At 2:01 p.m., the hearing was called to order with Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile Presiding.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The continuation of the impeachment trial of the honourable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order.
We shall be led in prayer by the distinguished Senator from Batangas, Senator Ralph G. Recto.
PRAYER BY SENATOR PIMENTEL
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Secretary will now please call the roll.
THE SECRETARY. The honorable Senators Angara; Arroyo; Cayetano, Allan Peter ‘Compañero’; Cayetano, Pia; Defensor-Santiago; Drilon, Ejercito-Estrada; Escudero; Guingona; Honasan; Lacson; Lapid; Legarda; Marcos; Osmeña, Pangilinan, Pimentel; Recto; Revilla; Sotto; Trillanes; Villar; the Senate President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. With all the Senators, 23 of them, Senator-Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.
Majority Floor Leader
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may I ask the Sergeant-at-Arms to make the proclamation.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sergeant-at-Arms is directed to make the proclamation.
THE SEARGENT-AT ARMS. All persons are commanded to keep silent under pain of penalty while the Senate is sitting in trial on the Articles of Impeachment against Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, I move that we dispense with the reading of the May 16, 2012 Journal of the Senate, sitting as an Impeachment Court and consider the same as approved.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there any objection? (Silence) The Chair hears none. The May 16, 2012 Journal of the Senate, sitting as an Impeachment Court is hereby approved. Majority Floor Leader.
The Secretary will now please call the case before the Senate, as an impeachment court.
THE SECRETARY. Case No. 002-2011, In the Matter of Impeachment of Honorable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. May we ask the parties and/or their respective counsel to enter their appearances for the prosecution, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. For the prosecution.
REP. TUPAS. Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President. And honorable Members of the Senate. On the part of the House of Representatives prosecution panel, same appearance, we are ready, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Noted. The defense.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. For the defense, Your Honor, we have the same appearance, and we are ready, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Noted. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. Pesident, before we proceed to the Business of the Day, last week, in connection with the testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, some Members of the court had requested to subpoena the managers of the banks concerned as well as certain bank or fund documents mentioned by the Ombudsman in the course of her testimony. I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the request, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you. The Chair is well aware of the validity and importance of the motions made in that connection. However, I would like to remind all of us, Members of the Senate, sitting here, to perform a function to judge the respondent that we are not conducting this inquiry, in aid of legislation. We are here as hearers of facts. And in the course of our trial and judgment, we will interpret the law according to our best plights. We are receivers of the evidence from the prosecution and the defense. We are not an inquisitorial court. And, so therefore, with that in mind, this court cannot issue the subpoena suggested to make the appearance here of certain persons to act as witnesses.. The Rules of Procedure suggests that this is an adversarial proceeding … by the representatives of the people, and so, therefore, we must define who, for whom will the witnesses that will appear here will stand as witnesses. Are they going to stand as witnesses for the prosecution? Are they going to stand as witnesses for the defense? Are we authorized, as hearers of fact and as hearers of evidence, to call anyone we want to testify here to enlighten us on certain factual issues?. Having this in mind, this Chair has decided to resolve to respectfully deny the motions to call, for this Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, to call witnesses motu propio to testify in this proceeding. So ordered.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, pursuant to the May 16, 2012 order of the court for Mr. Harvey Keh to submit a written explanation within 48 hours why he should not be cited for contempt, Mr. Keh filed with the court his compliance on May 18, 2012 expressing his apology and praying that he not be cited in contempt. I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the matter.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Well, during our trial of this case, last week, Mr. Harvey Keh appeared here as a witness for the defense. And this Chair because of certain previous incident asked him to show cause why he should not be cited for contempt. A member of this court had spoken calling the concern witness that he committed certain improper conduct as far as this Court was concerned. Given that, and in view of the apologies given by the gentleman cited to show cause and in the spirit of liberality, the Court simply admonishes the person concerned never to try to slag again as he did.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, the Court is now ready for the continuation of the presentation of evidence by the defense.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Is the defense ready to present its next witness?
SUSPENSION OF THE HEARING
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May we request for a one-minute recess, Your Honor. We are fetching the Chief Justice, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session is suspended for one minute.
It was 2:11 p.m.
RESUMPTION OF THE HEARING
At 2:11 the trial resumed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session resumed.
While the Chief Justice is awaited to this Court, I would like to make some statements before we administer the oath to him as a witness for the defense. As agreed during our caucus yesterday, the members of the court have respectfully requested by this Chair to observe the two-minute rule as provided under the Rules of this Court to limit their inquiries to questions of facts to avoid any manifestations or discussions of purely legal issues and to help in an orderly proceedings in this trial. Should any member of this court require more time to propound questions later on, an extension of not more two minutes will be allowed to him or to her. However, for an orderly proceeding so that there will be no interruption in the testimony of the distinguished respondent who will appear before us, I would suggest that we finish the direct examination by the defense, with the cross-examination of the prosecution and then, if there is any redirect, let the redirect be done and if there is any recross, let the recross be completed before any members of this Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, will propound questions to the distinguished respondent. Unless I am—is authorized by this Court, I will try to adopt that as the system for an orderly proceeding in this trial today and thereafter.
Is the respondent ready?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We send somebody, Your Honor, to have him fetched.
SUSPENSION OF THE HEARING
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Okay. We suspend the session for a few moment to wait for him.
It was 2:14 p.m.
Session resumed at 2:15 p.m.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I would like to add before the Chief Justice is sworn in as a witness, to request the gallery to observe strict decorum in this trial. Avoid any expression of your approval or disapproval about anything that is happening in this court, no clapping, no shouting, no unnecessary commotions, otherwise, this court, and I’ll be frank with you, will exercise its powers to maintain order in this trial. This is a trial authorized by the Constitution, authorized by the Filipino people, you authorized this trial, and it must be conducted in an orderly manner without any disruption befitting the nature of this case, and the person involved in this proceeding.
So ordered. Is the defense ready?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. He is coming, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice, welcome to this court.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Good afternoon, po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. May we request you to take your oath so we can proceed with the trial.
REP. TUPAS. Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Majority Floor Leader.
REP. TUPAS. Mr. President, the prosecution.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from the prosecution.
REP. TUPAS. The prosecution would like to ask permission from this honourable court to allow one of our private lawyers, Atty. Mario Bautista, to receive the testimony of the Chief Justice and to conduct cross examination.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted.
REP. TUPAS. Thank you, thank you, Your Honor.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor, please, before we proceed with the taking of the testimony of the Honorable Chief Justice, Your Honor, may I be permitted to place on record some pertinent matters in connection with his previous actuations in connection with his appearance before this court, your honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Now, there never was a time when it was the intention of the Chief Justice not to appear before this court, Your Honor. But an examination of the constitutional provision on the matter, together with the Rules of Evidence, Your Honor, have, in one way or another, strengthen his resolve, in the first place, not to appear before this court, Your Honor, not in order to defy the majesty and the authority of this court, Your Honor, but rather to enable him to exercise his right as a citizen of the Republic of the Philippines pursuant to Article III, Section 17, Your Honor, which provides, “No person may be compelled to testify against himself”. It is his humble opinion during our discussion that this provision applies to all kinds of proceedings, whether criminal, civil, quasi-judicial or administrative, Your Honor. And that is govern by the jurisprudence on the point.
Secondly, it is his contention, it is his belief that insofar as his cross-examination is concerned, Your Honor, the rules of evidence say being likened to that of an accused, he may only be cross-examined on any matter taken up on the direct.
Thirdly, Your Honor, he had monitored all the proceedings day-by-day before this court, Your Honor, and he was a little bit frightened or shall we say confused, Your Honor, because there were several occasions that there were statements to the effect that these proceedings will be judged not only by this impeachment court but likewise by the people in general. I have told him that there were many instances, Your Honor, where this impeachment court, Your Honor, through the honourable Presiding Judge or Senator stated that the decision in this case shall be based on the evidence on record and there is no power nor any person can dictate upon this court in order to render an impartial and correct decision. Now, that was to encourage him in his favour and I told him that even the rules of the impeachment court appear to warrant this impartiality, for instance, under Rule 3, paragraph (3). It says, “Senators shall observe political neutrality during the course of the impeachment trial. Political neutrality shall be defined as exercise of public official duty without unfair discrimination and regardless of party affiliation or preference.” This is rather assuring, Your Honor, in consoling the Chief Justice because he believes that with the observance of this rule, there will certainly be an impartial decision that will come up after the trial of this case.
Now, secondly, Your Honor, we have examined the oath of office of the Senator-Judges which states, “I solemnly swear that in all things appertaining to the trial of the impeachment now pending before this court, I will do impartial justice according to the Constitution and to the law of the Philippines.” That practically negates, Your Honor, whatever misapprehension he has that is why he has chosen to appear brought about by the respect of this impeachment court, Your Honor, and to render himself submissive to the power and authority and jurisdiction of the honourable impeachment court.
Thank you, Your Honor, for the opportunity.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you for reminding the members of this impeachment court about these principles and I would like as Chair of this court to assure you that we are conscious from the very start of this proceeding that we are performing a solemn and sacred duty not for ourselves but for the Filipino people and for this country and for the world to see that this country through its elected Senators can render impartial justice to anyone who will appear here to answer any charge made against him or her.
Now, we are all lawyers, the Chief Justice is the highest magistrate of the land, the highest lawyer in the country. He is aware of the Constitution and well-grounded on the Constitution. He knows when to answer a question and when not to answer a question in order to protect his own personal interest and his rights under the Constitution. So we can assure you that we will observe this.
Now, insofar as judging this case is concerned, as I have said at the start of this proceeding, in my opening statement, we will judge this case on the basis of the evidence presented to us by the prosecution as well as by the defense and that no one of us here, including this Chair, will attempt to influence the mind of any of these 23 souls acting as in this impeachment trial, not only because we want to comply with our oath as judges in this case, but because of our notion that we respect each other’s judgement, each one of us is entity unto himself in this case and he alone will be responsible for his judgement in this case and no one else so that each one of us will respect each other by not trying to influence the judgement of each one or any one of us.
So, I can assure you, Mr. Counsel, that we are well aware of the things that you are concerned about. And so, with that, let’s proceed with the trial.
So ordered. (Gavel)
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor, for that very assuring pronouncement, Your Honor.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Mr. President, from the prosecution, please, may I be allowed to say something.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes, proceed. Granted. (Gavel)
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Good afternoon, Mr. President. Good afternoon, senator-justices. Chief Justice, good afternoon, Sir.
I would just like to make several points on what was mentioned by Justice Cuevas.
There has been never any compulsion for the Chief Justice to testify. So your mention of the constitutional right against being compelled to testify is irrelevant. In fact, if you will recall, the prosecution subpoenaed the Chief Justice and the honourable court denied the subpoena.
Secondly, with due respect, Justice Cuevas, I disagree with the reading of the Rules of Evidence regarding cross-examination of the accused. Under Rule 115, Section 1b, an accused can testify voluntarily on his behalf as the Chief Justice is doing today, but he is subject to cross-examination. Under the case of People vs. Ayson, GR 85212, July 7, 1989, and that Ladiana vs. People, GR No. 144293, December 4, 2002, an accused who testifies will be treated as an ordinary witness. He can invoke his self-incrimination right only regarding questions that tend to incriminate him for some crime other than that he is charged of.
And with respect to the rights of the Chief Justice on self-incrimination, we will raise our objections at the appropriate time.
Thank you, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you. Are you ready to proceed with the train?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. Only one minute, Your Honor. Only one minute.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted. (Gavel)
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If Your Honor, please, I never stated in my manifestation that the Chief Justice is being compelled to testify against his will. What I mentioned, Your Honor, and place on record is the constitutional provision on the matter. Under Article III, Section 17, which provides, no person may be compelled to testify against himself.
I stated that to show to the honorable court his vacillation during the early stage of the proceedings, Your Honor. That was the only purpose.
Now in connection with the coverage of the cross-examination, I dare to dispute the manifestation on the matter by the learned counsel. Insofar as cross-examination of an accused in a criminal case to which respondent, honorable Chief Justice is concerned, his cross-examination shall be limited only to matters taken up in the direct. That is amendments …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. May I suggest that we proceed with the trial and we will deal with this problems along the way. That’s why you have a Presiding Officer in this proceeding.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. I’m through with—I only placed on—my reply, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. Are we ready with the trial?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We are, Your Honor.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. May I request, Mr. Presiding Officer, to make a statement, not only to this honourable tribunal but to the Filipino people.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Granted. Proceed Mr. Chief Justice.
Mga minamahal kong kababayan, ako po ay nandito sa impeachment court na ito upang tumupad sa aking pangako sa sambayanan na ako ay magpapaliwanag ng lahat.
Kailangan po sigurong tanungin ng ating sambayanan kung bakit ba tayo nagkaka-impeachment trial na ito. Hindi naman po kaila sa ating lahat na ginamit na po ng gobyerno ng administrasyon ang buong makinarya ng gobyerno laban sa akin. Ibinuhos na po ang buong pwersa ng pamahalaan para lamang sa pagtanggal ng isang tao.
Bakit po ba nangyayari ito? Huwag tayong maniwala na ito, itong impeachment trial na ito ay laban sa katiwalian, dahil kung ganoon rin lamang, mayroon ba silang katiwalian na ibinintang sa akin? Sa kabila ng lahat na pagkakalkal, paghahanap ng mga huwad na ebidensya at kung ano-ano pang ginawa sa akin at sa aking pamilya, wala naman pong ibinibintang sa akin ng katiwalian.
Ako po ba ay hadlang? Ako po ba ay sagabal sa kung ano at kung kanino o dili kaya ay tinik sa lalamunan o ng ninuman? So far po, lahat ng nakita ko rito magbuhat ng umpisa itong impeachment trial na ito ay hatred, galit sa isang tao, benggansa sa isang tao.
Kailan po ba tayo matuto sa lahat—sa kabuuan ng kasaysayan ng Pilipinas, parati na lang pong ganito ang nangyayari. Hindi po ba tamang sabihin ko na ngayon, tama na ang pagkawatak-watak n gating bayan. Hindi po ba ito ang dahilan, itong mga hidwaan, itong mga galit na ito ang dahilan kung bakit hindi na tila hirap na hirap na umusad ang ating pamahalaan.
Ibig ko pong sabihin, sa ating kasalukuyang administrasyon, hindi po lahat ng hindi kaalyado ay kalaban. Hindi po lahat ng hindi kasama ay hindi pwedeng maging katuwang para sa ikabubuti ng sambayanan. Hindi dapat—hindi porket hindi magkapareho ng kulay ay hindi na Pilipino.
Bakit po ba ganito na lang ang galit sa akin nitong kasalukuyang administrasyon ni Pangulong Aquino. Ano ba ang kasalanan ko sa kanya? Ano ba ang kasalanan ko sa bayan? Wala akong pagkakasalang alam ko at iyan ang dahilan kung bakit ako ay buong loob na tumitindig dito sa harap ninyo at sa harap ng sambayanang Pilipino na walang takot, walang nerbiyos, sapagkat sigurado po ako, siguradong sigurado po ako, wala akong kasalanan, wala akong ginawang katiwalian at ako ay hindi nagnakaw sa gobyerno.
Hindi ko po isasama, I will not drag my family dito sa impeachment na ito kung sa kaloob-looban ko, may katiting na dahilan na ako ay nagduda sa kanila, na ako ay may ginawang mali or masama. Hindi ko po itataya ang buong pamilya ko, ang napakabait kong maybahay, ang aking tatlong anak, ang aking anim na apo at idamay lahat ng mahal sa aking buhay. Kung ako ay naniniwalang ako ay may kasalanan, hindi na po ako makikipaglaban. Siguro po ay nagbitaw na ako sa tungkulin sapul sa simula. Malinis po ang aking konsyensya. At ito po ay sinasabi ko sa sambayanang Pilipino. Uulitin ko po. Malinis po ang aking konsyensya. Malinis po ang konsyensya ng aking pamilya. Wala kaming ginawang masama, wala kaming ginawang kawalanghiyaan tulad ng pinalalabas sa ibang sektor ng medya.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mawalang galang, Mr. Chief Justice. Kami po ay nag-aantay na sabihin ninyo sa amin ang inyong pakay at sana kung maaari ay i-address na lang ninyo iyong issues dito para sa ganoon ay tapusin na natin itong kasong ito. Pero, you can proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Maraming salamat po. Dahil ito pong aking sinsabi ngayon ay pinatutungkol ko, gaya nga ng nasabi ko, hindi lamang dito sa impeachment court, sa kagalang-galang na impeachment court na ito, kundi sa buong sambayanang Pilipino na pinangakuan ko na ako ay magpapaliwanag. Kaya nandito po ako at nagpapaliwanag. Siguro naman, kahit sino sa atin, hindi papayagang masaktan ang ating pamiliya at ang ating mga mahal sa buhay. Kung tayo ay may masamang budhi o maitim na budhi, o may mga nagawang kasalanan na dapat nating ipagsisi at hindi na siguro natin gagawin ito at harapin ang kalbaryong hinaharap namin sapagka’t iyan po ang pinagdadaanan namin ngayon—kalbaryo po. Hindi po madali ang pinagdaanan namin nitong limang buwan na ito. Nakita naman ninyo ang paninira sa pagkatao namin, sa reputasyon namin. Lahat na yata ng kasinungalingan ay sinabi, lahat ng putik ay itinapon laban sa amin. Sa kabila ng pagbabanta ng kahihiyan at kapahamakan, lumaban po ako. Malakas po ang loob ko na lumaban sapagka’t malinis po ang aking konsiyensya. Iisa lang po ang paliwanag diyan. Walang katotohanan at pawang kasinungalingan ang pinaparatang sa amin. Mayroon pa hong isang nagsabi, isang Senador na nagsabi na huhubaran daw niya ako sa publiko. Tingnan po natin. Napakadali sanang takasan nitong problema at kalbayrong ito. Marami na nga rin ang nagsabi sa akin, Bakit ka ba lumalaban? You cannot fight Malacanang, magbitaw ka na lang sa tungkulin, magiging tahimik na ang buhay mo, wala nang maghahabol sa iyo, ang pamilya mo hindi na masasaktan, titigl na ang panggigipit, titigil na ang black propaganda laban sa iyo at titigil na ang kasinungalingan. Pero, ano naman po ang kahulugan nito? Kung ako ay nagbitaw sa tungkulin. Ang mangangahulugan po noon, ay parang umatras ako sa laban at parang nanalo na lang iyong kabila na without having to prove anything. Kawawa naman po ako at ang aking pamilya. At hindi po ito ang aking kinasanayan at hind ito ang itinuro sa amin ng aming magulang—na ipaglaban pag ikaw ay nasa tama at nasa lugar. Maraming beses na pong pinag-uusapan sa media na umano’y tungkol sa hindi—alleged hindi maipaliwanag naming yaman at maraming beses na rin po kaming hinusgahan. Ang tanong ko po’y, bakit po ba? Pondo po ba ito ng bayan? Ito po ba ay ninakaw sa kaban ng bayan? Ito po ba ay kinurakot ng Punong Mahistrado? Iisa ho ang sagot diyan, hindi po. At uulitin ko, hindi po.
Lahat po ng aming ari-arian ay pinaghirapan sa malinis na paraan at wala naman pong naisiwalat o naibintang sa akin na ginawa kong katiwalian, walang-wala po. Lahat po ng aming naipundar ay nanggaling sa pagsisikap, paghihirap ng maraming taon, maraming dekadang pagtatrabaho ng malinis.
Bago po ako nagsilbi sa gobyerno, ako po ay isang matagumpay na abugado na ng maraming taon. Hindi naman po katulad ng pinalalabas ng prosecution na ako’y kung sino lamang patabi-tabi diyan na biglang yumaman noong ako ay pumasok sa gobyerno at ito po’y sinasabi ko sa inyo. Nagkakamali po kayo.
Simple po ang aming naging pamumuhay. Hindi po kailanman kami namuhay ng maluho. Lahat po ng nakakakilala sa amin, taong malalapit sa amin, taong mga lumaki kasabay ng aking mga anak ang makakapagsabi na nakita nila kung anong kasimple ang aming pamumuhay magbuhat noong araw hanggang ngayon.
Nilabag na lahat. Tila nilabag na ho ang lahat ng batas para hanapan ako ng kasalanan. Bakit nga ba? Pumunta sila sa hukumang ito ng walang ebidensiya, walang maiakusang katiwalian laban sa akin. Kaya sa pamamagitan ng paglilitis na ito, naghanap sila, binaluktot ang mga batas na dapat ay nagbibigay ng protection at seguridad sa mamamayan para lang ako ay madiin. They broke all laws to fish evidence against me. They attempted to pin me down by a means that undermine our laws and our Constitution.
Bilang Punong Mahistrado ng bayan, bilang tagapagtanggol ng batas, hindi po ako makapapayag dito at ito ay hindi katanggap-tanggap sa akin. Binaboy nila ang proseso ng Saligang Batas para yurakan ang aking mga karapatan, mga batas ng foreign currency deposit, AMLA and due process sa ilalim ng Constitution at iba pa. Nakababahala po ito, bayan. Hindi lamang dahil sa aking sarili, kung ‘di na rin sa ating demokrasya at sa ating mamamayan. Kung kaya ninyong gawing ito sa Pinakamataas na Mahistrado ng ating gobyerno, di ba nila ito magawa sa ordinaryong mamamayan? Hindi ba nila magawa sa inyo mga ginoong Senador at ginang Senador? Hindi ba nila magawa ito kahit na kaninong opisyal ng gobyerno? Ang mga akusasyon nila sa akin ay pawang kathang-isip lamang, mga ebidensya na minaniobra, pineke…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mawalang galang na Mr. Chief Justice, how much more time do you need?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Sandali na lang po kasi po kung mamarapatin po nyo, mawalang-galang na po sa inyo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed, proceed.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. At higit sa lahat, ginamit po ang pwersa at makinarya ng gobyerno laban sa isang taong walang kalaban-laban sa kanila. Bilang Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema at pinuno ng Hudikatura, labis kong dinaramdam at kinokondena ang pagyurak sa aking karapatan, sa ating mga batas, at ang masamang epekto nito sa ating demokrasya. Kaisa ako na panagutin ang may kasalanan, kaisa ako sa hangarin na pairalin ang batas, ngunit ako ang unang-unang lalaban kapag ito ay ginawa ng walang basehan at hindi naaayon sa ating mga batas. Lalaban sa anumang paglalapastangan sa ating Saligang Batas, sa karapatan ng ating mamamayan. Ito lang po ang tanong ko sa bayan, at ito rin po ang tanong ko sa prosekusyon, ladies and gentlemen of the prosecution, ito lang po ang tanong ko sa inyo – kung talagang malakas ang inyong kaso na isinampa sa akin, bakit kayo kailangang magimbento ng ebidensya? Sagutin po ninyo iyan sa taong bayan. Bakit kailangang mag-black propaganda? Mag-imbento, magsinungaling, at maghukay ng walang hanggan. Bakit kailangang humantong sa madumi, sa masama at sa mapanakit na paraan? Nawa’y ‘wag na po sanang maulit ang nangyari, ang malungkot na kabanatang ito sa ating kasaysayan. At sanay ‘wag na muling mangyari sa kaninuman ang pang-aapi ng metodikal na pagwasak sa mga institusyon, sa simbahan, sa military, sa bureaucracy.
Sa aking pananaw po, tatlo pong dahilan kung bakit ako ay sinampahan nitong impeachment complaint na ito. Ang una po, ang matinding galit ng hacienderong Pangulo sa pagkakatalo nya tungkol sa hacienda luisita. Ano po ba ang karapatan ng Pangulong Aquino na ikagalit sa pamamahagi ng hacienda luisita sa magsasaka? Ang lupaing ito ay ipinahiram lamang sa kanila, inagaw lamang ang lupaing ito sa mga ninuno ng mga kasalukuyang magsasaka. Halos 60 taon na pinakinabangan at pinagkakitaan nila ang hacienda luisita, at pagkatapos ngayon, ayaw na nilang isoli…
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Mr. President, for the prosecution, please. May I say something.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is the pleasure of the prosecution?
ATTY. BAUTISTA. This is highly irregular. The Chief Justice is taking advantage of his platform, and is being allowed to speak without the benefit of direct examination. What he has mentioned are irrelevant here.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Anyway, counsel, my understanding is that, the Chief Justice is making an opening statement that will be a part of his testimony. You can exercise your right of cross examination at the proper time. So let us allow the Chief Justice to finish.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Just for the record, Mr. President, just for the record.
There are parties here who are being accused, maligned…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I said let the Chief Justice proceed.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Yes, Your Honor.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Ginoong Prosecutor, kausap ko po ang taumbayan. Hayaan naman po ninyo akong kausapin ang taumbayan.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Sige po.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Halos 60 taon pinakinabangan at pinagkakitaan ang Hacienda Luisita pagkatapos ngayon ay gusto pa silang bayaran ng bilyong-bilyong piso. Pangalawang dahilan, ang kagustuhan ng Pangulong Aquino na kontrolin ang tatlong sangay ng gobyerno at siraan ang pagkapantay-pantay ng Executive, ng Legislative at ng Judiciary, paggamit ng lakas at kapangyarihan para makuha lamang itong layuning ito. Pangatlong dahilang, ang unti-unting pagmamaniobra at pagsakop ng kaliwa sa pamamahala ng gobyerno at ang kanilang napipintong takeover n gating bansa. Tila kaya’y hawak na hawak ni Ronald Llamas at ng kanyang mga kakosa sa leeg ang Pangulong Aquino. Gusto ko pong sabihin ngayon, andito na po ako sa punto, sino po ba si Renato Corona? Si Renato Corona po ay isang tao, simpleng tao nanggaling sa mahusay na pamilya, simpleng pamilya lamang. Kami po ay naturuan ng family values, disiplina, maging madasalin, tahimik na pamumuhay, pagmamahal sa bayan, mahusay na pagkatao…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice. Under the rules of evidence, good characters that are visible…
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Preliminary lang po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. In the interest of liberality, we will allow it to finish your speech.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Ako ay naturuan ng magandang pagkatao ng aking mga magulang makapag-aral sa Ateneo, sa Harvard Law School, sa UST. Hindi naman po kami nanggaling ng aking maybahay sa maralitang pamilya at hindii naman po ako maralit noong ako ay pumasok sa gobyerno. Ang akin pong asawa at ang aking pamilya, tatlong anak at anim na apo ay nanggaling naman pos a mahusay na pamilya din. Iyong kanyang great grandfather po, si Jose Ma. Basa Sr. ay naging pangalawang president ng Katipunan, ang una po ay si Deodato Arellano at si Jose Ma. Basa Sr. Ang pangalawang presidente at ang pangatlo ay pinalitan na nila ng pangalan, si Andres Bonifacio.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice, may I plead with you to wind up so that we can proceed with the trial. I will give you the—how many minutes more do you need?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Sandali na lang po. Ang importante po kasing makita ito ng sambayanan natin sapagkat limang buwan na po akong araw-araw 24/7 na siniraan ng siniraan doon sa medya sa labas.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice, you have the floor unless authorize by this court, you may proceed to finish.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. Kailangan pong malaman ng sambayanan natin kung sino ako kasi dahil doon sa medya campaign na naganap ng prosecution doon sa labas ng impeachment court na ito, napakasama po ang tingin sa aking bilang tao ng maraming tao at siguro ito na lang po ang kahuli-hulihang pagkakataon na mai-correct ko ang impression ng tao tungkol sa akin. Ano po ba ang lifestyle naming pamilya? Ang lifestyle po namin ay napakasimple po namin, napakatipid at hindi mapag-aksaya. Hindi po kami mahilig sa sosyalan, nakatutok sa pamilya. For 40 years po, kami ay nakatira sa parenong bahay na minana ko sa aking magulang. Kailang man, the past 40 years, hindi kami nakapagbayad ng upa or amortization sa housing loan. Simpleng buhay at tahanan lamang.
Hindi man kami gumagamit ng aircon sapagka’t napakadali po namin magkasakit sa lamig. Simpleng pagkain lamang ang kinakain naming sa bahay at sa maniwala po kayo at sa hindi, kami po ay walang katulong sa bahay. At yan ang sinasabi kong katotohanan sa inyo. Ganon kasimple ho ang aming pamumuhay na paminsan-minsan lamang na may dumadating na naglilinis ng aming bahay o nagpaplantsa ng aming damit.
Halos dalawa lang po ang pinagkakagastahan namin ng aking maybahay. Iyong aming pagkain po at iyong ginagastos namin para ipagpaaral dahil marami po kaming pinag-aaral na mga kabataan. Maswerte po ako—Maayos naman po ang lagay ng aming mga anak kaya hindi rin nakakabigat sa amin.
Maswerte po ako na ang napang-asawa ko 42 years ago ay isang babae na napakasimple at napakatipid din.
This past—more than 40 years na kami mag-asawa. Wala po kaming nabiling mamahaling property sa buhay naming tulad ng magagarang bahay sa eksklusibong sabdibisyon o di kaya’y mamahaling kotse o painting. At hindi ito hindi ho exaggeration.
Sa aking tanda po, the past 45 years since I started working, walang pong lumipas na kahit na isang buwan na hindi po ako nakapag-save ng bahagi ng aking kinita noong buwan na iyon.
Kaya hindi naman po nakapagtataka na marami po kaming naipon. Kaya nakakasakit po ng kalooban, totoong nakakainsulto na matapos kami magtipid at mag-ipon for almost 45 years, kami po ay tatanungin ngayon at sasabihin sa amin, “Bakit ka maraming cash, siguro magnanakaw ka?”
JUSTICE CUEVAS. The witness, Your Honor, is appearing to be very emotional. He is on the verge of tears. I wonder whether the court will be magnanimous enough to grant us even a five-minute—two-minute recess only, Your Honor, in order to enable him to gain his composure, Your Honor. And we will wind up within that period. We assure the court.
SUSPENSION OF HEARING
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session suspended for two minutes. (Gavel)
The witness may rest if he wishes.
At 2:59 p.m., the hearing was suspended.
RESUMPTION OF SESSION
At 3:10, the session resumed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session resumed.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, may we ask permission that the Chief Justice proceed with his …
THE PRESIDING JUSTICE. Yes. The Chief Justice may proceed and may we respectfully request the Chief Justice to wind up so that we can proceed with the direct examination. We will allow you, Mr. Chief Justice, to finish your statement.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Marami pong salamat.
Papasok na po ako doon sa mga bagay at mga issue na alam kong hinihintay nitong impeachment court na ito. But just a few preliminary statements before that, but I’ll be going to that shortly.
Bago po tayo nag-break, gusto ko po sanang itanong, ihayag sa publiko kung bakit kami ay hindi namili ng magagarang property this five 45 years at bakit nasa cash ang aming mga investments? Mahirap pong intindihin ito kung hindi ko ibabagahi sa inyo at ikukwento sa inyo ang masaklap na nangyari sa pamilya ng aking asawa.
During the—several sessions ago, several trial dates ago, mayroon pong mga testigong nag—tumestify dito at nagsiwalat ng mga bagay-bagay na tungkol, halimbawa, doon sa Basa Guidote Enterprises. At ito nga pong eksperiyensya nitong pamilya ng Misis ko ang dahilan kung bakit wala kaming masyadong hilig mag-invest sa property at in-invest namin instead iyong aming resources sa foreign exchange.
May isang hearing date po tayo na kung anu-ano na yatang masamang adjective ang naipukol sa aking may-bahay tungkol doon sa auction shares ng Basa Guidote. Hindi po ninyo maiintindihan iyan kung hindi ko ibibigay sa inyo ang background ng problema at ng hidwaan sa loob ng pamilya nila. Malungkot nga ho at kailangan kong ikwento dito sa harap ng publiko, pero, siguro oras na nga rin siguro na malaman ng ating taong-bayan kung ano nga ba ang nangyari sa loob nitong pamilyang ito kung bakit ganoong katindi at ganoong kalalim ang hidwaan at alitan doon sa pamilyang iyon.
Marami pong dahilan, pero isa po sa pinakamalaking dahilan sa hidwaan doon sa pamilyang iyan ay iyong two-hectare Basa Compound doon sa Libis malapit doon sa Eastwood, malapit doon sa property ni nasirang Col. Rolando Abadilla, at kung ano-ano pa iyong ibang property. Nung araw po iyong titulo ng property na yan, ng Libis property, 2 hectares po yan na sa kasalukuyan mga presyo ay conservatively P2.5 billion worth, bilyon po hindi po milyon. Nung araw po ang titulo po nyang 2-hectare Basa property na yan, Basa compound sa Libis, ay nasa pangalan ni Jose Basa III at nung aking mother-in-law, Asuncion Basa-Rocco. Hindi po namin malaman at walang makapagsabi kung papaano nakapagpa-issue si Mr. Jose Basa ng titulo doon sa Basa compound na ‘yon na ngayon ay naghahalagang P2.5 billion conservatively; at nakapagpa-issue siya ng titulo at nawala iyong pangalan ng aking mother-in-law, at nakapagpa-isyu siya ng titulo sa pangalan lamang nya.
Iyan po ang isang napakalaking dahilan diyan sa hidwaan ng pamilyang ‘yan. Kaya kung makikita po ‘nyo, bakit may mga kasong mahigit na 30 years na pong pending dyan sa RTC ng Manila, dahil nga po dyan sa matinding samaan ng loob, dahil dyan sa Basa compound na yan sa Libis. Nawala na lang po ang kalahating share ng mother-in-law ko. At hindi lang po ‘yan, ang problema po kasi sa pamilya nila ay napakayamang pamilya pero iyong kanilang mga ari-arian ay nakatali sa property. Alam naman po nating mga abugado from our experience, ‘pag kayo ay nagpamana ng property, sigurado maraming beses away kasi sasabihin nung isa, “o, bakit iyon ang napunta sa kanya, e, iyon ang gusto ko, bakit ito ang ibinigay sa akin e ayaw ko nito”. Sasabihin nung isa, “e kasi naman e marami ka ng nakuha kesa sa akin”, kung ano-anong dahilan. At madalas po, sa ating ekspiryensa mga abugado, ‘yan ay pinagsisimulan ng mga kaso-kaso. At iyon din po ang istorya ng Basa-Guidoteng ito. Sino po ba, saan na po ba, five months na po kaming ininsulto ng ininsulto ng walang tigil sa isang pahayagan kung bakit ganun kasuwapang daw iyong aking maybahay, tuso daw, walanghiya, at kung ano-anong adjectives ang ginamit sa kanya. Hindi po, hindi po, wala pong katotohanan ‘yan. Hindi po si Mr. Jose Basa ang inapi, siya po ang nang-api sa aking mother-in-law at sa pamilya ng aking mother-in-law.
Ayaw ko na po sana, limang buwan na po kaming binabatikos ng walang katigil-tigil diyan. Kami po ay tumahimik lamang, wala po kaming sinasabi, at bakit po kami walang imik? Sapagkat iyong tao ay patay na, kaya ayaw na naming sabihin sana kung ano iyong mga nagawa nya. Pero ngayon po mapipilitan po akong isiwalat sa buong bayan. Ang katotohanan po hindi lang po iyong side nila ang nadidinig na parang kami ang napakawalanghiya at kami ang napakasalbaheng tao. Maliban po sa pagkawala ng pangalan nung pagkaka-isyu ng bagong titulo ng Basa compound na nawala iyong pangalan, iyong kalahating share ng aking mother-in-law, si Mr. Basa po, I am sorry to say this, again, I’m sorry and I really apologize to have to say it now Pero kailangan po sigurong malaman ng bayan. Wala naman po syang trabaho e. Buong buhay naman nya spoiled brat po e, anak mayaman. Tuwing may kailangan po takbo kay Mama, kay Lola Charing, hingi ng pera. Pag walang pera iyong matanda, sige benta, benta kaliwa’t kanan. Ilan po bang anak nya ang pinaaral, siyam po ang anak ni Mr. Jose Basa, wala naman po syang trabaho. At iyong kaisa-isang property na pong natira doon sa matanda iyon na nga po iyong Basa Guidote property doon sa Sampaloc na kinuha at binili ng city of Manila. Pati iyon po gusto pong ibenta ni Mr. Basa. Ang sabi ng mother-in-law ko enough is enough. Tama na naman. Nakuha mo na yong share ko sa Libis, nawala na yong pangalan ko tumahimik ako. Ang dami mo ng kinuhang property sa Mama hindi ako umimik. Pati ba naman itong kaisa-isang ito kukunin mo pa at gusto mo na namang ibenta. Nadinig ko po kayo, Mr. Senate President, noong dini-discuss po yong auction ng shares ng Basa Guidote. Nadinig ko po ang, mawalang galang na po…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead, Mr. Chief Justice. I remember what I said.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Mawalang galang na po. Parang ang mga tanong po ninyo ay parang bakit parang napakatuso at napaka walanghiya noong aking asawa. Na binid po for P28,000 yong shares ni Mr. Basa na meron namang 34.7 milyon nandoon sa ilalim. Ito nga po ang nangyari dito, dahil nga kinuha na niya ang kalahati noong Libis na hindi umimik yong mother-in-law ko, kakapiranggot lang po ito doon sa nakuha nya roon sa Libis na binura yong pangalan ng aking mother-in-law at napa-isyu nya ng titulo na pangalan na lamang nya ang natira. Ngayon po tinanong po, nadinig ko po noong dini-discuss itong Basa, Guidote ito, parang nadinig ko sa inyo na gusto ninyong malaman ano ba ang nangyari dito sa mga shares na ito, bakit ganoon ang nangyari. Hindi ko po alam kung ano ang nangyari sapagakat wala po ako roon at ang misis ko po ay may sariling abogado nya. Kaya ang ginawa ko po ay ipinasalaysay ko sa aking anak na si Carla po kung ano ang nangyari. Ang sabi ko ilagay mo in writing yong recollection mo ng nangyari at ito ay babasahin ko sa impeachment court dahil I think this is relevant to the discussion of the issue at hand. Kaya ito po babasahin ko po yong sulat sa akin noong aking anak na dinedetalya kung ano ang nangyari doon sa auction ng shares. “Mommy,” and I am now quoting from the report of my daughter to me. The auction sale complied with the process and requirements of the law, Mommy went to the Quezon City RTC in the morning of September 30, 2003 with her lawyer to get paid for the damages brought on by the libel suit against the Basas. Ano po ba itong libel suit na ito? Ito po yong nagpa-publish po sa dyaryo si Mr. Basa, almost one page yong advertisement on a Saturday and a Sunday of Philippine Star and Philippine Daily Enquirer, obviously for maximum damage to the reputation of my wife at linagay na kung ano-anong masasama ang nilagay don.
Siya ay dinemanda ng libel ng aking maybahay at nanalo naman sa lahat ng libel cases—so ipagpapatuloy ko po—to get paid for the damages brought on by the libel suit against the Basas.
She mentioned, my wife mentioned, this auction to me—to my daughter—impassing a few days prior and told me it had been published for several weeks—yung notice po of auction pinablish for several weeks. I have been looking for something to invest my savings in so I entertained the possibility. I had serious reservations about it though because I didn’t really want to get involved in that family squabble. The greed and coming of those people were enough to make anyone sick.
After selling away the properties of my mom’s grandmother and not giving my grandmother her share of the proceeds repeatedly, they still wanted all the remaining properties for themselves, always in the end in view of selling them, kasi wala po naman siyang trabaho, and not giving my grandmother her share. Their rational, they are the Basas and my grandmother—yung mother-in-law ko po—has become a Roco and is well provided for by my grandfather’s income as a respected lawyer and business executive.
The risks of buying—ito po importante—The risks of buying shares of Basa Guidote Enterprises were explained to me. The festering family feud was obviously a big risk. Cases are pending to this day. More than 30 years na po.sa RTC of Manila. One in the court of appeals for reconveyance of title for a property that belongs to Basa Guidote, but got registered fraudulently under the name of Jose Ma. Basa III. This case was resolved by the RTC of Manila in 2001 after a 16-year litigation period in favour of the corporation, Jose Ma. Basa III appealed to the Court of Appeals.
Another case is pending in the RTC of Manila for the probate of the will of Lola Charing, yung ina po ng aking mother-in-law. Two other cases are pending in the RTC of Manila for determination of ownership of shares. When these cases are decided with finality, only then can the corporation be liquidated and dissolved. Shareholders can thereafter sell one other remaining property and yet their portions of the proceeds of the sales of corporate property. My wife ho, I’m referring to my wife, has to observe due process and wait for these cases to be resolved in accordance with the law.
These cases started in 1989, more than 30 years na po. When my father—ako pa raw ho was still a private citizen and had no influence on the courts. Now that he is in the Judicial system, my mother has been very careful—meaning my wife has been very careful not to be perceived as using my dad’s influence over the magistrate’s. She has left it to her lawyers to file the proper motions and is careful to the extent of not attending the hearings.
If what my dad’s accusers—yung mga accusers ko pa daw po—are saying is true about using his influence—yung influence ko daw po—would these cases still be pending in 2012 after more than 30 years? At yan po ang katotohanan talaga. Kung ginamit ko po ang aking impluwensya, tapos na po itong mga kasong ito at nanalo po kaming lahat.
Ipagpatuloy ko lang po. It is the Basas who are prolonging the cases. For instance, after litigating their claim over a title for 16 years, after the judge decided the case in favour of Basa-Guidote Enterprises, based on the evidence on the law, they still appealed it to the Court of Appeals. We also have the libel cases which started in 1996, for four cases, one, per publication, Jose Maria Basa III, and his wife, Raymunda Basa, iyong pinalalabas po sa mga diyaryo at sa mga media na naaapi daw, were convicted in all four cases of libel against my wife in various years. In the RTC of Quezon City, they were convicted and and sentenced in 2001. They opposed the writ of execution to further delay the payment of damages.
Finally, partial damages were paid on September 30, 2003, through the auction of their BGEI shares. Two other sentences in RTC of Manila were appealed to the Court of Appeals, thus prolonging further the payment of damages.
Now, who is oppressing whom? My mother, iyong wife ko daw po, was the victim of a very grievous crime against her honor and reputation, Jose and Raymunda Basa fled the country, tumakbo po sila e nang sila ay masintensyahan, tumakas po sila. They fled the country and refused to pay damages and serve their prison term. Jose Maria Basa III and Raymunda had their day in court. They were arraigned. They were allowed by the court to defend themselves on the witness stand. They were convicted and sentenced in 2001. Jose Maria Basa III was very much alive when he committed the crime, when he was arraigned, and while the proceedings were going on, he was found guilty. He must pay the damages that he is being ordered to pay by the court. His death did not extinguish his debts.
I know about these cases, meaning my daughter, I know about these cases involving the shares of stock, and they could go whichever way. Ito po ang importante, the risk of buying into a very messy corporation like this was so great that I was willing to bid only as high as P15,000. Yes, there are proceeds from the sale of corporate property, but the ownership of the shares is being disputed and is still under litigation per the BGEI articles of incorporation, Jose Basa III owned only 110 shares and his wife Raymunda, owned another 110 shares. Since these shares were valued at P100 per share, the total value therefore of their combined shares was only P22,000, Jose Basa III was claiming that he owned 4,860 shares because he claimed to have bought and paid for the shares of the other stockholders, namely, Maria Basa, Sister Concepcion, the late Sister Concepcion Basa and Sister Flor Basa, who is always appearing on TV.
After weighing the pros and cons, I, meaning my daughter, decided to invest my savings in the said shares. I remember telling mommy, iyong wife ko po, that I, my daughter, was willing to go as high as 50,000, but if there were others who were willing to bid higher than I would, then I would forego participating in the auction. It was better for her to get paid for the damages. But there was nobody else who showed up at the auction, so I paid the P28,000.00 in cash. And that was it. I cannot stress enough that there was a great risk in acquiring them, so I don’t see how anyone can say I did not pay enough. No one else wanted to sink in their money in such an uncertain corporation with so much in-fighting among the heirs. I was also told, my daughter po, I was also told that the lower—ito po importante po ito sa understanding po ng mga Senador at ng ating taumbayan—I was also told that the lower my bid, the easier it would have been for Jose III and Raymunda Bada to redeem the shares. Jose III and Raymunda could redeem their shares within one year. They would only have to pay me back my bid price of P28,000.00. Thereafter, they could regain ownership of the shares. But they did not. Jose III and Raymunda Basa were convicted of Libel against Mommy, my wife po, and since they fled to the US to evade arrest, Mommy had no choice but to garnish their shares. They were very unfair to Mommy. Instead of paying for the damages, they fled to escape accountability and serving out their prison term. ..It was only fair that Mommy would be paid damages. The court of law convicted Jose III and Raymunda Basa, issued multiple warrants of arrest and ordered them to pay damages. They were guilty of destroying Mommy’s reputation and making her suffer the pain, the anguish, the sleepless nights, the emotional turmoil, the damaged reputation and endless adverse effects of such crimes. No compensation, in fact, is sufficient to pay for their crime.”
Iyan po ang nangyari at sana naman po ay huwag ninyong tawagan ng kung anu-anong masamang adjective iyong aking asawa, knowing what happened dito sa pamilyang ito, kung bakit napakalalim po ng hidwaan at alitan nito. At mabalik naman po ako …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. By the way, Mr. Chief Justice, just to clarify. What adjective was used.
THE CHIEF OF JUSTICE. Parang nadinig ko pa yatang—if my memory serves me right—parang me nadinig akong nakaisa, nakagulang, nakapangtuso. Iyon po ang nadidinig ko.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I was not …
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Hindi po kayo. Hindi po kayo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Hindi po ako.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Hindi po kayo. Hindi po kayo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Tinanong ko lang po doon sa sheriff kung umobject si Mrs. Corona doon sa bid price ofP28,000.00 because of the fact that at that point, the corporation had a cash asset of P34.7 million, and the judgment to be satisfied was P500,000.00. And I was wondering, as a lawyer, and I am sure if you were in my place you will probably wonder, since the judgment is 500, half a million, then at least the bid price ought to have been pegged at not less than half a million considering the asset of the corporation. But I understand from the—and I am sorry to clarify this, in order to be fair to everybody—the sheriff said that the valuation of the shares that he exposed to bidding, was provided by Mrs. Corona. I just want to put this on the record. What I said was, did Mrs. Corona raise any objection or a whimper? Remember I used the word “whimper” to object to the sale at auction of the shares of stock controlling almost 91% of Basa Guidote Corporation and the sheriff said, “No, only the two of them, the mother and the daughter, talked to each other.” I just want to put that into the record because I do not remember having used any adjective that will extend or in any way imply any unwelcome or unpleasant conduct of Mrs. Corona.
So, you may proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Iyon nga po ipinaliwanag ko po iyong dahilan noong hidwaan nila at alitan, napakalalim na hidwaan na ako po mismo ay nahihirapan na rin noon kasi gusto nga sanang magkaayus-ayos na nga sila pero hindi ko po nakayang pagkasunduin sila.
Ngayon po, mabalik po ng kaunti lang kung bakit nga po iyong pasya namin ng aking may-bahay na hindi kami namimili ng mamahalin at magagarang property magbuhat noong araw pa po. Kasi nga po nakita namin itong problema sa pamilya nila, kaya po ang pasya namin ay in-invest nalang namin sa cash or in exchange po, para hindi po mawala iyong halaga at para madali po ang paghati-hatian kung saka-sakaling may mangyayari sa amin, idi-divide lang po by three, madali, walang problema at walang inggitan, kung ano ang makukuha ng sino.
May isa pong dahilan before I go into other more substantial things. May isa pong dahilan pa kung bakit nagpasya na kami na i-invest po sa cash, manatili sa cash iyong mga savings. Ako po ay isang dayabetiko. Matagal na po itong sakit kong ito, 1986 pa po.
THE PRESIDING JUSTICE. Mr. Chief Justice, we would like to caution you. At the behest and motion of your lawyers, when we were considering the evidence being presented by the prosecution, we did not authorize the introduction of evidence to establish ill-gotten wealth and there is no allegation as of today that will support the presentation of evidence regarding ill-gotten wealth. If at all, the re-entrant of this issue of ill-gotten wealth was not provided by the prosecution, to be fair to them, it was provided by your own lawyers who presented a witness here to testify on the totality of the income of your family to justify the purchases of certain concrete assets, condominium and land and so forth and so on. And so, I am saying this, there is no issue of ill-gotten wealth here.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Correct, malinaw po iyon.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Correct. The simple issue is simply inclusion and exclusion of property in your SALN. That is covered by paragraph 2.2 and 2.3 of Article of Impeachment No. II. So, for the introduction of evidence regarding wealth that it is honestly done or dishonestly acquired, will bring back into the picture paragraph 2.4 of Article II of the articles of impeachment which we already granted to be suppressed as far as introduction of evidence is concerned. So, if you are going to revive this with your testimony…
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Hindi po…
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. …then it will become open to a cross-examination by the prosecution and maybe by the members of this court.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Hindi ko po nire-revive ito, binabanggit ko lang po ‘to sapagkat malinaw po na nalason po ang pagiisip ng publiko sa mga atake sa amin sa labas.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I will allow you to proceed, Mr. Chief Justice, kaya lang po, I am cautioning you because this is, you know, an adversarial trial that you will be opening yourself to cross-examination in this area. But, anyway, it is your responsibility and I will allow you to continue with your statement.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Opo. Ngayon, ako po ay magpapatuloy na doon sa ating properties.
Ako po ay pinaratangan na may 45 ari-arian daw at ito ay, sa pagsisimula, ay sinabi kong malaking kasinungalingan. Alam po ni Eulalio Diaz III, Administrador ng LRA, at pamangking ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales at ni Justice Antonio Carpio, at matalik na kaibigan ni Pangulong Aquino, na wala naman akong 45 properties e. Alam naman nya ‘yon e. At iyong listahan na taglay-taglay nya dito sa hearing na ito ay exaggerated, huwad, at hindi totoo, ngunit inilabas pa rin nya sa media po. Ang tingin po tuloy ng mga tao doon sa labas, kung anong—sino ba ‘tong taong to may 45 properties. Pati po ako nagulat, pamilya ko nagulat, 45 properties. Wala pa akong nakilala pong tao dito sa Pilipinas na may 45 properties.
Ang sinasabi ko po sa bayan ngayon, at ako ay nagbubukas ng kalooban sa inyo at sa ating bayan, wala po akong 45 properties, lilima lang po ang akin dyan at ‘yan ay pinatunayan na namin at lahat ay nakadeklara po sa aking SALN. Wala po akong tinago na ari-arian na hindi ko inilagay sa aking SALN. Kahit na ang ibinabatikos dito sa akin sa impeachment court na ito na bakit ko raw hindi inilagay ang acquisition cost, ang sagot ko po, ay nakadeklara naman po iyong asset sa aking SALN, at iyong mga assets na iyan ay nakarehistro sa register of deeds na kung saan nakarehistro din ‘yong mga public documents covering that assets. It is something that I am not hiding because it’s a public document that can be checked anytime. Ngayon, narinig ko po dito sa impeachment court na ‘to, bakit ginamit mo ‘yong fair market value ng tax declaration at hindi mo nilagay ‘yung fair market value ng kasalukuyan? Unang-una po, hindi ko naman po alam ‘yong fair market value ng kasalukuyan dahil kung ganoon po ang ating pagbabatayan, di lahat po ng nanunungkulan sa gobyerno na may ari-arian every year kailangan pong tumawag ng appraiser para ma-revise yong fair market value ng kanyang ari-arian. Hindi naman siguro yon ang intension ng SALN Law. Ngunit nakalagay po at nakasaad doon sa tax declaration ng fair market value ay peryodikaling ina-adjust po ng assessor in accordance with present realities. Maaaring hindi tumugma sa actual selling price na gusto ninyo pero still it is being updated periodically by the assessor. Between the assessor’s fair market value determination and the actual selling price if you were to sell it at present day prices ay mas nakaka, as far as the SALN is concerned, mas reliable ito, ang values na nakalagay sa tax declaration because primarily yon po ay ginamit ko in a very consistent basis. Magbuhat noong araw hangga ngayon iyon na lang po ang aking nilalagay doon. Kung gagamitin naman natin ay acquisition cost, yong properting halimbawa binili ko noong 1992 for P3 milyon, kung yon ang gagamitin kong value sa aking SALN ngayong 2012 na naghahalaga ng P10 milyon halimbawa, eksampol lang po, ay P3 milyon pa rin ang ilalagay ko kaya hindi rin po updated at hindi rin po accurate. Kaya incomplete po inilagay ko yong fair market value na nakalagay sa tax declaration dahil yon ay mas reliable kaysa sa yong actual selling price na hindi ko naman alam kung magkano ko maibebenta dahil hindi ko naman binebenta. The only way na malalaman ko po yon ay tatawag ako ng appraiser every year at paa-appraise ko yong property. Pinatunayan din po namin na yong acquisition cost, at ito pa po siguro yong sinasabi ninyo kani-kanina ay nakapasok naman doon sa abot kaya naman noong aking kinita at kung may kulang naman ay may pondong pribado naman pong pinagkunan na wala naman po sa pananaw ko, mawalang galang na po, walang koneksyon po dito sa impeachment trial na ito.
May inilabas din po sa medya na marami raw kaming ari-arian sa Amerika. Kahit na isa wala naman pong napatunayan kasi wala naman po kaming ari-arian sa Amerika. Yong sinabi nilang ari-arian namin sa Amerika yong listahan po kasing peke ng LRA list noong 45 properties. Nanggaling po sa isang pekeng manunulat, isang nagpapanggap journalist daw sya. Malinaw na malinaw po na yon ay inilabas lamang para makasira ng reputasyon. Eto na po. Siguro ito po ang inyong pinakahihintay na topic, yong aming tax. Noong ipinatawag po namin si Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, hati po yong mga nagmamagandang loob sa amin. Meron pong nagsabi tila nagkamali yata kayo sa pagpatawag sa amin. Meron namang nagsasabi na hindi tama na ipatawag ninyo si Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Ako po, sa ikabuturan ng aking puso, naniniwala po ako na tama ang pagpapatawag namin at pagsu-subpoena kay Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
Sabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, ako raw po ay may 10 million hanggang 12 million US dollars po sa 82 bank accounts. Wala po akong kilalang taong may 82 bank accounts. Ewan ko lang po kay Ombudsman Morales, baka siya meron kaya nakatanim sa isip niya yung 82 bank accounts. And katotohanan po, ako’y nagulat sa sinabi ni Ombudsman Morales lalong-lalo na nung siya ay nag-PowerPoint presentation na kinleym po niya na ako daw ay may 82 dollar accounts.
She misleading the alleged that such information was based on the report provided her by AMLC. Ito pong AMLC report na ginamit ni Ombudsman Morales dito sa impeachment court na ito, ginamit dito sa impeachment court na ito ay hindi po authenticated, walang predicate crime, walang imbestigasyon, walang court order, walang notice sa depositor. Clearly it came from a polluted source.
Ang ginawa ko po ay tumawag po ako ng isang team ng accountants. Napag-aralan yung listahan na winagayway dito ni Ombudsman Morales at malinaw na malinaw po na kanyang testimony was one of deception, exaggeration and misrepresentation.
Gusto ko po sanang humingi ng pahintulot sa honourable impeachment court kung pwede rin po ako gumamit ng PowerPoint presentation.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. You’re granted, Mr. Chief Justice. (Gavel)
SUSPENSION OF HEARING
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session suspended for one minute for the Chief Justice to prepare his PowerPoint presentation.
It was 3:58 p.m.
Session resumed at 4:17 p.m.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session is resumed. Mr. Chief Justice, are you ready with your PowerPoint presentation?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Yes, Mr. Senate President, I am ready.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. You may proceed.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May we request, Your Honor, that, Atty. Sta. Ana, who have prepared this PowerPoint presentation, be allowed to assist the Chief Justice, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Just a minute. Will you repeat your request.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May we request, Your Honor, that Atty. Sta. Ana, who principally prepared this representation, Your Honor…
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. What is the nature of the assistance that will be extended.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Computer-technical matters, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Then place the one assisting the Chief Justice under oath because he is going to be, in effect, participating in the…
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We agree, Your Honor, we will comply very religiously.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The Gentleman from Iloilo.
SEN. DRILON. Mr. President, I think the lawyer will only operate the machine, if I got it correctly. He will not testify. So, with all—maybe we do not need to have him place under oath because he will not testify, he will just operate the machine.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Will he not assisting and explaining the information that will be shown to the court? Are you going to…
ATTY. STA. ANA. Mr. President, I will just be assisting in the operation of the laptop computer.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright.
ATTY. STA. ANA. And I will not testify.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Then, you do not have to take the oath.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor.
MR. ASSISTANT. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Okay. So ordered. (Gavel)
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. With the permission of the Honorable Court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Gaya po ng nasabi ko kanina bago tayo nag-break, narito ako para pabulaanan ang sinabi ni Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales na ako raw ay may US$10 to $12 million sa 82 bank accounts. Wala pong katotohanan yong sinasabi ni Ombudsman Morales. Noong sya ay mag-testify po dito, nag-assemble po ako ng team of accountants to analyze her presentation at gagamitin ko po ang sariling diagram ni Ombudsman Morales para i-expose ang napakatinding pagsisinungaling nya para siraan at sirain ang aking reputasyon. Ito po ang report noong aking mga accountants, yong kanilang analysis noong explanation ni Ombudsman Morales.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The prosecution, since the honourable Chief Justice is actually testifying now under oath and he has been doing this, if there is any objectionable portion of the testimony of the Chief Justice, you may raise your objection and the court will consider the objection because…
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, in consonance with the pronouncement made by the honourable Presiding Justice, Your Honor, may we now move that all the statements of the witness, Your Honor, in his opening statement be considered as a part of his testimony on direct examination, Your Honor. Anyway, that is under oath, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes. Actually the Chief Justice was placed on the witness stand, took his oath to testify and he testified in a narrative way. And that is why earlier I said, with the objection of the opposition being raised, that the statements of the Chief Justice, his opening statements, is a part of his testimony already and that it’s open to cross-examination.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you then, Your Honor, very clearly.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. You may make your motions so that it will be officially recorded.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor, that is why I was making my motion, Your Honor, that the statements, all the statements or testimony made by the Chief Justice in connection with the opening statement be considered as part of his direct examination subject of course to the cross-examination required or prescribed by law on the matter, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is the position of the prosecution because there were hearsay portions of the narration of the Chief Justice.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. If Your Honor will recall, I earlier tried to raise objections to the manner by which the “testimony” of the Chief Justice is being presented.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. So you will agree that we will consider the testimony of the Chief Justice, his actual evidence-in-chief.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Yes, but we would like to raise our objections, Your Honor please.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. You will object…
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Continuing objection to the testimony of the Chief Justice and if I may discuss.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Yes. First of all, as the Chair has noted, the testimony of the Chief Justice constitutes hearsay and likewise constitutes irrelevant testimony and he is incompetent to testify on some of the subject matter. What I would like to stress here, Your Honor please, is that the Chief Justice has been hurling accusations, charges against individuals who are not even parties to this complaint and who are not here to defend themselves. And I think that’s a gross violation of their rights.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. But, anyway, …
ATTY. BAUTISTA. I would just like to put that on record because it might be said that we just sat down and did nothing. I would also like to put on record in the strongest, most vehement terms, the charges of the Chief that the prosecutors have resorted to trickery, shenanigans or presenting evidence that’s fake, under the guidance and stewardship over of our very competent, firm and wise Presiding Judge, with the support of the other Senator-Judges, how can we possibly do that? In fact, when we filed our formal offer, our formal offer was admitted in evidence by the Senator-Judges.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May we know the …
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Excuse me. I am not yet done.
It is not fair …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Let the prosecution finish. (Gavel)
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Mr. Chief, we are lawyers here. We are under oath to push our cases as hard as we can as your defense counsel have admirably done. But to just cast aspersions on my team without any basis is unfair and I object to it.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Are you through? May we …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. We take note of your objection. But anyway, we are going to focus—this court will focus on the testimony of the Chief Justice, and will consider what is relevant and what is irrelevant, what’s material and what’s immaterial. (Gavel)
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Counsel for the defense. Proceed.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May we now request permission for the Chief Justice to continue with his presentation, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes, the Chief Justice may now continue. (Gavel)
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. As I was saying earlier, Ombudsman Morales accused me of having 10 to 12 million US dollars in 82 bank accounts. That is a malicious lie. And I will be using the Ombudsman’s own diagram which you’ll see on on the screen to expose the malicious lies she unleashed which was intended for no other reason but to destroy my reputation.
A careful analysis of the AMLC report would show that many of these accounts were already closed and the funds thereof transferred to settlement accounts. These bank accounts represent time deposits or investments. Each time a time deposit would mature and be rolled over, a new account would be created or consolidated to make a new placement to earn higher interest. These funds would then be transferred from one account to another in order to earn more interest.
I repeat, ladies and gentleman of this honourable tribunal, inuulit ko po sa taong bayan, wala po akong 82 bank accounts, dollar accounts. I do not have 82 dollar accounts as charged by the Ombudsman.
The alleged AMLC report itself, contrary to the Ombudsman’s misleading representations will show that there are only four dollar accounts by December 2012. Four, not 82, four.
For example, in BPI Acropolis Branch which only had seven and not eight bank accounts, all these banks in BPI Acropolis were closed as early as 2004 to 2005 and transferred to BPI Tandang Sora and PS Bank Cainta. Thus, these were no longer—there were no longer any bank accounts in BPI Acropolis. For BPI Tandang Sora Branch, the Ombudsman said, that I allegedly had 18 accounts in said branch, but the alleged AMLC report will also show that all these accounts were closed, during the period 2004 to 2007 and transferred to BPI San Francisco Del Monte and PS Bank Cainta. Makikita po ninyo doon sa screen, paliit ng paliit iyong pie na sinabi ni Ombudsman Morales na mayroon daw ako. The same goes for the 34 accounts in BPI San Francisco Del Monte. The accounts in this branch were closed beginning 2007 to December 2011, iyon po, makikita ninyo, kakapiranggot na lang po ang natitira, the last account to be closed was the main account, account number 3244108104. BPI-MIC, the BPI investment management incorporated account was sourced from the BPI San Francisco Del Monte main account number 3244108104. This was closed on December 19, 2011, and the funds thereof or therein, transferred to main account number 3244108104. For Allied Bank, these placements include the Citibank and two Deustche Bank accounts, the main account for Allied Bank is account number 1582002676. The alleged AMLC reports show that most of the Allied Bank accounts, including those accounts representing the placements made by Allied Bank in Citibank and Deustche Bank were closed and the funds thereof transferred to the main account, and this main account was closed in December of 2011.
For PS Bank, all the bank accounts in PS BankCainta were closed between August and October of 2008, and the funds in these accounts were transferred to PS Bank Katipunan. In PS Bank Katipunan, the alleged AMLC report shows only the last two PS Bank Katipunan accounts were account numbers 0141024292 and 0131002826—ayan po, payat na payat na po ang natitira, hence, contrary to the Ombudsman’s testimony, the alleged AMLC report shows that there were only four dollar accounts as of December of 2011, namely, BPI San Francisco Del Monte account number 3244108104, Allied Bank account number 1582002676, PS Bank account numbers 0141024292 and 0131002826. Iyan po ang natira sa sinasabi niya hong one big pie ni Ombudsman Morales.
Mayroon po akong tanong kay Ombudsman Carpio-Morales. Ginang Ombudsman, kayo po ba ay pinapatulog pa ng konsyensya ninyo kung mayroon po kayo noon? Alam mo namang wala akong ten to twelve million US dollar deposits, at wala akong 82 bank accounts, bakit mo naman pinapangandakan sa publiko ang kasinulangang ito?
ATTY. BAUTISTA. If Your Honor please, may I move to strike out those statements. They have no place in trial.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please, may I know the legal basis, Your Honor, because that is a conclusion on the part of counsel.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is the objection?
ATTY. BAUTISTA. Your Honor, these are personal aspersions on the character of people who are not here to defend themselves. Why don’t you just testify on the facts than lead any conclusions as to the motive of the person to adjudge.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Your Honor please …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Anyway, the Chief Justice is the highest magistrate of the land, and he knows the law, he knows the Rules of Evidence and I will give him the leeway to answer the questions, or to state his position. You can exhaust all your skills to cross-examine him after he finishes his narration. I think it is about to end anyway.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. I will do that, your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right. So ordered.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Ombudsman Morales, noong ikaw ay tumestigo, tinanong ka kung magkano ang balanse ng mga accounts ko. Ang sabi mo hindi mo alam. Alam kong alam mo, ayaw mo lamang sabihin sapagka’t mapapabulaanan ang sinabi mong mayroon akong ten to twelve million US dollars. Base na rin sa mga dokumento na sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales, na galing daw sa AMLC, ang suma-total ng aking deposits ay malayong-malayo sa sinasabi niyang ten to twelve million dollars na nasa apat na accounts lamang, hindi 82. Ang exchange rate po noong mag-umpisa kaming mag-ipon nitong mga foreign exchange na ito noong late 60’s ay nasa 2 to 1 pa lamang.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. How much?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. 2 to 1 po, noong mag-umpisa po kaming mag-ipon ng mga dollars namin, 2 to 1 pa lang po ang exchange rate.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. When was that, Mr. Chief Justice.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Mga late 60’s po. Dahil ako po ay nagsimulang magtrabaho 1968. Ngayon po ay halos 45 to 1 na ang exchange rate. Kung natatandaan po ninyo …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you sure that late 60’s or early 60’s?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Late 60’s.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is after 1965.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Opo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Kung natatandaan po ninyo, noong matapos ang 1969 presidential elections, I mean, hanggang noong December or November of 1969, noong naganap iyong 1969 presidential elections, ang exchange rate po ay 2 to 1 at nag-devalue tayo sa floating rate noong January of 1970. From 2 to 1 naging 6 to 1. Maayos at maalwan naman po ang kita ko noong mga panahong iyon, lalo na noong ako ay naging abogado na. Lahat po ng savings namin pinalitan namin nang pinalitan sa US dollars. Ang tanong naman po ay bakit naman sa US dollar. Sapagka’t wala po kayong lugi sa U.S. dollars dahil ito po ay napaka-stable kung ikukumpara ninyo sa Philippine pesos. Ikaw ay liquid at ito ay madaling palitan kung kailangan at mabilis umakyat ang halaga at hindi naman po kami nagkamali sa pagkaka-invest namin po sa foreign currency sapagkat ang exchange po ay tumalon na to almost seven times, ang Balor doon sa pagkabili namin halos 40 years ago. At dahil halos hindi namin nagagalaw ang interest dahil mayroon naman akong kita sa aking trabaho sa practice. Lumago po ng lumago ang halaga ng mga investment namin sa foreign exchange.
Isa pa po, mahaba po ang history nitong mga pondong ito. Nag-umpisa po ito na matagal na matagal na dekada na po ang binibilang noong ako ay mga mga account pa po sa sa Far East Bank at isa o dalawa pang bangko. Inuulit ko po sa iyo, mga Ginoong-Hukom, wala po akong US $10 to 12 million katulad ng sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales. Wala din po akong 82 bank accounts. Ang lahat ng nasa amin ay nanggaling sa mabuting paraan, sa sariling sikap at wala po akong ninakaw sa gobyerno kahit na isang kusing. Wala po akong ninakaw sa gobyerno kahit na isang pera.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you through, Mr. Chief Justice?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Malapit na po.
Kinita po ng malinis ang lahat ng aming pinag-ipunan noong ako ay nasa pribadong sector pa. Nagbayad po ng tamang buwis at mahaba ang fund history ng mga pondong ito.
At bakit naman wala sa SALN ko? Sapagkat may batas po Republic Act 6426 na naggagarantiya ng confidentialitiy ng dollar deposits. Ang pagkakaintindi po sa pagbasa ng batas ay hindi kailangan ideklara ang US dollar deposits sa SALN dahil sa confidentiality provision ng batas. This is an absolute rule.
Mismong si dating Director Estrella Martinez ang nagsabi na sa loob ng 32 taon niya sa pagsusuri ng mga SALN noong siya ay naninilbihan pa sa Bureau of Internal Revenue wala pa siyang nakitang nagdeklara ng dollar deposits sa SALN.
Ako po ba ay may tinatago? Sinasabi ko po sa inyo at tumitingin ako ng diretso sa mga mata ninyo. Wala po akong tinago. Sapagkat kung ako’y may tinago, hindi ko po ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang kwarta kong ito. Kung ako ay may itinago hindi ko ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang mga perang ito. Dekada na po ang binibilang buhat nung kami ay nag-invest sa foreign exchange.
Ako naman po ba ay may peso deposit?
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice, with your—I just want to clarify, I hope you don’t mind.
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Opo.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Iyong dollar deposits were only earning interests or are you engaged in buying and selling foreign currencies?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Compounded po, compounded annually, interest po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Interest lang?
THE CHIEF JUSTICE. Opo.
May mga peso deposits ba na nasa pangalan ko? Opo. Pero taliwas sa mga sinabi ni Ombudsman Carpio-Morales na may 31 peso deposit accounts daw ako, ito po ay hindi po totoo sapagkat tatatlo lang po ang aking peso deposits accounts. Nakakapagtaka nga po, LRA list – 45 properties daw iyon pala ay lilima lang, dollar accounts, 82 daw po dollar accounts, iyon pala ay apat lamang, at ngayon naman, 31 peso accounts daw po, iyon pala ay tatatlo lamang. Ang hilig naman po magimbento.
At bakit ko naman hindi idineklara ang pesos ko na ito sa SALN ko? Sapagkat ito ay co-mingle funds na hindi naman namin pag-aari. Sino po ang nagmamay-ari ng mga pondong ito? Ito po ay binubuo ng expropriation proceeds, ng pagbenta ng Basa-Guidote property sa City of Manila noong 2001, at sa nakaraang 11 years po, ito naman ay kumita ng interest, nandiyan din po ‘yan. Noong mga taong 1990, ang aking ina po ay na-diagnosed na may colon cancer, inihabilin po nya kung ano man iyong natitirang pera nya sa bangko sa akin, sabi nya, ikaw na ang mangasiwa ng pondong ‘yan, ikaw na ang bahala sa pagbayad ng mga doctor ko, pag-oospital ko, at lahat ng—sorry to say it, iyong funeral expenses ko. Nandiyan din po ang utos ng aking ina na kung may matitira pagkatapos mabayaran ang kanyang mga doctor, hospital bills, funeral expenses, ang natitira pong pera ay pangangasiwaan ko para kung sino man po sa pamilya ang mangailangan for any emergency. At ito na nga po ay nagkatotoo sapagkat iyong aking nakakatandang kapatid, si Toti po, aking Kuya Toti, si Arturo, mga two years ago po ay malubhang nagkasakit sa puso at nangailangan ng malagyan ng stent, lima pong stent. Matagal na po syang hindi nakakapagtrabaho dahil sya ay masakitin. Maliban sa kanyang sakit sa puso, sya rin po ay may scoliosis of the spine, he is in constant pain and almost perpetually confined to bed. Dito ko po kinukuha, dahil hindi na po sya nakakapagtrabaho, dito po kinukuha ang binibigay ko sa kanya tuwing buwan, mga gamot nya at noong sya ay na-confine sa Medical City para mangailangan ng stent na halos isang milyon po ang nagastos namin, dito po kinuha. Nandyan din po ang interest na kinita nitong mga account na ito sa BPI, pera po ng aking 2 anak, si Carla at si Francis na kino-mingle ko po dyan para makakuha kami ng sama-sama, makakuha ng mas malaking interest at yong peso savings po ng anak kong si Charina na iniipon namin para pagpagawa nya ng bahay doon sa McKinley Hill. Nakalagay dito na, natalakay po dito sa impeachment court na ito yong ari-arian ng aking anak na si Charina sa Mckinley Hill na ang bintang sa akin ay akin daw, na tinatago ko sa pangalan ng aking anak na si Charina na hindi naman po totoo sapagkat sya po ay isang physical therapist na malaki ang kinikita sa Amerika. Matagal na po sya, almost ten years na po sya doon, napakasipag na bata. Dalawa pong trabaho ang kanyang hinahawakan, parehong mataas ang kanyang pwesto sa 2 ospital. Nagtatrabaho din yong kanyang asawa. Kung hindi po natuloy, kung wala po itong impeachment trial na ito, siguro po ay abala kami ng aking maybahay sa pangangalaga at pangangasiwa ng pagpapatayo nya ng bahay na yan sa McKinely Hill. Dahil bago pa man din sya umalis almost ten years ago sa Pilipinas at pumatungo sa Amerika, sya po ay may mga naiwan ding mga savings din dito at nandidiyan rin po yan, yong savings ni Charina, sa pesos na yon.
I have come here to disclose the information regarding these accounts, especially the dollar accounts. I must declare, however, that as I said, there are good and valid reasons why I have no obligation or duty to execute the waiver which some people have been asking me to execute because I am guided by the letter of Republic Act No. 6426 which, as you know, upholds all depositors of foreign currency full and absolute confidentiality. As the records will show, I have never declared these accounts in my SALN consistent with the belief that there is no legal duty to do so. The situation po is not my doing. It has been in place for a very long time. It is a common view that Republic Act 6713 does not amend the secrecy of foreign currency deposits. In fact, there is no jurisprudence or ruling on the matter.
On the contrary, Supreme Court decisions confirm that the secrecy afforded by Republic Act 6426 is absolute. Certainly, I should not and cannot be penalized for abiding and relying on the letter of the law.
The inaccuracies in my SALN do not constitute an impeachable offense. Not every omission, not in every inaccuracy is an impeachable offense. In this case, the prosecution itself in fact admitted in open court, right here, that an omission or inaccurate declaration in the SALN, while it may constitute perjury, is not a high crime.
Ito po ay record ng Senate sitting as an impeachment court on Thursday, February 2, pages 18-19. Nothing in what I have done or omitted to do it amounts to an impeachable offense.
My accusers talk about my moral fitness to remain as Chief Justice. What moral fitness I ask? This has never been alleged in the complaint, much less has there been evidence presented to prove it. Moreover, this only sprang up in the discussion because of the propaganda and surveys manipulated and timely released to create a popular perception that I am no longer morally fit to remain in public office. And who claim unfitness on my part but the very same accusers who have done everything to destroy me and my family from the very beginning.
At this point, I would like to thank those who stood by me and the cause I’m fighting for. Win or lose, we shall continue fighting because we know right is with us and no one can take that away from us.
Be that as it may, I have here with me a waiver which I will sign right now.
(Chief Justice signing waiver)
Ito po, pirmado ko na po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ano po ba yang waiver nay an?
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. Babasahin ko po. Babasahin ko po.
I, Renato C. Corona, hereby waive my right of confidentiality and secrecy of bank deposits under Republic Act No. 1405, as amended, and authorize all banking institutions to disclose to the public any and all bank documents pertaining to all peso and foreign currency accounts under my name.
I hereby authorize the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Anti Money Laundering Council, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Land Registration Authority to disclose to the public any and all information that may show my assets, liabilities, net worth, business interests and financial connection to include those of my spouse.
I am likewise authorizing the Clerk of Court of the Supreme Court en banc with permission from the Supreme Court en banc to immediately release to the public my SALN for the years 2002 to 2011, wherefore, with God and the Filipino people, as my witnesses, I affix my signature this 22nd day of May, 2012 at Pasay City, Philippines, signed, Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice, Supreme Court of the Philippines.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Chief Justice, that is limited to Republic Act No. 1405?
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. Nakalagay po, foreign currency deposits.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. The foreign currency deposit refers to Republic Act No. 6426. So, you are also waiving that?
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. I will write it here in my handwriting. It is just a typographical error, because the original draft had it. Ah, nakalagay naman po dito, under Republic Act No. 6426 and Republic Act No. 1405 as amended.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. That is why I wanted to clarify.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. Nakalagay po. Nakalagay po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you through, Mr. Chief Justice.
CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA. Sandali na lang po. Sandali na lang po. It authorizes any and all banks to release information about dollar accounts in my name, and peso accounts in my name, specifically the number of the accounts, the opening and closing balance. As I speak, my counsels are distributing blank copies of the waiver that I have signed. I am humbly asking all 188 complainants from the House of Representatives, led by the Congressmen in the prosecution panel and Senator Franklyn Drilon, to join me in a moment of truth as a gesture of transparency and reconciliation with the Filipino people and to one another. I am asking them to sign these blank forms and to join me, sapagkat hiling po ito ng bayan. Let us face the people together. The nation is at a stand still. Our people are watching all of us. Our people had been drawn into this intriguing web of dissention and decisiveness, or this proceeding has divided the nation. We owe it to the people. Let us together show them that we are first and foremost their public servants, and we surrender to their call for transparency and accountability.
Let us rise to the occasion and prove to them that we deserve their trusts, that we are willing to answer to them whatever the consequences. I beg you Ladies and Gentlemen of the prosecution, not to engage me in arguments about who is on trial here. We, you and me, are all on trial here. Let us stop all the posturing and show the Filipino nation what were made of. This is no trick or manipulation. This is an invitation, a challenge for public accountability made only with the hope that we can all together give our nation one shining moment in public service. You may choose to turn down this invitation, this challenge, for whatever reason, whatever, but if you decline, then, you will affirm to me and all who are watching that there is in fact no legal obligation or duty to disclose foreign currency holdings and deposits. If any of you should choose to decline, I regret that there is no point in my waiver because it will only allow the completion of the persecution I have suffered. I am no thief, I am no criminal, I have done no wrong. But honorable Senators, I am also no fool.
I pray that these Gentlemen will accept my invitation, otherwise, I stand by my actions as being completely founded on the law itself.. Isusumite ko po ang aking waiver sa kinauukulan kapag kompleto na ang pirmadong 189 waivers. Kung hindi sila papayag sa hamong ito, bibigyan ko po ng direktiba ang aking defense panel na i-rest na po ang aking depensa. Tutal, wala naman silang napatunayang paratang laban sa akin. Maraming salamat po. Pagpalain po tayo ng Poong Maykapal. And now, the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines, wishes to be excused.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If Your Honor please, the Chief Justice, as respondent in this case, has been on the witness stand, testified for more than three hours …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Just a minute.
ATTY. BAUTISTA. He is not being discharged.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. I am not discharging him. I am making a manifestation.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Order. We have not discharged the Chief Justice. With due respect to him. Counsel for the defense, will you kindly advise your client to return to the witness stand. I respect him as a Chief Justice, but this court must be respected. (Gavel) Quiet.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May I request …There was a misunderstanding, Your Honor. May I request even for one minute, Your Honor. We will have him return back, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. All right.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. I am very sure it is not out of disrespect to this court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Session is suspended for one minute. Please let the Chief Justice come back. Sgt-At-Arms isara ninyo iyong kuwan. (Gavel)
It was 5:15 p.m.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If Your Honor please, I apologize to the seeming disrespect to this honourable court. There was no intention whatsoever. There is a misapprehension, Your Honor. In fact, he is taking his medicine and attending to personal necessity.
At 5:20 p.m, the session was resumed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. (Gavel) Session is resumed. Ladies and Gentlemen, we have been patient. I warn you, if you continue to be disorderly, I will ask the Sgt-At-Arms to escort all of you out of this session hall. So, I hope you understand the decorum required by this Court. You may do it in some other place but in this Court.
Mr. Counsel, is the Chief Justice coming back?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. I was told, Your Honor, a while ago that—I do not know how to—sorry.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Nobody can get out of the Senate. I ordered all the doors closed. And I do not want any defiance of the powers of this Impeachment Court. If you are going to do this, disrespecting this court, this court will make a decision of this case right now.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. May I be permitted, Your Honor, to check his whereabouts.
SUSPENSION OF THE HEARING
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Alright, session is suspended for one minute.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor. please, despite the fact that he is suffering from hypoglycemia, Your Honor, and the fact that—I am sorry …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. You know …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. If, Your Honor, please …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Mr. Counsel, You placed the Chief Justice on the witness stand …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes.
THE PRESDING OFFICER. We allowed him to narrate his defense.
If he does not want to be cross examined, you know the consequences of that, I will order the striking out of all his statement from the record, and we will decide the case on the basis of the evidence on record.
So, it’s your play.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. Now, I wanted to assure the court that there is no such plan, Your Honor. In fact, after having started with his testimony, Your Honor, I was about to make a manifestation. I did not realize that he was already suffering from pain, chest and difficulty in breathing, Your Honor, and dizziness, in fact, a couple of minutes before these things actually took place, Your Honor, he was already taking medicines, Your Honor. He can be viewed now by the court, and hypoglycaemia, I am speaking from experience, because I have two brothers who died within one-year apart, Your Honor, and that is why I am a little bit apprehensive also, also, panicky, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. But …
JUSTICE CUEVAS. I would like to assure the court that there is no intention to violate nor to degrade the authority of this court, and I take it upon myself, Your Honor, to commit …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Yes, counsel, but he is the Chief Justice, he knows the decorum in the courts, and he could very well have said, I am not feeling well, may I be excused by this court.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. That is correct, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Not to me but the court.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor, I could not …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. But the fact that he said, I am the Chief Justice, I want to be excused.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Hinihingi po namin ang inyong kapatawaran at unawa, Kagalang-galang na—sapagkat po …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I think, we did not volunteer to the judges here. We are here by virtue of the mandate of the Filipino people. And I will tell you, Mr. Counsel, I have high respect for the Chief Justice.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I have high respect for the institution that he represents, but I equally demand a respect for the institution that I represent. And I am not going to allow any slight, any abuse of authority against this court for as long as I am the Presiding Officer.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Alam po namin iyon.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. If you are not going to allow your client or he will not allow himself to be cross-examined, we will decide this case on the basis of the evidence on record.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Hindi po naman ganoon Chief dahil iyon pong manipestasyong kong ginagawa noong magtapos siya ay manifestation to the effect that we be allowed to start with our direct-examination questions. And it is only after we are through with the direct-examination, Your Honor, that cross-examination may be had. So, we have no intention …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Your client has been testifying. What direct-examination are you going to ask him. He has already made his case.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. But there are quite a number, for instance the AMLA report, the circumstances that brought about the filing of the—so a lot more, Your Honor, just to show to the court that we were not really intending to let him …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Why did you not stop your client so that you can ask the direct questions. We have cautioned him.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Tama po iyon. Kaya nga po sinisisi ko rin komo nag-panic na rin po ang pamilya eh. Hindi po malaman kung ano ang gagawin? Ang dapat sanang ginawa nila kahit na isa man lang sa kanila nagsabi sa akin, humingi ng permiso. And I could makel any manifestation, Your Honor. And I think the court will be liberal enough to …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Kami naman dito ay ipinakita namin sa inyo na nirerespeto namin siya.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Tama po.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Nirerespeto namin ang Korte Suprema, pinagbibigyan namin, marami sa akin pumupuna sapagka’t pinabayaan kong magsalita ng napakahaba, ay huwag naman kaming babastusin. Huwag naman kaming babastusin. Hindi ko papayagan na babastusin itong husgado na ito ng maski sinuman.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Dinaramdam po namin at ikinalulungkot namin na magkaroon ng ganitong pangyayari sapagka’t wala naman pong intension ang kagalang-galang Chief Justice ni ang pamilya niya. Ang tingin ko po, ay maaaring nag-panic na rin ang pamilya, hindi makahinga, namumutla at bumaba po ang sugar, eh ni hindi po makatayo eh. Tutal, noon pong inexamine …
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ngayon, para wala ng mahabang usapan, ano ba ang gusto ninyo?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Eh di ipagpapatuloy po naming ang pagtestigo niya.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ngayon?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Kung ngayon po ay hindi po siguro dahil tulerado po ang aming kliyente eh. Ang ibig kong sabihin, he is not physically able and I believe not mentally suited also to carry on with the examination more particularly if there will be cross-examination.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. What is your pleasure?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Kaya nga po nakikiusap kami, kung ang kanyang kondisyon po batay sa report, maski po ng doctor ng Senado, ay puwede na siya, ay kahit po bukas. I arrogate it unto myself, Your Honor, to take the trouble of bringing him here.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Ang ibig ninyong sabihin, na depende iyan sa kanyang kalagayan, at antayan namin na pasyahan itong kaso na ito kung kalian niya gusting bumalik dito?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Ah hindi po. Hindi po kung kalian niya gusto. Hindi po ako sasang-ayon doon.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Kailan nga?
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Bukas po, kung ayos na siya. Tuloy na siya.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Eh kung hindi siya ayos.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Eh papaano … patawarin po ninyong sabihin ko.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Counsel, I am telling you, we will give him, to be considerate to him, we will give him until tomorrow to return.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Okay then, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Then if he will not return for cross-examination, we will consider this case submitted for resolution.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. We will. We will abide by, Your Honor.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I would like to have the impeachment court to express their position. Is there any objection to this position? Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, we support your decision. There is no objection from the Court.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. We will give you until tomorrow. You must bring the Chief Justice back for cross-examination and you know the rule. What he said here is nothing unless he is cross-examined by the opposing counsel. If he will not appear, I will be forced to order, issue an order to strike out all everything he said here from the record and we will then consider his case submitted for decision.
JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thy shall be done, Your Honor, as directed.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. SO ORDERED.
SEN. SOTTO. With that, Mr. President, may we ask the Sergeant-at-arms to make a manifestation.
THE SERGEATN-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. The Majority Floor Leader.
SEN. SOTTO. I move that we adjourn until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23, 2012.
THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Any objection? (Silence) Hearing none, this trial is adjourned until two o’clock in the afternoon of Wednesday, May 23, 2012, without any postponement. (Gavel)
The session was adjourned at 5:39 p.m.