IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Wednesday, February 29, 2012

At 2:15 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile presiding.

 

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The continuation of the impeachment trial of the honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona, is hereby called to order.  We shall be led in prayer by Senator Pia S. Cayetano.

(Prayer by Sen. Pia S. Cayetano)

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

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 20 Senator-Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.  The Sergeant-At-Arms is directed to make the proclamation.

THE SGT-AT-ARMS.  All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting 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 28, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any objection?  There being none, the February 28, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court is hereby approved.  Please call the case, Madam Clerk of Court.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Appearances.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  For the prosecution, Mr. President.

REP. AGABAS.  Good afternoon, Your HonorS.  For the prosecution panel of the House of Representatives, same appearance, and we are ready, Your Honors.

SEN. SOTTO.  For the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.  Defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  For the defense, Your Honor, the same appearance.  We are ready also.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, Mr. President, thank you.  Before the Business of the Day yesterday, the Minority Leader was asking for the floor so may we recognize the Minority Leader, Senator Alan Cayetano, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Taguig.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Magandang hapon, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Minority Floor Leader.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Mr. President, yesterday, when Congressman Neri Colmenares brought up certain topics, I asked to be recognized today because I did some research dwelling on the immunities of Supreme Court Justices because of this in re Raul Gonzalez which practically states that a member of the Philippine Bar, that it is a qualification to become a Justice that you have to be a member of the Philippine Bar.  And we cannot file a disbarment case during the incumbency of a Justice, nor can we file a criminal case before the Sandiganbayan of any offense which carries with it the removal from office.  Meaning, the only way to address issues of transparency and accountability to Justices is through an Impeachment Court.

The President only has a immunity from suit for his term of six years, but since the Justices retire at the age of 70 years old, they basically have a much long time of immunity, in effect, because of what some people term procedural immunity.  And I do see the point of this.  You cannot see a situation wherein a Supreme Court Justice is being tried before the Sandiganbayan, and then the appeal will be before the Supreme Court.  And at the same time, they passed a resolution, and to be fair to the Supreme Court, it was the previous members that basically made it very difficult, if not almost impossible, for anyone to get a copy of the SALN.

So, basically, Mr. President, ang sinasabi ko po, with all of these immunities, ang takbuhan lang ng tao po yung Impeachment Court.  Pero kung ang magiging desisyon po ng Supreme Court is that every step of the way, whether pagsa-subpoena ng kanilang records, ng mga tao, etc., ay hindi pwedeng kunin, lalong na-strengthen yung kanilang so-called immunity, so san ka tatakbo?  Parang may problema tayo, which came first, the chicken or the egg?  Kukunin mo ba yung ebidensya’at kakasuhan mo ba muna siya bago ka dumating ng impeachment?  Or pag nasa impeachment na, sasabihin, nasaan ang ebidensiya?  Magiging teknikal tayo, and hindi mo naman pwede silang kunin na witness, hindi mo pwedeng kunin yung records.  Samantalang na malinaw naman sa lahat ng court rulings abroad na ang judicial misconduct is one of the exceptions to opening up their records, regardless if the case is pending before them or not.

The Neri case which dealt with executive privilege, very, very clear yung umpisa niyang statement.  Executive privilege cannot be used to excuse a crime.

So, I wanted to go into a discussion, Mr. President, and academic discussion rather than a ruling on the points that we have ruled upon because of my concern that whatever we do here will set a precedent, na magiging basehan to ng future impeachments.  I hope we will never have to go through this again with any other Justices.  I do know that tama po si Senator Miriam, let’s talk about the country, let’s talk about the future.  Napakahalaga ng integrity ng Supreme Court intact.  Pero, Mr. President, yun din po an sinabi kasi sa military nung sinabi nating wag imbistigahan, sinasabing wag imbistigahan si General Garcia, wag pag-usapan ang pabaon, wag pag-usapang ang mga nangyayari.  But this actually strengthened the military e.  And the reforms that came afterwards actually strengthened the military.  So, I think there are good intentions in asking the Supreme Court to release some of their records or to make themselves subject to this Impeachment Court.

Let me just put on record, Mr. President, that some of the confusion is because of the name e.  Ang tawag po kasi natin ay Supreme Court.  If we put the name Supreme Impeachment Court, magkakaron ng context ng konti, kasi lahat po ng Justices, whether collectively or individually, is subject to the Impeachment Court because they are impeachable officers.  Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na pantay natin sila sapagka’t lahat ng dapat magsa-submit sa jurisdiction ng court ay mas mababa sa korte.  But, Mr. President, this will go into a discussion of the difference between dealing with the Supreme Court itself and members of the Supreme Court.

So, be that as it may, Mr. President, I was overtaken by some events and I think we agreed to talk about this in caucus instead.  I know it is a very sensitive issue, but let me just reserve some time after our caucus or at the appropriate time, Mr. President, to talk about how the Impeachment Court can balance these two very important interest:  One, which is the respect of a co-equal branch of the Senate which is the Judiciary, not a co-equal branch of the Impeachment Court; No. 2, Mr. President, is the integrity of the adjudicatory process of the Supreme Court, its record, its people, how to insure that ang Justices natin ay protektado at hindi sila yung yuyugyog o sila ang kinakasuhan or yung independence ng Judiciary napakaimportante yon.  But at the same time, we know that absolute power corrupts absolutely.  And alam po natin that there can be no person or no branch of government that can have absolute immunity.

So, Mr. President, I just wanted to put this on record and I prepared a legal study and some cases that we researched but let me stop here, Mr. President, and discuss it in the caucus and then maybe, at the appropriate time, we can have a discussion, just for the records, as I said, because this will be a precedent, and it will be very, very difficult to impeach a erring Supreme Court Justice if these issues aren’t resolved.

Thank you very much for this time, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, Senator Pia Cayetano is seeking to be recognized and while she is preparing for that, may I just call the attention of the clerk of court to page 54 of the Journal, wherein the last line is acknowledged to the Senate President or the Presiding Officer but this is Senator Drilon, just to make the proper correction, typographical error, most probably.  Anyway, just for the record.  So,  Senator Pia Cayetano, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Lady from Taguig.

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

Mr. President, on Monday, February 27, the prosecution offered as evidence, the testimony of one of their witness, Edmond Llosalla, and in the Journal of said date, it states among many others, the purpose of why his testimony was offered.  I will quote, “to prove that respondent Corona using his administrative powers as the Supreme Court Chief Justice extended officer hours, so that the TRO condition can be be fulfilled by GMA, and thus allowed GMA and then First Gentleman to leave. ”

I was very interested in this allegation, and was looking forward to the presentation of evidence on this matter, Mr. President.  But let me move forward, yesterday, Senator Loren stood up and she asked for clarification because she did not recall that there was any testimony given by any witness to prove that in fact, the office hours were extended.  So, I was intently listening to the query and to the response given to Senator Legarda, I refer to page 37 of our Journal, wherein the statement, or should I say, the testimony of the prosecution, I refer to Atty. Parreño, refers to certain times, there was 1:30, 3:00 and 4:30.

Mr. President, I would like to put on record that the statements of counsel on the time that certain activities were taken—certain activities took place have absolutely no bearing on this Impeachment Court.  It will be recalled that it was counsel who testified on those times, and I would like to know if counsel has now offered himself as the witness, has counsel taken an oath, perhaps, when I stood out for a few minutes?  I just do not want people, whether non-lawyers or the millions of Filipinos who are watching to be confused because there was no evidence that I can see in the record, and that I have witnessed with my own eyes on the witness stand.

Having said that, Mr. President, I refer back to the query of Senator Loren Legarda, and in fact, page 37 of the Journal will bear out her concern that the only reference to time provided by counsel not by the witness, if I may emphasized again, was 1:30, 2:30, 3:00 and 4:30 p.m.

Mr. President, I mentioned this because I belabour this point because they used our time.  We spent so many minutes trying not to fall asleep watching that video.  So, if there is no testimony that will accompany that video, can we please be more conscious of this or if the one who will testify on the video will be the lawyer, then please take the witness stand, so that we do not waste the time of counsel, our researchers, our people, in trying to understand what is evidence that we must use in deciding this case.  This becomes even more relevant because the prosecution has rested.

So, I leave this point, Mr. President, I do not require a response but if the prosecution cares to response, I am more than happy.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chair would like to state for the record that the statements, personal statements of the lawyers representing either side of the adversarial proceeding are not evidence.  They are just plain statement, manifestation, and they will not be taken into account as proof of anything except that they said it.  Anybody who wants to respond to the Lady Senator from Taguig, from the prosecution side?

REP. COLMENARES.  Your Honor, the statement of the Senator is well-taken.  Actually, the intention of the video is part of the building block of the presentation of the prosecution.  However, in light of yesterday’s development, Your Honor, that we can no longer present the other witnesses like the process server which we would have wanted to prove the extension of office hours, we cannot go further on that, Your Honor.  But thank you for that clarification.  I think the Senator doesn’t need a response.  But, yes, we clarified that it is part of the building block, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Only statements given under oath by somebody sitting on the witness stand is evidence.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we now proceed with the Business for the Day.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. SOTTO.  And this is the continuation of the cross-examination of witness Mr. Danny Piedad of ABS-CBN by the defense.  So, may we call on the witness, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You may call now the witness who is going to be subjected to cross-examination under the same oath.  Let him take the stand.

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Your Honor, Atty. Al PARREÑO, for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  What is the pleasure of Atty. Al PARREÑO?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Your Honor, I am just going to … for the cross-examination of the defense, I am really here, Your Honor, to …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You know to me, as a Presiding Officer, I am confused about these things.  Why do you have to designate somebody to stand up to attend to the witness.  That is cross-examination.  Any one of you can stand up to object.

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Yes, Your Honor.  It is just that he was the one who conducted the direct.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

ATTY. PARREÑO.  May we call the witness Danny Piedad.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And before we proceed, may I suggest, Gentlemen on both sides, you are putting this court in a very serious predicament because you already made pronouncement about the weight and the quantum of the evidence that you have presented for your side.  No one can be sure of the outcome of this case even if you have presented your evidence.  We will wait for the completion of the entire trial until a judgment can be pronounced.  Those who practiced law extensively are not sure of their case until the entire case is over.  So, please do not make sweeping statements outside that may befuddle or confuse the people or convince them na panalo na kayo.  Wala pang panalo dito.  Huwag kayong maniniguro, pagkatapos sasabihin ninyo natalo kami dahil iyong mga Senador nasuhulan.  Dahil malakas iyong aming kaso.  Hindi ganoon eh ang paglilitis.  So, I hope you will take this advise because we have to be truthful to our people  So,, proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind permission of the honorable Court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Good afternoon, Mr. Piedad.

MR. PIEDAD.  Good afternoon po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Noong binabasa ko iyong transcript ng inyong testimony, napag-alaman ko na kayo ay taga-ABS-CBN.

MR. PIEDAD.  Tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At naroon kayo bilang photographer for almost 11 years, tama ho ba?

MR. PIEDAD.  Tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Nagsimula po kayo nang magkano ang inyong suweldo?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Objection, Your Honor.  That specific question is not material to the direct-examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  He is under cross.  He is not under direct.  The cross-examiner is testing this witness Proceed.  May answer.

MR. VIEDAD. Noong nag-start ako noong 2001 na camera man, per hour po kami noon, so pumapatak lang po ng P54.00 per hour.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Magkano po iyon isang buwan ang inyong sweldo ng panahon na iyon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Depende po sa dami ng oras na pinasok namin.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But, more or less, magkano po ang sinasahod ninyo?

MR. VIEDAD.  Sa isang buwan, sir, pwede pong pumalo ng mga P18,000.00.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Isang buwan?

MR. VIEDAD. Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At iyan ay nadagdagan ng nadagdagan samantalang kayo ay tumatagal sa inyong serbisyo?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo, tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Nang kayo ay tumistigo rito  noong nakaraang araw, magkano na po ang suweldo ninyo bilang photographer?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Your Honor, may I just make a quick objection on the question, Your Honor, because it might affects such confidential matters regarding the circumstances of the witness when he is asked on questions regarding salary.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What confidential matter?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  He is asked about what his salary is, Your Honor.  It might affect the …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the confidentiality on the salary of the witness?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  Only if the witness is willing to answer, Your Honor, but if he is not, I would like to presume that he doesn’t want to divulge his salary, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Is that incriminating? May we be allowed to know, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The witness may answer.

MR. VIEDAD. P25,000.00 a month.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At kasama po ninyo diyan sa pagiging photographer ng ABS-CBN si kagalang-galang na photographer Llosala?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Iyong tumestigo dito kamakailan sa panig ng prosecution, tama ho ba iyon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo. Tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Magkasama kayo sa isang division o sa isang larangan na saklaw ng ABS-CBN?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo, tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Natatandaan ko po alinsunod sa inyong deklarasyon na noong Nobyembre 15, 2011 ay assigned kayo sa isang mission para saksihan o kunan ng video ang magaganap doon sa isang department ng gobyerno, MMDA, tama ho ba ako?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And that was mga anong oras po noon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Noong morning po noong November 15, ang assignment namin about the cancellation ng mga bus franchise, so, ang original assignment namin that morning is to cover the DOTC and MMDA in the afternoon.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Ang tanong ko pos a inyo’y mga anong oras noon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Morning po kami nagpunta kami ng DOTC, then, afternoon na po sa MMDA, mga 2:00 o’clock po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  2:00 o’clock?

MR. VIEDAD. Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Sino po ang nag-assign sa inyo? Iyon ho ba ay boluntaryong ginawa ninyo o mayroon assignment kayo buhat sa nakatataas sa inyo?

MR. VIEDAD.  That is one routine po ng ….

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Noong araw lang na iyon ang tanong ko sa iyo?

MR. VIEDAD. Opo, nautusan po iyong reporter ko na mag-cover ng istorya na iyon ng bus franchise.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Sino po iyong reporter ninyo?

MR. VIEDAD.  Si Ms.  Zen Hernandez po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS. At inutusan naman kayo nitong Mr. Hernandez na maging isang photographer doon sa mangyayari sa MMDA noong araw na iyon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Tama ho bang sabihin ko na iyon ay mga also-onse hanggang alas-dos ng hapon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Pwede po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Kasama ninyo doon si Mr. Llosala?

MR. VIEDAD.  Hindi po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hiwalay kayo?

MR. VIEDAD.  Hiwalay po kami ng assignment.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi kayo nagkita noong araw na iyon?

MR. VIEDAD. Hindi po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Now, mayroon kayong binanggit sa inyong deklarasyon, direct examination, na nasa airport naman kayo noong bandang hapon noong araw na iyon November 15, 2011, tama ho ba iyon?

MR. VIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  At nandoon kayo sa inyong sariling kagustuhan o dahil sa assignment ninyo?

MR. VIEDAD.  Nasabi ko po doon sa unang statement ko, napunta po kami doon dahil nakipag-appointment po kami kay Chairman Tolentino ng MMDA na doon na kami mag-ambush interview dahil aalis siya ng bansa, so kaya po kami napunta.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi po ninyo sinasagot iyong tanong ko sa inyo. Kayo ba’y nandoon sa airport doon sa mga oras na binanggit ninyo sapagkat boluntaryo kayong nagpuunta roon o sumusunod kayo sa utos ng isang nakatataas sa inyo?

MR. VIEDAD. Sumusunod lang po sa utos noong reporter.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Ano po ang utos ng reporter, pwede ho bang malaman ng kagalang-galang na Hukumang ito?

MR. VIEDAD.  Ang pagkakasabi niya sa akin, si Chairman Tolentino po ay pupunta ng airport, so, doon na po namin siya i-interbyuhin, kaya po kami nandoon.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So, samakatuwid po ang inyong misyon ay para interbyuhin si kagalang-galang na Chairman Tolentino?

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo, tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Wala pong kinalaman yon sa pag-alis ng kagalang-galang na GMA?

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo, tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  E, meron kayong inay-dentify ditong video tungkol doon sa pag-alis ng kagalang-galang na GMA, tama ho ba iyon?

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.   Paano po nangyari na ang inyong assignment e para makunan ng video iyong pag-alis ni Chairman Tolentino, napasama si kagalang-galang na GMA sa inyong video.

MR. PIEDAD.  After po naming mag-interview sa airport, kay Chairman Tolentino, nag-stay po kami doon sa airport dahil meron na hong ENG van na naka-standby doon,  eto po iyong nagtra-transmit ng mga materials namin.  Since iyong oras po e wala na, kung baga kakapusin kami ng oras para mag-back to base para sa materials ng unang istorya namin, ay nag-feed na po kami ng materials.  Habang naghihintay po kami ng feeding ng materials, suddenly iyong reporter ko na sinabihan ako na baka mag-stay tayo dito.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Ano po ang kinalaman ng pag-alis ng kagalang-galang na GMA doon sa inyong takdang pakikipagtagpo kay Chairman Tolentino.  May kinalaman po ba?

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala po

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  So hindi nyo alam, hindi nyo alam kung aalis nga o hindi ang kagalang-galang na GMA.

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala po kaming alam.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Anong oras po iyon ng sabihin ninyong aalis?

MR. PIEDAD.  Natatandaan ko po mga around 4 :00 to 4:30 po, sinabi ng reporter ko sa akin na may info  daw po na aalis, si GMA.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Samakatuwid, kung walang sinabi sa inyo iyong reporter ninyo, wala kayong pahahayag sa kagalang-galang na hukumang ito tungkol sa pag-alis diumano ng kagalang-galang na GMA.

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Tama po iyon?

MR. PIEDAD.  Tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.  Kilala ba nyo si kagalang-galang na GMA?  O, sa pangalan lang?

MR. PIEDAD.  Sa pangalan po at sa mukha po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi nyo siya nakausap kahit kelan?

MR. PIEDAD.  Hindi po kahit kelan.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Noong araw na kinunan nyo ng video, tama ho ba ang aking palagay na hindi nyo nakadaupang palad o nakausap man lang kahit saglit ang kagalang-galang na GMA?

MR. PIEDAD.  Hindi po, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Correct.  Alam ba ninyo saan siya pupunta noon?

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala po akong alam.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi rin nyo alam kung bakit siya nasa airport ng oras na iyon?

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala rin po kaming idea.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Ang nalalaman lamang ninyo at ipinagtapat ninyo sa kagalang-galang na hukuman na iyong diumano aalis ang kagalang-galang na GMA, tama ho ba iyon?

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo, tama po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.  E, ano po ang kinalaman ng pag-alis ni GMA sa inyong  pagiging assigned doon sa airport?  Wala kayong kinalaman?

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala kaming idea.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Aksidente lang ang pagkakaroon ninyo.

MR. PIEDAD.  Sabi kasi ng reporter ko…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi kayo—sige, I’m sorry.

MR. PIEDAD.  Sabi po kasi ng reporter ko standby lang kami doon.  Iyon lang po…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Iyon lang ang dahilan kaya nagkaroon kayo ng pagkakataon na makunan ng video ang alleged na pag-alis ng kagalang-galang na GMA.

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  All right.  Alinsunod po sa inyong deklarasyon na akin pong natunghayan dito sa record, mga 9:00 na ng gabi noon, tama?

MR. PIEDAD.  Hindi pa naman po, mga 8:30-9:00 po, mga ganon po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Alas 8:30-9:00 ng gabi.

MR. PIEDAD.  Opo.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi ninyo alam kung bakit siya aalis?

MR. PIEDAD.  Wala po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi rin ninyo alam kung anong dahilan ng kanyang pag-alis?

MR. PIEDAD.  Hindi rin po.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Maraming salamat po.  That is all with the witness, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any re-direct?

ATTY. PARREÑO.  No re-direct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  The witness is discharged.

MR. PIEDAD.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, as manifested during yesterday’s trial, the prosecution will no longer present evidence with respect to Articles I, VIII, IV, V and VI of the verified complaint for impeachment, but reserves its right to present evidence on the dollar accounts of Chief Justice Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Only on Article II.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  May we now call on the prosecution.  May we know the pleasure, Mr. President.  Before we do that, I’m sorry, I withdraw that request, Mr. President, and ask that Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago be recognized.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentle Lady from Iloilo.

SEN. SANTIAGO.  Mr. President, yesterday we were struck by a thunderbolt.  All of a sudden, the prosecution stood up and said, we have eight Articles of the Impeachment, but we are no longer presenting, or withdrawing at least five of those articles leaving us with only three Articles of Impeachment.  In my entire career as an RTC judge of Quezon City, I have never seen a lawyer in a civil case, which is in this instance parallel to the impeachment trial, withdraw any course of action that he told the court he would present evidence on.  That has never been done.

An impeachment trial is like a civil trial and like a criminal trial.  An RTC judge’s jurisdiction is overall kinds of trials—civil, criminal and special proceedings.  I have never heard, apart from my own individual experience, I’ve never heard of a civil case where there are several courses of action, where the lawyer suddenly says to the judge, I’m sorry, Your Honor, I made a mistake.  I now want to withdraw or drop more than half of my courses of action.  This is unprecedented.  That is why I feel oblige as Senator-Judge to enter into the record by very serious concern about this development.  Number one, counsel, you please take a seat.

Number one, early in this trial I asked both counsels, both panels to please tell the court how many witnesses you will present and how many pieces of evidence you expect to authenticate by the testimony of your respective witnesses.  Both panels submitted their so-called compliance.  That is to say when a judge issues an order and you comply with the order, you file a piece of paper called compliance and then you attach whatever it is that the court wanted to see or hear or to read.  There’s a compliance dated 27 January 2012 filed by the House of Representatives where the order of the court was list down all your testimonial and documentary evidence on my instigation and I have this copy of the compliance by the House of Representatives.

Number one, Article I, partiality to Mrs. Arroyo in Supreme Court decisions.  Testimonial evidence, six witnesses.  Documentary evidence, as appropriate.  This is a long list of documents that these six witnesses were supposed to authenticate.

Article IV, irregularities in the issuance of the status quo ante order on the impeachment proceedings of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.  Testimonial evidence, said the prosecution panel, seven witnesses plus the corresponding list of documentary evidence to be presented to those seven witnesses.

Article V, gerrymandering in the creation of 16 new cities and the declaration of Dinagat Island as a province.  Testimonial evidence, three witnesses.  I’m quoting the prosecution panel.  Documentary evidence, a list of pages.

Article VI, allegedly improper investigation of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo’s plagiarism case.  Testimonial evidence, two witnesses.  Documentary evidence, as listed.

Article VIII, failure and refusal to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and Special Allowance for the Judiciary.  Testimonial evidence, seven witnesses.  All these witnesses are listed here, what their names are, what their addresses are and what is the purpose of their proposed testimony plus, of course, the documentary evidence to be authenticated by these witnesses.  So, House of Representatives, January, tells us in the impeachment court—we will present these witnesses, we will also prove and authenticate and produce evidence and authenticate documentary evidence.  Now, all of a sudden, it’s only March—January, February, March, all of a sudden, there’s a complete turnaround.  Ni hay ni ho wala.  Basta sabihin lang niya ayaw na namin magprisinta ng ebidensya.  Ngayon, this is of very serious concern to me as a lawyer and as a former judge.  Una, nagbibiro ba kayo?  In writing ang inyong compliance.  Sabi ninyo we will present so many witnesses, so many documentary pieces of evidence.  Pagkatapos ngayon sabihin ninyo without explanation, our case is very strong, we no longer want to present evidence on these courses of action.  You are prejudging the case.  What are you doing, conducting trial by publicity?  Let me remind you, an impeachment trial is both quasi-judicial and quasi-political.  But let me place this in context.  In a quasi-political aspect, an impeachment trial is not to be decided by the reading public or the viewing public or by any of the publics that we are addressing.  It is true that the Constitution provides sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanate from them but sovereignty resides in the people is a term of art in law.  Meaning to say, it is a special code, it has a special meaning, it’s not being used in its’ old meaning.  When the Constitution says, sovereignty resides in the people, what people are we talking about?  All 98 million Filipinos or all 65 million registered voters, a majority of registered voters?  All survey firms or which survey firms are you referring to?  Referenda by certain NGOs?  Referenda and surveys in certain campuses?

No, this is not a direct democracy and we are not in Athens.  The people are not going to decide this case.  It is the Supreme Court and it is the High Court of Impeachment, this Senate, and the Senate alone that will decide this case.

We are going to hold ourselves immaculate of all the propaganda that you are distributing abroad, meaning to say, outside of this courtroom.  For propaganda ay sa gusto ninyo.  Walang epekto yan.

Ngayon, hindi naman ito—as I said, hindi ito direct democracy.  Representative democracy ito.  We, the Impeachment Court, are representatives of the people.  We’re chosen by the Constitution to exercise sovereign powers of the sovereign people in making a decision on the impeachment trial.  Kaya igalang naman ninyo kami.

When I heard this news yesterday, I felt like creeping back into bed and adopting a fetal position which is the normal reaction of any sane person when we he’s faced by with a world that is crumbling around him.  I no longer know what universe I am in because I’ve spent five years of my miserable adult life in trial court day after day after day, hearing civil criminal cases and special proceedings, but I’ve never seen this done to a judge before.

Ngayon, first point of concern was the compliance of the House of Representatives telling us that they were going to present such witnesses and such documents under these articles, but not they are being withdrawn or been dropped.

At the outset, my request is prosecution files the written motion as directed by the Senate President.  Will you please verify, are you withdrawing the articles or are you just waiving the right to present evidence on them?  There’s a difference.  If you’re withdrawing the articles, then you have to amend your complaint because under the Rules of Court, you have to amend your complaint to conform the presentation of evidence.  Hindi pala kayo mag-ebidensiya e, bakit niyo nilistahan yan?

On the other hand, if you’re completely just waiving the right to present evidence, then give the defense the right to present evidence even if you have already waived your own right.  Just because you waived your own right does not mean you can waive it for the other side.

You’ve already, in effect, raised suspicions in the mind of a reasonable person about the moral position of the Chief Justice.  Of course you have a right to present evidence to dispel those suspicions raised by your own complaint.  Kaya pakiliwanag lang, kayo ba ay sinasabi nyo sa amin, ayaw na namin itong Articles of Impeachment at bale wala na, pakibasura na o nandidiyan pa rin yan sa aming complaint pero ayaw na namin magbigay ng ebidensiya.

Will you please make a distinction between those two because each of those optionals have their own peculiar circumstances in law.

Ngayon, nagbasa nako ng mga sinabi ninyo nung Enero lamang.  Marso pa lang ngayon, nagpapalit na kayo ng isip.  I am very, very concerned that this might constitute unethical behaviour.  In trial court, we have also a term of art called we sometimes use and it is normally runs to frivolous and sham.  Frivolous and sham is not to be taken in its ordinary meaning.  It is also to be taken its technical meaning, and this is a technical meaning of a frivolous claim.

A frivolous claim in legal terms refers to a lawsuit or a motion in lawsuit motivated by an attempt merely to harass, to delay or to embarrass the opposition.  In order to be found frivolous, the claim must have no arguable basis in law or in fact.

Ngayon, let me remind you, prosecutors of the prosecution panel, of your code of professional responsibility, kung abogado kayo.  Canon term, a lawyer or scandal, fairness and good faith to the court.  Nang sinabi nyo sa compliance nyo na piprisinta kayo ng ebidensiya at bawa’t testigo ay maglalabas ng mga dokumento niya, were you in good faith?  Because now you turn around and you don’t want to do that.

Canon term, a lawyer or scandal, fairness and with faith to the court written point zero one.  A lawyer should not do any falsehood nor concern to the doing of any in court, nor shall he mislead or allow the court to be misled by any odifice.

You’ve been misleading the court.  There’s some Senator-Judges who as a matter of personal discipline read well ahead of the two panels.  So, if you will present a complaint with us for impeachment, with eight articles, there are some lawyers among us, who will read for all eight articles.  That is what the law calls frivolous when you later say, I do not want to present evidence on eight, I only want to present evidence on five.

Plus, let me remind you Gentlemen, the lawyer’s oath, “I will do know falsehood nor condemn to the doing of any in court, I will not wittingly or unwillingly, promote or sue any groundless false or unlawful suit, nor give aid or consent to the same.

Cases, Prieto vs. Corpuz, 2006, no person should be penalized for exercising the right to litigate.  This right however, must be exercised in good faith, must be exercised in good faith.  I am very concerned that the prosecution has been in bad faith all along.

Kung anu-anong pinagsasabi nyo sa media, bakit hindi kayo mag-official manifestation dito?  Nanalo na kami, meron na kaming proof beyond reasonable doubt.  Good grief.  That is contempt of court.  It is already staring us in the face and is about to bite our nose.  And you expect me to be part of a court that just says nothing about it?  You are engaging Gentlemen in a public discourse on the merits of your case.  You are not supposed to say that at all.  Ang yayabang ng nagsasalita na ganyan, gago naman.  My goodness.  Ang kagaguhan is a ground for contempt of court.

Another case, Philippine British Company vs. Delos Angeles, 1975, by failing to substantiate his serious charges when called upon to do so.  A lawyer may not only show his dubious motive therefore, but the falsity of the charges as well, which merits disciplinary action against him.

Biro mo ang tatanda na ninyo e.  Lilista kayo sa amin, naka-robe kami at lahat, we look like a convention of undertakers everyday coming here in this robes, you are suppose to grant us full and high respect.  You cannot give us a list and then after a few months say, oh, I am sorry, but I decided to change this list.  You cannot do that to a court that you respect.

Again the code of personal responsibility, Canon 12, a lawyer shall exert every effort and consider it his duty to assist in the speedy and efficient administration of justice.  Case, Pepsi Cola products vs. Court of Appeals, 1998, as officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist in the proper administration of justice.  Hindi ito politika, Gentlemen, we are not in politics where you are free to hire character assasins and do all manner of dirty tricks.  This is a quasi-judicial proceeding, itigil na ninyo yan.  Iyon ang problema nyo e, mahilig kayo sa ganyan e.  You are very fond of the occult arts.

As officers of the court, lawyers have a responsibility to assist the proper administration of justice.  They do not discharge their duty by filing pointless petitions that only add to the workload of the judiciary, especially this court which is burdened enough as it is.  A judicious study of the fact and the law should advise them on a case such as this, should not be permitted to be filed to merely clutter the already congested judicial dockets.  They do not advance the cause of the law or their client by commencing litigations that for sheer lack of merit do not deserve the attention of the court.  That was the Supreme Court speaking in all those case.  Were you aware of these decided cases when you decided on your own to make that manifestation yesterday?

That was my second point, the first point is, you filed a compliance and you listed according to the instruction of this court your list of witnesses and documentary evidence for every article, and now you turned around and say, oh no, we changed our mind.  That can be a very expensive change of mind.

Second point of concern that might be an ethical behaviour I have never seen such a parody of justice in my entire adult life in the Judiciary. May I remind you, for those of you who have been talking to your character assassins, I have been awarded as a judicial judge for excellence in trial work not only by the TOYM  of the Jaycees, the TOWNS of the Lions but many other NGOs whom I will no longer enumerate.  Kaya siguro may alam akong konti tungkol sa batas.  Huwag ninyo kaming ginaganyan-ganyan.

Last, and most important, I will not be able to help it if the Members of the impeachment court will engage in a judicial and legal presumption that evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.  Kayo mismo ang nagdala nito ah.  You called up this disputable presumption when the defendant refused to give his consent to the opening his dollar accounts.  You said, evidence suppressed is evidence adverse.  Kung ayaw mong iprisinta iyong ebidensya, ibig sabihin, kung walang ebidensyang pan-dagdag, na may itinatago ka, iyon ang sabi ninyo sa Chief Justice.  Ay ngayon, ngayon naman ang ginagawa ninyo, sinabi ninyo na eight articles of impeachment ninyo, ngayon ayaw na ninyong maglabas ng ebidensya ninyo sa five of those articles.  Then, let me invoke the disputable presumption against you.  The Rules of Court provides, Disputable Presumptions.  The following presumptions are satisfactory if uncontradicted but may be contradicted if overcome by other evicdence.  (e)  That evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced.”  O ngayon, ano kaya ang ibig sabihin ng kalidad na iyan?  In People v. Padrigona, 2002 case, decided by the Supreme Court, the court said:  This rule that evidence wilfully suppressed would be adverse if produced, does not apply if a) the evidence is at the disposal of both parties.  Iyong ebidensya ba ninyong inilista ninyo sa compliance ninyo ay puwede ninyong ibigay sa defense?  That is the only exception.  Another exception, the suppression was not wilful.  Wilful ito eh, kasi kusa ninyong ayaw ninyo eh.  Wala namang supervening factor that prevents you from presenting your evidence.  That you already said to us in January, you are going to present.  Letter C, this is merely corroborative or cumulative.  This does not apply because when you file an impeachment complaint, you have different articles of impeachment which are separate from and independent of each other.  So, none of these articles of impeachment, just like causes of action in a civil case, are said to be cumulative or corroborative.  Cumulative means already produced evidence in the form of one witness.  And you just want to add, let us say, ten more witnesses to completely repeat what the other witness said.  That is corroborative.  Kaya, kung corroborative lang ang witness mo, pupuwedeng hindi mo na iprisinta.  Ay eto naman, hindi corroborative eh.  Because they are separate and distinct articles of impeachment.  And Letter D, the suppression is an exercise of a privilege.  Kaya iyong defendant, sa bank accounts niya, ayaw niyang magbigay ng consent niya.  But, we cannot apply this presumption to him because the suppression is the exercise of his privilege.  That is a privilege given to any person who opens a dollar bank account.  The law provides, confidentiality is absolute except only when the depositor is giving his consent.  Ngayon, ito, kaiba itong inyong kaso na ito.  Wala kayong privilege eh.  When you file an article of impeachment or a cause of action, it is not only your right to present evidence, it is also your duty.  It is not a privilege that you can just waive at will.  That is not what the law means by the suppression is an exercise of a privilege.  You have no such privilege to bother the court cases.  People vs. Melo Santos, 1995, the prosecution evidence must at all times be competent and admissible to sustain its stand.  The prosecution cannot rely on an imaginary person charging a serious offense without extending to the accused the benefit of confronting his accuser in default of a satisfactory premise for the non-presentation of crucial witness.  It ineluctably follows that disputable presumption that evidence deliberately withheld will be adverse if produced remains undisturbed.  Me itinatago kayo ah, takot kayo?  Kaya ang sinasabi ninyo, panalo na kami dito sa tatlo.  Kami ang mag-desisyon niyan, hindi kayo.  Ang yayabang ninyo.  Maaga pa.  What are you, conducting trial by publicity?  Is that what you are trying to do?  We will not be swayed.  The entire capacity for tsunami waves by Manila Bay can flow over this impeachment court and we will not be not be affected by what you say in the public or what your chosen public brings back to you particularly if they have been paid to do so. Please, do not try these little dirty tricks on us. We are all old people here. Tumanda na tayo lahat sa politika, huwag ninyo kaming ginaganyan ah.

Kamukha noong survey, just as I predicted, aba, may balita kanina sa isang diyaryo na ang survey daw sa U.P., 500 ang respondents like 75% of them said, “No we no longer trust the Chief Justice.”  Kayong mga U.P. kayo dapat kayo i-kick out immediately. If you are true, actual persons, you should be kicked out immediately because you do not deserve to be in U.P. and the people who machinated the publication of that press release should likewise be kicked out of U.P. if they are enrolled in the rolls of the University.  As alumni, they should be permanently erased from the rolls as a perpetual shame on the University.  Biro mo, may survey daw sila na 500 katao sa U.P. nagsabi na ang Chief Justice, so far because of the prosecution evidence, can no longer be trusted. Eh, ang taas-taas pa naman  ng pagtingin ng tao sa U.P. pagkatapos 500 lang out of, let us say, 50 million all over the Philippines and it is not even conducted on scientific basis.  It is not conducted by any of those reliable survey firms that have already been proven in their forecast for reaction results. Kanya-kanya lang sila, grabe! My goodness me, if I were the symbol of U.P. standing there naked, called the oblation, I would immediately throw away my fig leaf.  Huwag na tayong magtagu-tago pa, eh, kagaguhan lang naman pala ang pinapag-aralan sa U.P. kung ganyan. I cannot imagine a survey where 500 high I.Q. people will say, “We have already lost trust in the Chief Justice because we have already heard the evidence of the prosecution, although we admit that the defense is not yet presented its case.”  Grabe naman! Sino namang P.R. firm ang nag-isip nito? Sabihan lang ninyo at hanapin ko iyon. You are playing games.  I was not born yesterday. I was born a long time ago and I am about to die.  I want to leave a legacy that, at least, when presented with this anomaly in trial technique, I rose to condemn it.  We really studied, generation from now by other Senators faced with other  impeachment cases and I do not want the records to reveal that we’ve allowed this development to pass by uncommented on. This is a travesty.

Una sabi ninyo, “Paaam! Malakas na malakas ang ebidensiya namin kasi eight ang krimen niya.  Eight ang Articles of Impeachment namin.” Bilangin mo, walo iyan, pagkatapos ngayon, dalawang buwan pa lang, ah, wala na. Tatlo na lang sa lima, kasi tama na iyon, panalo na kami. Waaaah!

I request the Secretariat should record in our Journal that I said “Waaah!” (Laughing).

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Silence, silence, please, silence. (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President. Senator Osmeña is asking what is the spelling of “Waaah!”. (Laughing)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is an expression. (Laughing)

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, again, may we call on the prosecution to find out what is the pleasure concerning the manifestation that they made yesterday.

REP. TUPAS.  Good afternoon, sir, Your Honor, Mr. President.

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

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, as was manifested yesterday by the prosecution  that after the cross-examination conducted by the defense, we are terminating the presentation of our evidence.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you not, according to the newspapers this morning, the prosecution intends to present the honourable Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, and I also read in the newspapers that in the resolution of the Supreme Court en banc, I think it was yesterday, the Supreme Court en banc left it to the discretion of the good justice, Ma. Lourdes Sereno, to appear here voluntarily for the prosecution.  And I remember that the one of the panel of the prosecutors, I think it was Congressman Colmenares, who informed the court that he wrote Justice Sereno to appear here for the prosecution.  And I think the court is entitled to know whether you are still intend to present Justice Sereno.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, a letter-invitation as suggested by this honourable tribunal was delivered personally to the office of Justice Sereno last Monday for her to appear before this honourable tribunal tomorrow, that is a Thursday.

PRESIDING OFFICER.  Tomorrow?

REP. TUPAS. Yes, Sir, but we have not yet received any formal communication or reply from the lady justice of the Supreme Court.

PRESIDING OFFICER.  Incidentally, I raised this question because I am interested to know your real position.  Because yesterday, you already terminated according to you, to the records, your presentation of evidence on Article III and Article VII; that you have retained, among the three articles of impeachment, out of eight articles of impeachment covered by your pleading known as Articles of Impeachment.  And I asked you very definitely whether you are really going to stop presenting anymore witnesses on these two articles, and you said, yes, that is my recollection, except that you reserve the right of the prosecution to present evidence on Article II.  And I understood that, I was of the mind that you were referring to the pendency of a case in the Supreme Court regarding the foreign currency deposit.

REP. TUPAS.  That is correct, Mr. President, we reserve the right yesterday…

PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just to clarify really the position of the prosecution.

REP. TUPAS.  After yesterday, Mr. President, the prosecution met, and we discussed about the pending invitation to Justice Sereno.  That is why today, we would like to make that manifestation that the prosecution is trying to get in touch with the honourable justice of the Supreme Court if she is indeed willing to testify, and that if we may be given time within a week, we will communicate to the honourable tribunal if the lady justice would be willing to testify, which means, Your Honor, that we would like to reserve our right to present her if she is willing…

PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are not really closing your evidence.  It is open.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, we are already terminating the presentation of evidence with two reservations.  Number one…

PRESIDING OFFICER.  You cannot make any reservation if you are—you cannot close your evidence if you still have to present witnesses.  The proper thing to do is to ask for continuance.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If, Your Honor, please.

PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yesterday, I thought we were agreed together with the honourable court, Your Honor, that the enumerated impeachment articles, Your Honor, that were not touched upon will be considered as abandoned or dismissed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s true.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Not only because…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  As far as Article I, Articles IV, V, VI and VIII, five.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s already effectively withdrawn.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is clear, I clarified that yesterday.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And we were merely discussing, Your Honor, the modality or the means by which the same could be effected.  There were some suggestions that a mere notice will be more than enough.  We were of the impression that a motion to dismiss is necessary because there is already an answer filed and as in fact there had been trial going on.  So, that matter of how to dismiss the four impeachment articles, Your Honor, will be effected is left to the discretion of the prosecution, Your Honor.  But now comes another development, Your Honor, with these lot of reservations and so on calling Justice Sereno to the stand maybe is another turning back from the original position that was manifested by the chief prosecutor before this honourable court, Your Honor.  We just invite the attention of the court on that matter, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yesterday, I clarified and I think the records of these proceedings will bear me out whether—there’s no question about the five articles withdrawn, that is clear in the record.  And it was also clear to this Presiding Officer that the prosecution was terminating the presentation of its evidence with respect to Article III and Article VII.  In fact, in the case of Article III, they did not only manifested that they were terminating the presentation of evidence, they cut down the allegation.  They retained only in Article III flip-flopping but as far as the entanglement of the defendant with the former President, Mrs. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, as well as talking to litigants as a basis of their charge that he did not follow the stringent requirement of probity, integrity, competence and independence, they have already also withdrawn that.  They have also decided to take that out and do not present any evidence on it.  But they made a reservation only with respect to Article II and that is because there is a pending case and understandably the court was aware of that because there is a pending case in the Supreme Court whether impeachment is an implied exception to the confidentiality of foreign currency deposit.  So, I would like to be clarified.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we are sticking to our earlier manifestation that we are terminating the presentation of our evidence subject to one reservation and that is the reservation is with respect to the dollar accounts of the Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Only.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And you are not going to ask Justice Sereno anymore to go to this court.

REP. TUPAS.  No more, no more.  And, I just want to make a manifestation that yesterday, my math was wrong.  When I stated that with respect to the documents that we have marked so far, 166 documents for Article II, 16 documents for Article III and 65 documents for Article VII.  The total, I said yesterday, was 290 documentary evidence, but it was just 247.  So, 247 documents, Your Honor.  And also, Mr. President, what we manifested and what we stated even outside this honourable tribunal with respect to the termination of the presentation of evidence is that we thought that we have already presented a strong case.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

REP. TUPAS.  And even outside this honourable tribunal, Mr. President, we’re saying that it really up to the tribunal to decide to appreciate.  And we’re just taking your advocacy without prejudging the outcome of the resolution because we high respect to this honourable tribunal.  We just want that to put on record, the statement, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  We accept that explanation.  Now, what is your pleasure?  When are you going to make your offer of evidence?

REP. TUPAS.  We are now …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Especially documentary evidence.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, documentary evidence.  We are now requesting the honourable tribunal, through the honourable Presiding Officer to give us, the prosecution, until Friday this week.  That’s two days from today by which …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Two days.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To file …

REP. TUPAS.  To file our written formal offer of our documentary evidence.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, and list them down ..

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … and then we will also, with the defense, enough time to—with copy furnish ha?

REP. TUPAS.  We will do that, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request, Your Honor, if it is not asking too much, a five-day period within which to signify our objection or conformity to the offer that we made.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  So, when you file your pleading to formally offer your documentary evidence, testimonial documentary evidence, to this court in writing, that you send a copy to the defense, and the defense will have five days of your formal offer in writing to file their objection to your documentary evidence.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we will submit our documentary—offer of evidence, documentary evidence on Friday, Friday this week, that’s two days from today.  And we understand that the Senate has set a caucus also on Monday.  Probably it will be reasonable na, Mr. President, that ask the defense to submit also, if not two days, three days—for us, we will submit it two days from today.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, but …

REP. TUPAS.  And if may I finish, in fact, there’s already a submission of suppression of evidence with respect to Article II, and 166 documents pertained to Article II, which is …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  You know, for the prosecution, all you have to do is actually to list these documents in some pieces of paper, then list them down.  But if the defense, to be fair to them, will have to analyze what those documents are and to state their objections for their admissibility.

So, five days is a reasonable time.

REP. TUPAS.  We submit, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So ordered.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Now, when will the defense start its presentation of its evidence in chief?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We will await the ruling of this court, Your Honor, after the order is made relative to the admissibility of the offered evidence, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To expedite the proceedings, would it not be possible to start the presentation of the testimonial or whatever evidence the defense would make and then we deal with the objections of the defense on the offered evidence of the prosecution.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.   Your Honor, please, we wanted to do that and by way of accommodating the court in order that the general public may not have the impression that we are delaying the proceedings in this case, Your Honor.  But there are so many things that may come up, Your Honor, in our observation, opposition, as against the admissibility of these documents, Your Honor.

Insofar as the prosecution is concerned, these evidences are with them, they have examined it, they have made a formal offer of the same.  But insofar as the defense is concerned, Your Honor, we have to—it is not enough that they are listed as being offered.  We have to analyze what is the purpose of the offer.  They may be admitted on certain grounds, Your Honor, but decidedly, they may not be admitted, in consonance with the purpose for which they are offered.  That is our position, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, if we may …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

REP. TUPAS.  We are constrained to object to that proposal because if we will submit our …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The proposal of the Chair?

REP. TUPAS.  No, no, it is not the Chair’s proposal but the proposal of the defense to submit or to present their evidence only after the ruling of the Senate on the admissibility, if I may finish.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, that is the motion.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, if I can have the floor …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Go ahead, I am sorry.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you.  Because if that is so, Mr. President, we asked for two days to submit our formal offer of evidence and that will be Friday, and the Chair gave five days to the defense, and if you count that, it would be Wednesday, and from tomorrow, until Wednesday, if we will follow the proposal, there will be no hearing.  And to us, it will be a waste of time of this honorable court, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Many times …

REP. TUPAS.  That is the position of the prosecution.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, many times we had been over liberal and magnanimous to the prosecution, Your Honor.  They come here, no evidence, no witness, the case is—the setting is postponed, Your Honor, and we had never been here to complain, Your Honor, we had been very accommodating.

Now, if they wanted the very strict application of the rules, we will meet them head on, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  But Mr., …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  There are various evidence here presented, documentary at that, if they are overruled, if they are rejected, why are we going to touch them at the presentation of our evidence, Your Honor.

On the other hand, there is even a motion filed by us to suppress and to delete from the records, Your Honor, the documentary evidence consisting of bank records, which we feel are in violation of the rule on regarding privacy, pursuant to Republic Act No. 1405, Your Honor.

Why will we be deprived simply because you wanted us to go the way you wanted to?  There is nothing that the prosecution can impose upon this defense, Your Honor.  We’re never been unreasonable.

REP. TUPAS.  I just have to respond to that.  There is a statement …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

REP. TUPAS.  … with respect to the prosecution not being prepared, to the prosecution not ready, and to me, that is uncalled for, to us, we just want to put on record, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’ll state on the record of making such comments, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  It is okay, if you’ll state on the record, but, Mr. President, we want to put on record that that is unfair, inaccurate statement.

And we submit, we submit to the discretion of our honorable Presiding Officer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  We cannot control—this court cannot control the prosecution as well as the defense regarding their presentation of their respective positions on this impeachment trial.  The defense is entitled to a reasonable time to prepare and assemble their evidence in order to present it orderly before this court, so, how many days after—do you need to prepare for the trial for the presentation of your defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We have left that to the discretion of the honorable court, Your Honor.  If after a ruling had been made, we are so ordered to present our evidence anytime, we will, Your Honor.  We will abide very willingly.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We will work fast to make rulings on the offered evidence by the prosecution, so be ready.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Including the motion of the defense to exclude certain documentary–

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Bank documents.

THE PRESDING OFFICER.  …bank documents that floated around.

So, that is understood that you will file your written offer of your evidence formally to this court, not later than Friday.

REP. TUPAS.  We will do that, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And then, from the time you notify the defense of the filing of your written offer of your evidence to this court, then they will have five days also, not more than five days, inextendible to submit their objections.  So ordered.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Your Honor, may we inquire.  When will be the hearing now, if that is the case, Your Honor?  Can we set, at least, a tentative date so that we can also prepare, Mr. President.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President,  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  May we give the other Members of the court a chance to decide on this on Monday, Mr. President, during the caucus to answer that particular question.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I suggest that both sides must be ready everyday for trial.  You see, I am sure that you have prepared this case very well on your parts.  So, that there is no need to appear to be taken by surprise because we are going to call the case for trial at any given date.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, yes, we are ready everyday.  But, may we be clarified if we have a hearing on Monday, if that is the case.  Because they were given five days which will end on Wednesday, Mr. President.  Just for the clarification of the prosecution, Your Honor.

SEN. SOTTO.  Well, Mr. President, at the rate things are going, I don’t think we will have a trial on Monday.

REP. TUPAS.  So, when will be the earliest date available?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  March 12, according to the Clerk of Court.

REP. TUPAS.  March 12, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

SEN. SOTTO.  March 12.

REP. TUPAS.  Because Wednesday is a 7.  Wednesday, Your Honor, is March 7.

SEN. SOTTO.  We will be ruling on the offer on or about March 8 which is a Thursday and that is the reason why Monday is the most practical date, March 12.

REP. TUPAS.  We submit, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, the next trial date will be at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon of March 12.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, in the meantime, there is a question on whether the defense will be presenting their evidence already on March 12, Mr. President.  They should be ready.  You should be ready to present on March 12.  Yes, they are.  May we recognize Senator Escudero, Mr. President, and then Senator Santiago and then Cayetano.  Or Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago must be recognized first.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Lady Senator from Iloilo.

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Thank you, Senator Escudero.  The prosecution will be making an offer of evidence and then it will rest.  What all this means is that, after it makes its formal offer of evidence, the prosecution will then lie down in front of that first table, face down on the floor and assume a planking position.  To go rigid there.  That is called planking.  Because tapos ka na.  Para ka ng namatay.  Huwag ka ng magsasalita pa.  Tapos ka na eh.  Ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng we are resting our case, we are making a formal offer, we are resting our case, with a reservation.  Pag sinabi mong resting your case, tapos ka na.  That is an oxymoron to say that you are resting and yet you will come alive at a certain point, at your pleasure. That cannot be done. Hindi ka ba nag-trial notebook?  Alam mo naman na gusto mo palang magprisinta ng isang testigo, eh, bakit ‘di mo tinanong noon pa? Ganoon iyon.  To be able to deserve your appearance fee, you have to prepare for every appearance in court. Eh, ngayon paantayin mo kami ng testigo mo. Masyado ka namang maswerte sa buhay. Hindi ginagawa iyan in Law practice. Ngayon lang ako nakakarinig nitong mga milagro na ito. Maybe it is correct, the climate change has already changed everybody’s heads because I feel, I’ve been just been confronted by a sink hole. And they were heard, this concept before in trial court at hanapbuhay ko iyon araw-araw iyon, sari-saring sinungaling naririnig ko. Iyon ang hanapbuhay ng judge, eh, maupo ka doon alas-otso y medya hanggang alas-dose y medya, makinig ka ng sinungaling na parehong grupo. Kaya, magdesisyon kami sa impeachment court if you are going to be allowed to rest but without your reservation or if you want to file a motion for everything to be suspended while we wait for the pleasure of your witness, which is unheard of in court. It is an oxymoron to say, “Your Honor, we present—we will make a formal offer, then, we will rest, which is pursuant to the Rules of Court, but we will rest with the reservation that we will call on our witness when she is ready and all of you, Honorable Men and Women, Ladies and Gentlemen of the impeachment court, have to wait for her pleasure and the pleasure of the prosecution.” That’s, in effect, what you are asking us to do. Bakit hindi ninyo hinanda iyan noong Enero?  Eh, kung iyan pala ang testigo ninyo? Ay, kayo naman, oo, nagbibiro kayo.  You got to be joking pagkatapos.  It will take us so much time to make our offer of evidence. Waah! For the second time. Waah! Round two.    Kasi, basahin mo lang ang Senate Journal, nandiyan ang verbatim. Offer mo of evidence, every time you present a witness, you say, “Offer her for the purpose of this and that and we will authenticate certain documents with her testimony.”  Nandiyan iyan, kopyahin mo lang sa Senate Journal.  Anong problema mo? Have you never been in trial court?  And so, can you please make way to somebody who has been in trial court before?  That is not a big deal. Nandiyan na iyan sa Senate Journal, kopyahin mo lang iyon and besides, you should have had a trial notebook kung saan nililista mo iyon dahil alam mo na aabot tayo sa puntong itong. Ngayon, gusto ninyo mag-antay kami. Bakit, is it going to touch your I.Q. so much that you need until Friday to make this? Dapat araw-araw iyan ginagawa iyan ng secretary mo o ng clerk mo.  It is all a question of just instructing her.  Kopyahin mo ang Senate Journal, ano bang pinag-offer namin kanina? At para pag-formal offer na, handa na tayo.  In trial court, we don’t even wait.  We don’t even wait for a period of time for the party to make a formal offer. Pagkatapos ang bista ngayon, bukas sabihin ng judge, “Oh, mag-offer ka na.”  Dahil ginagawa mo iyan throughout the course of the trial. What is the big deal about this? It is highly clerical.  You are only going to murmur there.  “Here is our—we offer the testimony of this witness letter a, for the purpose of so and so, and these were the documents marked during her testimony so and so.”  And we have been spending the whole half-day doing that kind of thing.  So, this means only that either you don’t know your Rules of Court or you are expecting or hoping for miracles to happen. Korte de milagroso ito. You are waiting for a miracle to happen. Trabaho mo iyan. Habang the trial is going on, lilistahin mo kung anong mga ebidensiya mo, basahin mo ang Senate Journal araw-araw iyan nandidiyan iyan, eh.  Pagkatapos itong arte pa ninyo, pag nag-objection ng the other side, sasabihin ka, “I make an offer of proof, Your Honor, or we make a tender of excluded evidence.”  We do that so that the appellate court can see the records and can determine if the ruling of the trial judge was correct or not, but there is no court higher than the impeachment court.  That is a fresh language of the Constitution. The Senate as an impeachment court, tries and decides so there is no point making an offer of proof or a tender of excluded evidence because no one is going to read those documents. I already implied that before, but now, I am saying it explicitly for full understanding what is involved here.  These are clerical.  These are ministerial functions. Bakit ang dami na, hindi bali kung ang defense mag-make siya ng motion dahil ngayon pa lang niya naintindihan, having placed this things in context, kung dapat ipa-admit iyon o hindi. Nag-object na nga siya noon pagkatapos hindi pa, hindi pa iyon.  Alam naman natin gentlemen of both panels that the general rule is, in case of doubt admit the evidence, ganun naman iyon eh, kaya let’s not make a big deal out of his offers.  Every time a witness is presented, one of you stands up then he says, if the  honourable court will please, will offer this testimony by Mr. X, and and will mark the following documents for the purpose of.  Nag-recite na kamo nyan noon tapos uulitin pa ninyo and iyon lang e parang kahirap-hirap ninyo, ay,sus maryosep. Where are your neurons?  Where are you synopsis?  Your brains are very, very dark.  You know when we use our brains, the electrical impulses from one neuron jumps to another neuron, that is called brain activity or a brainwave.   Ngayon, kung may brainwave ka,  lahat ng utak mo kumikislap, it is entirely lighted.  Ngayon kung madilim na madilim ang utak mo, your neurons are not working, you are flatlined, meaning to say, di ba kung buhay pa ang pasyente naka-jump up and down iyong kanyang recording instrument pero kung namatay na nag-flatline na.  O, iyan ang nangyari sa inyo nagfla-flatline na kayo.  I am, please, appealing to you, can you please prepare on the Rules of Court.  I am very underwhelmed by all this debate about how many days to give, dapat ngayon pa lang handa na kayo,  wahh (part two).

SEN. SOTTO.  Senator Escudero, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All lright.  Majority Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we recognize Senator Escudero, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman form Sorsogon.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Mr. President, ilang paglilinaw lang po kaugnay sa mga naganap kahapon at ngayon.  May I address some questions to the chief prosecutor or any of the lawyers for the prosecution.

Your Honor, kahapon tinanong kayo ng Presiding Officer kung wini-withdraw ba ninyo iyong Articles of Impeachment, particularly, one, four, five, six and eight, and the Presiding Officer asked you to submit a manifestation or motion to that effect.  May we know if that is forthcoming.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Your Honor, we already have a draft of our manifestation and we will file it by Friday, Your Honor.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  To clarify, Mr. Presiding Officer, Your Honor, iba ho iyong withdraw sa hindi na kayo magpre-presenta ng ebidensya.   Ang sinabi nyo ho sa records kahapon, you are dropping it, you are withdrawing it, you are no longer presenting evidence, at some point you said that.  May I know which one is it.  The difference, Mr. President, Your Honor, is, if you are withdrawing it that means hindi naming pagbobotohan iyong walo, tatlo lang ang pagbobotohan namin.  If you are  merely not presenting evidence, nothing bars the defense from presenting evidence on all eight, and we will have to vote on all eight.  May I know your intentions.

REP. TUPAS.  With that clarification, yesterday we said that we are withdrawing other articles namely:  Articles VIII, I, IV, V, VI, and we will file a manifestation on that effect.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  So, you are withdrawing it?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Meaning your intention is parang wala na iyan doon sa complaint

REP. TUPAS.  That is correct.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Given that  answer, Mr. Presiding officer, I have more questions to ask.  One, that is in effect amending the complaint by withdrawing certain allegations in this case articles…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Effectively, actually, they are waiving already the five articles of impeachment, or abandoning it if you want to use…

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Mr. President, if I may. That was what Congressman Aggabao said with respect to Article III, that they are standing on the testimony of their lone witness and that they will no longer present evidence on the matter, and that they are solely relying on the allegations of their complaint insofar as Article III is concerned, plus the testimony of the witness.  In this case, it is not a mere abandonment, it is a withdrawal.  Because, Mr. President, Your Honor, the issues have been joined with eight articles already.  Now, there is a manner and procedure by which a complaint or pleadings can be amended.  And in this case, since the issue have been joined by leave of court.   So, again, may I clarify, so it’s withdrawal of the five So we won’t have to vote on the five anymore.

REP. TUPAS.  That’s the position of the prosecution.  No need to vote on the five other articles.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s clear.

REP. TUPAS.  And our position, Mr. President, is that there’s no amendment to the complaint.  We are simply waiving our right to present evidence and in effect abandoning.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Mr. President, Your Honor,…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Not only waiving a right to present evidence, you have no more right to present evidence.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, we have no more right, we are abandoning it.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, abandon.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Abandoning, surrendering, withdrawing, dropping.  Mr. President, may I know—again this is for future impeachment processes, I hope it will not come any time soon—but may I know, did the prosecutors consult with the complainants of the case?  Because this is a substantial amendment with respect to the Articles of Impeachment and I heard the good Gentleman yesterday when he was interviewed, he said he consulted with the Speaker of the House.  May I know, because the prosecutors, the 11-man prosecution panel merely represent the 188 complainants.  In other jurisdictions, even a mere postponement of trial, the prosecutors consult the House.  In this particular instance, may I know—and they passed a resolution to that effect—may I know if there is such a procedure taken or undertaken by the panel of prosecutors.

REP. TUPAS.  If it’s a formal consultation with the 188 signatories, we did not.  We consulted, for the record, the Speaker of the House and the Majority Leader and we were given full discretion, blanket authority on how to present the case.  It’s a prosecutorial discretion.  We’re given the discretion and now we are waiving our right with respect to the five others and we are sticking, as the Senate President puts it, we will rise, we will stand or fall on the three articles namely, Articles III, VII and especially II.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Mr. President, I do not wish to debate nor argue with the distinguished chief prosecutor, only to place on record that the withdrawal of Articles of Impeachment is a substantial decision and to my mind is not merely prosecutorial discretion.  Perhaps what evidence to present, which witness to present is prosecutorial discretion.  But the eight articles were verified by 188 Congressmen, they swore that they had personal knowledge or based on documents that they read it and that they are, therefore, accusing the Chief Justice of all eight acts and/or omissions.

My fear, Mr. President, Your Honor, is while the chief prosecutor considers this as a mere dropping, withdrawal but it would still constitute in effect an amendment of the complaint which might present several other complications that we might not be prepared to encounter and face given the problems we’ve been seeing in connection with this trial.  I just hope that that can be clarified in your motion and manifestation that you will file, Your Honor, so that everything we do here can be used as a good precedent for future impeachment cases and students of the law.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Thank you, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we will clarify that in our notice- manifestation and we would like to thank Senator Chiz Escudero.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I suggest to the prosecutors to make a very simple, clear and absolute statement withdrawing or abandoning, whatever term or semantical terminology you will use to describe what you are doing without any further consideration including presentation of any iota of evidence on this withdrawn Articles of Impeachment.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  No, I just want to know the reaction of the…

REP. TUPAS.  We will do that, sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we will make it very, very clear.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, okay.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Alan Cayetano.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Minority Floor Leader.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Kanina po nabanggit ng chief prosecutor, ni Congressman Tupas, na sayang iyong time noong court kasi kung matagal pa iyong hearing, well-taken po yon.  But I just like to put on the record, hindi masasayang ang time kasi, aside from giving the defense a fair chance to go over the submissions of the prosecution, ang daming problema ng bansa e.  Kagabi lang tumataas na naman ang presyo ng langis, di ba.  So, may mga committee hearings naman na pwede kaming gawin at saka yung sa sesyon, from problem sa economy, problema sa agricultura.  Name it, we have it, and we’ll be dealing with that.

Ang question ko po, will the prosecution be needing time or will they still reply kapagka if and when the defense submits some objections to the—You will submit on Friday, tama po ba?  Tapos sila, Wednesday.  So, do you need time na sagutin pa yon?

REP. TUPAS.  Hindi na po.  Pag na-submit namin ng Friday, and we will submit it kung may opposition, then we’ll submit it for resolution na.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Because we’re assuming na Thursday, makakapag-decide na po kami para mag-trial na ng Monday.  But there’s a big possibility na kung marami pong ibi-bring up ang depensa, kung 247 documents yan, e matinding-matinding review at saka pag-uusap pa ang gagawin namin.  So, I just wanted to know whether—So, submitted nyo na as far as you’re concerned kung ano ibibigay nyo sa Friday, then we will deal with their objections and then the court will make the decision.

REP. TUPAS.  Tama po yon, Mr. President.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Ilocos Sur.

REP. FARIÑAS.  May we request, Mr. President, there was a statement here earlier made by the good Lady from Iloilo referring to the prosecution as gago.  Baka naman po pwedeng matanggal yon dahil baka hindi naman po maganda sa posterity natin na nababasa po yon na natawag po kami na …

SEN. SANTIAGO.  No objection, Mr. President.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Thank you, Madam.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Strike the term ga— G-A-G-O from the record.  (Gavel)

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Ralph Recto.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Batangas.

SEN. RECTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Mr. President, just a clarification.  I heard earlier that we come back on March 12.  Is that correct, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We will resume the trial of this impeachment case on March 12 at two o’clock in the afternoon.

SEN. RECTO.  That is right.  And that would mean, Mr. President, that we would have two sessions weeks left until March 23.  Looking at the schedule of the Impeachment Court, as well as that of the Senate and the House of Representatives, we come back on May 7, if I’m not mistaken.  And I’ve heard from the defense that they intend—they need something like five or six weeks to present their evidence in behalf of the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We cannot deny them that.

SEN. RECTO.  Yes, I’m not denying them that, Mr. President.  I have made a schedule of this Impeachment Court.  And looking at that, then it is possible that we will not be through by June 7, Mr. President.  Because we only have four session weeks left when we get back on May 7.  So, if we come back on March 12, we only have six session weeks left, Mr. President.

Is it correct to hear from the defense that you would need something like six session weeks?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I have not estimated yet, Your Honor, because that will depend on the developments, after the striking out or the abandonment of the four impeachment articles, Your Honor.  Five, I’m sorry.

SEN. RECTO.  I only mentioned this, Mr. President, for the consideration of the Impeachment Court with regard to our schedule as well, so that all of us will know what is in store.  So, thank you, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you also.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  The Lady Senator from Taguig.

SEN. CAYETANO (P.).  Mr. President, this is just a follow through on the concern raised by Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Senator Chiz Escudero on the withdrawal of the five articles.

Mr. President, I direct the attention of the prosecution to our Rules of Court which has suppletory effect on this impeachment proceedings.

Rule 10 on Amended and Supplemental Pleadings clearly states that pleadings may be amended by adding or striking out an allegation.  And this can only be done subject to Section 2 and Section 3, wherein Section 2 states that an amendment is a matter of right before a responsive pleading is filed.  We all know that the responsive pleading has been filed and therefore in Section 3 that comes into effect, which states that the amendments can only be made with leave of court, except as provided in the next preceding section, substantial amendments may be made only upon leave of court, this refers to civil proceedings.  If we will look at the rules on criminal proceeding, then I will make reference to Rule 110, Section 14, which states amendment or substitution.  A complaint or information may be amended in form or in substance without leave of court at any time before the accused enters his plea, after the plea and during the trial, a formal amendment may only be done, may only be made with leave of court.

So, in both cases, Mr. President, whether you consider this impeachment proceeding as close to a civil proceeding or close to a criminal proceeding, both require leave of court.  So, I sincerely suggest and request that the prosecution takes this into effect—takes this into consideration when they make—when they file the appropriate manifestation or clarification next week.

Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I just want to state this for the record, and for the consideration of the members of this court, as well as the two panels of lawyers representing both sides of this impeachment trial, while we are a court of record, we are not really strictly a court that maintains a record for purposes of appeal, because there is no appeal in this case.  And so, therefore, we are blazing a new trail, though the rules that were mentioned, in my humble opinion, are not applicable to this particular proceeding because there is no assignment of errors to be taught about for the future because there is no appeal, lying in the decision of this court, either we pronounce the respondent guilty or we say, he is not guilty, and either side, no appeal lying.  The end of the matter will be the verdict of this court.

Unlike in an ordinary civil proceeding, civil case or in a criminal case, if the defendant is convicted, he can appeal to a higher court and assign removable errors of the lower court, or in a civil case, whoever losers in the civil case can appeal the case and assign removable errors in his appellate pleading.  In this case, there is no appeal, so, whatever we say, with respect to the evidence, with respect to the admissibility of the evidence, ends there.

They are recorded for reference purposes, but the verdict will be rendered by this court on the basis of the appreciation, final and ultimate appreciation of each of the members of the Senate sitting as Judges, Jurors, in this—that is why I called it Jurors, because each one of us will form a judgement of this case of the respondent.  Once that judgement is rendered, we count the number of votes that will vote in favour of acquittal as well as the number of votes involving—that will be in favour of pronouncement of guilt and if it is guilt, whether we attain the 2/3 vote, which is an absolute 16 of all the Members of the Senate.

So, all of these discussions are for our own guidance. But since there is no reversible error in this proceeding, because there is no appeal, we will take the bull by the horn when we reach the bridge, so to speak.  Okay.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, we understood the position of the honorable Presiding Judge, Your Honor, but there seems to be some plausibility on the statement made by the honorable Pia and the honorable Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago because what is involved in their articulation, Your Honor, postulation, are merely rules of procedure, not on the validity of whatever judgment this court may render after trial on the merits.  The issue that was posed awhile ago is what mode must be taken, must be followed in connection with the non-discussion anymore or non-taking into consideration of impeachment articles I, IV, V, VI and … five articles, Your Honor.  We have not yet reached that stage, Your Honor, where a judgment on the merits had been rendered.  So, the way I understood it, because there is no definite rule insofar as this kind of eventuality is concerned, provided for under the rules of the Senate, Your Honor, then there is no harm adopting the rules of procedure, enshrined under our Rules of Court.  I fully agree, Your Honor, to the effect that if there is already an answer, meaning an adverse pleading, then a mere statement on record or an oral manifestation will not be enough for the dismissal or disposition of those abandoned articles of impeachment.  Because the law requires per procedure that it must be subject to a motion and approval.  A motion is not enough, Your Honor.  Even a mere notice is not enough.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But precisely, I made it clear that there will be no evidence being presented on those articles, and second, there will be no judgment on the pleading.  If you remember, I asked that question from the prosecution yesterday.  So, but I will not begrudge and take it away from the defense to use whatever material evidence they have with respect to Article I, Article IV, Article V, Article VI, Article VIII to be used for the defense of the respondent in meeting the assertions and the evidence presented to prove those assertions as far as Article II, Article III and Article VII are concerned.  In other words, you have the advantage.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have a  great advantage.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are fully appreciable of the gesture on the part of this honourable court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why I warned the prosecution that this is a fatal error that you are committing if you do not watch out.  And I do not have to teach pleading and practice here.  You think about it.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, one final Member, Senator Jinggoy Estrada please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Senator Jinggoy Estrada has the floor.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Maraming salamat, Ginoong Pangulo.  Isang katanungan lang po kay Congressman Tupas.  Doon po sa windrow ninyong limang articles of impeachment, iyan ba ang ibig sabihin niyan, ay hindi ninyo na ho ifa-file iyan next year kung saka-sakaling maabsuwelto si Chief Justice Corona.

REP. TUPAS.  Mahirap ho na tanong iyan, Ginoong Pangulo, dahil wala ho tayong control doon sa ibang Members of the House.  Ibig kong sabihin, hindi ko ho masagot iyong katanungan ni Senator Jinggoy Estrada ng categorically.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Puwede hong malaman iyong pangalan noong isang prosecutor doon, naka-amerikanang itim.

REP. TUPAS.  Si, Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre II.

SEN. ESTRADA.  I understand he is a private prosecutor.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, sir, may he be recognized, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ginoong Aguirre, kanina ho noong nagsasalita si Senadora Miriam Defensor Santiago. Mula’t sapul nung tumayo si Senadora Miriam Santiago, hanggang matapos si Senadora Santiago ay nakalagay po ang inyong kamay sa inyong tainga at para bagang, ayaw ninyo siyang pakinggan.

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Totoo po iyon.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Iyon po ay isang kabastusan dito po sa isang miyembro ng Hukom na ito.  Eh, kung iyon, kung kayo naman ang nagsasalita at kami naman po ay gumanon, ano ho ang inyong mararamdaman?

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Alam ko po, totoo po iyon sapagkat nasasaktan na iyong tainga ko.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alam ninyo, iyong …

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Mr. President, point of order.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    What is the point of order?

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO. I charge this Private Prosecutor, with complaint of this Impeachment Court, I have the evidence right here, taken in a video by Senator Allan Cayetano and to say, “Nasasaktan ang tainga ko.” should have been cause for you to walk out of this courtroom with permission of the court, but you cannot make those contemptuous gestures in front of our Judge and get away with it. I submit, Mr. President, that this should be taken up …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To be fair, I’ll give the counsel a chance to explain himself.

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Your Honor, kasi po, sinasabi ng Kagalang-galang na Hukom na ngayon lang daw po nangyari na ang isang complaint ay wini-withdraw ng prosecution o ng sinuman. Iyan po ay natural po iyan sa court practice. Nangyayari po iyan araw-araw na nagwi-withdraw ang isang abugado ng kanyang complaint or ng part ng complaint, nag-a-amend, but the fact, Your Honor please, that this is the first time that I experienced in my 40 years of practice, na ang isang judge ay nagle-lecture sa mga abugado.  Hindi po yata tama iyong mga ganoon. Nakaka, nakaka …

SEN. ESTRADA.  Eh, bakit hindi ko kayo tumayo noong nagsasalita si Senadora Miriam para mag-object?

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Hindi po ako, wala po akong karapatang mag-object sapagkat kailangang pong i-recognize muna ako ng Kagalang-galang na Impeachment  Court na ito upang masabi ko kung ano ang nasasaloob ko. Pero, nang nandito na po ako ngayon, di sasabihin ko po ang nasasaloob ko.

THE PRESIDING JUSTICE.  Alright.

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Mr. President, I reiterate my motion to cite for contempt by the Impeachment Court, not by me, but by the Impeachment Court.  Imagine, if all the lawyers did that in front of the Impeachment Court, if one of the Senator-Judges took the forum to express his opinions. Kasi salungat sa gusto mo, kaya ayaw mong pakinggan. Eh, kung ayaw mong pakinggan, di umalis ka sa Korte.

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Aalis na nga po sana ako, eh, kaya lang ..

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Granted. If that is in the formal of a motion, go ahead. Nanghahamon ka ha.

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Aalis na po ako.

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Dito ako nakaupo eh, gaganyan ka sa akin.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I suggest that …

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  …. and this is on video.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I suggest that let us be calm in this proceedings and deal with one another in a fashion that will not create an impression before the people that we are not following the …  please …

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  May I say something, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Explain yourself.

ATTY. AGUIRRE.  Kung nakasakit man po iyong isang aktuwasyon ko po, I really did it purposely because totoo naman po na talagang shrill ang voice na nasasaktan ang tainga ko.  Ang kwan ko lamang po ay dapat po lamang na kahit ang mga Senadora ay mga Judges at kami ay mga hamak lamang prosecutor dito, ang pinakaimportante pos a isang tao ay respeto. Ang nagde-demand—kung nagde-demand ka ng respeto, dapat respetuhin mo din itong mga ….

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Mr. President.

ATTY. AGUIRRE. … abugadong ito habang—sapagkat iyong human dignity wala pong katulad iyan.

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Now, he is lecturing me.

SUSPENSION OF THE TRIAL

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is suspended for several minutes.

At 4:09, the trial is suspended.

At 4:28, the session was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The trial is resumed.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we recognize Senator Pia Cayetano.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Lady from Taguig.

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

Mr. President, a number of Bar examinees passed the Bar exams today and they looked upon this impeachment court as a shining example, I would like to think, of what the law practice is supposed to be like.

Mr. President, every Bar examinee knows that utmost respect is due the judge as soon as a lawyer walks into his courtroom, in fact, even outside the courtroom.  A lawyer may disagree with the court, Your Honor, but he is not, he is never allowed to display such arrogance and disrespect towards the court.

Mr. President, the Rules are very clear, Section 1, under Rule 71, states direct contempt, punishable summarily, a person guilty of misbehaviour in the presence of or so near a court, as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings, before the same, including disrespect towards the court may be summarily adjudged in contempt by such court and punished by a fine not exceeding P2,000 or imprisonment not exceeding ten days or both, if it be a Regional Trial Court or a court of equivalent or higher rank, or a fine not exceeding P200 or imprisonment not exceeding or both, if it be a lower court.

Mr. President, I second the motion of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago to hold the lawyer in contempt.  We will hold under advisement, the actual and the appropriate penalty for this contemptuous act.  I so submit, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDIDING OFFICER.  All right.

SEN. CAYETANO (P.).  Mr. President, if I may also add, in the meantime, I move that he be excluded from this impeachment trial court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is the counsel for the prosecutor still present in the court room?

REP. TUPAS.  He is not anymore here inside the court room, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  This Presiding Officer, before he makes a ruling, would like to say something.  If you remember, at the beginning of our proceedings, I made an opening statement and I requested everybody, especially the lawyers on both sides, because I know that it is not farfetched that things like this will come before us considering the passions, the heat, the intensity of emotions that will arise in the course of this proceedings.  And, indeed, today, we have witnessed a direct indication of a disrespect by a member of the BAR to this court.  And while in all my years of trial and professional practice, I have appeared before many of our stern judges in this country, many of them were very stern, we were taught to practice a behavior, a professional behavior of utmost control and respect to the dignity of the court before whom we appear.  And I must say that I cannot tolerate any disrespect of this court and to any member of this court as a Presiding Officer.  Maybe my fellow lawyers may think of me as an old head in this profession, a traditionalist, but that is the norm that I have learned from my first year in college of law of the University of the Philippines all the way to the time that I entered public service at the height of my active law practice.  And so, indeed, there is a ground …

REP. FARIÑAS.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute, may I request the lawyer not to interrupt this court.

REP. FARIÑAS.  I’m sorry, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Please sit down, Mr. Counsel.  There must be an order in a court room.  You can rise after the Presiding Officer in the court has spoken.  Now, there is a motion to cite a member of the prosecution panel for contempt.  And that motion is duly seconded and it cannot be set aside.  And, indeed, the person concerned was given a chance to explain what he did and why he did it.  And he openly admitted in court that he did it purposely because he felt offended.  And so, therefore, it was a sign of his disrespect to a Member of this court.  And that cannot be allowed to pass. And it must be dealt with accordingly according to the rules applicable in this particular circumstance.  And so, therefore, what is the pleasure of this court?  I want the pleasure of this court.

SEN. CAYETANO (P.).  Mr. President, I have seconded the motion of the honorable Miriam Defensor Santiago, and I believe our colleagues are all supporting this motion, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Any objection to the motion? (Silence) Hearing none, is there anyone in the prosecution that would like to make a statement?

ATTY. FARIÑAS.  Yes, Mr. President, precisely, I wanted to rise earlier. And I am sorry for the interruption. In behalf of the prosecution, we would like to express our regrets for what happened to the Honorable Court especially to the Lady from Iloilo, for what happened, the Private Prosecutor is under our control, so we feel that we have to express our regrets, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Yes.  The prosecution panel like the provincial or city fiscal is with the prosecution service of the government is always in control of the case of the government against an accused. A private prosecutor cannot do anything without the control of the prosecution panel and it is your responsibility to see to it that the private prosecutors that you bring into this courtroom to assist you in the prosecution of this impeachment trial will carry themselves according to the norms of the profession and the conduct that they ought to practice inside a courtroom. So, giving your apology, we’ll accept it, but nonetheless, we will enforce respect to this court.  And so, if there is no objection to the motion of the Lady-Senator from Iloilo and seconded by the Lady-Senator from Taguig, the gentleman who is a member, the private member of the prosecution panel is hereby cited for contempt and the penalty that will be meted by this court against him will be taken up in a caucus by this court next week.

REP. FARIÑAS.  Thank you.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President,

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … from hereon, all concerned must take note of this. We will no longer tolerate a misbehaviour like this. If you want to participate in this proceeding, you are welcome, but if you do not believe in the dignity of this court or jurisdiction over you, if you think that you are better than us or as lawyers, you are better than us, well, you are entitled to your opinion, but we will enforce the rules of procedures that are applicable in a court like this. So Ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Related to that, I move that the caucus of the Senate as an Impeachment Court be moved on Tuesday, at 12:00 noon.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Any objection?  (Silence)  Hearing none, the motion of the Majority Floor Leader is approved.

SEN. SOTTO.  Also, Mr. President, may I move that the Senate Legislative Session, which is scheduled on Tuesday at 9:00 o’clock in the morning be moved to 3:00 o’clock in the afternoon on that same day, Tuesday, after the caucus.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Any objection?  (Silence) The Chair hears none, the motion of the Majority Floor Leader in moving the Legislative Session of the Senate in the morning to the afternoon Tuesday is approved.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you.  Mr. President.  Acting on the request of the prosecution, a subpoena ad testificandum ed duces tecum was issued to Atty. Harry Roque of the U.P. Law Center on February 27, yesterday the prosecution filed a motion to withdraw the subpoena issued to Atty. Roque for the information of the court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.

SEN. SOTTO.  Also, may we place on record the explanation of votes of Senator Francis Pangilinan on the resolution of the Impeachment Court of the issuance of subpoena to associate justice of the Supreme Court, Mr. President.  I so move that it be placed on record.  The vote, explanation of vote, be placed on record, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sergeant-at-arms is directed to 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.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, I move that we adjourn until two o’clock of Monday, March 12, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  The Chair hears none; the trial of this impeachment case against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court will be adjourned until 2 o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, March 12, 2012.  (Gavel)

It was 4:40 p.m.

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