this impeachment court because we were never heard to object much less did we really objected to the issuance of the subpoena in question, Your Honor.  That statement is belied or controverted by our opposition to the request for the issuance of a subpoena which was filed on February 1st, Your Honor, and which was reiterated on February 6 in our consolidated opposition and rejoinder.  Both these pleadings, Your Honor, now form part of the record of this case.  Now, notwithstanding our opposition, Your Honor, the honourable impeachment court had chosen to issue the subpoena.  We have no other alternative but to honor and respect the order of the honourable impeachment court, Your Honor.  But it is our submission that the mere order to produce documents does not carry with it the order to admit the same.  There are a lot of things that must be done in accordance with the rules of evidence.  First, it must be identified, it must be marked, and it must be offered and the opposition should be given the opportunity to comment or object, Your Honor.  We have not reached that portion, Your Honor.  The mere fact that these documents are ordered produced does not mean that they are actually considered evidence for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is correct, Counsel.  And the compliance with a compulsory process simply means that the party ordered to bring anything under a compulasory process obeys the court to bring it in the court room.  And when presented, it may be objected to by the other party if there is a ground to object,  And I think that this is elementary to any lawyer who has been in a courtroom.

JUSTICE CUEVAS. So we have—may we …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I do not have to educate lawyers here. I feel ashame to educate lawyers here. So, let’s go to the trial.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The matter is academic.  The Presiding Officer has already ruled that at he stands by the subpoena that he issued and if he feels wholly responsible for it, the majority of this court respect the TRO of the Supreme Court with respect to foreign currency deposits. So, the local currency deposit, the secrecy of which is covered by Republic Act No. 1405 can be scrutinized because there is an exception, an express exception, with respect to impeachment, so let’s proceed to the trial.

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

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, our witness for today is a continuation of the testimony of the BPI Branch Manager, Ayala Branch, Ms. Leonora Dizon, but we were informed that she already gave birth, but they sent a representative to attend today’s hearing and may we call on the Secretariat of the Impeachment Tribunal.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   The subpoena was directed to Ms. Dizon, not a representative.

REP. TUPAS.  We just received the information. We just want to confirm that. So, we call on Ms. Leonora Dizon, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Besides, with the kind permission of the Honorable Court, I think we argued on this issue very lengthily yesterday, Your Honor, that both prosecution and the defense are through. First, the prosecution, the direct examination, the defense with their cross-examination. And this is, practically, a recall of this witness and in accordance with the Rules of Court, this must bear the authority or the imprimatur of the court involved, Your Honor. We have not seen, much less, be served with any motion for the recall of this witness, stating the purpose therefor and why is there the necessity of the recall of this witness. So, this is, practically, a violation of the rule on procedure in evidence, Your Honor. And we cannot affix our stamp of approval or concurrence to this kind of illegality or infirmity of a judicial proceeding, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, if I may say something, Your Honor please.

on

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute to cut-short the discussion, this extended discussion between the prosecution and the defense.  This witness was called here under a subpoena issued by this court because of an interest on the part of a member of this court to ask question from that witness. And it’s up to you when that witness is placed on the witness stand if you want to ask question on the witness or not but at that point, you have to identify whether in asking the question, you admit that that witness is your witness while you’re asking the question.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, with the kind indulgence of the Honorable Court.  Yesterday, the Honorable Senator-Judge Osmeña, Your Honor, conducted direct examination on this witness and he was through, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But there was also the, just a minute, counsel.  There is a pending desire on the part of the Gentleman from Iloilo to propound question to that witness only that yesterday, the Gentleman from Iloilo, from my recollection, gave the floor to the Gentleman from Cebu.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, this will be clarificatory questions, Your Honor, on the part of the Honorable Senator Drilon.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct, correct.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Then, I yield, Your Honor, and I willingly accept the explanation of the Presiding Officer.  Thank you, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the Gentleman from Iloilo?

SEN. DRILON.  You know, this was debated well yesterday and I thought we have settled this.  And let me read again, page 61 of the Journal, clearly specified, the cross-examination done by counsel, Atty. Cuevas, who inquired into these monthly statements.  Siya po, si Atty. Cuevas po, ang nagtanong noong monthly statements.  At si Atty. Cuevas din po ang humingi nitong dokumentong ito at kaya po kami bilang mga Senator Judges, sinabi natin e, pwede ho ba tingnan din ito, at nakalagay po sa transcript:

“MR. CUEVAS.  In view of the answer of the witness, Your Honor, may we respectfully request that the statement of account covering the periods 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, be produced by the witness at the most convenient time considering her condition. Our purpose, Your Honor, is to show that this figure is not made in one single deposit and one single withdrawal, Your Honor”.  And the Presiding Officer ruled.

“THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, witness is ordered by this court to produce the document that the defense cousel requested”.

Mr. President , as you just stated awhile ago, the client is bound by the mistake of his counsel.  The counsel asked for these documents.  And it is the court who ordered that these documents be produced.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If we will be allowed …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Anyway, anyway, Gentlemen, bear with me. We have settled this already. The witness was subpoenaed by this court to satisfy the request of members of this court to ask questions from the witness. So, if there is no member of this court who would like to ask any question on that witness, what is the pleasure of the Court?  Is the Gentleman from Iloilo finished?

SEN. DRILON.  The documents have not been produced, Mr. President

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, but I am not asking—I am sorry, Your Honor, may I ask permission to …

SEN. DRILON.  You have already– Mr. President, I still have the floor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The trouble is I cannot argue because the rules prohibit, Your Honor.  But that is not an accurate statement, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  Gentleman from Iloilo, my question is, are you through in asking question from the witness?  If not, then, I will ask the witness to come to the witness stand.

SEN. DRILON.  We are not through, Your Honor, because the documents have not yet been produced.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, let the witness come to the plenary session, take the witness stand, under the same oath, to be questioned by the members who desire to ask questions from her.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we ask for the indulgence of the honourable court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  When we made the statement to the effect that we wanted the production of the monthly statement of accounts, Your Honor,  that is our course of action, Your Honor, or move on the part of the defense to show to this honourable court that the 14 million stated in the statement of account is not on a single occasion. We have at that time not conferred with this matter with the Chief Justice.   When we were assured that we have the documents involving, we made the withdrawal, Your Honor.  Why will we be compelled merely by the manifestation of the member of this court to produce the same.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We will take your manifestation into account when we consider this case finally.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At the discretion of this court.  Anyway we have filed the motion to that effect,  written, Your Honor, stating why we are already abandoning our plea for the examination of the bank records because we have what we wanted to.  Why shall we be compelled to continue with our examination on the alleged statement of accounts, Your Honor.  We only place that on record so that we will not be precluded in the future if it is necessary for us to make any definite and categorical explanation on the matter.

Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Proceed.  Where is the witness?  Well, there’s a force majeure for the appearance of the witness.

MS. BENEDICTO.  Good afternoon, Your Honor.  I am Rosario Jurado Benedicto.  Our witness from Bank of the Philippine Islands has given birth so we look for another representative.  She’s on the way.  She gave birth early this morning, 7:45, so naghanap kami ng substitute representative.  So she’s on the way but she’s not giving birth.  She’s on the way to this court.  Okay.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Just a minute.  Would the requesting members of the court be satisfied in dealing with a substitute witness?

SEN. DRILON.  Yes, Your Honor, if I may respond, yes, because all that we’re interested in are the records to be brought here and if the witness can attest to the fact that he or she is an official custody of the records and can testify on the same, we were willing to listen to this witness.  In fact yesterday we anticipated this happy event and we said that if the witness cannot come back, a substitute bank officer can come around and bring these records and testify before this court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

MS. BENEDICTO.  Your Honor, which we did but may we be clarified, sir,…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  Do you have the witness now or on the way?

MS. BENEDICTO.  On the way.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Trial is suspended until the witness arrives.

It was 2:47 p.m.

RESUMPTION OF HEARING

At 2:52 p.m., the hearing was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial resumed.  (Gavel)

Prosecution, do you have another witness?

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

REP. TUPAS.  … with respect to the other witness, Your Honor, Miss Anabelle Tiongson, we are done with the witness, but I think there’s—some reservations from Members of the Tribunal to ask questions and she’s here now.  We’re referring to Miss Anabelle Tiongson, the branch manager of the PS Bank, Katipunan Branch.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, the Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Senator Estrada and Senator Osmeña expressed their intention to ask questions to Miss Tiongson.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, is she here?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Your Honor, she’s here.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please ask her to come into the plenary session to take the witness stand under the same oath and to answer questions from Senator Osmeña, the Gentleman from Cebu, and from Senator Jinggoy Estrada, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Pampanga.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, Mr. President, may we inquire, because if I recall in the previous proceeding, even the president of the bank was asked to return because it appeared, based on the testimony of the bank manager, there were certain bank procedures that she was unfamiliar with and that only the bank president would be in the position to explain.  So, may we inquire as to the prosecution if the bank president is also …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Bank president of what bank?

REP. TUPAS.  PS Bank.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  PS Bank, PS Bank, Mr. President.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, we were informed that the bank president, Mr. Pascual Garcia is also her.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Then let us finish first witness Tiongson.

PS BANK’S COUNSEL.  May I be allowed to address the honorable court?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  You are representing who?

PS BANK’S COUNSEL.  I am representing Philippine Savings Bank, Your Honor.  In connection with the subpoena received yesterday at 9:40, the subpoena is dated February 13, it commands the bank to bring certain documents in a subpoena ad testificandum et duces tecum, it is addressed to the manager, Your Honor.  But as previously mentioned by the bank officers, all the records in regard to the subject accounts have been elevated to the head office, and the compliance with the subpoena has been prepared under the direction of the president of the head office who is here to testify.

In other words, Your Honor, the president is more competent to testify in regard to the subpoena and the other matters that were pending during the previous hearing, in particular, the questions of Senator Osmeña, I believe.  So, with the permission of the court, the PS Bank is requesting that the president testify in his behalf.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In his …

PS BANK’S COUNSEL.  But they are both here, Your Honor, at the pleasure of the court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, precisely, Mr. Counsel.  The court—the Presiding Officer has called for the bank officer of the Bank of the Philippine Islands first, and we will call your president later.

PS BANK’S COUNSEL.  Yes, Your Honor.  So, let the bank officer of the Bank of the Philippine Islands come …

SEN. SOTTO.  PS Bank, Mr. President, PS Bank.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is it PS Bank?

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, PS Bank.

PS BANK’S COUNSEL.  PS Bank, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute, we were talking about—Senator, Senator—all right, all right then, let the witness from the PS Bank—you know, I am also getting confused already with so many statements coming …

SEN. SOTTO.  Left and right.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … into my head.  Where is the president of the PS Bank?

SEN. SOTTO.  The branch manager first, Mr. President.  The request is for the branch manager first.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All righ.  The branch manager, pleaser enter.

SEN. SOTTO.  She is here, Mr. President.  May we recognize Senator Estrada.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from San Juan has the floor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Good afternoon, Ms. Tiongson.

MS. TIONGSON.  Good afternoon, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  All right.  You mentioned during the last hearing that you never knew Congressman Niel Tupas, am I right?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  All right.  Where are you from?

MS. TIONGSON.  I am from Iloilo, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Where in Iloilo?

MS. TIONGSON.  I am from La Paz, Iloilo City, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  La Paz, Iloilo.  And you are fully aware that Congressman Tupas is a Congressman of Iloilo?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  All right.  Are you married?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  May I know your middle name, Madam Witness.

MS. TIONGSON.  Middle name is Buenaflor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Taga-saan po iyong mga Buenaflor?

MS. TIONGSON.  I grew up in Iloilo City but my father is from Dumangas.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Your father is from Dumangas.  And your mother is from?

MS. TIONGSON.  My mother is from Capiz but she grew up in Marikina and then when I married my husband, she went to Iloilo.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What is the name of your parents?

MS. TIONGSON.  My father’s name is Eugenio Buenaflor and my mother’s name is Zenaida dela Paz Buenaflor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Do you know a certain Thelma Salinac Buenaflor?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Who is she?

MS. TIONGSON.  She is my auntie, Your Honor.

SEN ESTRADA.  Do you know a certain Roberto Obet Buenaflor Armada?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Who is he?

MS. TIONGSON.  He is the son of Thelma.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What is the name of the father of Obet?

MS. TIONGSON.  I honestly do not recall, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You do not know the name of your uncle?

MS. TIONGSON.  Tito Gil.  Gil, I am sorry.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What is your relationship with Obet Buenaflor Armada?  Are you related to him?

MS. TIONGSON.  He is my cousin, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  This Roberto Obet Buenaflor Armada became the Vice-Governor of the Province of Iloilo, am I correct?

MS. TIONGSON.  As I recall, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Who was the governor then?

MS. TIONGSON.  I do not know , Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You do not know.

MS. TIONGSON.  I was already here, Your Honor, when he ran so I was not involved in his …

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay.  Just to refresh your memory.  The governor then when your first cousin was vice-governor of Iloilo, the governor then was the father of Congressman Tupas.  His name is Governor Neil Tupas, Sr.  All right?

MS. TIONGSON.  Okay.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, are you acquainted with any member of the Tupas family?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Still no.

MS. TIONGSON.  Personally, I am not acquainted with any of them, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You have never met any brother of Congressman Tupas.

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Never.

MS. TIONGSON.  I was here since college, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Where did you take your elementary school?

MS. TIONGSON.  I took my elementary school in Assumption, Iloilo, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  College?

MS. TIONGSON.  College, I initially took it in UP Visayas, and then I went on to UP Diliman on my third year  until I graduated, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So, when did you come here in Manila?

MS. TIONGSON.  That was 1988, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  1988.

MS. TIONGSON.  ’87, Your Honor, sorry.  The school year of 1987, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Do you know of a certain Raul Buboy Tupas?

MS. TIONGSON.  Personally, no, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Have you heard of him?

MS. TIONGSON.  I think they were just talking about him before, but I never really bothered to know anything about him.

SEN. ESTRADA.  When was the last time you went to Iloilo?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the answer of the witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  I am trying to recall, Your Honor.  The last time I was in Iloilo was during our reunion in high school, and that was in December, 2010, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  One and a half years ago?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Your cousin again, Mr. Obet Buenaflor Armada, ran for vice-governor the last 2010 elections, am I correct.

MS. TIONGSON.  I believe so, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Bakit I believe so?

MS. TIONGSON.  Because I am not really that interested in whatever they do there especially in politics.  I am not interested, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Again, to refresh your memory, the candidate or the running mate of your cousin, your first cousin, was Raul “Buboy” Tupas, the brother of Congressman Niel Tupas, am I correct?

MS. TIONGSON. If you say so, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  If I say so?

MS. TIONGSON.  I thought na it was the …

SEN. ESTRADA.  And unfortunately, both lost during the last 2000 Elections for Governor and for Vice-Governor. When your cousin ran for Vice-Governor, of course, you know personally your cousin, am I right?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Are you closed to him?

MS. TIONGSON.  Not really, Your Honor, we don’t see much.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You don’t see much.  When was the last time you saw your first cousin, Vice-Governor?

MS. TIONGSON.  I do not recall, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  When he ran for Vice-Governor in the year 2004 and in the year 2010, did you help him in his campaign?

MS. TIONGSON.  In the year 2004, yes, Your Honor, we offered to give P3,000.00 but in 2010, we did not.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alright. You did not help him in the 2010 Elections. So, do you still stand by your answer that when you’re asked that you don’t know Congressman Tupas, but you don’t know Congressman Tupas?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, sir.  I don’t know.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You haven’t seen him even when you are visiting your province in Iloilo?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, sir, we were never introduced.  I have never seen him.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What about Buboy Tupas?

MS. TIONGSON. Same also, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You have never seen any member of the Tupas Family?

MS. TIONGSON. No, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What about the wife of Congressman Tupas?

MS. TIONGSON.  I do not know her.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Does she frequent your bank in PSBank?

MS. TIONGSON.  I do not know her, sir. I have never seen her.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ms. Tiongson, you are under oath?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, sir.  I am under oath.

SEN. ESTRADA.  And you are testifying here under your previous oath and I hope you will not lie?

MS. TIONGSON.  I am not lying, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Because records show that there is …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the question—finish the question before you answer, so that it can be well recorded in the record of this proceeding.

SEN. ESTRADA.  All that I mentioned to you the link between your family and the family of Congressman Tupas talagang obvious na obvious na mayroong acquaintance iyong pamilya ninyo, ah, magkakilala iyong pamilya ninyo at iyong pamilya ni Tupas. And now, you are still denying that you don’t know even one member, family member of the Tupas Family, which quite absurd, Ms. Witness.

MS. TIONGSON.  I reiterate, Your Honor, I do not know any of them, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alright, let’s go to different topic.  Last time around, I requested you to bring the logbook. Did you bring the logbook?

MS. TIONGSON.  It was not covered by the subpoena, Your Honor.

THE PRERSIDING OFFICER.  You were ordered to bring the logbook if I remember correctly.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Because I remember I asked you a question if my memory serves me right that only four persons had access to the volt, to the documents, the confidential documents and when I asked you kung mayroong logbook iyon noong tinanong kita kung may logbook iyon, sinabi mo mayroon?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, we do have a logbook.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Can you—may I request, Mr. President, if this witness can submit or can bring the logbook of PSBank.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. My recollection is that when that point was discussed, precisely, I asked her several questions. And you can either deny or confirm what I asked you. I asked you where those signature cards were they kept and you said, your answer was, that they were kept in a steel cabinet. And I asked you again, who has control over those that steel cabinet and your answer was that two officers have controlled over that steel cabinet. And so, I asked, could one of them only open that steel cabinet? And your answer was that “No.”  Then, you said, the two custodian of the steel cabinet have different keys to open that steel cabinet, then, they must both be present to be able to open that steel cabinet, Is that correct?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, partly, actually, I said that an officer and a customer service assistant may open jointly …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Jointly.

MS. TIONGSON. … the vault with the combinations, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Jointly.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.  The cabinet is inside that vault.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Jointly.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Jointly, but they have different numbers on the  combination.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.  So, neither one of them could open alone?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Both of them must open.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And then, the next question that asked you was,  do you also have access over the contents of that steel cabinet?  And you said, “Yes, but I have to bring the two officers”.  Isn’t it?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Then, at that point, the Gentleman from San Juan asked whether you have a logbook, and your answer was in the affirmative, correct?

MS. TIONGSON. Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then, I ordered you—he asked that the logbook be presented to this court, correct?

MS. TIONGSON. I do not recall, Your Honor, we will have to review that again and we will bring it.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I ordered you to—I will appeal to the record, I may be mistaken by the sequence of the questions.  Can you go to the records and find out, please.  Can the recorder of the Senate seating as an Impeachment Court identify the pages where those statements were recorded?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  While they are looking for the pages, I would like to ask you, do you have a logbook?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Regarding opening of this vault?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anybody who request for the opening of the vault must be in that logbook.

MS. TIONGSON. Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Including you.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Including any persons who would want to access that logbook?

MS. TIONGSON. Yes, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Including the names of the officers that would open that steel cabinet?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor, we even signed it, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Including of the time of request and the time of closing.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. So, these are all in the logbook.  So, you have the logbook, if we have not previously ordered you, you are ordered to produce that logbook.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  And now, the Gentleman from San Juan.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, may I ask for an additional two minutes just for me to wrap up my questioning.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  The Chair grants you an extension given the importance of this matter.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Madam witness, I asked a question addressed to your bank resident regarding the letter “K” which I browsed on one of this allegedly fake or genuine document.  Is the letter K after the figure, is that a normal banking practice?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor, it is not.

SEN. ESTRADA.  It is not.  So, kapag—kasi nakalagay dito  seven hundred, regardless of that currency sign whether it be dollar, or it be peso, kapag nilagay mo seven hundred K, that doesn’t mean na seven hundred thousand?

MS. TIONGSON.  It may mean a lot of things, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Like what?  K stands for “kuryente”, halimbawa?  What?  Or might it be an initial or what do you think?  What does it mean?

MS. TIONGSON.  Usually because normally I write the whole amount.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You write the whole amount, in figures.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Kunwari 700,000, limang zero.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You don’t usually write the letter K.

MS. TIONGSON.  No, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  It is not a normal banking process.

MS. TIONGSON.  No, sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alright.  Thank you.  You answered during the previous hearing, I think the Presiding Officer posed a lot of questions and you answered, if I am not mistaken, that these documents which were shown to you were fake according to you.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Do you still stand by your answer that the documents were fake?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes. Your Honor, because when honorable Senator Escudero asked me to look at the documents and our president allowed me to look at them and then we compared, there were differences, Your Honor, and they are not the same.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Differences lang pero hindi fake.

MS. TIONGSON.  They are not the same, Your Honor, so they are fake.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Pero even though if they are not the same, you cannot assume that these documents are fake.  Am I correct?  O baka naman…

MS. TIONGSON.  In our banking practice, Your Honor, pagka magkaiba iyon, it’s not the same, they are fake…

SEN. ESTRADA.  Baka naman nasabi mo lang fake iyon dahil you were so pressured, you were so nervous.  Ano ba talaga?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  You still stand by your answer that it was fake.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay.  Because when I read the documents one-by-one and these were attached by the prosecution panel as I’ve said before with regard to the supplemental request for subpoena, I’ve noticed that in the left side portion, meron dito peso account, peso TD.  Alright.  The Account Nos. 089-121017358 at saka 089-121019593 and these accounts tinestipay noong bank president ninyo are existing.  At sinabi in fact meron ngang deposito itong 358, ang opening date ng account niya, January 26, 2009.  Ang opening balance noong account na iyon ay P2,100,000.  Pero ngayon, after 2010, zero balance na.  Doon sa isang account number, iyong last three digits na 593, it was opened on December 22, 2009 and according to your president, ang opening balance niya is P8.5 million.  Tapos iyong remaining balance niya naging P12 million plus.  So kung existing itong mga accounts na ito at ito ang naging basehan ng pag-isyu ng subpoena sa inyo, how can this be a fake document?  Kasi this is the only basis I think for the prosecution.

MS. TIONGSON.  Well, sir, the account numbers could have come from a lot of sources.  When a person deposits a check, he can write his account number at the back or the bank will put it so it could be a source.  Bank certifications in embassies or the like.  It could have come from other sources, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Again, I will show you this piece of document which you said  it was fake.  There are several initials here or signatures here by I suppose, maybe a bank teller or maybe you yourself.  I will show to you these signatures kasi itong dalawang bank account, I’m just referring to peso, I’m not referring to any dollar account of the Chief Justice dito lang tayo peso.  Mr. President, may I ask permission to show the witness this particular document.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

MS. PELARES.  Mr. President, may I be allowed to address this court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

MS. PELARES.  May I approach the witness so that I can also see the document being shown to our witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You may.

MS. TIONGSON.  Sir, I’m not familiar with the initials.  I was still not assigned in Katipunan Branch.

SEN. ESTRADA.  When were you assigned at the PS Bank, Katipunan Branch?

MS. TIONGSON.  August 2010, Your Honor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  August?

MS. TIONGSON.  2010.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Of 2010.

MS. TIONGSON.  I was concurrently assigned in Katipunan Branch in August 2010.  I was heading both branch—two branches concurrently, at the same time.

SEN. ESTRADA.  What about the other signatures of the other accounts, are you familiar with it?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Sir.

SEN. ESTRADA.  It is not your signature?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Sir, it is not my signature.

SEN. ESTRADA.  It is not the signature of your tellers or—?

MS. TIONGSON.  No.

SEN. ESTRADA.  No.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, I just would like to put on record my own personal opinion that this particular document that was allegedly leaked from the PS Bank is a faithful reproduction of the original.  That is all, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I just want to clarify, when you say the document is fake, do you know who did the faking?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Not your bank?

MS. TIONGSON.  Not our branch, Your Honor.  For the bank, Sir, Mr. Garcia could answer it—for it.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If the document is fake, the faking was not by the bank?

MS. TIONGSON.  Not by the branch, Your Honor.  Branch.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Not by the Katipunan Branch of Philippine Savings Bank?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes.  I’m only speaking for my branch, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Not Katipunan Branch.

MS. TIONGSON.  Katipunan Branch, Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  All right.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.  Mr. President, Senator Osmeña has agreed to allow Senator Drilon to ask questions first before he does, and also Senator Lacson before he does.  And then afterwards, Senator Guingona wants the floor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Senator Drilon has the floor.

SEN. DRILON.  Just a few questions on this particular document brought out by Senator Estrada.

Madam Witness, you mentioned that this was shown to you by the bank president?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  And you compared it with a document on file with the bank?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  And you say there were differences between what was shown to you and what issued the bank record?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  What were these differences?

MS. TIONGSON.  There are differences, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  What were these differences?

MS. TIONGSON.  I did not note down the differences, but there were differences.  It’s spurious.

SEN. DRILON.  Can we ask the witness to answer what differences?  Because you said there were differences.  You were the one who made the statement.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You may—Just a minute.  Witness, answer the question if you know the answer.

MS. TIONGSON.  Your Honor, I did not note the differences.  I did not list them down so I cannot recall, but there were differences.  The documents—The original documents and the photocopies that you gave me had differences.  They were not the same.

SEN. DRILON.  Is it possible that the difference is because of additional entries?

MS. TIONGSON.  Sir, Mr. Garcia can answer that because he has the original.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.  Except that you were the one who said that there were differences.  So I’m asking you, could the difference be that there were additional entries not reflected in the Annex A that was submitted as part of the request for subpoena?

MS. TIONGSON.  Your Honor, if I may.  There were entries in the original that were not in the photocopies and there were entries in the photocopies that were not in the original.

SEN. DRILON.  I see.

MS. TIONGSON.  It’s all I can say, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  So there were entries in the original which—I’m sorry.  There were entries in the original which were not found in the Xerox.

MS. TIONGSON.  And there were alterations.

SEN. DRILON.  And there were entries in the Xerox which were not found in the original.

MS. TIONGSON.  There were alterations as well.

SEN. DRILON.  Where was the alteration?

MS. TIONGSON.  I could not recall, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  You could not recall.

MS. TIONGSON.  It is not with me, so I need a basis.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.  Isn’t this a branch document?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Why was it taken away from you?

MS. TIONGSON.  Upon the start of this hearing.

SEN. DRILON.  Why?  Why?

MS. TIONGSON.  So that it will be safe kept, Your Honor.  It was ordered by our President.

SEN. DRILON.  I see.  Why?  Is your branch not safe?

MS. TIONGSON.  It is safe, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  It is safe.

MS. TIONGSON.  He ordered it, so, maybe you can ask him later.

SEN. DRILON.  Now, just on its face, it would appear to be a PS Bank document, containing all of these signatures, this logo of the PS Bank, etcetera.

Is that correct?

MS. TIONGSON.  As with the standard format, Sir, yes.

SEN. DRILON.  Now, you said you did not know the signatures pointed out by Senator Estrada.

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Now, these signatures were presumably affixed at the time of the opening, which is January 26, 2009 and December 22, 2009.  Madam Witness, you said, you are not familiar with the signatures here.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Who can—who is the bank officers on or about—on January 26, 2009 and December 22, 2009, who were authorized to open accounts in your bank, in your branch, on these particular days?

MS. TIONGSON.  To approve, Your Honor?

SEN. DRILON.  Yes, as it says here, approved by, officer’s full signature.

MS. TIONGSON.  The officers in the branch are the branch manager and the branch service and control officers, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Who was it?

MS. TIONGSON.  At that time, we will have to check our records.  I do not know the names of the officers at that time.

SEN. DRILON.  Can you come back to us and tell us who are the approving officers?

MS. TIONGSON.  At what time—what year?

SEN. DRILON.  January 26, 2009 and December 22, 2009.

MS. TIONGSON.  They will have to note that down, I cannot …

SEN. DRILON.  I am sorry.

MS. TIONGSON.  The 2009 January?

SEN. DRILON.  I am reading from the Annex A which was read earlier by Senator Estrada, January 26, 2009, December 22, 2009.

There are signatures appearing here which you say you are not familiar with.  So, we are asking who were the officers then.

MS. TIONGSON.  Okay.  Will I get back to you on that, Your Honor?

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.  Can I just for just one minute extension, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Approved.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  So, now, there is also a column here which says, date closed, on the peso current deposit ending 7358, April 16, 2009, and there is a signature of an approving officer.

Would you know whose signature is this?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  No.  But can you check who is the authorized officer?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, we will—yes, it is the same, the branch manager or the branch service and control officer.

SEN. DRILON.  All right.  The approving officers that you will attest to in the next hearing, can you also bring their specimen signatures?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  So, at that time, we’ll ask the necessary questions on this point, when these documents are brought.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If, Your Honor, please, with the kind indulgence of this honorable court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman for the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Since we cannot object, Your Honor, according to the rules of procedure before this honorable court.  I am worried and apprehensive that the matters being asked now refers to foreign currency account, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I thought that we are dealing with the Philippine currency account.

JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is my information, Your Honor.  But apparently, what is being dealt with now are foreign currency accounts.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Mr. President, may I?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from San Juan.

SEN. ESTRADA.  I think the ones that is being referred by Senator Drilon are peso accounts.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I reiterate the ruling of this Chair.  No questions will be done on foreign currency accounts.  So Ordered.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Mr. President, just one minute.  To be fair with Senator Drilon, I think he was referring to all peso accounts.  I will just mention the account numbers.  089121017358 and 089121019593.  These are all peso accounts which has been testified to by the bank president, Mr. Garcia.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. SOTTO.  Senator Lacson, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I would like to inform the court that per record, this Presiding Officer did not order this witness to bring the log book.  So, if a motion to that effect is made, then the Chair will entertain it.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Mr. President, I move that the witness bring the log book tomorrow at 2:00 p.m.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  The Chair hears none; the motion is approved.  The witness is instructed, ordered to bring the log book pertaining to the matter now under discussion.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The President Pro Tempore.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Including that of the specimen signatures of the account numbers which I just recently mentioned.  The three digits ending with358 opened on January 26, 2009 and the three digits ending 593 opened on December 22, 2009.

MS. TIONGSON.  Your Honor, may I clarify.  The specimen signatures of the officers, you are referring to the officers.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Yes.  Thank you.]

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What did the witness say, please?  Will you repeat.

MS. TIONGSON.  I was just clarifying if the request was for the specimen signatures of the officers on the dates that were mentioned.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The President Pro Tempore may clarify his request.

SEN. ESTRADA.  That is correct, Mr. President.  And may I also request that the witness call someone from the bank who knows who among the approving officers of the accounts that I mentioned, whose signatures appear in those documents, if you know of someone who can give the names of these persons who affixed the signatures after this …

MS. TIONGSON.  Your Honor, may I consult with my counsel.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  What was the question?

MS. TIONGSON.  Your Honor, if I may.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.

MS. TIONGSON.  Upon advised of my counsel, I cannot bring any specimen signature of the officers on those dates mentioned because the signatures apparently appeared to be in the accounts that pertain to dollar.

SEN. DRILON.  No. Mr. President.

MS. TIONGSON. It’s the same.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What do you mean? Will you explain clearly what you mean—the counsel.

MS. TIONGSON.  May she …

ATTY. PELARES.  May I address the Honorable Court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. PELARES.   Your Honor, what my client is trying to say is that, if we bring a specimen signature with respect to the signatures in that paper, some of those signatures also appear beside the foreign, the alleged foreign accounts, Your Honor, so in effect, we will also be confirming, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are those …

ATTY. PELARES.   Confirming or denying and, Your Honor, that is already covered by the TRO, with all due respect to our Honorable Judges, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute. Are those peso accounts or dollar accounts?

SEN. DRILON.  Peso accounts, Mr. President. Peso accounts.

ATTY. PELARES.  But Your Honor, with all due respect, the document also pertains to foreign currency accounts, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  No.  Mr. President, you know, Mr. Garcia even confirmed the existence of the dollar account, the five dollar accounts, that is why we do not ask for that. We didn’t ask you to bring that. What we are just asking for are the signatures of the approving officers appearing across the line peso TD  and the account number, last four digits are 7358 because the witness said this is a fake document. So we are trying to show that this—as Senator Estrada said, this is not a fake document and all we are  saying is there is a signature appearing below “approved by” this peso account a certain signature here appears. And we are asking who are the bank officers who were authorized to open this account at that time. And the second is also a peso time deposit last four digits 9593, December 22, 2009, again, there is a signature.  If you want, you can cover everything else pertaining to the dollar just this account where the signature appears across the peso.

Mr. President, we are asking the witness to bring this as she was the one who raised this issue that this is a fake document. So, we are just asking to validate that point, to bring, to tell this court who are the authorized opening account officers and their signatures, so that it can be placed on record whether, in fact, these are not genuine signatures and the witness, I move be so ordered, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Allright.  Ruling of the Chair. The witness will cover the signatures opposite the dollar accounts, but the signatures opposite the local currency accounts, you must identify them, if you know, or what is the request of the Gentleman from Iloilo?

SEN. DRILON.  On this column appears “approved by (officers full signature” there was a signature appearing opposite the time deposit with account number 7358 dated January 26, 2009, there is a signature appearing here. That is why we asked, who is this officer? Who of the bank, who as of January 26, 2009 was authorized to approve the opening of the account? And then, still further the fifth column says, “date closed, April  16, 2009” and then, there is signature below the printed words “approved by (officer full signature).”  And there is a signature here. These are all peso accounts.  All we are asking is identify who are these officers in both accounts, peso account 7358 and peso account 9593, who are these officers, who authorized the approval and the closure of these accounts in the bank, and their specimen signatures.  That is all, it is peso account, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  The …

ATTY. PELARES.  Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  May we ask for the ruling of the Chair.

ATTY. PELARES.  Your Honor, with all due respect, may I be allowed to address this court, because, Your Honor, if we are going to look at the signatures, and if they are not the same with those beside the foreign currency account, then, because, Your Honor, there is a possibility, I am not familiar with the document because I have not really look at it, but if the signatures beside the foreign currency accounts are the same with those beside, but, of course, Your Honor, then, that will be like also covered by the TRO, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We will come to that when the Supreme Court shall have decided the case.  In the meantime, the Chair will authorize the identification of the signatures opposite all local currency accounts.  But in order to comply substantially with the TRO of the Supreme Court dealing with foreign currency accounts, the witness is allowed to cover the signatures opposite those foreign currency accounts.  So ordered.  (Gavel)

Did you understand the ruling of the Chair, Madam witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  We will compare and identify the signatures?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Very clear.

MS. TIONGSON.  May I just repeat it …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Cover the signatures opposite the foreign currency accounts, but identify the signatures opposite the local currency accounts.

MS. TIONGSON.  May I just clarify, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

MS. TIONGSON.  I will be the one to identify, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   If you know.  If you know the signatures.  If not, say so that I cannot identify because I do not know whose signature that is.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute, I am just clarifying the point. … I am just clarifying the point.   Madam witness.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Did you understand the order of the court?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  The Gentleman from Pampanga.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, my understanding is, this witness was not a part of the bank in 2008 and 2009, and so she cannot be the resource person to testify as to the authenticity of the document.  Because that was the witness asked.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why, the court, Your Honor, said, answer if you know, identify if you know, if you do not know the signatures, common sense will tell us, as lawyers, that she cannot identify its bit, she is incompetent to identify.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, but my understanding, Mr. President, is that, Senator Drilon wants the verification by the bank, of the signatures, that is my understanding.  I am sorry if I am confused, Mr. President.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President, may I respond.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

SEN DRILON.  Mr. President, we just asked the witness and so ordered by the court:  Number one, to identify whose these officers are on the peso time deposit.  Number two …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I clarify so that it is clear to everybody.  The Gentleman from Iloilo is asking from this witness, this particular female witness to identify the signatures.

SEN. DRILON.  No, no, Your Honor, that is not what I am saying.  First, to identify the name of the officers.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, the name of the officers, yes, if she knows.

SEN. DRILON.  If she knows because there are records of the bank which will show as to who are the approving officers on the specific dates we have mentioned.  So it’s based on the records of the bank who were the officers.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  So the order of this court is modified accordingly.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes, who are the officers?  Second, bring specimen signatures of these officers appearing in the bank records.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If she knows.

SEN. DRILON.  If she knows, yes.  Okay  Third point, Your Honor, apart from these documents that I just mentioned, there are other peso accounts appearing in Annex A and this is peso Account No. 089-121020122.  This is a peso account.  Again, there is a signature appearing across that peso account as the approving officer on, I think this is March 4, 2010.  Can she also identify who is the approving officer and bring the specimen signature of this approving officer.  And also another peso account 089-121021681.  The opening was done on September 1, 2010 with an opening balance of P7,090,099.45.  Again, there is a signature appearing across this account number so we are also asking that the witness identify the officer authorized in the branch to approve the opening of the account and the specimen signature.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you understand what the court wants, Madam Witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, comply with it.  So ordered.  So what is the pleasure of the defense counsel?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  With the kind indulgence of the honourable court, Your Honor, there are matters brought out in the examination made by the honourable Senator-Judge, Your Honor, whether it is clarificatory or cross-examination.  My worry is this, Your Honor—who is going to offer this as evidence, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  This will be for the information of the court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, but they are evidence, Your Honor.  There will be a time when we now go into the process of offering, Your Honor, so we will be objecting.  Are we precluded from objecting, Your Honor, simply because these questions are brought about by the honourable member of this court?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I cannot make a ruling at this point.  Just state your concern and we will take it up in a caucus and decide.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  My apprehension is this, with the kind indulgence of the court, Your Honor.  We will not end here merely with the examination, Your Honor.  If the court will go with me, we go further and unless these documents are offered, they will not be considered as evidence.  Now, who is going to offer them since these are not evidences or these are not documents brought about by the questioning, direct or by any of the parties, neither the prosecution much less the defense, Your Honor.  Now, if they stand only as parcels or pieces of papers, Your Honor, then we will be practically—I’m sorry to state, we are practically wasting the time of this court, Your Honor.  Assuming that matters were brought out, will they form part of the evidence, Your Honor, if not offered formally?  They shall not be considered as evidence in the case.  That is my apprehension, Your Honor.  And since we cannot object, we wanted to object, Your Honor, but we are precluded by the rules of this impeachment court which we have time and again honoured and respected, Your Honor..  That is our apprehension, Your Honor.  We do not want to bring this matter out at the time when they are already presented in evidence.  Because the first issue, Your Honor, is the scope of the subpoena as we have made it clear we were objecting to the issuance of the subpoena.  But they were produced, Your Honor.  Now, that is only part of the process in dealing with documentary evidences, Your Honor.  I hope everybody will agree with me that the next part is—aside from identification and marking, they will be offered.  So my question now or my clarificatory question is very, very pertinent. Who’s going to offer it?  There is no statement on the part of the prosecution that this form part of their evidence, Your Honor.  And there is not even any statement of the fact of any Member of this court that they will be offered as part of the evidence for the court, Your Honor.0

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is my—I hope you pardon me, Your Honor.  I’m just …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are free to make your manifestation.  I will understand that because you are the defense counsel.  As far as this Presiding Officer is concerned, within the bounds of existing Rules of Evidence and the laws, you are entitled to protect the interest of your client.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But before I respond to you, I will recognize the Gentleman from Cavite.

SEN. LACSON.  Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

My question is addressed to the defense counsel and also to the Presiding Officer.  My question is, in a criminal proceeding, is the trial court judge precluded from asking clarificatory questions?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The answer is no.  Definitely, Your Honor.

SEN. LACSON.  So we’re allowed …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But the extent of the questioning must not be construed by either parties as favouring a party litigant, because …

SEN. LACSON.  That’s beside the point, with due respect, …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Because your question is this e, is the judge precluded?  My answer is no.  But if the questioning goes farther than clarificatory, then a doubt may enter into the scene.  And that is the non-neutrality of the judge.  That may amount to a mistrial.

SEN. LACSON.  I am not yet into that, with all due respect, because my next question would be, how would the evidence elicited from the questionings of a trial court judge treated or admitted as evidence?  Kindly educate me, Sir.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  You mean questioning of the—?

SEN. LACSON.  A trial court judge asks questions of the witness.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.

SEN. LACSON.  And then some of the answers provided by the witness may be used or may not be used as evidence.  Assuming that the replies or the response of the witness may be used as evidence by the court or may be appreciated by the judge in rendering a decision, then how would that be treated?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’m sorry, Your Honor.  When you say may be used by the court, what the court may do is consider the evidence, not use it.

Now, secondly, if the examination made by the court, Your Honor, far exceeds that which is normal, then the law on cold neutrality of the judge will come in.  That is precisely one of the cases before the Sandigan.  Examining the records, it consisted of several pages and the Supreme Court was convinced that the judge there was already performing the act of a prosecutor and not that of a judge.

That is not the ruling of Justice Cuevas.  That is the ruling of the court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Counsel for the defense, you are actually asking this Presiding Officer to make a ruling with respect to the treatment of this evidence as far as the culmination of this hearing is concerned.  And that is the judgment.  There is a rule on that and I will not pronounce it now.  That is covered by existing jurisprudence not only here but from where we copied this process.

So, as far as the culmination of this hearing is concerned, with due respect to this court, to the highest court of this land, that is outside of the jurisdiction of that court.  And it is up to this court to make a decision on the basis of its appreciation of all the facts gathered in this proceeding, at that point when it will make a judgement.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’m sorry, Your Honor.

SEN. LACSON.  And the guilt or innocence of the witness is beyond the appeal of anyone.

So, the Gentleman from Cavite.

SEN. LACSON.  What is the answer to my question, Mr. President?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Precisely, I was about to ask Your Honor.  An apology to the Presiding Judge, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Because when I do explain, I was only explaining by way of answering the Gentleman from Cavite.  I never intended to influence whatever the ruling of this honourable court will be.  But we cannot be denied from asserting a right in favour of a client, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.  Correct, Your Honor

As I said, as far as the ruling of the court yesterday interlocutory matters are within the judicial review powers of the Supreme Court.  But the trial and decision of the Senate as the sole authority ordained by the Constitution to try and decide this case cannot be questioned in any court, not even in the United States will it be allowed to be questioned on the merits.

Now, with respect to the issue at hand, the understanding of this Chair is, and the understanding of this Chair regarding the tendency of the question of the Gentleman from San Juan and the Gentleman from Iloilo, and correct me if I am wrong, is to test the credibility of that witness, whether indeed, the document involved, or which she pronounced to be fake yesterday is correct.  They are testing the credibility of that witness.

That is the understanding of this Chair.  Dispute it if you may.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is also my understanding, Your Honor, please, because there were insinuations, not categorical statement, that this issue of fake or illegal release of documents pertaining to the bank records of the honorable Justice Corona, Your Honor, is seem to be in doubt, Your Honor, that there in seem some leak and so on.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is why I never stood up, not even—I am sorry, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.  There was a statement from this witness that the document involved in the discussion is fake.  Then, two members of this court, two Senator Judges asked, propounded a question to this witness to test her credibility with respect to that document.  And they agreed not to touch on the foreign currency deposit.  They were only dealing with the peso accounts, to give due respect to the decision of this court to respect the TRO.  So, I allowed it in order to test the credibility of this witness, whether indeed, the document is fake or not.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Along those lines, Your Honor, we cannot help but fully concur and with the statement or with the pronouncement of the honorable Presiding Judge.  We were merely led by the fact that, apparently, the question goes out of what is ordinary because …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But if the purpose is to determine the falsity or the leak, then, we have no objection, Your Honor, because …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is the …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I therefore submit, Your Honor, and I withdraw my former observation relative to who is going to offer this defense—this evidence, because this evidence may no longer be part of the—what we call, impeachment proceedings, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We know this.  We know this.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And then, as I told you, if you ask me to rule on this, I am going already to the merits of the case, and we are not going into the merit of the case, we are discussing an issue of credence, of credence of the witness.  Okay.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With that clarification made, Your Honor, allow me to state that it is never my purpose or it is never the purpose of the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Accepted.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  … defense to question the validity of the ruling, Your Honor.  I was just …

SEN. LACSON.  Anyway,

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I was just—I am sorry.

SEN. LACSON.  Anyway, Mr. President, …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I am sorry, my Senator.

SEN. LACSON.  … I merely wanted to be educated by the defense counsel, because I hold him in the highest regard.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.

SEN. LACSON.  In spite of his—of some boring objections.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I am sorry, I am just exercising my right, Your Honor.

SEN. LACSON.  Some of my questions had been overtaken by the ruling of the Chair.

Anyway, I would like to ask the witness, paki-qualify nga po, iyong sinabi nyong fake yong documents, are you referring to the document itself, the form or the entries?  Kapag sinabi nyong fake ang dokumento, were you referring to the

form because dalawa po ito, eh, iyong signature form ,iyong isa naman iyuong entries doon sa signature form.  When somebody opens an account, necessarily he has to fill up a signature form card or signature form.  So, alin po ba iyong fake, iyong form or iyong entries doon sa form?

MS. TIONGSON.  Sir, the whole thing.

SEN. LACSON.  The whole thing.

MS. TIONGSON  I was asked to compare and when I say fake, they are different, they are not the same.

SEN. LACSON.  No.  Ang tanong ko nga po, ano iyong nire-refer ninyo na hindi pareho, hindi pareho ang signature form o hindi pareho iyong mga entries doon sa available sa bangko ninyo?  Because in that regard, I will require you to bring during the next trial, next hearing, iyong samples ng inyong signature form.

MS. TIONGSON.  Sample. …

SEN. LACSON.  Sample of your signature …

MS. TIONGSON.  The standard format, sir.

SEN. LACSON.  Iyon nga po ang tanong ko.  Ito bang form fake o genuine?  Iyong form.

MS. TIONGSON.  Iyong standard format niya, sir.

SEN. LACSON.  Yes.

MS. TIONGSON.  It is what we have in the bank.

SEN. LACSON.  So, walang problema sa signature form.

MS. TIONGSON.  Sa form, sir.

SEN. LACSON.  Ang sinasabi ninyong fake ay iyong entries.

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, sir.

SEN. LACSON.  Dito, iyong nakapaloob dito.

MS. TIONGSON.  Iyong mga …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If I remember correctly, with the permission of the Gentleman from Cavite, in fairness to the witness, her answer was that there are entries in this document that are not found in the original, is that correct, Madam Witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there are entries in the original that are not found in the document under discussion, is that correct?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So that is the answer of the witness.

SEN. LACSON.  That is all, Mr. President, for this Representation.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President, with your indulgence.  Just 30 seconds.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Iloilo.

SEN. DRILON.  Just to make it clear, the specimen signature of the bank officers should be the specimen signatures on or about the date when this was signed, so that these are not new specimen signatures.  Second point, Your Honor …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you understand the request of the Senator Judge from Iloilo?

MS. TIONGSON.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay, let me explain.  These accounts were opened, January 26, 2009.  We asked for the specimen signatures.  The specimen signatures should be those appearing in the documents of the bank on or about January 26, 2009 in the case of account number ending 7358, is that correct?  Can you understand that, Madam Witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  You would like to get the specimen signatures of the officers on those dates mentioned.

SEN. DRILON.  That is correct.  Now, you keep on saying that there is a difference between what appears in here, there were entries which are here and entries which are not here, compared to the original, you just said that.  Now, can you bring the original of these and just cover the dollars so that we will see.

MS. TIONGSON.  May I refer to counsel.

SEN. DRILON.  No.  No.  Can you bring it.

MS. TIONGSON.  I believe, sir, that it is covered by the …

SEN. DRILON.  We are not asking you to reveal the details, whatever it is on the dollar account, just the peso accounts.  You can cover it in any manner you want.  Because you keep on saying, there is a difference between the xerox and the original, so, bring the original, cover whatever you want to cover.  Insofar as the dollar accounts are concerned, but there are a lot of data here which does not involve the dollar like the passport number.  So, all that we are asking is to test your credibility that this is a fake document because you were the one who raised that.  Bring the original, cover the dollars if you wish, we will not look at the dollar in deference to ruling of the Chair and the Supreme Court.  Just the peso.

MS. TIONGSON. Your Honor. May I consult my counsel.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.

(Witness is consulting with her lawyer.)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

MS. TIONGSON.  Sir, with due respect the documents already with the Head Office and our president would be the more competent person to answer for that because he has custody.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He has custody.

SEN. DRILON.  He has custody. Mr. President, that is a lame excused.

MS. TIONGSON. It’s not.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President, that is a lame excused. He can always get it from the bank president because these are records in the Katipunan Branch which will go through head office.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, the president PSBank is here. Why don’t you the PSBank to come inside to answer this question?

SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President. Mr. President, while they are calling the bank president and whether we will decide to call that witness ahead, may I move to suspend the trial for 10-Senate minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial suspended for, how many minutes?

SEN. SOTTO.  Ten-Senate minutes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Approved.

(The session is suspended at about 4:06 in the afternoon.).

(The trial is resumed at about 4:38 in the afternoon.)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial resumes.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

REP. TUPAS. Your Honor.

SEN. SOTTO. Yes. The prosecution wishes to manifest.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Your Honor, just a very short manifestation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.

REP. TUPAS.  My name was mentioned and also the members of my family, so I just want to put on record a very short manifestation.  Thank you.

Your Honor, during the line of questioning earlier by the Gentleman, the Senator from San Juan, the witness Ms. Annabelle Tiongson was asked about the acquaintance with my family.  My father was mentioned, the name of my father, Governor Niel Tupas, my brother was mentioned, Raul “Buboy” Tupas, and even my wife was mentioned. So, I just want to put on record, Your Honor, to be fair to the members of my family that I am not acquainted with the witness Ms. Annabelle Tiongson.  The first time I saw her was Monday when she took the witness stand. So, just to put it on record, just to be fair to the members of the Tupas Family. Thank you so much, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are welcome.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Earlier, Mr. President, Senator Drilon wanted to ask the President of PSBank a few questions, so we summoned the President, the bank president here although, we did not discharge the first witness, the gentleman here or the manager of the branch of PSBank. So, we may recognize Senator Drillon, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. DRILON.  Just for the record.  The previous witness said that it is better that Mr. Garcia testifies on this,  because these documents are now in the head office.  That is the reason why this witness, Mr. Garcia, was called back.  But having said that, Mr. Garcia, Mr. Witness, the previous witness said that there were differences in the entries of this original document and identified as a signature card, and attached as annex A of the request for subpoena of the prosecution, and the original of this signature card which is now in the head office.  Can you now bring the original of this signature card which allegedly is different from what was submitted, and that there were entries that were not found in this original of this Annex A.  So, that is why you are in witness stand now to be given a directive of the court to bring this document, the original.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, we have presented the documents pertaining to peso accounts to the court, Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  And I believed that what is being referred to, actually, are photocopies of documents that pertain to and refer to dollar accounts.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. Witness, it is not for you to argue.  You are being directed to produce this document and even cover if you want to cover any information pertaining to the dollar account.  All that because it was  your branch manager who said that this is a fake document.   So, as the Senate President said, we are trying to test the credibility of this witness and we have the right to ask these questions and we have the right to require you now to produce the original which you say is different from annex A of the prosecution’s request for subpoena, because this is what we are looking for.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, If I may recall….

SEN. DRILON.  May I ask for ruling from the Chair.  I do not want to argue with this witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let us allow the witness to explain first.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, may I explain.  Your Honor, the order of the court to us, specifically stated, that we respond to or provide information only on peso accounts, Your Honor.  In the–the good—I think, Senator Escudero in his questions yesterday even amplified that no particular matter with respect to the dollar accounts should be referred to.  The only thing that was provided to us, Your Honor, based on what we were given from Annex A to Annex 4 which this court provided, only yesterday, pertain to dollar accounts.

May I state, Your Honor, that, for the record, when we received the first subpoena and the second subpoena, there were no documents attached to it for us to compare.  The only time that we received documents from this court where, I think, it was yesterday or the day before where we were specifically requested to make comparisons and indicate whether there are discrepancies or not.  And it is on this basis that we have said that we affirm that there are discrepancies.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, with the permission of the Gentleman from Iloilo, the Chair would like to clarify. Does the PS Bank separate the records of peso accounts from the records of foreign currency accounts?

ATTY. GARCIA.   Your Honor, with respect to balances, they are separate.  But with respect to certain documents they may be combined, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Combined.  Now, we would like to…

MR. GARCIA.  And if I may, Your Honor, I’m sorry.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  The documents that were provided to us by the court actually show details there that are peso and dollar details.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you have this kind of a document?.

MR. GARCIA.  We have these kinds of documents for many, many customers, Your Honor, whether they are peso customers or dollar customers.  We have all of these kinds of documents.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So in your records, you have these kinds of documents where there is a record bearing on dollar or foreign currency account and local currency account.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, and that was the basis of our stipulation to the court earlier that insofar as anything that has dollar indicators of an account whether they are balances, whether they are anything that has a dollar, we requested that we not provide anything for any particular dollar account.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  May I, with the permission of the gentleman from Iloilo, propound this question to the prosecution.  You submitted a supplemental request to this court for a subpoena duces tecum and you attached with it an Annex A.  Correct?

REP. TUPAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, in this Annex A deals with an account with number 089-19100037 there is a separate number 3.  Is that correct?  Will you examine your…

REP.TUPAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  To what document coming from the PS Bank that you already marked as exhibit for purposes of this proceeding would this document correspond?

REP.TUPAS.  We are checking it, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You proceed to check it.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, may I

REP. TUPAS.  We are still checking it, what exhibit number, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please check.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor please, with respect…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, we checked it and we did not mark it, Your Honor, because it corresponds to the dollar account and it was not produced by the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You know, this material, that Annex A to your supplemental request for subpoena, has not been marked as an exhibit in this court.

REP. TUPAS.  It has not, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And the documents that you marked as exhibit coming from the Philippine Savings Bank are all peso accounts.

REP. TUPAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Can you present- Do you have—Will you kindly show, rather, to the witness the Annex A to the supplemental request of the prosecution for a subpoena duces tecum.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, we’re showing Annex A to the witness now.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Go ahead.  I order you to show it.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, Annex A pertains to a dollar …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Account.  Do you have this kind of a document—Do you have—Do you have …

MR. GARCIA.  The Annex, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  Just a minute.  I am hearing sounds, and I’m disturbed.  Will you kindly stop talking when the Chair would like to ask a question.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Do you have, Mr. Witness, this kind of a document in your record?

MR. GARCIA.  This photocopy, Your Honor?  We do not have a photocopy …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The one that was shown to you as an annex to the supplemental request for a subpoena duces tecum by the prosecution.

MR. GARCIA.  May I consult counsel, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, just answer if you have or do not have.

MR. GARCIA.  I do not have it, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You do not have this kind of document in your record?

MR. GARCIA.  This particular document has discrepancies, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, I’m asking—I’m not asking you whether it has discrepancies or it has no discrepancies.  Do you have this kind of a record?

MR. GARCIA.  I’m sorry, Your Honor, because I do not understand the definition of “this kind”.  When I look at this annex for example, there are discrepancies already here that are not in any of our records.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you have a similar document in your record?

MR. GARCIA.  A similar document, Your Honor, in certain aspects, yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, do you have a similar document in you record that does not—that to you is authentic part of your record?

MR. GARCIA.  I’m being asked, Your Honor, to compare what is this annex versus our record, and—You know, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  (Gavel)  Mr. Witness.  Mr. Witness, the Chair is asking you a specific question.

MR. GACIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There is here in this request for a supplemental request for a subpoena duces tecum and attached to it is supposed to be a document coming from your bank.

Now, there are two documents here, one over the other.  I’m talking of the first document appearing on this page, Annex A.  Do you have that in your record?

MR. GARCIA.  If you refer to the petition to this court, Your Honor, we were not even provided those documents.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why it’s being shown to you.

MR. GARCIA.  Well, this is just being shown to me right now, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  This is—the first document refers to—it has a symbol on the left upper corner, adjacent to that symbol is PS Bank.  And then, followed by customer identification and specimen signature card, and then, another column says, customer number 334346, and at the end, right upper corner of that document is a date, October 31, 2008, okay.  And the next line says, account name, Corona, Renato Coronado, and then, another column says, account number 089-19100037-3, and it says, updating.  New account was—has a slash.  The other below it is square symbol, aside it is updating.

Then, there is another column which says some words, and followed by another line which says, Philippine Savings Bank will please recognize, and then it says, any or any two or all, etcetera.  And then the anyone was checked, okay.  And below that line is another larger line, space, with the name in block letters, Renato C. Corona, name—and below is the printed words, name of authorized signatory.

Then, there are three signatures on the space below that word.  And the last space in this document is, signature, authenticated by, and there is on the space called approved, a signature or initial.

Do you have this kind of document in your bank?

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, we have a similar…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I am just asking you if you have, otherwise, I will hold you in contempt.  Just answer if you have or you do not have.

MR. GARCIA.  May I consult my counsel?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You consult.

MR. GARCIA.  It is not the one, Your Honor.  It is spurious.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you have this kind of document?

MR. GARCIA.  As to the form, yes, we do, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, I am asking you, do you have this kind of document in your bank?

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You will say yes, we have, but this document is different from what we have, and that is your answer.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, this is different from what we have.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, you have, but the document attached to this supplemental request for subpoena is different from a similar document that you have in bank record.

MR. GARCIA.  I apologize, Your Honor, with your clarification, then, it is different.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is it different?  My God, you are vague in your answers.  And I am trying to clarify it for the record for the sake of our ability to appreciate this document.

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, we do not have notations here like PEP.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely, do you have this kind of a form?

MR. GARCIA.  The form I have declared, Your Honor, we do have.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And are the entries in this form that is attached to the supplemental request for subpoena filed by the prosecution the same entries appearing in the form that you have?

MR. GARCIA.  There are underlines here, so, it is different, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, you tell us whether they are different.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, we have said that.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You said they are different.  Okay.  The signatures appearing on this document, are they similar to the document you have?

MR. GARCIA.  They appear to be similar, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  They appear to be similar.

MR. GARCIA.  They appear to be similar.  There are highlights here on the document that are not present. There is underlining, even this particular document, it is not clear, the date of 2000 …I think  you are mentioning …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, you say there are similarities and there are basic differences.

MR. GARCIA.  That is what we have been saying, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then, say so.  Answer my question, please.  Just listen.  Now, there is another document, below the document that I already described, and the letters are very small, and it is difficult for the Presiding Officer to read them, but I will try to read them to you, account name, family name, first name, middle name or company name.  Another column, customer number and then another column, account number, etc.  And there are entries.  Do you have this kind of document in your bank?

MR. GARCIA.  We have this kind of document with those details.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, are the details in that document that you have in your bank the same as the details now appearing in this Annex A to the supplemental request for a subpoena of the prosecution?

MR GARCIA.  If you are speaking of this what we indicated, Your Honor, there are similarities.  But with respect to the other indications here, like dollar …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There are similarities?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are there dissimilarities?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Where are the dissimilarities?

MR. GARCIA.  Well, Your Honor, obviously these documents are highlighted, there are signatures that are not present here, that are present in the original …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There are signatures here that are not present in the original.

MR. GARCIA.  That are not present here but are present in the original.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there are signatures in the original that you have but not present in this Annex A.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Now, I call your attention to a portion of this document where there is apparently a word, a phrase that was attempted to be snow pake or erased which reads “existing client.” And then, in parenthesis, in the annex, it says PEP. You get the annex and tell me if this is correct.

MR. GARCIA.  Similar, Your Honors, except that it is highlighted.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. When you said highlighted, it was disturbed.

MR. GARCIA.  The original does not show any markings.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Or any highlighting.

MR. GARCIA.  Or any highlighting.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright. But it has the word “PEP.”

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Now, there is—below that highlighted item is initial deposit. There are words before this, I cannot read the words, I think these are “V” or word or whatever, dollar sign, so this is a dollar account supposedly?

MR. GARCIA.  As far as this indication is concerned, yes, Your Honor

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you have—is 089191000373 a peso account?

MR. GARCIA.  Excuse me, Your Honor, may I refer to …

(Witness is looking for the record.)

MR. GARCIA.  It’s a dollar account.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright. So this is beyond the inquiry, at the moment, of this court.

MR. GARCIA. As we understand it, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes. So that the—we cannot discuss this account.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes. Gentleman from Iloilo.

SEN. DRILON. Mr. President.

MR. GARCIA. May I—could I be just given the opportunity of asking our counsel to please …

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With the permission of the gentleman from Iloilo, we recognize the counsel for the witness.

ATTY. PUNO.  May I be allowed to address the Honorable Chair.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. PUNO.  Your Honor, what is being discussed here is just being one-single document. The PSBank has been trying to explain that there is only one-single document and they have testified that this document is fake and/or spurious or bogus or whatever, sir, because of the differences.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That that document attached to the supplemental request for a subpoena duces tecum.

ATTY. PUNO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Marked as annexes.

ATTY. PUNO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You consider it a fake document?

ATTY. PUNO. Fake, spurious.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Spurious.

ATTY. PUNO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the meaning  of spurious?

ATTY. PUNO.  It is not the original document. it is not the document that is being submitted.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Tagalugin mo.

ATTY. PUNO.  Hindi po ito tunay na dokumento po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Peke.

ATTY. PUNO.  Peke po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Peke, hindi tunay.

ATTY. PUNO.  Opo, opo, Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Inimbento.

ATTY. PUNO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Iyon.

ATTY. PUNO.  And they have already testified that it is faked.

Your Honor, because of Republic Act No. 6426, they cannot disclose it.  Because of the TRO, they cannot even discuss it, it is just one single document, Your Honor.  And there is a temporary restraining order.

With all due respect, Your Honor, what cannot be done directly in violating the TRO cannot be done indirectly by pointing to specific portions of that document which they have already testified is false and faked and peke.

So, Your Honor …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Imbento, sinabi mo na iyan.

ATTY. PUNO.  Opo, opo.  So, now, the other point is, Your Honor, even if you discuss particular portions of that so-called document, they will tend to establish certain facts in relation also to FCDU.  So, therefore, it is in violation of the TRO, Your Honor …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why I said we cannot discuss it.

ATTY. PUNO.  The entire document, Your Honor, maybe we request a clarification from the honourable Chair.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Iloilo.

SEN. DRILON.  Mr. President, in the first place, it was the witness, the previous witness, who brought up all these troubles by saying this way.  Now, we are just testing the credibility of the witness.  Insofar as the dollar account, Mr. President, we have made clear, we are not looking into this account.  These numbers appearing as dollar accounts were already testified to by the witness, Mr. Garcia, when he affirmed that this account exists.  But we were not even look into that, it is just that we are finding out, testing the credibility of the witness when he said that this is faked, peke, hindi tunay.  We have right to find out if the statement is true; and we are not looking into the dollar account which has been already confirmed to be existing by this very witness on the witness stand.  And this document, we were simply saying, okay, merong peso time deposit dito, merong pirma, tinatanong sino ba pumirma nito, etc., etc., and the previous witness kept on saying that she has compared this with the original, sinasabi nitong testigo na ito merong  naka-highlight na wala doon sa original.  Hindi po ba ang pinakamadali dalhin na lang iyong original, takpan iyong dolyar kung gusto ninyo, e, hindi naman po hinahanap ditto iyong dolyar, hindi issue ang dolyar dito, ang isyu dito e, ito ba totoo ba ang sinasabi ng testigo na peke ito.  That is our submission, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Doon ba sa original na nasa inyo, Ginoong Presidente ng PS Bank, ay may nakalagay na mga peso accounts or local currency accounts?

MR. GARCIA.   Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Meron.

MR. GARCIA.  Meron, meron.

THEPRESIDING OFFICER.  E, kung ganon pala e, di sinasabi ng kagalang-galang na Senador Hukom ng Iloilo ay ang gusto nilang malaman ay iyong peso account.  Ttakpan mo raw iyong dollar account pati iyong numero noong account na iyon ng dollar account at ang ang i–expose mo lang ay iyong peso account at ang gusto nilang malamam kung ang pumirma, sino iyon, sino iyong pumirma na iyon.  Ano ba ito approving …

SEN. DRILON.  It says approved by (Approving Officer)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Approving officer.  Iyon lang ang hinihingi nila.  Ano ang problema mo doon?

MR. GARCIA.  Your Honor, we have stipulated actually that, of the original subpoena to us, there are five dollar account numbers there. This particular document, the account number indicated is a dollar account.

SEN. DRILON.  Pero sinabi mo na dito sa testigo mo na dollar account ito.

MR. GARCIA.  Just a dollar account,Your Honor.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  I only confirmed actually that a dollar account does exist.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Sandali lang para makagawa ng ruling ang Presiding Officer.  Hindi namin kasalanan ito, kasalanan ng bangko.  Pinaghalu-halo ninyo itong peso account at dollar account sa isang record.  Takpan mo iyong dollar account, lagyan mo ng tape, huwag mong lalagyan ng tape iyong peso account, ang gusto lang nilang makita kung totoo na may signature iyong peso account at kung sino iyong pumirma.  You are ordered to do so.  Tapos.

ATTY. CUSTODIO.  Your Honor, may I make a manifestation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. CUSTODIO.  I would just like to put on record, Your Honor, that this representation, that in addition to four more lawyers, Your Honor, when we first met with this witness, the president of PS Bank, we showed him already Annex A of our request.  We make that manifestation that we provided him with a copy, not only showed him but left with him a copy of this Annex A on February 7 in relation to our intention at that time to prepare for the hearing the following day.  So we just put on the record, Your Honor, that this is not the first time that the witness has been shown or has met this particular document, Your Honor.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  There is already an order, comply.  Understand, Mr. Witness?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  The Gentleman from—I think it was the gentleman from Sorsogon who raised his hand first.  Will you yield to the gentleman from Makati.  He is more senior than the gentleman from Sorsogon.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, while Senator Arroyo is preparing, may we know if the television cameras and the TV stations are allowed to zoom into the documents?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No.

SEN. SOTTO.  Well, we were just informed that a television station has been zooming in on the documents.  So please.  The Presiding Officer can warn or prevent…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will you kindly, gentlemen, not expose this questioned document to any public view?  And if there is such a television station that took photograph of this questioned document, please do not present it because it is precisely in question.  Alright.  The Gentleman from Makati.

SEN. ARROYO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

You know, I have kept my peace on this issue because I wanted very carefully to understand it.  If I understand the sequence, this question arose because I don’t know who among the members of the Senate raised the question of the alleged forgery presented by the prosecution by attaching an annex to a pleading they filed.  That was the original question.  So evidence was presented here and we have wandered, meandered into several issues.  I will limit myself to this point.  Annex A to the supplemental petition of the prosecution has been testified to as a forgery by those who have the original of this document.  Now, if it is a forgery and nobody has yet contested it, how can we proceed on this issue if it is a forgery.  A forgery is a forgery.  It has no eventually value unless you change the whole thing.  Meaning, we have now branched out into asking the bank to produce a document, the original, of a document which is forged.  How can we do that?

We are asking the original from rank to bring here and compare or not compare it, to put even tape the entries which are not dollar related.  But how can we do that when the original and the false document are different?

Now, I limit myself to this.  A false document is a false document.  Now, only on that issue do I limit myself because we’re now talking about—What is the purpose now of presenting this?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I will explain later on the ruling of the Chair …

SEN. ARROYO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … once the Gentleman’s through.  All right.  The Gentleman’s finished.

The conclusion that this is a fake document comes from the witness that’s why I made it very, very clear by a leading question whether ito ay imbento.

Now, a Member of this court asked a question to test the credibility of the witness.  And to test that credibility of the witness, to find out whether indeed the document in question is an imbento is to make a comparison with the original to see where the imbento has arisen.

It they’re identical in every respect, then the witness will be lying.  And so therefore, his testimony will be unbelievable.

But if the comparison shows that indeed there are substantial differences, then the witness is credible and we will then consider the document, which I categorize as an imbento, as a fake document, to be fair to everybody in this proceeding.

That is the only purpose for the comparison.  And the only thing that is to be compared is the signature on the peso account and the identity of the one who imprinted that signature.  If it is identical with the original, then to the extent of that identity, then this document is not totally a fake document.  If there is a big discrepancy or differences that is not identical with the original, then to that extent it is an imbento, and it will be a suspect document which will be lacking credence as an evidence in this court.

Is that plain enough or shall I continue explaining?

SEN. ARROYO.  I’m satisfied with the explanation of the Chair.

Question, if this is found to be a false document, which, in the explanation of the Chair is the purpose of the inquiry, which was started by Senator Estrada, I think that was the original purpose of Senator Estrada, to find out whether this is a forgery.  Nobody even raised this.  It was only Senator Estrada who started this thing.  Now, if it is a forgery, what happens?  We spent so much time explaining what?  The idea is if it’s spurious, those documents are presented here—I don’t want to speculate, but I thought that was the thrust of that issue, then, subsequent matters doesn’t concern me.  What concerns me is simply this, if it is true that it is a forged document, what happens?

Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, I will answer it.  For the record, if this document is found to be falsified in some respect, then, we will determine whether the falsification is substantial enough to exclude this evidence from—as an evidence in this case, at the proper time.  And second, to make those responsible for that alterations responsible for it and to answer for it.  And it will be the burden of the prosecution to explain why they requested for a subpoena duces tecum in the face of an altered document.

That is the understanding of this Presiding Officer.  At that point, it is up to the court to decide whether disciplinary measures will be imposed on those who are responsible for the alteration. So ordered.

Proceed.  So, the witness is ordered to bring the original, with all the safeguards, to carry out our respect to the TRO.

ATTY. CUSTODIO.  Your Honor, may I …

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize to ask questions to this witness, Senator Escudero and then Senator Pangilinan.

Then afterwards, Senator Osmeña and Senator Legarda wish to ask questions to Ms. Tiongson.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Just a brief manifestation, Mr. President, with your permission, I would just like to make it of record, and address this to the counsel of Mr. Garcia and to Mr. Garcia as well, Sirs, we are not trying to pull a fast one on you, and try to do, as what counsel said, indirectly what we cannot and will not do directly.

Senator Arroyo pointed out, all we want is to know if this document is fake or not, but just as a reminder to the prosecution as well, Mr. Garcia and Ms. Tiongson are your witnesses, you asked that they be subpoenaed, and unless you impune their testimony, that will stand insofar as this court is concerned, on the fact as to whether or not the attached documents as an annex are fake or genuine.  But also bearing in mind, Mr. President, Your Honor, that this is a matter of interest for the Senate as an impeachment court, but has nothing to do with the case anymore.

So, perhaps, we can wind up on this matter, given that there is testimony already, with respect to the document’s authenticity, unless the prosecution will present contrary evidence, we can  perhaps proceed with the evidence of the prosecution on the main case at hand, which is the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice.

Thank you, Mr. President.

REP. BARZAGA.  May the prosecution respond briefly, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let us first hear the …

REP. BARZAGA.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … other—so that you can respond in toto.

All right, who …

SEN. SOTTO.  Senator Pangilinan, Mr. President.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Thank you, Mr. President.

I just have a few questions that would be directed to the president of the bank, because yesterday, or was it the other day, the bank manager was unable to explain to us the procedure or the system by which the name, office and the branches are able to access information from specific branch, and so, we would like to know, Mr.  Witness, can branches of PS Bank access the bank accounts or bank records of a specific branch?

MR. GARCIA.  Only for certain accounts, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  And what accounts would this be?

MR. GARCIA.  This would be current and savings accounts, and because we allow our customers, actually, we are one of the first—the first bank to allow customers to deposit or withdraw nationwide.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Okay.  So, the peso accounts that we have been discussing, can these be accessed by other branches?

MR. GARCIA.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, who can access these peso accounts apart from the Katipunan branch?

MR. GARCIA.  The Katipunan branch and the head office, Your Honor.  Your Honor, if I may explain, these are time deposits.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So time deposits can only be accessed by the headquarters?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Apart from, of course, the bank itself.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  The branch itself.  So, in this case, the time deposits …and who in the main office can access these time deposit records?

MR. GARCIA.  There are certain officers that are allowed access for purposes of verifying signatures.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  How many?

MR. GARCIA.  I would probably estimate it, a couple .. not too many.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Two.

MR. GARCIA.  More than I think two.  Because we have to have back up.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Would you have access to it?

MR. GARCIA.  No, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, maybe two or more.  Five, five, five in the main office?

MR. GARCIA.  Probably.  I could not give you an accurate number.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Just to have an idea as to who can actually access these time deposits.

MR. GARCIA.  I cannot access any account of the bank myself, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  I am just interested in who can and how many are they.  So, and in a branch, how many can access those time deposit records?

MR. GARCIA.  In the branch, specific personnel only in the branch like the branch operations officer, the branch manager and only the branch staff who are handling the processing of time deposits.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Tama bang sabihin, another five people in the branch?

MR. GARCIA.  Probably four,five.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, in effect, as far as PSBank is concerned, 10.  More or less 10 people or 12 people can access the time deposits from the main office to the branch.

MR. GARCIA.  Only certain informations, sir.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  Specimen signatures, balances, but there are other information that is not accessible.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, that is clear.  Apart from bank personnel, sino pa ang pupuwedeng mag-access doon sa time deposit records na iyon, outside of the bank?

MR. GARCIA.  Outside of the bank …

SEN. PANGILINAN.  BSP was mentioned by the branch manager, let me assist you.  AMLA was mentioned by the bank manager.

MR. GARCIA.  BSP actually does not access deposits.  The only agency that is allowed to inquire about deposits is AMLA.  But if they do inquire about it, under the law, they can inquire through a BSP examiner.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, a BSP examiner in coordination with the AMLA.

MR. GARCIA.  No, no, Your Honor.  It is not a BSP examiner.  I think there are specific examiners for AMLA but when the BSP actually opens a review of the bank, which is done every year, it is only these AMLA examiners that would theoretically ask us for information about accounts that are only covered by AMLA.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Would you have information as to who these examiners are and how many would they be?  Would they be four, five?

MR. GARCIA.  No, Your Honor.  Normally, it would probably, if there are, it does not happen all the time, not all BSP examinations have an AMLA examiner.  Occasionally, an AMLA examiner could be included but only insofar as reviewing certain accounts that are covered.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, would you say two individuals whether from the BSP or the AMLA?

MR. GARCIA.  I would probably say, just maybe one or a maximum two.  I think …

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, two plus 10, 12.  So around a dozen people would have access to this time deposit.  Ten from your bank and another two outside of the bank.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  That would be a fairly accurate number.

MR. GARCIA.  If I may clarify, when we say access to time deposits, we control certain information.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, yes.  Not the entire …so what information is made available?

MR. GARCIA.  Account number and ….

SEN. PANGILINAN. Name, balance?

MR. GARCIA. No.  Account number and our balance system.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, in accessing the controlled documents in the possession of your bank could not be copied?

MR. GARCIA.  Copied, Your Honor, in terms of just written down details.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No. Copied in the sense of reproducing the entire document.

MR. GARCIA.  From the systems, we have our—no, no.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  When …

MR. GARCIA. Because these original documents are only kept, normally, in the branch and in an office and the reason why the branch submits a copy to a Law Office, is we have, again, satisfy for the dollar savings accounts.  It’s for business recovery processes, Your Honor.  Just to explain, we have to have a similar document because if the branch burns down, if there is an earthquake, et cetera, we have a back up document that we can refer to.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, before any outsider or any other officials of the bank can access the records impounded in a volt or depositary equipment or instrument, only the people designated to open those volts or those depository equipment or instruments would first open the volt, or the depositary equipment, or instrument and to get the documents that will be—that contained the information desired, am I correct?

MS. GARCIA.  Yes, you are correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright.

MR. GARCIA. I cannot even …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Not just anybody can go there.

MS. GARCIA.  Not even me, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And look at it.

MR. GARCIA.  No, no, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Because the branch manager of your Katipunan Branch said, there are two designated officers that can only—who are the only ones who can open the container of these sequestered and secured documents?

MR. GARCIA.  I confirmed that, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Alright.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  One more question. Doon sa dokumento na hinihiling ng korte na  dadalhin po ninyo bukas na lalagyan ninyo po ng tape iyong dollar account, iyong labing-dalawang nabanggit po nating mga tao, whether sa branch, or sa main office, or sa AMLA, or sa BSP, sila ba nakikita nila, may access sila doon sa dokumentong iyon?

MS. GARCIA.  The document itself …

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Itself, the document itself.

MR. GARCIA.  No.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   The original document itself.

MR. GARCIA. The original document itself, only for those have approved access, only those can.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   Yes. We narrowed it down to around 12 individual.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, the question is, do any of these 12 individuals have they, at any one point, been able to look at this original document that you will be sending tomorrow? At any one point.

MR. GARCIA. Only if the custodians of the documents are physically present and allow their access.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Precisely.

MR. GARCIA.  Because the …

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Precisely, …

MR. GARCIA.  The original documents are kept …

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes, yes.

MR. GARCIA.  … under dual custody.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   Yes, but the point being and the question being, the 12 that we mentioned, we narrowed down, have, at one point, been able to access the document  that you will be bringing tomorrow?

MR. GARCIA. Not necessarily, Your Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   Why is that?

MR. GARCIA.  Because they may have had access to it only for certain specific portions like, you know, when we are capturing the signature for our signatures …

SEN. PANGILINAN.   Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  … signature verification system to storage, so that it is, if the signatures can be verified by all branches and only for those accounts, and then, it is transported to the custodians of these documents.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   So, so, the ambient …

MR. GARCIA. Once they have completed that particular responsibility, they have no more access.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   But they had access.

MR. GARCIA.  They had access.

SEN. PANGILINAN.   Of specific areas?

MR. GARCIA. Only specific areas or specific processes so much so and specific times.

SEN. PANGILINAN.    So, not all the 12, you are saying, can have access to the entire original, not all the 12?

MS. GARCIA. Once it is stored in our ..

SEN. PANGILINAN.  No, just say, do they have access or not?

MR. GARCIA.  Not at all.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  I agree that don’t have access when it is already stored.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  But do they have at some point have full access to this original document?  Those 12?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Honor.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  At some point.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, because it is part of the process.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  That is my question.  Maraming salamat.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, there are no other questions to this witness, but there are some Senators who wish to ask the manager, the bank manager.   So, may we discharge the witness and—I am sorry, Mr. President, I withdraw the proposal and I ask that Senator Estrada be recognized.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from San Juan.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. Presdient.  I have only one question to the president of the bank.  When you learned upon this alleged leakage of this document, did you investigate?  Were you able to investigate?

MR. GARCIA.  It was extremely – well, we investigated but we had extreme difficulty because, for example, Your Honor, when we received the TROs, there were no documents attached.  So, we cannot even have anything to compare against.  So, that is why I hope you would appreciate the difficulty we have been going through responding to questions about the so-called documents, and asking us to confirm or deny when those documents were not even provided to us in the TRO.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay, thank you.

On another point, Mr. President, if I may.

MR. GARCIA.  I am sorry, in the subpoena, Your Honor, in the various subpoenas that were given to us.

SEN. ESTRADA.  All right.  On another point, Mr. President, if I may.  Kanina po noong wala po ako dito ay nakita ko po sa TV na tumayo po si Congressman Tupas at binanggit po ang aking pangalan at sinangkot ko pa raw iyong kanyang ama at iyong kanyang mga kapatid.

Unang una Ginoong Tupas, Congressman Tupas, ay wala po akong balak na siraan, dungisan, o yurakan ang pangalan ng inyong pamilya.  Katunayan nga po ay kilala ko po ang ang inyong ama at nakapunta na rin po ako sa bahay ninyo noong araw sa Iloilo, at kilala ko rin po ang inyong kapatid na mayor ng isang bayan sa Iloilo, sa lalawigan ng Iloilo, at katunayan nga nakapagbigay pa nga  ako ng project para sa  kapatid mo doon sa kanyang bayang pinaglilingkuran.  Ngunit ang gusto ko lamang pong patunayan sapagkat sinabi mo ni Ginang Annabelle Tiongson na hind raw—ito po ang ang kauna-unahang beses na nakita kayo rito sa impeachment court, at ikaw rin naman ay sinasabi mo ito rin ang kauna-unahan ninyong pagkakataon na nakita ninyo si Ms. Annabelle Tiongson dito sa loob ng impeachment court.  Ngunit sa aking pananaw ay iba po ang aking pananaw sapagkat  political ally po ang pamilya ni Annabelle Buenaflor-Tiongson at iyong pamilya ni Congressman Tupas.  Ang gusto ko lamang pong patunayan dito ay ang pagkakaroon ng malapit na relasyon ng pamilya ni Annabelle Buenaflor-Tiongson at iyong pamilya ni Congressman Tupas.  At sa aking pananaw, sana po ay respetuhin ninyo po ang aking sinabi na hindi po ako naniniwala na hindi po kayo magkakilala.  Sana po ay respetuhin ninyo ang aking opinyon, gayundin, na nirerespeto ko po ang inyong sinabi rito na hindi ninyo kilala si Ms. Buenaflor-Annabelle Tiongson.  Hayaan ninyo na po, I do not want to argue with you, let the people judge kung talagang magkakilala kayong dalawa.  Who knows, it might be the bank manager who leaked out the documents to you, hindi po natin alam, I am not in the position to answer that.  Let the people judge.

Thank you, Mr. President.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chief of the prosecution panel.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Hindi ko po—gusto ko lang po ilagay sa record na hindi ko kinukwestiyon ang motibo ng ating kagalang-galang na Senador sa San Juan, in fact, talagang malaki rin po ang respeto natin sa kanya.  Kapag pumupunta nga ng Iloilo ang ating Senador, nagkakataon na magkasama rin kami na kasama ang aking kapatid.

Pero tumayo lang ho ako dito kanina kasi nabanggit lang iyong pangalan hindi lang ng aking ama iyong kapatid ko, pati ng asawa ko at ang gusto ko lang po ay ilagay lang sa record na wala kaming relasyon, walang acquaintance noong witness na si Ms. Annabelle Tiongson.  Kauna-unahang pagkakataon na nakita ko siya noong Lunes noong nag-testify siya.  So iyon lang po.  Gusto kong ilagay sa record na nirerespesto ko rin iyon personal opinyon or paniniwala ng ating kagalang-galang na Senador.  I just want to put it on record—babasahin po ang record dito ng ating mga estudyante at babasahin po, hindi lang po ngayon kung hindi sa susunod na henerasyon and I just want to protect the names or the name of my family.  So salamat po.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, one final point on the bank president from Senator Cayetano.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Mr. President, magandang hapon po.  Mr. Garcia, magandang hapon.

MR. GARCIA.  Good afternoon, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  You know, we sympathize and empathize with you, the banking industry is in the center of our economy.  Hindi naman kayo ang on trial dito, iyong Chief Justice, but siguro naintindihan ninyo naman kung gaano kaimportante ang impormasyon na ito and we know there is conflict between theory, there is conflict between the law and in reality.  Ibig sabihin po, kahit required kayo by law na ibigay, halilmbawa, iyong peso accounts, you have to be very careful kung ano ang sensitivities ng inyong depositors.  We understand that.  Pwede kaming magsalita ng magsalita dito na hindi aalis iyan or whatever but you know that better than us.  I just like to ask you, ano ba ang pagkaintindi ninyo sa 1405, doon sa exception na pagka impeachment court?  Do you think that you need a, in your belief or your opinion of the law, kailangan ninyo pa ng subpoena or ng order bago ninyo ilabas tungkol sa peso accounts?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, that is our understanding.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Okay.  Because I’d like to bring to your attention in the Journal of January 2, 2000 and December 22, 2000, Clarissa Ocampo came here to the Senate and gave testimony and she did not have a subpoena.  And I will not go, I only have a limited time—when they were asked sabi niya, tinanong niya sa external counsel nila at since sinabi ng external counsel na pwede dahil impeachment case, ibinigay na lang ito.  I am saying that because this all started with the little lady and the big Congressman, Congressman Umali or the tall Congressman.  Kasi kung pwede namang ibigay sa kanya dahil impeachment case naman ito at wala namang bawal doon ay wala ng allegations of a fairytale or kung totoo ito o hindi.  Pero alam natin na kahit ganoon iyong batas masama sa bangko iyon, di ba?  Because any bank na may allegations na will freely give the information, medyo aalma iyong mga depositors even if it is allowed by law.  Tama po ba iyon?

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, sir.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Meaning you are in a position that you want to follow the law, you want to be very cooperative here but you also have to be very careful of the sensitivities of your depositors.

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor, but if I may just add.  It is not just the sensitivity or sensitivities of our depositors.  If we disclose anything even on a peso account that is not covered by an order of this court, we will actually be violating Republic Act No. 1405 which specifies that we are not supposed to disclose anything except to an impeachment court and that is through an order.  And that is why we have to be extremely careful.  And besides even on the subpoena, Your Honor, there were ten certain accounts specified there and so we respond on the basis of what we are being ordered to respond.  So if we will respond or give information or details or anything that is not within the specific instructions of the court, we will be opening up ourselves or we will be violating the law on confidentiality.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  I am trying to help you explain to your depositors…

MR. GARCIA.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  … because your understanding of the law is an interpretation already.  You said you need an order of the impeachment court.  That is not what the law says.  The law says, except upon written permission of the depositor or in cases of impeachment.  It doesn’t say that you need an order of the impeachment court.  That is why in the case of Clarissa Ocampo, she came here walang order.  And tinanong siya, bakit mo binibigay iyong impormasyon?  Ang sagot niya, tinanong ko sa external counsel namin.  Sabi ng counsel nila pwede.  My only interpretation of that is because they interpreted in case of impeachment to be anything that has to do with the impeachment proceeding.  Meaning, if one of your bank officials go to the prosecution and says eto yung bank accounts niya, they will not be liable under the law under that precedent.

I will not argue that point now because I was just simply trying to ask your opinion and ask the defense, the prosecution counsel the same thing, but I was just trying to help you also because we are being monitored here, we’re being watched ng ating mga kababayan, all banks are also probably watching your situations.  And I’d like to show you that although we ask you tough questions, we are not insensitive to the situation of your bank and the banking industry, Sir.

MR. GARCIA.  I thank you for that, Your Honor.  And if I may just add, in the case of Clarissa Ocampo, precisely, when she did disclose without a court order or no direction from the court, or for that matter consent from the depositor, the bank suffered significantly right after that.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Yes.

MR. GARCIA.  Deposits …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Precisely.  That’s what I was pointing out.  Yun po yung practice.  Yun po yung aktwal na nangyari.

MR. GARCIA.  Opo.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Pero hindi po siya nakasuhan at wala pong penalty ang Bangko Sentral sa kanila, at conditionally, tinanggap ng ebidensya dito sa Impeachment Court because nga, eto yung kaibahan ng batas sa aktwal.

Ang batas, payagan man kayong magbigay ng impormasyon, actually, it causes jitters sa mga depositors.  So, I’ll not ask you and do not debate on the law, but I will agree with you that the mere fact that—Mr. President, just thirty seconds to finish…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  (Gavel)

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  … but I will agree with you, that’s why to the depositors who are watching, I wanted to send them the message that you don’t have a choice kapagka impeachment proceedings ito no.

May I ask the prosecution counsel, same question, anong interpretation nyo sa 1405?  Kailangan orderan pa yung bangko na dalin dito or the mere fact that na may pumunta sa inyo na kahit anong opisyal ng bangko at sinabi impeachment case ‘to, eto yung dokumento.

ATTY. CUSTODIO.  I would like to agree with the position of Your Honor, and precisely, as one of the exceptions to the prohibition, impeachment by the very nature of the proceeding is in essence, an opportunity to deviate from the prohibition.  And on that premise, we agree that as long as it’s an impeachment, the witness or the bank official may be compelled and may disclose details …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  I’ll give the defense a chance to say their opinion but one follow-up question there.  Then it wouldn’t matter kung anonymous, kung ang nagbigay ng tip ay kilala o hindi?  It’s more of kung taga-bangko kasi yung nagbigay, and let me now state here, there are many possibilities as the bank officials have been saying.  In fact, it could be the client’s copy.

I mentioned the Udong Mahusay case here where the client, allegedly, the First Gentleman, nasa alalay niya yung mga papeles, at tinakbo yung mga papeles kaya eto ang ibinigay.  The bank manager said that they also went through some audits.

So, not to point fingers here, but there are 1,001 possibilities but the point is, kung kung saan man nanggaling, if yung Clarissa Ocampo precedent is correct and the interpretation of 1405 is correct, it doesn’t really matter kung sino’ng nagbigay because this is an impeachment case.

But, can I ask the defense, do you have a different interpretation?  Sa inyo ho ba, kailangan may order pa yung korte or pwedeng ibigay ng bangko?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, the mere fact that case is an impeachment case does not exempt anybody else from violating—from the criminal liability of violating the confidentiality of the deposit, Your Honor, enshrined under Republic Act 1405.

You are citing the case of Erap, probably, and that—but in that case, Your Honor, the charge was plunder against President Erap, and plunder carries with it—as alleged in the information, there is estafa, bribery and so on.

So, there is a relation between the predicate offense and the impeachment complaint, Your Honor.

But supposing there is an impeachment complaint filed against an impeachable officer, and what is involved is a case of estafa which has nothing to do whatsoever, or concubinage or adultery, why will not the privacy enshrined or confidentiality enshrined under 1405 be availed of?

My point is this, Your Honor, the character of the proceedings is immaterial.  It may be impeachment, if but the predicate crime involved has nothing to do with impeachment, the confidentiality is still obtained, Your Honor.  And that was made succinctly clear in the Erap case because the charge there is plunder and there were allegations of bribery and other crimes, Your Honor, in the information.  So, there is a commission of the offense, therefore, there is no necessity of a court order, revelation or dealing with the account of the respondent public officer, may be made, Your Honor, without an order of the court.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  So, your explanation is very, very clear.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  I was just relying on the jurisprudence on the point.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  The Senate President, the Presiding Officer, already ruled several times, that 2.2 and 2.3 in Article II includes allowing the prosecution to show that if there are bank accounts that exceed what was declared in the SALN–as declared as cash assets of the—so, in this case, although, of course, you will have your turn to dispute that, and say, whether or not, that is a valid allegation, ang tinatanong ko lang po, halimbawa po, may lumapit sa kanila ngayon na bangko, without a subpoena, without the order of this impeachment court, at sabihin, 1405, exception, impeachment, heto po ang account, we want to be patriotic or whatever–whether ang laman noong account ay zero o whether ang laman ay napakalaki …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That will be a violation of Republic Act No. 1405.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  In your opinion.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, …

SEN. CAYETANO.  I will stop there, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  …  definitely, yes.  As what you’ll notice, it is not only the legal liability that is paramount in this particular—you will note that when the revelation or the revelation of the account had been made, there is a bank run, that causes the closure of PCI Bank.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Well, Your Honor, …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  How can I guarantee, for instance, let us say, I am the lawyer involved–sige, ilabas mo, hindi ka covered, but the depositors started withdrawing.  Can I answer for the multimillion business that had been lost by the bank, simply because of my advice?  I should be very, very …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Precisely, my point, counsel, the Honorable Justice Cuevas.  I was saying that iba po iyong issue ng bank run at hindi natin pwedeng hindi tingnan yon, pero iba po iyong point na legal, na legal ba na buksan—but I will stop there, Mr. Presiding Officer, because I just wanted to hear both sides.  I think this will be relevant later on when we compare the documents and when we decide the admissibility of this evidence.

Thank you, Mr. Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Let us proceed.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, we are finish with the witness at this point.  There are no more questions.  So, may we call back the bank manager of Katipunan Branch, Ms. Tiongson.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is suspended for one long minute.

It was 5:58 p.m.

At 6:03, p.m. the trial was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is resumed.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we call back the bank manager of PSBank.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The manager of the PSBank …

ATTY. CUSTODIO.  Your Honor, she is just in the ladies’ room.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Who is the next witness?

SEN. SOTTO.  Ms. Tiongson, she is on her way back to the court, Mr. President.  May we ask that Senator Osmeña be recognized.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER, The Senator from Cebu has the floor.

The Gentleman from Cebu may now proceed.

SEN. OSMEÑA.   Thank you, Mr. President.

Ms. Tiongson, good afternoon again.

MS. TIONGSON.  Good afternoon, sir.

SEN. OSMEÑA.  Ms. Tiongson, you were handed the subpoena to appear at two o’clock this afternoon, no, that is yesterday, and when you appeared, you did not have the information that we required, so, we are asking if you brought with you the information that the subpoena asked you to bring with you this afternoon or this evening.

MS. TIONGSON.  Sir, no, because the documents—since our records are already with the head office under the custody of our senior officers, it’s with Mr. Garcia, sir, so, he will be the more competent person to discuss it.

SEN. OSMEÑA.  You were the one who was subpoenad?

MS. TIONGSON. Yes, sir, but since the record, I did not personally prepared them.  Mr. Garcia had them prepared, so he is the more competent person to discuss it.

SEN. OSMEÑA.  No, you’re not going to pass the back to Mr. Garcia.

MS. TIONGSON.  No naman, sir.

SEN. OSMEÑA. So, will you—because of the lateness of the hour, Mr. President, I hereby move that Ms. Tiongson familiarize herself with the documents, which we subpoenad and for her to appear tomorrow at two o’clock and be prepared to answer questions on those documents.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    There is no need to subpoena the witness is ordered to procure the records of her branch office from the president of the bank, to comply with the request of the Senator-Judge from Cebu to bring this record of peso account to this court for examination by the Senator-Judge from Cebu. So Ordered.

SEN. OSMEÑA.  Thank you, Mr. President.

SEN. SOTTO.  And also, Mr. President, just as a reminder, the logbook as requested …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Yes.

SEN. SOTTO.   … by the other Senators for tomorrow.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Now, let us repeat the order. You will bring with you the logbook of your secured documents especially the records of your bank accounts, peso bank accounts and the signature cards appurtenant thereto.

MS. TIONGSON.  The signature. Sir, may I clarify.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    And second, the documents requested by the Senator-Judge from Cebu that you said are in the custody of your president.  Do you understand, Madam Witness?

MS. TIONGSON.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So Ordered.  You are—there is no need for a subpoena duces tecum, the court directly orders you to do it.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you.

With that, Mr. President, we may excuse the witness in the meantime.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Witness is excused in the meantime and you return at two o’clock tomorrow afternoon.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make an announcement.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-at-Arms may make the 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. Mr. President, I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Thursday, February 16, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any objection?  (Silence)  Hearing none, this trial is adjourned until that day.  (Gavel)

It was 6:10 p.m.

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