IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Monday, May 7, 2012

At 2:07 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile presiding.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER  The impeachment trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order.  We shall be led in prayer by Senator Loren Legarda.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Clerk of Court will now please call the roll of Senators.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 16 Senator-Judges present in the Chamber, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

REP. SOTTO.  May I ask the Sergeant-At-Arms to make a proclamation.

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

SGT-AT-ARMS.  All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting on trial on the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.  I move that we dispense with the reading of the March 22, 2012 Journal of the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any objection?  There being no objection, the March 22, 2012 Journal of this Court, sitting as an impeachment court, is hereby approved.

Majority Floor Leader.  The Secretary will please call the case before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Case No. 0022011..IN THE MATTER OF THE IMPEACHMENT TRIAL OF HONORABLE CHIEF JUSTICE RENATO C.  CORONA.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, before Business for the Day, there were three motions that were decided on by the caucus, so, may I be allowed with the permission of the Court …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. …(inaudible) start.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  The first one is the letter of DOJ Secretary De Lima and reply of the Senate. In her letter to the Senate President dated March 22, 2012, DOJ Secretary Leila De Lima conveyed her apology for her failure to comply with the subpoena issued by the Court, which directed her to testify and bring certain documents  before the Court last  March 22. Secretary De Lima added that while she is willing to appear before the court, she also requested that her further appearance be dispensed with since the matter on which she is being asked to testify on by the defense have already been covered  by her direct testimony when she appeared as witness for the prosecution or that such matter should have been brought up by the defense during their cross-examination of her. Acting on her request of her discharge, the Presiding Officer in a letter dated March 27, 2012 informed Secretary De Lima that in the interest of justice and fair play, counsel for Chief Justice Corona should be similarly afforded the opportunity to raise direct examination questions in defense of their client just as the House Panel of Prosecutors were afforded the same opportunity to propound direct examination questions to her.

On May 4, 2012, the prosecution filed a motion to quash the subpoena contending that the defense has been previously afforded the chance to cross-examination Secretary De Lima and to their questions for two days, the prosecution also claims that to recall Secretary De Lima will be violative of her rights and would be unfair to the prosecution and the court as it will unduly lengthen the proceedings. With that, Mr. President, and as agreed in the caucus, I moved that the Presiding Officer rule on the matter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The subpoena requested by the defense stressed on their motion that they want to present the Secretary of Justice as their own witness, although, she was presented by the prosecution, and she was subjected to a cross-examination, the appearance of the Secretary of Justice then was not at the behest of the defense, and so therefore, given the fact that the respondent is entitled to compulsory process to set up his defense, the motion is denied. The motion to quash is denied and the defense is directed to confer with the Secretary of Justice so that you can determine the date and time when she will have to be asked to appear in this court to be presented as a witness for the defense.

SO ORDERED.

Next motion.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  Mr. President, the Court also is in receipt of a manifestation and request filed on April 24, 2012 by Spouses Rodel and Amelia Rivera. A subpoena  ad testificandum ed tuces tecum was earlier issued by the Court upon the request of the defense commanding Mr. And Mrs. Rivera to appear and testify on March 20, 2012 and everyday thereafter until discharged. The Spouses Rivera requested that they be excused from attending the hearings on May 5 to May 27 in view of their trip to the United States which had been scheduled long before they received the subpoena, the Riveras further manifested that they are ready to attend the hearings  in compliance with the subpoena after they have returned from their trip.  Mr. President, we have been previously informed that the defense is willing to forego with their testimony.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will the defense, please, confirm this for the record.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, if they will not be available by the time granted by this Honorable Court, we may dispense with their testimony and present somebody else who will testify on the same subject matter.  For instance, Your Honor,  we have in mind introducing the broker who effected the sale between the Coronas and these witnesses, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, the manifestation of the chief defense counsel is noted.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Next motion.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, Mr. President.  Yes, finally,   Mr. President, on March 16, 2012, counsel for Chief Justice Corona asked that this court issue a subpoena duces tecum and ad testificandum to Malou Mangahas, Carol Ann Ilagan, and the camera men crew, all of the PCIJ, for them to testify and bring copies of the SALNs and all other documents, letters and requests related or pertinent to the various news reports posted in the PCIJ website.  The defense submits that the testimony and documents asked is for the purpose of disproving any alleged wilfull omission of the entries in the Chief Justice’s SALNs and to show good faith in filling up the same.

The prosecution on March 19, 2012, filed its opposition to the request on the ground that the testimonies and documents sought are patently irrelevant.

On March 21, 2012,  Malou Mangahas, Carol Ann Ilagan, and Ed Lingao, by counsel, filed their opposition praying that the request for subpoena be denied on the ground that the requested testimonies, documents and videos are irrelevant and inadmissible and that the request itself is unreasonable and oppressive.

I move to submit this matter for the consideration of the Presiding Officer, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chair would like to request the defense panel to explain to the court.  First, what are the documents sought to be produced by the persons representing PCIJ asked of this court?  And second, what is the relevance of these documents?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor, please…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  For the defense of the respondent.

JUSTICE CUEVAS. With the kind permission of this Honorable Court, Your Honor.   The defense would like to announce for the record that we have foregone any attempt towards hearing these witnesses compelled to appear pursuant to a subpoena to be issued by this honourable court together with our request to a subpoena duces tecum, Your Honor.  After our examination of our position, and relevant matters in our possession, we have finally arrived at the conclusion that we may dispense with the testimony…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So you are withdrawing your request.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Right, Your Honor, thank you very much, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, this court notes the withdrawal of the subpoena duces tecum and testificandum addressed to the members of the PCIJ.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  Mr. President, before the continuation of the presentation of evidence by the defense, may we recognize Senator Mirriam Defensor-Santiago.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentle Lady from Iloilo has the floor.

SEN. DEFENSOR.  Mr. President,  I ask no question of the parties or counsels or of any witness proposed for presentation this afternoon.  Instead, I would like to make a manifestation, particularly, read for the record my memorandum of authorities on two questions that I believed to be crucial to this stage of our impeachment proceedings.

The first crucial question is, does this court have authority to order or otherwise compel the parties to finish the trial such that this court might be able to promulgate judgment on or before June 7 when the Congress adjourns?  And the second question is, is it relevant for this court to receive evidence on the alleged irregularities that attended the sale by Cristina Corona acting for a family corporation to the City of Manila Let me go to the first point.  Hence, this court the power and the authority to order the parties to end the trial on or before June 7, the scheduled end of the Congress’ session, my humble answer is yes, this court possesses that power.  Here are the authorities.  Under the rules of court, Rule133, Section 6, the court has the power to stop further evidence on a particular point “when the evidence is already so full that some witnesses to the same point cannot be reasonably expected to be additionally persuasive but this power should be exercised with caution.”  Further, under Rule 119, Section 11, paragraph (c), “The prosecution and the defense may in that order present rebuttal and non-rebuttal and sur rebuttal evidence unless the court in the furtherance of justice permits them to present additional evidence bearing upon the main issue.”  In People vs. Tan decided by the Supreme Court in 1999, the high court ruled it is within the sound discretion of a trial judge to allow a party that has rested its case to introduce rebuttal evidence.  Further, under the rules of court, Rule 135, Section 1, “Justice shall be impartially administered without unnecessary delay.”  Under Section 5, entitled Inherent Powers of Courts, “Every court shall have power, letter (d), to control in furtherance of justice the conduct of its ministerial officers and of all other person in any manner connected with the case before it in every manner appertaining thereto.  Parenthetically, in the President Clinton impeachment case, the US House of Representatives impeached him for perjury and obstruction of justice on 19 December 1998.  The Senate trial began on 7 January 1999.   He was acquitted on 12 February 1999 or a little over only a month.  Therefore, I humbly  submit that this impeachment court after nearly five months can trust this with a one month trial of President Clinton.  After nearly five months, this court possesses authority to order the conclusion of trial on or before June 7 so as to allow judgment to be promulgated before Congress ends this session.

Let me now move on to point  no. 2.  Is it relevant to the impeachment proceedings that the sale to the city of Manila of land owned by Basa, Guidote Enterprises Inc. represented by Cristina Corona was disallowed in audit by the Commission on Audit following this timeline?  In 2001, the negotiated sale was consummated.  The city government took possession of the property and constructed a public market on it.  Mrs. Corona received the check worth some P35 million allegedly in trust for BGEI.  She deposited the check in her own account, 2002.  One year later, COA issued a notice of suspension of payment.  It appears that the city of Manila took no action because of alleged failure to serve the notice properly.  Hence, under the State Audit Code, the transaction remained an unsettled account.  The notice of suspension was based on alleged failure to submit certain documents that is the original copy of the deed of absolute sale, the CTC in favour of the city of Manila, the recommendation of the appraisal committee and copy of the latest tax declaration transferred from the owner to the city of Manila.  And then, after these developments, in 2001 and then in 2002, in March 2012 or after 11 years, COA issued a notice of disallowance.  In Carabejo vs. Court of Appeals decided by the Supreme Court in 2009, the court ruled that the term unexplained matter normally results from non-disclosure or concealment of vital facts.  It appears that the Corona SALN did not conceal the vital facts of the sale.  In his 2003 SALN, Corona mentioned the item “Cash advance from the BGEI (wife family corporation) of P11 million.”
The Corona SALNs do not include the purchase price of P35 million because Cristina Corona apparently received it from the city of Manila in trust for the corporation.  The 1994 SALN form did not require the declaration of trust arrangements.  Subsequently, the 2006 to 2007 SALN manual required the declaration of assets held in trust but the Civil Service Commission has deferred the application of this manual.  Remember, our basic issue here is, is it relevant to deal with the alleged irregularities in the sale of land?

In law, the term relevant means logically connected and tending to prove or disproved the matter in issue.  It means having appreciable probative value that is rationally tending to persuade people of the probability or improbability of some alleged fact.  The word relevant means that the COA Notice of Disallowance and the failure to include the purchase price of corporation property in the Corona SALN should be so related to each other that one fact tends to prove the other fact.  Under this definition, the COA Notice of Disallowance is irrelevant to this impeachment proceedings.

Under the Rules of Court, Rule 128, Section 4, entitled, Relevancy of Evidence, “Evidence must have such a relation to the fact in issue as to induce belief in its existence or non-existence.  Evidence on collateral matters shall not be allowed, except when it tends in any reasonable degree to establish the probability or improbability of the fact in issue.”

In the case of De Paul v. NLRC, decided in 1999, the Supreme Court ruled, “A party alleging a critical fact must support his allegation with substantial evidence and any decision based on unsubstantial allegation cannot stand as it will offend due process.”

Therefore, applying the test of relevancy and under the principle of criminal due process, I humbly submit that any evidence tending to prove any irregularity in the sale of BGEI property to the City of Manila would be irrelevant to impeachment proceedings over the alleged omissions in the SALN of the defendant.  Evidence on alleged irregularities should be presented to the Solicitor General for litigation in court.  I humbly make this submissions to our colleagues in the impeachment court.

Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.  Noted.  (Gavel)

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.  Mr. President, in our last hearing, the prosecution has asked for the continuance in their cross-examination of former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza.  May we inquire from the defense if they are ready to present Mayor Atienza for the continuation of the cross-examination?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are, Your Honor.  We’ll call him to the stand for continuation of the cross-examination by the prosecution, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request for a minute, Your Honor.  We’ll call him.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  By the way, what is the fact sought to be proven by the presence of the former mayor of the City of Manila here?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If, Your Honor, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  The cross-examination had already gone to the extent of narrating in details the alleged circumstances surrounding the acquisition by the City of Manila of these properties, and the payment therefore in the amount of P34.7 million, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Only to the extent that there was a payment of P34.7 million?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, we introduced evidence to that effect in order to show how Chief Justice Corona was able to acquire allegedly some properties which do not seem to be justified by his reported income.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, in effect, given the statement of the lady from Iloilo, nonetheless, the position of the defense is that the transaction is relevant—the transaction between Manila and the Basa Guidote Corporation is relevant to this case to the extent of the proceeds of the sale which will now be treated as a part of the funds used by the Chief Justice to acquire properties.  That is …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Proceed.  (Gavel)

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May we request for the indulgence of the court for only one minute, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  One-minute suspension.  (Gavel)

It was 2:29 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., the trial is resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial is resumed.

The distinguished former mayor of Manila will now please take the witness stand and testify under the same oath.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, may we request that one of our private prosecutors be recognized to continue the cross examination, Atty. Renato Samonte Jr.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let it be noted.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The request of the prosecution is noted.

Proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Good afternoon po ulit, Mr. President, and Your Honors, Mr. Mayor.

May I proceed, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Ginoong Mayor Atienza, last time, when you testified on direct examination, you made mention and presented at least four documents in the forms of endorsement from your city government, in connection with this negotiated sale transaction involving Basa-Guidote Enterprise, do you remember having done that last time?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  In fact, Exhibits 234, 235, 236 and 237 were marked in evidence by the defense, do you remember also having identified these documents?

MR. ATIENZA.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And these endorsements were signed by your responsible officers, city legal officer Melchor Monsod for 234, Emmanuel R. Sison, your secretary, another document by Atty. Sison, and the last one, by city treasurer Liberty Toledo, city accountant Quilantang and budget officer …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any question about those details?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, we are about—I am just laying …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why don’t you just go direct to the point that you want to bring.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

Now, Mr. Mayor, in all these four documents, you will agree with me that the entity mentioned here is only Basa-Guidote Enterprise Incorporated, that is correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  There is no mention here of “in trust for” or Cristina Corona, in trust for Basa-Guidote, none.

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Last time also, you mentioned of the check that you ordered to be issued in favor of the seller, Basa-Guidote, as represented by Cristina R. Corona, that is correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  It was you as the city mayor who ordered for the issuance of this kind of check with that “in trust for” phrase.  That is correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi po ako personal.  Palagay ko ay iyon ang naging desisyon ng city treasurer sapagkat kailangang may managot doon sa tseke, dahil ang kausap po ng city hall ay si Mrs. Basa-Corona.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  So, between you, as the city mayor and the city treasurer, are you saying that it was the city treasurer who made the decision to put the check in trust for?

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi po, ang sinasabi ko po …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Or was it not really your—it was really your instruction?

MR. ATIENZA.  Ito po ay isang proseso na nagmula doon sa katotohanan na si Mrs. Cristina Basa ang kausap ng gobyernong lokal na hindi po kinakailangang manggaling pa iyong order sa akin.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And that during the stint of your mayorship for nine years, as you said, unprecedented at that, you have seen millions of checks issued by the city government, is that correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi naman po siguro millions.  Pero marami po.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Marami.  At katunayan po, alam ninyo po na sa bawa’t tseke, official check, Land Bank check na ini-issue ng city government, lagi po itong dumadaan sa check writer, di po ba?

MR. ATIENZA.  May proseso pong tinatakbuhan iyan under regular rules that are being followed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  So that for every check issued, there is always this duplicate that is left behind bearing the entries stated on the face of a given check, that is correct?  You are familiar with that.

MR. ATIENZA.  I would not very familiar because this is all now part of the treasury responsibilities and functions.  Wala po iyon sa function ko na tsekin na iyong recording ay tama o naaayon.  Ang akin pong concern, lalo at lalo na rito sa kasong ito, ay iyong mabili iyong lupa at makuha sa lalong madaling panahon para maitayo naming iyong palengke na kinakailangan po ng Sampaloc sapagka’t iyong lumang palengke ay gigibain na.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  But for this particular transaction, you would recognize that Land Bank check you issued in favour of Cristina Corona or BGEI for that matter?  Iyan po iyong kopya ng tseke na ibinayad ninyo sa BGEI.

MR. ATIENZA.  Tama po, iyan po iyon.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  At sasang-ayon din po kayo …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, ano ang sagot ng witness?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo, ito po iyong tseke.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Sige.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  At sasang-ayon po kayo sa akin na ito po iyong duplicate copy or check writer copy na nagsasaad kung ano ang entrada doon sa mismong tseke, di po ba?  Certified po iyan ng COA.  Iksaminin ninyo nga po kung parehong pareho iyan.

MR. ATIENZA.  Tama po iyong presyo.

MR. SAMONTE.  Tama po ang presyo, ang check number.

MR. ATIENZA.  P34 million.  Check number is the same.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Ang payee, di po ba?

MR. ATIENZA.  Payee is Cristina Corona, ITF.  Basa Guidote Enterprises.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Iyan po ay certified copy na nanggaling sa COA.  Ngayon po, mayroon din po kaming hawak na certified copy na galing din sa COA involving the same copy writer check.  Pakitingnan ninyo nga po kung halos kapareho noong naunang in-identify ninyo.

MR. ATIENZA.  Pareho po ito.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  No basis.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Already answered, Your Honor.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  May we request, Your Honor, that the witness not answer immediately to give us the opportunity to object.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Just give them the opportunity to address the nature of your question.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.  Because it was readily answered anyway, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  So, we would like to request, Your Honor, for the marking of this first copy writer check earlier mentioned identified by our good mayor, and stating that this is a …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, is there any difference between the two checks?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, then go to the point.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We will mark this first as Exhibit 11-L, Your Honor, the first one; and the second one as Exhibit 11-M.  These are both certified copies from COA, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Manifestation, Your Honor, that these two checks are certified true copies is not borne out by the very document being shown to the witness, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  These are admitted, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  It is not a question of admitting but it is a question of misrepresenting that the document is a certified true copy.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, do not argue anymore.  Just present those evidence.  It will be the function of this court to appreciate the evidence.

ATTY. DELOS SANTOS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  They are the same in all respects.

ATTY. DELOS SANTOS.  Your Honor, this is actually proper for our memorandum or summation, but we would just like to point out, Your Honor, that in the second certified copy admitted by our witness, there is something lacking. In the first photocopy, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In the second, the same check …

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  In the same …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … was certified by the COA, one for the defense and one for your purposes—for purposes of your cross-examination is that correct?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there is a difference between the two checks.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes. And the difference, Your Honor,

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is the difference?

ATTY. SAMONTE.   And the difference is that in the first copy and copy certified by the COA, there is the words “Cristina Corona ITF”, as appearing also in the check, but in the second one, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Which is the your …

ATTY. SAMONTE.   Yes, this is the copy  that we …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  Which is your material for cross-examination that does not appear.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.   There is none, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.

JUSCTICE CUEVAS.  May we request, Your Honor, that they be marked, so, that we can refer to them, to either one of them?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Because they are not mark.  Very vague.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright. Mark them accordingly.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Exh. 11-L and 11-M, Your Honor.  We request for submarking of the phrase, “Cristina Corona, ITF” as 11-L-1.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is being marked on what copy of the same document now?

ATTY SAMONTE.  Copy of the one ….

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Presented by the defense?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And for the other copy that we have presented today, we request that portion without is “Cristina Corona ITF” to be encircled and be marked as Exh. M-1.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is the copy which you are using for your cross-examination.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please, be precise in your description of the facts so that we will not be get confused.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind permission of this Honorable Court, Your Honor. A while ago, we made the manifestation that the statement made by counsel in connection with the identity of the check is not yet borne out by the evidence. He claimed that these were checks duly certified by the accounting office, there is no such thing, Your Honor, that is our point of objection, Your Honor.   That is a manifestation made  …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have an objection about the use of the word “certified copy”.  Counsel for the prosecution, what is the basis of your claim that that is (unfinished)

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We say that this is a certified copy because an official document that came from COA.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.   Precisely, that must be established by …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We are marking this, Your Honor, for purposes of comparison in today’s proceedings.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Will you kindly please … one after the other.  Let counsel finish the statement of the other counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I am sorry, Your Honor. I was just …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Prosecution, first.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor. We got this particular document from COA itself. This was certified.   This is a certified true copy and therefore an official document and we confronted our witness here …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why do you say certified copy?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  It came from COA itself, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Is there a statement there certifying that that is the same document an authentic copy of a document in the possession of COA?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  What is stated here, Your Honor, is certified true xerox copy from xerox signed and issued by Eva L. Sta. Maria, State Auditor IV, Chief Administrative Division.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  That will be all for this matter, Your Honor.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I was about to make a short manifestation, Your Honor, in connection with said statement of the honorable counsel, Your Honor. Because what he has stating now came from him and he is not under oath.  We cannot cross-examine him unless he will take the stand, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He is describing the document, counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He was using for cross-examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But the two documents, Your Honor, carries with it the word “Certified True Copy”, Your Honor, and this is not explained, Your Honor.  It may cause ambiguity and confusion on the part of the court, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely, because, the tendency of the cross-examination is to impune the authenticity of the document that you presented as evidence.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is the purpose of a cross-examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Evidence ba naming ‘yan?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  The first one came from them, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No, kanila.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Pareho?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Kanila pareho ‘yan, hindi amin ‘yan.  I’m sorry, Your Honor, they are both exhibits for the prosecution, Your Honor.  What we marked as evidence in connection to the existence of the check is a certified true copy of the check itself, not a certification by the COA.  That is why we vehement in our observation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute, did you present the first document in your examination in chief of the witness, Mr. Counsel for the prosecution?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  It was the defense who marked the copy of the check, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But that document…

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And in my, if I remember it right, as a preliminary question, I asked our good mayor if the first document that I presented appears to be a duplicate copy of the original of the check and he said yes, then, I propounded my next question.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, the question of the Chair is, who presented to the witness the copy of the check which says “ITF”?  Was it the prosecution or was it the defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We never have presented it, if Your Honor, please.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  What we presented in evidence, Your Honor, is the very xerox copy of the check in the amount of P34.7 million, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The, so that to avoid this discussion, let the prosecution clear this because both documents are your exhibits.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Well, Your Honor, be that as it may, we confronted the witness.  We gave him the opportunity to make the comparison and he said yes, so I propounded my next question thereafter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But you did not…

ATTY. SAMONTE.  It is not…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, forgive me for interrupting, you did not lay the basis of your question.  You should have qualified the witness first whether he had anything to do with the preparation of that document to know the details that are written on the document.  You assumed already a fact not proven yet.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, if I remember it right…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, so ordered.  You reform the question.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes.  I am finished with that.  Anyway, I will go to another point.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In which case …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I am through with that, with the marking, Your Honor.  I will leave it to the appreciation of the honourable court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In which case, Your Honor,  we object to the marking, we will move that it be stricken off from the record, Your Honor, because it is irregular, it is violative of the rules and evidence and procedure.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, if you are not going to mark the second copy of the check, then, the Chair will sustain the objection of the defense.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, we have already marked it and we will try to confront again our witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Because in effect, what you are doing now is impeaching the very evidence that you presented in the first place.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  No, I will then rephrase, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Just to clarify the record, may we make it of record that both these exhibits are not exhibits for the defense, Your Honor, they are exhibits for the prosecution brought about only during the cross-examination, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely, that is why the Chair was mistaken in his assumption that the first copy of the check was presented by the defense, and that is why I have to clarify.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, we do this in regular court, may we ask our Secretariat to read back  the answer given.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Compañero, do not teach me the techniques of trial.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I know, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is not done in the regular courts.  I am sorry to tell you that.  I do not know what court you practice but you are contradicting your own evidence.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I just heard our—anyway, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Reform your question.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

Mr. Mayor, I am showing you a document – a certified copy that came from COA, and I asked you earlier if you will agree that the entries stated in this other copy is a reproduction of the one appearing in the original check.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  So, my question is, do you agree or do you not agree?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, no basis for the question.  In the previous earlier question by the learned counsel, Your Honor, it was clearly stated by the witness that he has nothing to do with the routine matters involved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MR. ATIENZA.  Uulitin ko po yong sinabi ko kanina na hindi po ako ang nagpe-prepare ng tseke at yan po ay prosesong sinusunod ng city treasury when they are supposed to be issuing necessary payments.  Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang pamamaraan nila.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  No.  I want you to use your own perception today and look at these documents just for you to say whether the entries, from your own perception, whether the entries stated in this other document, a certified copy that I am showing to you, bears the entries stated in the original check.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind permission of the honourable…

ATTY. SAMONTE.  If he knows, Your Honor.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, the witness now is being confronted with an alleged certified true copy issued by the auditor’s office.  There is no such evidence on record.  That is their assumption.  That is why we are objecting right from the very beginning, Your Honor.  That is a fact not yet established by the record and it is being made as a premise so the question is misleading, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  Counsel, what you are in effect trying to tell the court is that there is a difference between the first copy of the same check for paying the property of the Basa, Guidote Enterprises, Inc. sold to the city of Manila with that copy that you now have to and being used by you in your cross-examination, isn’t it?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  So, you are in effect impugning the first material that you yourself presented to the witness.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I am giving him the opportunity to make the comparison.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You cannot do that.  Are you saying that the first document that you presented to the witness is spurious?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  No, Your Honor.  We are just trying to show that there appears to be two kinds of underwriter photocopy of this same check.  That is the purpose, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then what is the materiality of that point?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  The point, Your Honor, is that it will even more show the infirmities attendant to this kind of transaction, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, what you are saying is that the money that was issued to Mrs. Corona was not really in trust for, hindi ba?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is your point.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But you were the ones who presented that evidence and you are bound by that document.  So ordered.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago.

SENATOR SANTIAGO.  Counsel for the prosecution, let the court educate you.  You are asking the wrong witness.  You are presenting two copies and according to you these are certified true copies from the Commission on Audit.  So call someone from  COA and ask them if this is certified true copy and then explain why those certified copies from the same office appear to be different from each other.  You cannot get the answer from this witness.  You are forcing him to make a conclusion of fact when he had already testified for the record that he has nothing to do with the preparation of this document.  You are harassing the witness.  That is what you are doing.

ATTY. SAMONTE.   I am sorry, Your Honor.

SENATOR SANTIAGO.  You should be sorry.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  That is not my intention.

SENATOR SANTIAGO.  Whether it was your intention or not, that was the result.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  With due respect, we submit, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right go ahead, go ahead.  Finish your first, proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Now, may I proceed then, Your Honor.

Early on, during direct examination, you identified the properties which according to you kailangan for your LRT New Sampaloc Market, that is correct.

MR. ATIENZA.  Kailangan po ng lungsod ng Maynila.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Opo, ng lungsod ng Maynila at nag-umpisa…

MR. ATIENZA.  Let me just correct it.  It is not the LRT, it is the city government.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor, I stand corrected.  And you started doing what was necessary in May of 1999, that is correct.

MR. ATIENZA.  Yes.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  You sent out letters to the registered owners of the properties in that vicinity of Bustillos-Legarda, that’s correct also?

MR. ATIENZA.  Ang naaalala ko po ay may sulat na pinirmahan yung aming City Administrator, upon my orders, to look for the owners of the property which we thought was ideal for a relocation of the Sampaloc Market.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Okay.  A number of letters were sent to the prospective landowners almost simultaneously.

MR. ATIENZA.  Ang naaalala ko po yung sulat ni Col. Fernando sa Basa Guidote Enterprises.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And in the adjoining property owners also, ‘di po ba?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Katunayan po ay doon sa ginawa niyong expropriation ordinance, mayroon po kayong mga listahan ng titulong nilagay doon, ‘di po ba?  Do you remember that?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo, dahil meron pong ilang mga properties na that could serve the purpose.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Serve the purpose.  And one of which nga po, ito pong Basa Guidote?

MR. ATIENZA.  Yung pinakamalaki po, sa akin naka …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And you had in mind kung magkano po ang magiging halaga nitong mga properties na ito to serve that public purpose, the public purpose.

MR. ATIENZA.  At this point, alam ko po ang presyong nananaig doon sa lugar dahil binenta po namin yung old Sampaloc Market e sa LRT, sa gobyerno din po.  At binenta namin for P50,000 per square meter.

So, somehow, alam po namin ang on-going reasonable rates.  Tinanggap po naman ng LRT yung presyo namin e.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Katunayan po, meron po kayong finaylan ng expropriation at ito pong—Meron po kayong finaylan ng expropriation case, that’s correct?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Misleading, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I’m asking.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  There was no expropriation case that was filed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We will confront now, Your Honor.

There is a petition for eminent domain.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.  (Gavel)

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi po yon expropriation case against the Basa …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Hindi.  Sa iba po, sa iba.

MR. ATIENZA.  Iyon po’y expropriation ordinance that allows the city government to take possession of certain properties.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Mr. Mayor, do you not remember this Case No. 0098311 filed by the City of Manila against or versus Guidote Mercantile Corporation, Everlasting Development Corporation, Eufemio Sy Uy and George G. Eufemio?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Before the witness answers, Your Honor, may we be informed as to the materiality and pertinency of this document?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We will show a little later on, Your Honor.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  But the witness is very …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.  (Gavel)  That’s …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  O, alam daw ba ninyo yan, ang tanong?  Tingnan ninyo.

MR. ATIENZA.  Ito yon.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  In fact, you were the one who verified this complaint, as shown at the last page — Verification and certification.  Jose L. Atienza Jr, Affiant.  Do you now remember?

MR. ATIENZA.  Pwede pong basahin ko muna?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  By all means.

Additional information that was filed and raffled before Branch 28 of the Regional Trial Court of Manila.

MR. ATIENZA.  Andito po yung aming City Legal.  Pwede po bang makausap ko siya para maliwanagan ko itong—ano itong dokumentong Inihaharap sa akin?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness confer with the counsel of Manila.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Examining the questions being propounded and trying to decipher the answer that will be elicited from the witness, it would appear that the prosecution is making ex-mayor Atienza their witness now, not in the concept—but not a simple cross examination question, Your Honor, this is allegedly …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let us hear first.  There are four techniques of cross examination, you probe, you insinuate, you undermine, you confront.  Let them probe the witness, go ahead.

MR. ATIENZA.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

MR. ATIENZA.  Gaya po noong sinabi rin ng aking legal officer, ako po mismo, hindi ko po maalala itong expropriation case na ito sapagkat napakarami po kaming ipina-file na kaso noong aming administrasyon …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.

MR. ATIENZA.  … sapagkat gumagawa kami ng programang pabahay at sa lahat ng gamit ng pamahalaan.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Next question.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Would you not remember that there was really a case for expropriation, would you nor even remember that?

MR. ATIENZA.  Frankly, I do not remember.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Already answered.  He does not understand.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Will you not also remember that in an expropriation case, there was a compromise agreement eventually entered into by the city mayor and you arrived at the amount of P25,000 per square meter for this property belonging to Everlasting Development Corporation, to Eufemio Sy—as evidenced by this judgment in civil case no. 0098311, you won’t also remember that.

MR. ATIENZA.  Gaya ng sinabi ko po, sa dami ng dokumentong pinipirmahan ko as mayor, everyday, and sa dami rin ng aming land cases, hindi ko po maalala specifically itong kasong ito ng expropriation case.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  But just the same, Your Honor, may we request for the marking of these two documents as Exhibit 11N and 11-O respectively.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark that …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  The first document, the complaint, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark that accordingly.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And the second document, the judgment itself on the same case.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  By the way, what is the relevance of these two documents?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Relevance, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To the impeachment, to the impeachment trial.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  It is related in a way, Your Honor, because …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In what way?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, the amount—it is actually—has something to do with the testimony of our mayor as in this eminent domain case, the amount arrived at was only for P25,000, wherein in this Basa-Guidote case, they arrived at P35,000.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So what if they paid P34,700,000, that is the only thing relevant into the impeachment case, if they overprice, that is another issue.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And in effect, Your Honor, the city government of Manila was shortchanged.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, that has nothing to do with the …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, it has something to do with the statement, with the testimony of our good mayor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are impugning his credibility.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Awhile ago, Your Honor, we were questioning the materiality, the pertinence, but it’s not yet shown.  What is the materiality?  Does it mean to say that the mayor made money?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He is trying to impugn the credence of the witness.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  The testimony itself, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, okay, we will allow him to proceed.  Proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor, one last point.

MR. ATIENZA.  Mr. President, may I also react to that statement of counsel, impugning wrongdoing on my part or overpricing as he said.  I find it most unfair, Mr. President, that he can accuse me of that in this court, wherein I have never, never done such act, never.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We are just trying to show the disparity in the amount.  We leave it to the proper court …

MR. ATIENZA.  In the same manner, Mr. President, he should also show expropriation proceedings where I got properties way below zonal value.  I got properties from the Catholic church for P75 per square meter for the poor.  Why don’t you mention that also, Counsel?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  This court is trying to give everybody sufficient leeway to ask questions to elicit facts.  But, let us avoid this discussion.  Proceed with your question, Mr. Counsel.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  One last point, Your Honor.  Ito pong nangyari sa Basa Guidote Enterprise na kung saan ang tseke ay ginawa ninyong payable to Cristina Corona Iin Trust For Basa Guidote Enterprise, Inc.  Ito ho ba ay kostumbre, practice, policy ng city hall na kung mayroon kayong ka-transaksyong korporasyon, lagi ninyo pong hinahanapan ng responsible officer by way of additional safeguard like putting the check in the name of Cristina Corona In Trust For BGEI.  Ito po ay palagi ninyong ginagawa o dito lang?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind indulgence of the court.  We object to the question, Your Honor.  No basis.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Ang tanong po ay ginawa ninyo.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Counsel, this will not hurt your case anyway.  Let the witness explain.  So ordered.

MR. ATIENZA.  Unang una po ay hindi po naman ako ang gumawa ng tseke.  Ang city treasurer po iyan.  City accountant po iyan.  City budget officer po iyan.  At dumating po iyan sa akin ay para permahan na at para magkaroon ng katuparan iyong aming paggamit ng lupa.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wait a minute.  You have two checks, two certified copies of the same check coming from the COA.  The ITF marking in the first copy of that check was not written by COA.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  No, Your Honor.  It came from the very original of the check.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  So, you admit that.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We do, Your Honor.  But in the other one it does not appear.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why don’t you ask the treasurer why he put the ITF in the one check and did not do it in the other.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We just tried to ask our good mayor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He is incompetent.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We will yield to the comment of our good Senator Miriam Santiago, Your Honor.  In due time, we will do that.  We just tried our luck if we can ask him, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I think that will be all, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is all?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You are through.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You do not need the witness anymore?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  None anymore, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is there any re-direct?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Just a few questions, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, proceed.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Mayor Atienza, during the cross-examination, you were shown allegedly two copies of a check coming from the COA.

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  In paying for the property that you purchased from Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc., as far as you know, how many checks were issued by the City of Manila?

MR. ATIENZA.  Sa aking pagkakaalam po, isang tseke lang po iyon.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  And before issuing the check, was there a disbursement voucher?

MR. ATIENZA.  Mayroon po.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  And did you sign the disbursement voucher?

MR. ATIENZA.  The disbursement voucher, yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  I am showing to you our Exhibit 239, the disbursement voucher, and there appears here a signature above the typewritten name Jose L. Atienza, Jr., City Mayor.  Will you please identify this signature.

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Whose signature is that?

MR. ATIENZA.  Akin po.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Your Honor, may I interpose my objection.  As in the first place I did not touch on this particular document on my cross .

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES. Preliminary.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  That will be improper for …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let the witness answer.

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.  Pirma ko po ito. Naaalala ko po ito.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Does the disbursement voucher identify the number of the check that was issued by the City of Manila in payment of the property that was purchased from  Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc.?

MR. ATIENZA. Mr. President, can I just inquire from my legal officer?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

MR. ATIENZA.  Thank you, Your Honor, opo, nandito po. Nahanap namin iyong check number.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Will you please read the check number?

MR. ATIENZA.  Check No. 188804.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES. Okay.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, with your permission. I just want to clarify one thing from the distinguished witness. Does that disbursing voucher describe the payment of in trust for the Basa Guidote?

MR. ATIENZA.  Nandito po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Nakalagay, “in trust for”?

MR. ATIENZA. Opo.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES. Okay. I am now showing to you a certified true copy of a Land Bank Check No. 0000188804 already marked by the defense as Exh. 238 and also by the prosecution as Exh. JJJJJJJJJJ, please tell us if this is the check referred to in that disbursement voucher?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFI9CER. Yes.

MR. ATIENZA. I see the check, the copy of the check and it bears the same number.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I just want to make another clarificatory question, Mr. Witness.  In that check—the check and the voucher state that the payment is in trust for, who was the actual payee of the check?

MR. ATIENZA.  Ang nakalagay po dito, iyon po, Cristina Corona ITF, Basa Guidote Enterprises.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So the payee was Cristina …

MR. ATIENZA. Basa Guidote Enterprises.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … Cristina Corona in trust for …

MR. ATIENZA.  Basa Guidote Enterprises.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, the trustee of the fund is Cristina Corona.

MR. ATIENZA. Opo.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  May we request, Your Honor, that the words “Cristina Corona, ITF, Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc.” as appearing in the disbursement voucher Exh. 239 be bracketed and marked as Exh. 239–A and the Check No. 188804 referred to in this disbursement voucher be marked as Exh. 239-B.

We also request, Your Honor, that the check number as appearing in Exh. 238 be bracketed and marked as Exh.  238-B. And the payee Cristina Corona ITF, Basa Guidote Enterprises, Inc. be encircled and marked as Exh. 238-C. One last question, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Noong Marso 22, 2012, in the course of cross-examination, meron hong itinanong si Senator Drillon tungkol sa isang notice of suspension.  Kailan ho ba ninyo unang narinig iyang notice of suspension?

MR. ATIENZA.  Sa totoo po e doon ko lang po narining iyong order of suspension.  I have never heard, never seen, and never sent an order of suspension.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  Have you received this notice of suspension to date?

MR. ATIENZA.  Up to now I have not received.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Ano iyong notice of suspension?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  COA ho, notice of suspension by the resident COA.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To suspend payment?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  It was just a notice of suspension raising some points regarding the transaction, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  That will be all, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Mayor, doon ba sa tseke na naglalaman nong bayad nong lupa sa Basa-Guidote at ganun din yung voucher, e kasama ang pangalan ni Chief Justice Corona?

MR. ATIENZA.  Andito pos a voucher, opo.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Kasama ang pangalan ni Chief Justice Corona?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anong pangalan?

MR. ATIENZA.  E di Chief Justice—Cristina Corona po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wala si Chief Justice?

MR. ATIENZA.  Wala po, wala.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Wala.  Ang trustee diyan ay si Cristina Corona.

MR. ATIENZA.  Cristina Corona po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Hindi si Chief Justice.

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi po.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  May we have number of re-cross, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead. Proceed.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Mr. Mayor, you will agree with me that in the particulars of payment in this disbursement voucher, the only entity as payee mentioned herein is Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc.

MR. ATIENZA.  That is correct.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  In the particulars of payment?

MR. ATIENZA.  Nakikita ko po dito ngayon e …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Just answer yes or no.

MR. ATIENZA.  Ito ay kabayaran sa Basa-Guidote Enterprises, opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Nothing is mentioned in the particulars of payment of this entrust for Cristina Corona, that is correct?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  That is misleading, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, he is asking a question if it is in the document.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And with respect to this check that you identified, when Cristina Corona signed the disbursement voucher, she also received simultaneously the check, that is correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Opo, sapagkat …

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  That is misleading, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I am asking, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is misleading about it?  What is misleading about the question?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  The disbursement voucher, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, the basis of your objection that the question of the cross-examiner is misleading, why?

ATTY. DELOS ANGELES.  What I heard, Your Honor, is that, the check was simultaneously delivered upon the signing of the…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why he is asking for a …

ATTY. SAMONTE.  That is why.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  He is eliciting an information.

MR. ATIENZA.  Hindi ko po maalala iyon sa totoo lang sapagkat dumaan sa akin ‘yong voucher tapos nabayaran na iyong property.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And when Cristina Corona received personally this Landbank check which according to you you even have a simple ceremony in the city hall, you remember having said that?  Am I correct?

MR. ATIENZA.  Meron po kaming turn-over nung tseke, opo.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  And the Chief Justice, the respondent was present during that time.

MR. ATIENZA.  I don’t remember that.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  How many times did you see the respondent accompanying Cristina Corona aside from the fact that they went to your office?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel, what is the relevance of that,  whether the Chief Justice was present or not?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We are showing the involvement of the Chief Justice because, Your Honor, the Chief Justice has been saying in the media that he is not getting involved so we would like to know if at all, he was accompanying the wife.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, precisely, he is present there probably to accompany the wife.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  For whatever reason then, for whatever reason.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Anyway, answer, Mr. Witness.

MR. ATIENZA.  On the several occasions we talked about the transaction or negotiation, si Mrs. Corona po ang kausap ko and a certain Atty. Corona then who was the husband was present on those two occasions.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  So the Chief Justice was present during that time.  Atty. Corona for that matter.

MR. ATIENZA.  Atty. Corona because iyon po ang pagkakakilala ko.  That is the first time I saw the gentleman.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  That will be all.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Anything else?  If there is none, the witness is discharged.  Next witness.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Thank you.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Next witness.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we suspend the proceedings for a few minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How many minutes?

SEN. SOTTO.  Five minutes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Session is suspended for five minutes.

It was 3:21 p.m.

At 3:37 p.m., the hearing was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The trial is resumed.  Proceed.  What is the purpose of this witness?

JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, may we ask permission that Atty. Dennis Manalo of the defense panel be allowed or permitted to conduct the direct examination.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  On the part of the prosecution, may we ask that Atty. Winston Ginez be recognized also, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, this witness (power failure) issued a ruling stating that no capital gains tax may be levied on the excess of the just compensation (inaudible) to the Basa Guidote Enterprise, Inc. for  (power cut-off)…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And the purpose of your presentation of this witness is to establish that the P34,700,000.00 consideration was intact and placed under the custody of Mr. Cristina Corona in trust for Basa Guidote.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Can you not stipulate this.  This does not have to be proven.

ATTY. GINEZ.  In fact, Your Honor, we would like, if I may be allowed …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.

ATTY. GINEZ.  In fact, we would like to object, Your Honor, to the offer of the testimony because the ruling, Your Honor, is inapplicable to the facts of the case as already testified by the good mayor of Manila.  Because the premise, Your Honor, of the ruling is that it will be an involuntary sale of the property or as a result of an expropriation as the good counsel of the defense, the just compensation would not be deducted of any capital gains taxes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But anyway, whether a capital gains was due or not due, the fact is, and this is so far the fact that is understood by this court to be established, that the property was sold for P34,700,000.00 and that amount was paid for by check and received by Mrs. Cristina Corona in trust for Basa Guidote and placed under her control, so, whether there is a tax component of that amount, it does not matter because we are talking here of the quantum of assets and liabilities and net worth of a particular respondent.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. So, what is the materiality of all of these?

ATTY. GINEZ.  We agree, Your Honor, that is why we are objecting it is not material to the fact in issue in this case, as well as it is not applicable at all.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We are wasting our time …

ATTY. GINEZ.  We agree, your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … in all of these things.

ATTY. MANALO.   Well, if the objection, Your Honor, is just as to the effect of the document …

ATTY. GINEZ.  Well, anyway, …

ATTY. MANALO.  … we offer for admission by the prosecution, the authenticity and due execution of the Bureau of Internal Revenue Ruling No. DA-095-2001 dated 22, May 2001 regarding the capital gains tax in relation to the property of the Basa Guidote Enterprises, Incorporated.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright . Let us …

ATTY. MANALO.  I have here, Your Honor. It has been premarked as our Exh. 242 for the defense and a copy of which is in the possession of the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  Senator Drilon …

SEN. DRILON. Mr. President, may I support the Senate President’ suggestion that this document be admitted in evidence whether or not it is applicable to the case is a matter that will be argued in the memorandum or in the oral arguments but the fact is that this document exist, so that we can dispense with this witness, Your Honor. It is admitted and let the conclusions be drawn by both parties or by each party when the memorandum comes.

ATTY. GINEZ.  We submit, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What about the defense?

ATTY. MANALO. Yes, Your Honor. We are willing, Your Honor, to agree if the prosecution will admit that authenticity …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What about the prosecution?

ATTY. GINEZ  We admit,  Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright.

ATTY. MANALO.  Does the prosecution likewise admit that this BIR Ruling has not been superseded, amended, modified or otherwise revoked by the Bureau of Internal Revenue?

ATTY. GINEZ.  We don’t know. We don’t know, Your Honor.

ATTY. MANALO.  If you do not know, then, the witness is here to testify. If you are going to admit, then, we can dispense with the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright. The Chair will have the question, you arer sworn. Do you know about this ruling of the Bureau of Internal Revenue, which is the subject of discussion in this proceeding?

MR. CADANGAN.  Your Honor, based on the record …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you know?

ATTY. MANALO. Louder.

MR. CADANGAN.  Yes. Your Honor, this ruling was …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you know of this ruling?  Yes?

MR. CADANGAN. Based on the records, Your Honor, yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright. Then, what is this ruling about?

MR. CADANGAN.  This ruling exempts from capital gains tax the transfer of real property which was acquired by the City of Manila for expropriation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why was it exempted?

MR. CADANGAN.  The reason, Your Honor, is discussed in the ruling. It invoked the principle of involuntary conversion

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Why was it  involuntarily disposed?

MR. CADANGAN.  Because it was acquired through expropriation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, that is the position of the Bureau of Internal Revenue and as a consequence, you issued the ruling?

MR. CADANGAN.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  So, what is the pleasure of the parties?

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, may we also ask the witness if this ruling has been superseded, modified or revoked in any manner by the BIR.

MR. CADANGAN.  Based on the record of our office, this ruling has not been revoked.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, what is the pleasure now of both parties?

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, we are willing to stipulate that the ruling was issued by the BIR and that its applicability only as stated in the ruling itself is in case of appropriation on the subject properties.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, we all admit here that Basa Guidote did not pay any capital gains tax on the sale of the property? Okay?

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes. Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How about the prosecution?

ATTY. GINEZ.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How about the defense?

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright. SO ORDERED.

ATTY. MANALO.  With the admissions entered into by the parties and the clarifications made by the witness, Your Honor, may we move that the witness be discharged.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The witness is discharged.

ATTY. MANALO.  Thank you, Mr. Witness.

Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

ATTY. MANALO.  At this juncture, we will call to the witness stand Mr. Noel Kintanar, a representative of the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Fort Bonifacio

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor, the seller of the properties purchased by one Cristina R. Corona which is unit 1902 of the Bonifacio Ridge Condominium in Taguig.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is this the Beladio property?

ATTY. MANALO.  No, this is the Bonifacio Ridge property, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  What is the purpose of the witness?

ATTY. MANALO.  The purpose, Your Honor, is to prove that there was a delay in the delivery of the Bonifacio Ridge property which is the real property no. 4 reported in the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Networth of Chief Justice Corona as of December 31, 2010.

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

ATTY. TUPAS.  Your Honor, may we request that Atty. Hernandez be recognized for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, granted.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Good afternoon, Your Honor.

Your Honor, similar to the evidence regarding the alleged delay, the acceptance of the columns unit, we feel—our position is that the evidence on any delay in the delivery of the condo unit is irrelevant.  I think the Presiding Officer already took this position whether or not there was any delay as long as payment were already made, this already constitutes an asset…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In other words, what is your saying in the court is, even if this witness will testify that there was a delay, it will not hurt your case.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Yes, Your Honor, it will be irrelevant.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay, then, let the witness testify so that we can finish the case.

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

MR. KINTANAR.  I do.

THE SECRETARY.  So, help you God.

ATTY. MANALO.  Mr. witness, for the record, please state your name and other personal circumstances.

MR. KINTANAR.  I am Noel Eli B. Kintanar, married, and I reside in Taytay, Rizal.

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, the witness is offered for the same purpose that we have already manifested before the Honorable Court earlier.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  The same comment on the part of the prosecution.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  Mr. witness, do you know the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, from July 2008 to December 2010 I was the head of the commercial operations of FBDC.

ATTY. MANALO.  And as head of commercial operations what are your functions briefly, Mr. witness?

MR. KINTANAR.  As head of commercial operations, I oversee the sale of real estate assets in Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, one of which was the Boni Ridge Condominium.

ATTY. MANALO.  Okay, you mentioned the Boni Ridge, is this the Bonifacio Ridge Condominium of the Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation in Taguig?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, that is.

ATTY. MANALO.  What is the status of this commercial project of the corporation as of this date?

MR. KINTANAR.  When I left Fort Bonifacio in 2010, the development had been fully sold to my knowledge.

ATTY. MANALO.   Now, based on your functions as the head of the commercial operations of this company, would you know who the purchaser of unit 1902 of Bonifacio Ridge is?  Who is the registered owner?

MR. KINTANAR.  Based on the records of Fort Bonifacio, the owner of that unit is Mrs. Cristina Corona.

ATTY. MANALO.  What record are you referring to specifically?

MR. KINTANAR.  In our records there is a deed of absolute sale.

ATTY. MANALO.  If I show to you a copy of this deed of absolute sale, will you be able to identify the same?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It was already established by the witness and there is no objection and he admitted that the owner of the unit is Mrs. Corona.

ATTY. MANALO.  Okay.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the purpose of presenting another document to prove that this is the owner?

ATTY. MANALO.  I am just going to confront him with Section 7 of the deed of absolute sale.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then go ahead, go ahead.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.  I am showing to you the deed of absolute sale, this is the document which you referred to.

MR. KINTANAR.  This is the document.

ATTY. MANALO.  The document, Your Honor, has also been marked by the prosecution as Exhibit UUU and we move that it be marked as our Exhibit 243.

Mr. Witness, Section 7 of this contract provides for the terms and conditions of acceptance of the unit by the purchaser.  It states in part, the seller shall notify the purchaser in writing of the readiness of the unit for acceptance by the purchaser and delivery by the seller to the purchaser of the same.  My question is, when did Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation notify Mrs. Cristina Corona about the readiness of the unit for acceptance and delivery?.

MR. KINTANAR.  Based on our records of that unit, that the purchaser was notified sometime in the year 2005.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I pose this question—on or before that day, did the purchaser pay any consideration for the unit?

MR. KINTANAR.  Usually before we would…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No.  I am asking you a pointed question—did the record show that the buyer on or before the date you mentioned, the unit was paid for?

MR. KINTANAR.  Your Honor, based on our records, the unit had been paid for by that time.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So it was paid for.  The only thing material here is when it was delivered then accepted by the owner.

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Values had passed from her to the seller.

MR. KINTANAR.  Based on our record, yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  So what happened during this inspection for the turnover and delivery of the unit to Mrs. Corona?

MR. KINTANAR.  Well, as in most turnover processes, there was a punch list executed between the purchaser and the seller which basically identified the various deficiencies or complaints or things that had to be repaired from the perspective of the purchaser and this was usually agreed on by the seller, in this case Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation.

ATTY. MANALO.  So, in other words, there were punch lists containing defects ;pointed out by the unit purchaser to the developer.

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, that is correct.

ATTY. MANALO.  And what was the action taken by Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation regarding these issues on the construction of the unit as pointed out by Mrs. Cristina Corona in the punch list?

MR. KINTANAR.  Well, these punch list items were addressed by FBDC based on whether these were in fact part of the sort of deficiencies created or that appeared because of construction or during construction and we would refer these items as a part of our after sale service.

ATTY. MANALO.  And were the repairs actually performed by the developer in this case?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes.  The repairs were prepared over a period of time.  Of course, each time we would repair, it would require that the purchaser accept these rectifications.

ATTY. MANALO.  And, Mr. Witness, what was the response of Mrs. Corona to the actions taken by Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation?

MR. KINTANAR.  The turnover process was somewhat extended and one of the responses of Mrs. Corona was while the repairs were being completed, she contested whether she was liable for the payment of association dues to the condominium association.

ATTY. MANALO.  So did the turnover actually transpire?

MR. KINTANAR.  There was a conditional turnover sometime in 2006 but nonetheless, when she was assessed condominium dues on that unit, she wrote FBDC that these dues, the assessment from the condominium corporation should be carried or should be to the account of the developer.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Witness, before the acceptance by Mrs. Corona of that condominium unit, how much was the total payment for the consideration the total price of the—if you know?

MR. KINTANAR.  If I may refer to the Deed of Absolute Sale, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.

ATTY. MANALO.  The witness, Your Honor, going over the Deed of Absolute Sale.  May it be reflected in the record.

MR. KINTANAR.  Your Honor, the purchase price in the Deed of Absolute Sale was P9,159,940.00, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That was the cash out from the pocket of the Coronas to acquire that unit?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, Your Honor, based on our records.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  So they paid that already?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

ATTY. MANALO.  To get a unit?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.  Go ahead.  Proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  Mr. Witness, this response of Mrs. Christina Corona to Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation for a conditional turnover of the property and a waiver of the association dues, is this response in writing?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes.  There was a letter that we received to that effect.

ATTY. MANALO.  Coming from?

MR. KINTANAR.  From Mrs. Corona.

ATTY. MANALO.  If I show to you a copy of this letter, will you be able to identify the same?

MR. KINTANAR.  I would be able to.

ATTY. MANALO.  I am showing a letter dated January 2, 2006 to Bonifacio Ridge Condominium by one Christina R. Corona.  Is this the letter that you refer to?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, based on our records, this is the letter.

ATTY. MANALO.  The prosecutor, Your Honor, is going over the letter.

Mr. Witness, on the second page of this letter, on the bottom portion is the name of Christina Corona and a signature on top of the name, would you be able to identify the signature appearing below?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, the signature is consistent with the signature we find on the Deed of Absolute Sale.

ATTY. MANALO.  Of?

MR. KINTANAR.  Of Mrs. Corona.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Your Honor, just a manifestation.  The document presented by the defense is a photocopy.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Never mind.  Are you doubting the authenticity of that photocopy?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Well, if the original is in their possession, we would like to see the original.

ATTY. MANALO.  Do you have a copy of the original of this letter?

MR. KINTANAR.  I can secure it from our records.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Subject to future presentation, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  May we request, Your Honor, that the letter be marked as our Exhibit 244 and the name and signature of Mrs. Christina Corona appearing on page 2 be bracketed and marked as our Exhibit 244-A.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I just clarify another point.  If Mrs. Corona did not accept the unit even though they already paid 9 million plus pesos for it, would there have been a rescission of the contract and a return of the consideration paid for by the Coronas for the unit?

MR. KINTANAR.  That is a situation, Your Honor, which I am not familiar we’ve ever encountered before but I guess, if the contract could not be completed, there would possibly be such a return of the consideration and the return of the unit.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But the fact that the time—that the question regarding the acceptance of the unit was pending resolution, there was already a value paid for by the Coronas for that unit.

MR. KINTANAR.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  And so, Mr. Witness, having received this letter from Mrs. Corona, what was the response of Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation?

MR. KINTANAR.  Well, our response which was conveyed through our marketing agent, Ayala Land, was that as we rectified the items on the punch list, we would be prepared to shoulder the cost of the association dues for that particular unit.

ATTY. MANALO.  And was this response reduced in writing?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, it was.

ATTY. MANALO.  I am showing to you a letter from Ayala Land Incorporated dated September 5, 2006, addressed to a Cristina R. Corona, owner of Unit 1902 Spanish Bay, Bonifacio Ridge Condominium, is this the letter that you refer to?

THE PRESDING OFFICER.  By the way counsel, what is the purpose of this line of questioning?  Are you trying to say that—are you justifying the non-inclusion of the unit as an asset in the SALN of the respondent?

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, for clarification, the unit was reported in the statement of assets, liabilities and networth of the Chief Justice in 2010.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And not before.

ATTY. MANALO.  And not before, and …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What was reported before with respect to that transaction?

ATTY. MANALO.  There was no report, Your Honor, with respect to the transaction and it is our theory that …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There was no reported value in the previous SALN of the Chief Justice with respect to that transaction because the unit was not yet accepted.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor, that is the reasoning for the non-inclusion of the purchase at that point in time until 2010, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, but did not the accountant of the Chief Justice consider that value that pass from the family—Mrs. Corona to the seller of the unit as a receivable?

ATTY. MANALO.  Unfortunately, Your Honor, there was no accountant who assisted the Chief Justice at that time, Your Honor, so, to answer the question, it is possible that he was not guided by an accounting expert during this particular time.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  I will not pose that question, that will be a material consideration.  So, proceed.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor, we request that the letter identified by the witness be marked as our Exhibit 245.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  With the same manifestation, Your Honor, that the document presented and confronted is a photocopy.

ATTY. MANALO.  Mr. Witness, the letterhead of this document is Ayala Land Incoroporated, and the seller is Fort Bonifacio Development Corporation, would you know the reason for the disparity.

MR. KINTANAR.  Fort Bonifacio is a very specific development project which is very limited in scope, and Fort Bonifacio basically engaged Ayala Land as its marketing agent in its real estate assets in that development in Bonifacio Global city.

ATTY. MANALO.  Mr. Witness, in this document, the name of Jocelyn Yu-Villacrucis, customer relations officer appears and there is a signature on top of the name, would you be able to recognize whose signature this is?

MR. KINTANAR.  Yes, this is Jo’s signature and prior to this hearing, I again verified that this was in fact a letter she signed.

ATTY. MANALO.  Are you familiar with the signature of Mrs. Villacrucis?

MR. KINTANAR.  I am.

ATTY. MANALO.  And so what happened after this letter was issued by Ayala Land?

MR. KINTANAR.  Well, again, we continued to address the items on the punch list.  But in 2007, again, Mrs. Corona was assessed for association dues for that particular unit but because, I think there was a typhoon that hit the country at that time, there were some recurring problems in terms of water leaks and we have to continue repairing some of those items.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, Mr. Counsel.  Can you not stipulate on this that there was never any reflection of this unit prior to 2010 SALN of the Chief Justice because the unit was not accepted by the family.  I think this is no longer in issue.  This is already fully established that there was a refusal to accept it.  Can not the prosecution accept this as a matter of fact?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  We are willing to stipulate as to the fact of the non-inclusion of the unit in the SALN until 2010.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Because of a dispute regarding its quality.  There is already an admission on the part of the defense that value passed from the Coronas to the seller to acquire the property.

ATTY. MANALO.  If the prosecution, Your Honor, will make the admission, then we will just have the remaining documents marked, Your Honor, subject to the presentation of the originals probably tomorrow.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  So that would be the tenor of the rest of his testimony that there was no acceptance until the year 2010 because of defects.

ATTY. MANALO.  Because of the continuous repair until finally the defects were addressed and so the turnover was made and then in 2010 the Chief Justice made a report of the property in his SALN.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chair and this court understand the factual situation with respect to this property to be this.  That there was a contract to buy a condominium unit by the Coronas from the seller, Fort Bonifacio Development on an agreed price of P9 million plus, correct?

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then that consideration was paid for.  Money was passed from the pocket of the Coronas to the Fort Bonifacio.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  In exchange for a potential transfer of a unit to the Coronas which was not accepted prior to 2010.

ATTY. MANALO.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, that is the factual situation.  Why can you not stipulate this?

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Yes, Your Honor.  We would stipulate that …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So that there will be no more problem about all of this discussion and questions and answers about dues and so forth and so on.  These are irrelevant to this impeachment trial.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  We so stipulate, Your Honor.  We just like to know if there is an actual turnover document which states the actual transfer to 2010.

ATTY. MANALO.  The letter of Mrs. Corona was explicit in saying that the turnover was conditional, the condition being the repairs made by the developer.  And after the repairs were completed, then Mrs. Corona accepted the unit in full and reported the property in the 2010 SALN.

ATTY. HERNANDEZ.  Your Honor, that is the problem.  We would be willing to make the stipulation.  But there is no document proving that it was indeed accepted in 2010.  The letter being referred to is dated 2006.

ATTY. MANALO.  The witness will actually testify on the point.  So, the offer of the Presiding Officer …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Does it matter, Counsel for the prosecution, whether the asset involved is a condo or money between those periods, will it matter?

ATTY. MANALO.  It will not matter. We will stipulate, Your Honor.   Will the prosecution, therefore, admit the point that the turn over of the property took place in 2010 and that Mrs. Corona thereafter reported the property in the SALN of December 31, 2010?

ATTY. GINEZ  If that is the manifestation that that would be the testimony of this witness, we will stipulate.

ATTY. MANALO.  Thank you, counsel.  In which case, to abbreviate, Your Honor, may we request that the Bonificio Ridge assessment letter for the Homeowners dues dated May 9, 2007 be marked as our Exh. 246. The response of Mrs. Corona to the said assessment dated August 1, 2007 be marked as Exh. 247.  The inspection report for Unit B 1902 dated October 7, 2008 executed by Engr. Benedicto Macabenta of the Spanish Bay Bonifacio Ridge Condominium be marked as our Exh. 248.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Mark them accordingly.  Now, may I suggest that both panels will submit a written evidence of your stipulation of facts on this particular property.

ATTY. MANALO.  Your Honor, we will adopt exactly what will appear in transcript of stenographic notes that will be provided for us tomorrow.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright. That is understood, ano?

ATTY. MANALO. Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We were talking of assets, liabilities and net worth. Whether the asset is in kind or in cash or in securities or what lot, tangible or intangible, we are talking of assets. We are talking of liabilities and we are talking of net worth in the SALN. And it is mandated in the Constitution that assets, liabilities and net worth must be reported, declared under oath, okay.

ATTY. MANALO.  With the admissions entered into by the parties with regard to the testimony and documentary evidence identified by this witness, Your Honor, we move that the witness be discharged.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any objections?  (Silence) The witness is discharged.  Next witness.

REP. COLMENARES.  Your Honor please, while waiting for the next witness, may we be allowed to make a short manifestation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

REP. COLMENARES.  Thank you, Your Honor.  Thank you for allowing us to make a short manifestation, Your Honor, with clarificatory question on the issue of the quashal of the subpoena on Secretary De Lima. Naghain po kami ng motion na i-quash po ang subpoena kay Secretary De Lima dahil sa paniwala po namin na delay ang resulta nito. Ayon po sa request for subpoena ng defense, ang lahat ng gusto nilang itanong kay Secretary De Lima ayon mismo sa request nila ay natanong na po. At in fact, they were given all opportunities to ask these questions during the two days, two days po na na-cross examine sila kay Secretary De Lima. Ngayon, po hindi naman namin iniisip na ang depensa ay may iba pang itatanong at i-mislead ang impeachment court that ang tunay na purpose ng pagpatawag nila kay Secretary De Lima, we do not suspect that. Ngayon po, ang sabi namin, ang korte may discretion na i-deny siyempre ang motion, request for subpoena kung tingin ng korte irrelevant iyong testimony, immaterial o pampahaba lang ng kaso. In fact, may mga subpoena na na-deny ang korte katulad noong may Supreme Court na driver na pumunta ditto, willing namang mag-testiofy pero, ginarant ng korte ang request ng Supreme Court na hindi sila i-subpoena at may poder ang korte whether or not to grant or to deny the request.

Ganun din po sa clerk of court.  Willing naman po ang clerk of court, in fact, the clerk of court has appeared here previously pero ang problema noon nabulatlat ‘yong SALNs, so, ‘nung ni-request ang subpoena niyan na article XVII, hindi na po siya napayagan mag-testify dahil sa sabi ng korte suprema bawal mag-testify sa korte itong ang mga personnel ng Korte Suprema.

Ngayon po, ang tanong po naming ay, nakita po namin kasi itong sulat ni Secretary De Lima at nagsasabi po siya dito na she is of course opposing the motion, the request for subpoena of the defense.  Pero may sinabi siya dito…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the date of that letter?

REP. COLMENARES.  This is May 7, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Today?

REP. COLMENARES.  Today po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.

REP. COLMENARES.  Sinabi nya po dito, “This is however without prejudice to the undersigned’s continuing sentiment regarding the propriety of her recall to the witness stand as well as her appeal for her rights to such witness under Section 3”.  This is for the impeachment court to decide whether or not they will continue with the grant of the subpoena or withdraw it.  It is for the court to decide.  The court is mentioned in so many times that it wishes to avoid collision with other co-equal branches.  However, I would like to go to the other part of the letter, Your Honor.

“In line with this, the undersigned respectfully requests clarification on the intended scope of the defense panel examination of the undersigned; and also whether they intend to treat the undersigned as an unwilling or hostile witness.”

So, ngayon po, ang tanong lang namin, may nabanggit na po ba ang defense panel kung ano po ang scope ng kanilang examination.  Kasi, ang sabi po namin sa prosekusyon at sabi rin ni Secretary De Lima, “lahat po na iyan na-testify ko na yan eh, ano pa ba ang pwede kong sabihin dito na hindi ko pa nasabi”? Or wala silang oportunidad na matanong nong panahong nag-testify po siya.  In fact, hindi mo rin pupuwedeng i-claim Chief Justice Corona, that is the pride of due process rights.  Ang Korte Suprema po, in fact, nung winidhold ang mga witnesses from the Supreme Court, wala talaga kaming opportunity to ask them kasi hindi talaga sila pumunta dito.  Kasi po kami po sa prosekusyon, naprisinta si Secretary De Lima, wala po kaming intension itago, walang itinatago si Secretary De Lima, in fact, nag-appear na siya, ang hiningi lang po ni Secretary De Lima at ng prosekusyon, ano pa po ba ang gagawin at pang-delay na lang ito, ang pag-testify niya, kasi ayon po sa request, these are the same issues discussed.  So, ang hiningi na lang po namin baka may gusto pang itanong ang depensa na hindi nila naitanong o hindi sila pinayagan ng korteng itanong noon na gusto nilang itanong kay Secretary De Lima ayon po sa tanong ni Secretary De Lima.  I would like to ask for a clarification on that, Your Honor, if they have answered the question of one, the intended scope of the defense panel examination of Secretary De Lima, and also whether they intend to treat the undersecretary…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you asking for a reconsideration of the ruling of this court?

REP. COLMENARES.  Well, Your Honor, under…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I am asking you.

REP. COLMENARES.  Yes, Your Honor, if there is a Senator who is willing to ask/move for a reconsideration, of course, we would be very happy because that is natural, that is our motion.  And secondly, Your Honor …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then, you ask first if there is a Senator who will ask for a reconsideration because I cannot allow a waste time in discussing this.  The Chair has already ruled.

REP. COLMENARES.  Actually, Your Honor…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The proper procedure is, and I understand where you are coming from.

REP. COLMENARES.  Thank you po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  To ask somebody to make a motion for reconsideration.

REP. COLMENARES.  Actually po, nasa judgment ng Senator.  Ang hinihingi ko lang po, may tanong po, nalinaw na po ba ng depensa…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, if the defense wants to explain why they want the Secretary of Justice to come back and be their witness, at least, say so.

ATTY. BODEGON.  If, Your Honor, please, Joel Bodegon for the defense.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.

ATTY. BODEGON.  By way of reply, I believe the rules define the proper time for us to manifest to this court the purpose of the testimony that we would illicit from the witness, not at this time.  We are wasting the time of this court by manifestations like this.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

REP. COLMENARES.  Your Honor, if I may.  Actually kung sa manifestation lang, lugi kami sa defense.  Araw-araw marami silang manifestation but anyway, Your Honor, ang tingin namin po yong request for subpoena, hindi ka pupwedeng mag mislead diyan.  Kasi noong nagdesisyon ang impeachment court at ang Senate President for that matter, syempre tinignan nya po kung may relevance…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I assure you, Mr. Counsel for the prosecution, that this court cannot be misled.

REP. COLMENARES.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We are as intelligent as you are.

REP. COLMENARES.  That is what I also presume,Your Honor, but they are now saying that they have certain purposes that they did not…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It is not a presumption.  We are elected by the Filipino people because they think we are intelligent enough to protect their interests.

REP. COLMENARES.  Yes, Your Honor.  My point being, however, Your Honor, is that meron pala silang mga purpose na hindi nila sinabi dito sa atin and  I’m sure that when the court decided to grant their request, tiningnan nila ang validity, ang relevance, ang materiality ng request.  Ngayon po, kung hindi po pala yon ang intensyon nila at may iba pala silang purpose, sana naman na-apprise yong impeachment court para maka-decide ang impeachment court kung relevant pa nga ba ang testimony o hindi.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Do you know their intention?

REP. COLMENARES.  Ang intention po nila nakalagay sa request nila.  Ang tanong ko lang po—yon pa ba ang intention nila?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Tinanong mo, sinagot ka na e.

REP. COLMENARES.  Ang sagot po nila may intention po silang iba pero…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The request of the Gentleman is denied.

REP. COLMENARES.  Well, thank you, Your Honor.   But we hope that the clarification later on for the purposes, we will  reserve our objection of course to any  new purpose that they will state during the offer of testimony of Secretary De Lima.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the defense, call your next witness.

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Yes, Your Honor.  Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President.  Atty. Lichauco.  We are calling our next witness, Miss Analyn Moises, who is the records officer of the city of Manila.  But just to abbreviate the proceedings, Your Honors, if we can make a stipulation because she is really just being presented to, well, she is being presented for the purpose of authenticating certain documents as far as the Basa, Guidote Enterprise Inc.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What are those documents?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Yes, Your Honor.  Maybe if they can just enumerate, then we can react thereafter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What are those documents to be authenticated?

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Ordinance No. 7975 which was premarked as Exhibit 227,  the deed of sale between the Basa, Guidote Enterprise, Inc. and city of Manila.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I think that is not an issue anymore.  Is there any dispute about this?

ATTY. SAMONTE.  I don’t think so, Your Honor.  I don’t even think if our good witness here can do any better than that of the good mayor.  Because what she may have to testify to today must have been taken up already lengthily by our good mayor most especially pertaining to the documents being adverted to.

ATTY.  LICHAUCO.  Your Honors, in the previous witness, the counsel for the  prosecution was questioning that some documents were Xerox copies.  Now, we are presenting certified true copies so it won’t be questioned anymore.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  Well, if only for the certification of these documents already marked.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the point in this authentication?  It is already a fact and admitted that there was a transaction between the city of Manila and the Basa, Guidote Enterprise, Inc.  In fact it is also established into the record that money passed from the city of Manila to the seller, Basa, Guidote Enteprise, Inc. represented according to the presentation of the defense and the government of the city of Manila that transacted the Basa, Guidote Enteprise, Inc. and that we have been discussing for days and weeks about P34.7 million consideration for that transaction. What else more is needed to establish that fact?

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Your Honors, if they are willing to admit that there exists an ordinance authorizing the supposed purchase and supposedly there is an Absolute Deed of Sale, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  If there is a defect in the sale, it’s impertinent, immaterial, irrelevant in this proceeding.

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Okay, Your Honor.  So, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Go ahead.,

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  In which case, Your Honor, then if there is no issue at all, then we can call our next witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Call your next witness.  (Gavel)

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Thank you.  We’d like to call Miss Efleda Castro.  She is the Manila Market Administrator.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  May we just know the purpose or purposes as she’s being …

ATTY. LUCHAUCO.  That the City of Manila is in possession.  They are deriving income therefrom.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  There’s no question about that already.  That’s been solved.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  There is no question on that.

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  We can stipulate on the these two particular aspects

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Just a minute.  (Gavel)  What’s the materiality of this kind of evidence in this impeachment trial?

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Your Honor, because they might be questioning the transfer of ownership, the turnover and who is actually in possession …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is immaterial to this court whether the property was transferred or not.  There was a transaction.  Whether that is void, immaterial, there is a transaction, money passed from the City of Manila to Mrs. Christina Corona.

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  So, we stipulate, Your Honor.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  We agree on the observation of the Presiding Officer.

If only as to question of possession, there will be no quarrel with us.

ATTY. LICHAUCO.  Okay.

ATTY. SAMONTE.  But as to other purposes, we agree that they are immaterial, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What I’m trying to avoid is we’re clattering this proceeding with so many collateral, irrelevant, immaterial issues.

We’re wasting time.  Please go direct to the point so that we can finish this case.  Present the defense of the respondent.

ATTY. ROY.  Your Honor, we have other witnesses who are supposed to have been scheduled for tomorrow.  They arrived earlier.  If you would give us a short break, I will check if they are still available and I will present more witnesses.

SUSPENSION OF SESSION

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Session suspended for …

ATTY. ROY.  Ten to fifteen minutes, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Fifteen minutes.  (Gavel)

ATTY. ROY.  Thank you very much.

It was 4:27 p.m.   

 

At 5:03 p.m., the trial was resumed.

(Inaudible)

ATTY. ROY.  Due to the phase that which the witnesses were terminated today, we have not prepared more witnesses who are prepared to take the stand, may I request that we be allowed to present them tomorrow.  We did after all managed to go through five witnesses.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How many witnesses does the defense wish to present to defend the Chief Justice.

ATTY. ROY.  Your Honor, we had originally about 14 but we have trimmed that list down, considering your public announcements that you would like to finish the trial sooner.  As a result of which, I believe, will be down to about five or six witnesses, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Actually we narrowed down already the number of articles of impeachment to be considered and as far as Article 7, Article 3 are concerned, these are matter of public records.  So, the only material matter that will require the presentation of evidence will be Article 2.

ATTY. ROY.  Precisely, Your Honor.  And if I am not mistaken, the remaining witnesses all pertain to issues pertaining to Article 2 …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely.

ATTY. ROY.  … except for the subpoena issued to the good Secretary of Justice, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The court will not anticipate how the defense will defend the respondent Chief Justice.

ATTY. ROY.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  But I hope you understand that the Senate cannot afford also to prolong this case because the legislative agenda of the nation is affected.

ATTY. ROY.  To be sure, Mr. President, you have our assurance that we do not wish to burden the Senate by delaying it in anyway.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It is not a burden to us.  It is a burden to the nation.

ATTY. ROY.  Thank you, Mr. President.  May I then manifest, in accordance with the letter that we received today from the good Secretary, that we would require her attendance on Wednesday, if that is possible.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, you have to make an arrangement with her.  She is your witness.

ATTY. ROY.  Yes, Your Honor.  We are informing the court.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, you make an arrangement with her when she is to come here.

ATTY. ROY.  Yes, Your Honor.  We are informing the court because the letter that we received today was not yet taken up in the business that we tackled this morning.  So, we will make that arrangement, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  So, you are asking for a continuance.

ATTY. ROY.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  How about the prosecution?

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, we have no objection to the pleasure of the defense.  We have no objection.  We just want to ask, Mr. President, if the defense is willing to name the five or six witnesses that they are going to present.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Jinggoy Estrada to make a manifestation and post an interjection on the question of the prosecution.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you.  If I may, Mr. President.  Mr. Counsel, instead of clattering this court, to borrow the words of the Senate President, instead of clattering this court with witnesses who are impertinent, immaterial, or irrelevant to these proceedings, I suggest that you bring the respondent himself to answer all the allegations levelled against him.  And if the Chief Justice will appear, the Judges, the impeachment court will be very, very happy to hear his side at doon pa lang pagka narinig na namin ang side ni Chief Justice, tungkol sa mga alegasyon nila, doon pa lang siguro makakapagbuo na kami ng desisyon kung ano ang didesisyonan namin.  Just to give you a classic example, during the impeachment case of former President Estrada, former President Estrada was waiting to be summoned by this impeachment court.  He was daring to appear before this impeachment court dahil according to him wala siyang itinatago.  Ngayon, kung walang itinatago si Chief Justice Corona bakit hindi na lang siya ang dalhin ninyo rito para siya mismo ang sumagot sa lahat ng mga alegasyon nitong prosecution panel laban kay Chief Justice Corona.  Pati iyong sampung milyon na naiulat, nailathala sa dyaryo, sagutin na rin niya, kung talagang totoo na mayroon siyang ten million dollars doon sa bangko ni Chief Justice.  Nang sa gayon, matapos na kaagad itong impeachment trial at makapag-render ng decision kaagad.  Hindi iyong katulad ng mga witnesses na piniprisinta ninyo rito.  Hindi naman kailangan.  Puwede namang i-stipulate ng prosecution panel iyan.  You are just wasting the time of this court., Mr. Counsel.  If I may.  Ako, ayoko hong makialam kung ipi-prisinta ninyo ang Chief Justice.  Pero sa amin, mas makakabuti and I reiterate iyong mga sinabi ng mga kapuwa ko Senador na dalhin ninyo na Chief Justice dito.  Iprisinta na ninyo siya rito para malaman na naming kung ano talaga ang buong katotohanan ng mga iyan.,

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you for that admonition, Mr. Senator.  But this is an impeachment proceedings.  And notwithstanding the character of the proceedings, Your Honor, due process should still be observed.  What are the charges against him?  That he had bgamassed properties which he did not declare in the SALN.  Is that impeachable?  That he has accounts which were not reflected therein.  But we have witnesses, Your Honor, to testify that there is no such violation.  And even if there is, it may not be considered as violation because they are not impeachable in character, Your Honor.  We may not agree with him, but let us give him the opportunity to present witnesses to support that.

He is the Chief Justice of the country, Your Honor.  And out of respect, we should at least give him some consideration whatsoever, irrespective of the nature thereof.

Now, you’re castigating the defense for presenting witnesses that like this and like that.  We have presented only five witnesses, Your Honor.  And they are very, very important to our defense, Your Honor.  We cannot be bulldozed into presenting this witness because you like him to testify.  That is not the order of trial.  That is not the demand of justice, Your Honor.

We have been a practitioner.  We have been a member of the bench.  We have been a member of the Supreme Court.  There is no authority nor any jurisprudence that give the reason for compelling a party accused for appearing in court if he does not appear to be in a position to do so, Your Honor.

Now, there were several witnesses, Your Honor, today scheduled for trial.  Luckily or unluckily, we have devised a division of labor among the members of the panel, Your Honor.  And these were the matters to be discussed by the witnesses together with the identity are delineated in that conference.

Now, incidentally, we never anticipated that those assigned to them will not be able to perform as expected of them, Your Honor.  But they are not dilatory in character.

For instance, the witness whom Atty. Lichauco will present.  He will be made to testify that actually the market was pushed through.  There was a market operating all these proceedings were undertaken.  And this certainly will cause doubt on the—rather, clearance or enlightenment on the part of the court that the transaction is a genuine one.

It is true there are check payments, Your Honor, that we utilized the same to cover up the expenditures and the acquisition made by the Chief Justice.  But, we do not know how much amount of evidence will be necessary to be able to convince the honourable court where—Kung sa Tagalog po, parang nananalakab kami sa linaw e.

Rules of Evidence.  Sinasabi ninyo hindi proof beyond reasonable doubt—kumbinsing laban.  Ito, meron kaming objection, ganito, ganito, ganito, ganito.

Now, we have other witnesses, Your Honor.  We cause them to be subpoenaed.  But we are informed only lately that they will not be able to testify.

There is a comment here made.  E hindi naman ninyo inilagay ang purpose kaya nyo tinatawag si Secretary De Lima.  My question is, is there any Rule under the Revised Rules of Court which stated that in a motion for the request or issuance of a subpoena, the purpose must be stated?  I am not aware of any …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We have already ruled upon that, counsel.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’m just …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, I think that we shall not prolong this discussion.  I hope you also give due consideration to this court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, we are.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You cannot say that we are not giving you due process.  You have all the time during the recess to study the defense of your client …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … to prepare his defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  And we are very appreciative for …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I tell you the truth, we are quite disappointed that the witnesses that you brought here this afternoon are people who are testifying about the collection of fees.  What has that got to do with the impeachment to identify records?  What has that got to do with the impeachment trial?

The question here, and I think you know because you are an experienced lawyer is Article 2.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is correct, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All of those witnesses who were presented this afternoon were irrelevant to that particular issue of Articles of Impeachment no. 2, and that is why we feel a little disappointed.  Now, don’t tell us and lecture to us about due process.  We are equally aware of our obligation to extend due process to anybody coming before this court.

Is it your position that there is no prima facie case presented before this court?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In our evaluation, yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, I am asking you a question.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is that is your position?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In our evaluation …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then that is your problem if that is your position.  I will be frank with you.  If you think that there is no case presented here in this court, then that is your problem.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  May I continue, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   We are all lawyers trained in the art, and I think—we respect your skills and your ability to appreciate the evidence, but, equally, we expect you to respect our ability to appreciate the evidence presented to us.

The Gentleman from San Juan.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Mr. President, I take note of the statement of the chief defense counsel that I was admonishing the defense counsel.  Mr. Counsel, I am not admonishing you, that was just my humble recommendation to let the Chief Justice appear before the impeachment court.  Dahil sa pagkakaalam ko, sa paniwala ko, ‘pag humarap diyan si Chief Justice, ang bayan magiging masaya , ang impeachment court magiging masaya, at gusto talaga namin malaman kung ano talaga ang buong katotohanan.  And in fact, I am not castigating you.  I am just merely voicing the sentiments of my colleagues here, Senator-judges.  Iyon lang po, Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, thank you, very much, Mr. Senator.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I would like to make it of record that based on our record, the defense has already submitted 17 witnesses to defend the respondent.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Seventeen, Your Honor?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  You presented Congressman Tobias Tiangco…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Araceli Bayuga; Demetrio Vicente; Atty. Irene Guevarra; Atty. Girlie Salarda;  Engr. Roberto Villaluz; Rodolfo Ordanes; Engr. Mario Badillo; Atty. Carlo Alcantara; Atty. Randy Rotaquio; Benz Lim, property manager, Columns Ayala Avenue, Condominium; Carmina Dela Cruz, Clients Relation Manager, Alveoland Corporation; Atty. Perlita Ele, Clerk of Court; Atty. Eulalio Diaz III, Administrator, LRA; Lito Atienza; Atty. B.C. Cadangan; Noel Kintanar and others.  That is a matter of record.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, we did so, Your Honor, for a definite purpose…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That is why…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  …and we stated in the offer, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   How many more witnesses do we have to expect?  We are willing to accommodate you, present all the witnesses you want.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We only intended…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   That is why we already to give you with the due process that you are asking us, and we will give you due process, fair trial, I guaranty that you will have a fair trial.  We denied the motion to quash, the subpoena of the Secretary of the Department of Justice, for your sake if you want to present her again.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.  But we received information that Secretary De Lima sent an emissary this afternoon, we met him and he inform us that she will be available only next week, Your Honor, that is why we were…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Precisely, because—I will tell you this court will exercise its coercive power to compel the attendance of witnesses for the respondent to show you that we are ready to give him a fair trial and due process not only substantive but procedural due process.  But we expected that we will be at least given some consideration in not hearing illusory witnesses being presented here to testify on the collection of fees, authentication of documents, there were no more issues about the transaction in the case of the properties sold by the City of Manila including the consideration.

Anyway, you want a continuance?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, frankly speaking, Your Honor, we cannot proceed now because our witnesses are not available, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, Majority Floor Leader.

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

REP. TUPAS.  Before that, Mr. President, may we be allowed to reiterate our request Your Honor, may we just reiterate our request for the defense to name the witnesses at least for tomorrow, the five or six witnesses.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We have requested for subpoena to some of them.  They are a matter of record, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What’s that?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are being asked to identify the witnesses that we will present, Your Honor.  We said we have requested for the issuance of subpoena to compel their appearances.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I think the prosecution should be astute enough to anticipate the witnesses that will be presented by the defense and prepare your cross-examination…

REP. TUPAS.  In that case, we submit, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … instead of rumbling.

REP. TUPAS.  We submit, Your Honor.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

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.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Tuesday, May 8, 2012.

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

It was 5:21 p.m.

 

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