IMPEACHMENT TRIAL: Friday, May 25, 2012

At 2:00 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 Honorable Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Renato C. Corona is hereby called to order.  We shall be led in prayer by Senator Vicente C. Sotto III, the Majority Floor Leader.

(Senator  Sotto led the prayer.)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Secretary will please call the roll.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With 22 Senator-Judges present, the Presiding Officer declares the presence of a quorum.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  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.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.    Mr. President, I move that we dispense with the reading of the May 23, 2012 Journal of the Senate sitting as an impeachment court and consider the same as approved.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Any objection?  There being none, the May 23, 2012 Journal of the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, is hereby approved.

The Secretary will please call the case before the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court.

THE SECRETARY GENERAL.  Case No. 002-2011. In the Matter of Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we ask the parties and/or their respective counsel to enter their appearances.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Prosecution?

REP. TUPAS.  Good afternoon, Mr. Senate President.  On the part of the House of Representatives’ prosecution panel, same appearance.  We are ready, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.  Defense.

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

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Noted.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, before we proceed, we are in receipt of a motion from the prosecution dated May 23, 2012, praying for the actual marking of exhibits which they have previously asked and allowed by the court to be marked as follows:  1).  Exhibit 11-G, which is the second page of the SPA between Charina Corona, Renato Corona and Cristina Corona; 2)  Exhibit 11-G-1, which is the date of the SPA; 3)  Also, the prosecution had asked and was allowed to mark Exhibit 178 of the defense, which is the writ of execution in criminal case no. Q96068147-8 as their Exhibit 11-Q.  However, it was exhibit 177-A of the defense which was marked as exhibit 11-Q.  The prosecution prays for the correction in the markings of exhibit 11-Q.  And lastly, the prosecution is requesting that tax declaration no. D05602564 which was marked as exhibit 163 of the defense be likewise marked as evidence for the prosecution.  The prosecution submits that they have intended to mark and adopt the same as its own evidence, but inadvertently failed to do so in open court.

So, I move that the Presiding Officer rule on the matter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  It appearing from the records that the marking of exhibits 11-G, 11-G-1 and 11-Q had been previously allowed by this Court.  The Senate legal counsel and the Deputy Clerk of Court had reported to the court that the exhibits have been marked accordingly.  With respect to the request that Exhibit 163 of the defense be likewise mark as evidence for the prosecution, the same is hereby granted.  (Gavel)

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, the court is now ready for the continuation of the testimony of the Chief Justice Renato C. Corona.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is the defense ready to proceed?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, we are ready with him, but we may ask, Your Honor, for a one-minute recess just to fetch him from where he is now, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright, one minute recess to allow the Chief Justice to come to the session hall.

Session is suspended.  It was 2:14 p.m.

Session is resumed at 2:18 p.m.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The session is resumed.

REP. TUPAS.  Mr. President, for the prosecution, the prosecution, may we ask permission that our lead private lawyer, Atty. Mario Bautista, be recognized to receive the continuation of the testimony of the Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

REP. TUPAS.  Thank you.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the kind permission…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Before we proceed, may I just make a statement.

Mr. Chief Justice,  good afternoon.  Kami po ay nabasa namin sa pahayagan na kayo ay may problema sa kalusugan at nandito kayo kahit na ang inyong doctor sa ospital ay sana’y ayaw kayong payagan.  Gusto ko lang po mailagay sa ating record itong tanong na ito—kayo po ba ay handa sa iyong katawan at kaisipan sumali dito sa paglilitis na ito?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Mr….

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I am asking this, Mr. Chief Justice, given the fact that this court takes judicial notice of the fact that your doctor made a statement in the papers that you are not physically well.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes po.  Magandang hapon po sa inyong lahat.  Magandang hapon po sa ating mga sambayanan.

Ako po’y pumarito, actually, labag po sa kagustuhan ng aking mga doctor at against my better judgement to come here.  Kaya lang po, nasa puso ko po yung obligasyon ko po at yung pangako ko sa bayan na magpaliwanag na hindi nga po natapos noong Martes sapagka’t yung mga binasa ko pong mga notes as saka narration ko po noong Tuesday, as a matter of fact, may dalawang pahina pa ho akong hindi nabasa doon dealing with the FASAP at saka yung TRO.

Pero ang nangyari po sa hindi magandang pangyayari ay unti-unti ko pong naramdaman yung pagbagsak po ng aking blood sugar sapagaka’t ako po ay diabetiko since 1986.  Since 1986 po, ito siguro ay pangalawa at pangatlong beses nang nangyari na bumagsak yung aking blood suger at para naman po doon sa mga may diabetes at saka doon sa mga pamilyang—merong myembro ng pamilya na may diabetis, siguro madali namang maintindihan nila kung ano yung nangyari doon kasi po isang manifestation po ng hypoglycaemia yung biglang pagbagsak ng sugar …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Kaya nga po, gusto lang malaman nitong hukuman na ito kung kaya ninyo sumali dito sa paglilitis na ito.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Actually po, nanghihina pa po ako pero kakayanin ko po hangga’t aking makakaya.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Sige. Salamat po.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Salamat po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense, what is your pleasure?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.  We would like to ask permission, Your Honor, that the honourable Chief Justice be allowed to make a short manifestation with respect to the unholy incident that took place before and extend his apologies before this honourable court, Your Honor, and to the honourable Members thereof.  May he be allowed to discuss this within two or three minutes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Chief Justice has three minutes.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

CHIEF JUSITICE CORONA. Salamat po sa inyo.

Ako po’y nagpapakumbaba at humihingi po ng inyong paumanhin sa nangyari noong Martes.  Hindi ko po inaasahan na ganoon ang mangyayari.  Kaya lang po, alam naman po ninyo ang pinagdaanan namin, particularly pinagdaanan ko ng nakaraang halos na anim na buwan.  Hindi po madali ang pinagdaanan namin.  Mahirap pong i-describe yung sama ng loob at sakit ng loob naming pinagdaanan the past almost six months.  Kaya nga lang po ay siguro nagkasunod-sunod na po.

Ang katotohanan po ay for almost a week hindi po ako nakakatulog ng mabuti at yung the night before my testimony here on Tuesday, totally, wala po akong tulog.

Hindi po madali o masarap ang itong kinalalagyan ko ngayon.  Nakatutok sakin ang mata ng milyun-milyong mga kababayan natin at ako’y hinuhusgahan dito sa trial na ito.  Kaya po siguro hindi rin ako makakain nung lunchtime before I came here last Tuesday dahil I have to admit with all candor and honestly, nagbabaligtad po yung aking sikmura sa nerbyos.

Kayo na po ang bahalang magpatawad sa akin, kaya siguro po yon ang dahilan ng pagbagsak ng aking blood sugar.  Kaya nga po ako ay nagpapakumbaba, humihingi ng patawad sa inyo, sa buong Senado, sa ating sambayanan, maging sa prosekusyon na rin at sa aking defense team na din, na hindi rin naman nila alam ang nangyari dahil sila mismo ay nagulat, at para pumunta rin po ako rito para magbigay galang sa Senado, sa kabuuan ng Senado bilang isang institusyon ng ating pamahalaan.

Ang nangyari po noong Martes ay hindi parang welga o ano ba iyong sabi doon?  Walk-out, walk-out yata iyong sinabing term noong mga certain sectors of the media, hindi po ganoon.  Kasi po, mayroon pa ho akong dalawang pahinang hindi nababasa ay hindi ko na po nabasa.  At totally, undexpected po iyong nangyari, ngayon, dala lang po sa matinding sitwasyon, karamdaman, na ganoon po ang nangyari.

Ngayon, nakakalungkot lang po na siguro, sa iilan nating mga kababayan, para bagang kailangan pa bang ako ay mamatay para patunayan na ako ay nagsasabi ng totoo?  Pero ganunpaman din, siguro baka ganoon nga po ang dating sa ibang tao pero ipinapaliwanag ko po ngayon, nag-aapologize po ako—pero wala pong intensyon na ganoon.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Salamat po, Kagalang-galang na Chief Justice.

CJ CORONA.  Nalaman naman po ninyo na—siguro kayo na po siguro ang nakasaksi, ilang beses naman po akong nabastos sa publiko ng ating Pangulo, kahit na isang masamang salita, wala naman po kayong nadinig sa akin, kasi hindi naman po ganoon ang ugali ko e.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Salamat po.  Salamat po.

CJ CORONA.  Hindi po ako bastos na tao po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Salamat po.

CJ CORONA.  Anyway po, siguro, iyong pagka-disorient ko po siguro, pagbagsak noong blood sugar, siguro iyon po ang nag-cause noon.  As a matter of fact, hindi ko nga po malaman kung ako ay kakaliwa o kakanan.  I was in a total state of confusion at saka dahil sa kahiluhan ko po, ako ay naduduwal po noon, e ayaw ko naman pong maduwal dito sa harap ng mga cameras natin.

So, iyon lang po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice.

All right, defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, after examining and being informed of the resolution of the court that all that which state all that the honorable Chief Justice stated in his opening statement will be considered as part of his direct examination, Your Honor, we found it unnecessary anymore to proceed any further by going into additional direct examination question, Your Honor, and we are through with his direct examination, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Cross.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We did that, Your Honor, because in the last proceedings, prior today, Your Honor, there was on record a statement on the part of the chief prosecutor that if the only purpose of bringing in the honorable Chief Justice is for him to be cross examined, then they are waiving their right to cross examine, Your Honor.  So, we are not adding anything anymore to what had been presented by way of direct examination, Your Honor, we are closing his testimony, hoping that the commitment on record on the part of the prosecution will be honoured and given effect, Your Honor..

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I leave it to the prosecution if they have no cross.  What is the pleasure of the prosecution?

ATTY. BAUSTISTA.  Your Honor, please, at the last hearing, you will recall that the prosecution had continuing objections to the testimony of the Chief, based on irrelevance, incompetence, immateriality, hearsay and opinion.

The prosecution believes that the testimony of the Chief is essentially inadmissible in evidence, and even if the testimony is admitted, it has very little evidentiary value, if any.

In fact, we believe that the admissions made by the Chief Justice, particularly with respect to his dollar and peso accounts are helpful to our case.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Instead of making this manifestation, why don’t you indicate your position?

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  I was going to that, Your Honor please

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, please.  Go ahead.

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  Yes.  In light of these reasons and the fragile condition of the Chief Justice, the prosecution will no longer cross-examine him.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  On behalf of the prosecution panel, Mr. Chief Justice, we wish you a speedy recovery.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you very much.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Maraming salamat po sa inyo.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, there are a number of Members of the Court that would like to ask some questions for clarification, namely:  Senator Santiago, Alan Cayetano, Jinggoy, Loren and Serge Osmena, Mr. President.  Senator Drilon also.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I remind the Members of the court that we must observe strictly our two-minute rule so that we can finish the proceedings without prejudice to an extension of not more than two minutes.  So Ordered.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Bago po tayo magsimula sa interpellation, nais ko po sanang isumite na po sa Kagalang-galang na Juan Ponce Enrile, iyong aking waiver po, hindi ko na po hihintayin iyong waiver noong 189.  I am submitting this without any conditions whatsoever.  May I ask Atty. Lichauco to submit it to the Senate President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alam po ninyo, Kagalang-galang na Mahistrado, ang problema namin diyan, ay kahit na may waiver kayo, ay kaninong witness iyong mga pupunta rito.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Opo.  Kung mamarapatin po ninyo, siguro pwede naman pong ipatawag iyong mga manager ng bangko.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the pleasure of the Majority Floor Leader?

SEN. SOTTO.  May we have a one-minute suspension, Mr. President, to formalize acceptance.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Session is suspended for one minute.  May I request the Members of the court to repair to the Senate lounge for a short discussion of this waiver.

It was 2:32 p.m.

At 3:29 p.m., the session was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The trial is resumed.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, Mr. President, before the break or the suspension of the trial, we were in receipt of the waiver executed by the Chief Justice.  May we know the pleasure of the Presiding Officer on the matter.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Actually, this court is not a producer of evidence.  It is a hearer of facts.  It receives the evidence from the prosecution and the defense, and on the basis of the evidence presented by both sides, this court will evaluate the evidence and make a decision.  And so, therefore, given the fact that the defense has already indicated that they will not anymore propound direct questions to the honorable Chief Justice, and that they will terminate the presentation of their evidence, and the prosecution indicated on record that they will not do any more cross-examination, it is the understanding of this court that, in effect, both sides of this adversarial proceeding, this impeachment proceeding, is actually submitting the case for decision.  And so, we take note of this waiver, but we cannot subpoena any other person mentioned here given the fact that we are not supposed to produce evidence for the defense nor for the prosecution. And so that is the position of this court.  And so, I hereby state for the record that we take note of this waiver of the Chief Justice, but we cannot act on it.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  With the permission of the Chamber and the Presiding Officer, may we now recognize Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   The gentle Lady from Iloilo.

SEN. SANTIAGO.  Mr. Witness, just two questions.  To test your credibility over your dramatic departure last Tuesday, is it true or not that you have had two, at least two, open heart surgery proceedings?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes, Madam.  I had one in 1995 and another one in 2008, both done by Dr. George Garcia.

SEN. SANTIAGO.  Second question, in your experience as Chief Justice and insofar as  you know of the opinion or of the sentiments of your colleagues in the Supreme Court, what is the effect of this impeachment trial on the following principles of our tripartite democracy?  Number one, the system of checks and balances.  Number two, the independence of the Judiciary.  And number three, the subjudice principle under which when a case is on trial, that case should not be discussed in public, which has been later amended to the fact that a case should not be discussed in public except that the media may only report what actually happened in the court room of a past period.  May I have your answer to these three questions please.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes, po.  Would you mind if I answer in the vernacular for the sake of the people hearing us outside.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Gaya po nang nasabi ko noong Martes, iyong pagpapatalsik po ng miyembro po ng Korte Suprema, let alone the Chief Justice, may chilling effect po iyan sa Korte Suprema kasi mga tao rin lang naman po kami.  At one point po, lalo na po nakita naman noong aking mga kasama sa Korte Suprema kung ano ang ginawa sa akin at iyong aking pamilya, hindi lang po ginamit iyong makinarya, buong makinarya at lakas at poder ng gobyerno laban sa amin, BIR, LRA, AMLC, Ombudsman, kung anu-ano po, sabay-sabay po kaming inimbistiga ng BIR, pati po iyong mga anak namin, pati iyong mga balae namin na wala naman pong .pakialam  dito sa impeachment na ito, wala naman pong kasalanan ay pinapuntahan ng BIR. At iyan lang po ay isang bahagi lang po iyan. Ang pangalawang bahagi po ay, probably, mas matindi po iyong araw-araw na 24/7 magbuhat umaga hanggang gabi, wala na kaming nadinig kung ‘di, panglalait, pang-iinsulto, pang-aalipusta sa aming honor, sa aming pagkatao, sa aming reputasyon.

Kung nalalaman lang po sana noong mga taong gumawa nito, iyong sakit ng loob na dinulot nila sa amin …  (crying softly)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mr. Chief Justice, are you okay?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Iyong pangalan ko pong pinangangalagaan ko all my life, tapos, tawag-tawagin kayong masamang tao, magnanakaw, mandurugas.  Hindi lang po ako ang nag-suffer po nito pati po iyong mga anak ko, pati po iyong mga apo ko na gusto ko lang pong maikwento sa inyo iyong isang araw iyong aking panganay na apo, anak po ng anak kong si Carla. He is nine years old and studying in Xavier School. Napakatalino po noong batang iyon. Isang araw po na naguusap-usap kami sa pamilya tungkol dito sa impeachment na ito, nakita ko si Franco, iyong aking apo po, nandoon po sa isang sulok, wala po siyang—usually po playful iyong batang iyon, pero, on that particular instance he was very quiet, alone in a corner, so, I approached him and said, “Franco, what’s wrong?” He said, “Nothing, nothing, Grand Pa, nothing. I know you, you’re(?) yourself.” “What is wrong? Tell Grand Pa.” “Nothing.” Kapipilit-kapipilit ko po, sabi ko po, “Do you know what they are talking about in the news papers about Grand Pa?  Do you know what they are saying about Grand Pa?”  And he said, “yes.” “ What do you think?”  He kept quiet for a very, very long time and I said, “Tell Grand Pa, I want to know what you think about they are saying about Grand Pa?” Noon ko lang po nakita iyong apo ako (crying) iyon ko lang nakita iyong aking apo, he clenched his fist and he said: “I am very, very angry.”  Nagulat po ako kasi para nine-year old to say that iyon po ang nararamdaman ang pinagdaanan ng aming pamilya. Pinagbintangan kami, 45 properties daw. Alam naman po ni Administrator Eulalio Diaz na hindi totoo iyong sinasabi niya and yet ili-link niya doon sa media. Tapos, mayroon namang mga miyembro ng kabilang panig na pinapangandakan na lang iyong aming 45 properties na hindi naman po totoo.

SEN. DEFENSOR-SANTIAGO.  Mr. Witness, I am very, very sorry to interrupt. But your answer has not been responsive. My question is, what is the effect on the members of the Supreme Court led, of course, by the Chief Justice, with respect to the  following principles: number one, the principle of check and balances. How do you view this principal as impacted by the present impeachment court trial?  Number two, the principle of the independence of the Judiciary. And number three, the doctrine of sub-judice.  While we all have two minutes that is why I have to interrupt.  Thank you.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  I am sorry.  I am sorry, Your Honor. I was carried away personally.  Alright, I think this whole impeachment proceeding has had a very chilling effect on the Supreme Court, if I may say so.  Wala pong kahit na sinong miyembro ng Korte Suprema ang gustong magdaan dito sa pinagdadaanan kong ito.

Ang checks and balances po ay pagkakapantay-pantay ng Executive, Legislative, at Judiciary.  At nasabi ko po nung Martes, iyong pagwawasak po nyang checks and balances na ‘yan ay probably, ay siguro po ay ang pinakamasamang epekto nitong impeachment complaint na ito.  Kasi po  ‘yon po ang—Iyon prinsipyo po ng checks and balances, Madam, ay ang naggagarantiya po ng ating demokrasya.  Kapag sinira ninyo ‘yang checks and balances na ‘yan, yan po ay siguradong diktadura na ang susunod.  Iyong nga po ang binanggit ko nong Martes.

Ngayon iyong sa ating sub judice rule po ay alam na po nating mga abogado na hindi naman po dapat payagan ‘yang patuloy-tuloy ng komentaryo ng mga tao diyan sa labas, pagbibigay nila ng  kuro-kuro, e, ang problema po ay parang they are already crossing the boundary of propriety and impropriety.  So, ang epekto po nyan ay nalalason ng unti-unti ang pag-iisip ng ating taong-bayan.  Kung sino po ang may kwarta, na may magpapairal ng media campaing, siya ang naghahawak ng power to influence the mind and opinion of the public.   E, mabuti po tayong mga—miyembro po nitong Senado, e, kayo naman po ay mga taong may experience at sanay dito sa mga bagay na ganito at hindi kayo nasuswey.  Pero iyong mga taong-bayan po paano naman poi yon.  You have an impeachment court, iyong hindi pong maiprisintang ebidensya ditto, doon ho inilalahad sa labas.  So, nasisira po ‘yong ating tinatawag na sub judice rule na hindi po tama ang nangyari po.  Is that enough Madam?  Thank you po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.   Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize the Minority Leader, Senator Allan Peter Cayetano.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Taguig.

SEN. CAYETANO.  Magandang hapon, Mr. President.  Mr. Chief Justice, magandang hapon po.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Magandang hapon po, Senator.

SEN. CAYETANO.  Mr. Chief Justice, nasabi na rin po ng inyong defense counsel po iyon iyong sinasabi nilang well-orchestrated campaign sa inyong credibility, sa inyong pagkatao.  And medyo kami ni Senator Ping nga medyo ayaw naming making kasi nangyari sa amin ‘yan noong panahon ni Presidente Arroyo.  So, we know how it feels that sinisiraan, kinakalkal ang pamilya mo, safety mo, etc.  So, we feel for you in that respect without saying that anyone is guilty or innocent of a well-oiled campaign against you.  But, sana po maunawaan nyo rin naman po kami na regardless whether or not there is persecution, whether or not there is a well-planned campaign against you, ang issue lang sa amin whether innocent or guilty based on the accusations.  Kaya king papayagan nyo po just some short questions lang po to just help me decide kasi po ayaw ko hong mag-convict ng isang taong inosente, pero ayoko rin mag-acquit ng isang taong—to convict anyone who is innocent, but we don’t want also to acquit someone who is guilty, and alam mo namang kaming abugado napakataas ng tingin sa Supreme Court alo sa Chief Justice.  So, as difficult as this may be, Sir, allow me to just ask you these questions.  Sir, pinakinggan naming mabuti iyong tatlo mong oras na—although inenterrup po naming ‘yung pagsalaysay ng iyong depensa at lahat ng nangyari.  And in a long line of Supreme Court decisions, hindi ko na babanggitin, ay sinasabi din doon pag-testimony lang at walang kasamang either  documentary evidence or other kind of evidence, minsan kulang ito o kapos or sinabi po ng inyong chief defense counsel ay based on your credibility.  So itatanong ko lang po, will you be submitting other evidence po to bolster yong defense at yong istorya  po na sinabi nyo sa amin?  For example, sir, sabi nyo po 1960s pa nag-iipon kayo ng dollars, can you show us a 1970s or 1980s passbook or resibo sa bangko.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.   Ang mga deposits po natin ay nasa time deposit.  Alam naman po ninyo  yong time deposit pagka mature noon sinusurender po yon sa bangko.   Ang makakapag-testify po nyan ay yong account officer ko po sa BPI na nanggaling po, alam po naman ninyo yong Far East Bank hindi po ba binili yan ng BPI.

SEN. CAYETANO.  Yes, yes.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Kasi sya rin po yong account officer ko noong nasa Far East Bank sya kaya pamilyar po sya doon sa mga deposits ko noong araw pa po.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Kasi po yong mga ganoong istorya po, yong ganoong testimony will help us verify.  Pero tama po si Senate President, hearers of fact po kami hindi kami ang dapat magpatawag, pero since hindi pinapatawag ng defense, parang  we are left with your story.  Mr. President, may I have an extension.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have two minutes.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  So for example po, sir,  sinabi nyo po yong ibang co-mingled peso funds nyo kasama doon yong sa anak nyo na pambiling bahay at usual po sa isang pamilya yon.  It’s a natural thing especially if you’re a closely knitted family.  But will you present to us anything, for example, kung dinaan sa bangko yong remittance or umuwi sya, may Central Bank approval kung more than—something po that will help bolster—I am not questioning your credibility, sir.  Ang sinasabi ko lang po we have to act like judges here and an ordinary judge will ask the same questions po.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Meron po akong binigay kay Justice Cuevas na sulat noong anak ko na talking about the house that she wants to build on her McKinley Hill lot.  There was a portion there which refers to the funds belonging to her which is with me.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.)..  Anyway, sir, they will be submitting a formal offer of evidence so we gave them naman until today.  Ang sinasabi ko lang po ayokong hindi paniwalaan, ayoko namang paniwalaan po yong istorya nyo po noong Wednesday except that to follow the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court a testimony, okay, and I don’t want naman po to grill or test your credibility here because I don’t think that’s the right thing to do.  Sir, the next question…

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Just one…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  In this connection, Your Honor, may we be allowed to place on record that we have here presented by the Chief Justice a letter to him and to Mrs. Corona relative to this transaction, Your Honor, which we have earlier marked, asked to be marked as Exhibit  269 for the defense, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Is that already marked?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We had it earlier marked, Your Honor, to save time but we are placing on record now that it was earlier marked, Your Honor, as Exhibit 269, Your Honor, which we are adopting now formally in connection with these impeachment proceedings, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Do you want it to be marked accordingly or it’s already marked?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  It’s marked already, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Then state it into the record.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  And also  a portion thereof which we cause to be underlined and among others which state, “My funds there should be more than  enough for the house and at least the basic pieces of furnitures per the estimate you sent me although we have been considering buying some other pieces of furniture here and shipping them to Manila”.  We requested that it be underlined, Your Honor,  and mark for identification purposes as Exhibit 269-A, Your Honor.    At the same time, we have requested for its earlier marking and we are adopting the same marking formally in these proceedings, Your Honor.  Furthermore, Your Honor, may we be  allowed …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the exhibit number of that portion that you …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  To be submarked as Exhibit 269-A, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Mark it accordingly.  (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’ve taken the liberty to having it pre-marked, just to save time and to move faster, Your Honor, expeditiously.

Furthermore, Your Honor, we request that another portion underlined at the back page thereof which states, “Actually, ito nga po ang one of the reasons why we’d like to have that house in McKinley Hill ASAP.”  And going further, “Nevertheless, we think it would be much better to raise the kids in the Philippines, not only because we want them to imbibe Filipino culture, but also because it’s been really difficult raising a family here without househelp and yayas.” which we have taken the liberty of, Your Honor, of earlier marking it as Exhibit 269-B, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  … which we adopt as our own exhibits now, Your Honor, in this.  Now, …

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  At this stage, Your Honor, please, for the prosecution, may we object on the grounds of hearsay and …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are not yet offering here.  We are only in the process of marking, Mr. Counsel.

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  Now, under the Rules of Court, when the grounds for objection arise, the objection must be raised immediately.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Well, ..

ATTY. BAUTISTA.  So, I’m putting that on record.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We are not yet offering it so the objection may be …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Let us avoid this discussion.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The court is intelligent enough to evaluate all …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

Now, we wanted to go further with other exhibits but we had always been guided by the fact that apparently the court is very much interested in disposing of this case earlier, that’s why we thought that with the closing of the statement of the Chief Justice, Your Honor, we would have signified our clear intention to abide by the desire of this impeachment court by way of disposing of this case as early as possible.

But if the court will be liberal enough to grant us further time, then we will likewise introduce or present other evidence.  For instance the accountant mentioned by the lawyer.  But we are afraid …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have already closed your direct examination.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor, but …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The prosecution has already waived their right of cross-examination.  I think we have to conduct this proceedings in an orderly manner.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That’s correct, Your Honor.  But we will just—I will say we’re just challenge because of the query of the honourable Senator …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We cannot win or lose this case on the basis of arguments and debates.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Present evidence.  You have all done that.  In fact, we allowed the Chief Justice to testify for three hours without interruption, without any direct examination from the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We realize that, Your Honor, and for that, we are heavily indebted, Your Honor.  We are highly appreciative, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And there’s no cross-examination so it’s up to this court now to evaluate these.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Okay, then, Your Honor.  Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Mr. President, I don’t have enough time, Mr. Chief Justice, to ask the individual questions.  But this weekend while I evaluate and pray and the nation will be praying over us to make the right decision, I just wanted to make sure that each and every part of your story, I’ll make sure that I have, kung meron o walang ebidendsyang nandon para suportahan.

Mr. Chief Justice, yaon na rin pong pinirmahan …

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Excuse me po.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Go ahead.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Pwede po bang mag-interrupt?

Kasi po, katulad po nung pondo ng BGEI, yung naman ay na-establish na ni Mayor AtienzaTapos na binayad talaga.  Tapos, meron po namang kasama don sa pesos yung interes na kinita non for 11 years.  E yon po ay hindi—wala naman pa kaming papel na ebidensiya o nagse-certify na ito yung interes ng 11 years.

Pero, from common experience, alam naman natin na yung perang ganon ay kumikita naman po ng interes yon kaya naka-impute naman po lahat don.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Opo.  Yaon na rin pong pinirmahan nyo yung waiver, I congratulate you for that, and after the impeachment, I will ask the President to also ask his Cabinet to also sign a waiver.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Actually, nadinig ko po yung inyong pahayag about the …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Senator Ping and I have been consistent in the Arroyo administration, so what’s good for one should be good for everyone no.  But since we’re focused on this case , Sir, yaon na rin pong pinirmahan ninyo, I will just ask po, are you willing to reveal po kung magkano ang laman ng dollar accounts?

CJ CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Magkano po ang laman?

CJ CORONA.  Sa mahigit kumulang po ay US$2.2 million pero gusto ko pong ipaliwanag iyon na hindi iyon ipinasok sa bangko ng $2.4 million, iyon po ay ibinili over so many years, at iyong exchange rate po noon ay nag-umpisa noong—noong una akong bumili ay 2:1 pa ho noong mga 60’s ay iniipon ko na po iyon, tapos iyong 2:1 po naging 3.70 or 3.80 po iyon, tapos naging 4 tapos naging floating rate po na mga 5.90 yata iyon and so on and so forth.

Iyong lahat ng panahong iyon ay nasa private sector naman po ako noon, wala ho ako sa gobyerno, at hindi naman po kasi—kung titingnan po ninyo iyong $2.4, around US$2.4 million, by present standards, siguro po, mga nasa halagang mga P90 billion, pero hindi ho talaga P90 million iyong halaga noon, kasi noong binili iyan, over the years, have different exchange rates which are much lesser than the present 45:1, kaya gusto ko lang pong ipaliwanag iyon.

At saka, in connection with that, naitanong po noong Tuesday, ni Senate President, ano ba iyong ano niyan?  Sabi ko, iyong paglalago niyan, iyong interes po ng money over the years, we are talking here of more than 35 years, kumikita po ng interes iyan na ipinaliwanag ko naman po, na simpleng-simple iyong buhay naming, hindi po kami mahilig doon sa mga sosyalan na mga ganyan kaya there was hardly ever any time na nagalaw namin iyong interes, kaya parati pong nagko-compound po lang iyan, ngayon, komo ako po ay nanggaling sa bangko, alam ko, iba’t-ibang bangko, iba’t-ibang rates ang ibinibigay, kaya iyong makikita po ninyo, iyong galaw niyan, kung tatawagin ninyo iyong mga manager, gumagalaw po iyong mga accounts, ang interpretasyon po ni Ombudsman noon, fresh funds na pumapasok, hindi po ganoon iyong nangyari doon, kasi gumagalaw lang po iyan from one account to another, kung saan po, makakakuha ng mas mataas na interes pag maturity, then, inililipat poi yon, hindi po fresh funds iyon.

Isa pa po, alam po naman ninyo, kayo naman po ay nagbabangko din, kapag magwi-withdraw kayo, magmamakaawa sa inyo ang manager, “O, wag naman, bababa iyong deposit level nitong branch ko, wag mo namang kunin lahat.”  Kaya minsan kalahati lang ang lumalabas, minsan, kalahati ang naiiwan, ganoon lang po ang nangyayari doon.  Ngayon, isa pang masasabi ko po diyan, tatanungin ninyo, bakit hindi ko naman nagagalaw iyong interes o hardly nagalaw iyong interes, sapagkat po, aside from the fact na napakasimpleng-simple iyong buhay namin, mayroon naman akong current stream of income na ginagamit panggastos namin pang-araw-araw.

For 45 years po, hindi po kami nakatikim na magbayad ng upa ng bahay or amortization on our house sapagkat po iyong tinitirhan po naming bahay na almost more than 40 years na po ay minana ko lang po sa aking mother, iyong pong mga ganoon iyong circumstances na iyon, kaya naman po lumago ng lumago iyong …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Thank you, Sir, for answering that directly.  Last question lang po, so, medyo lumilinaw po sa akin iyong depensa ninyo from the properties, peso accounts, and while we evaluate it, so, sa dollar account …

CJ CORONA.  Isa pa nga pala, nabanggit ninyo ang mga properties, kaya po kami maraming cash, nabanggit, napasadahan ko po noong Tuesday, buong buhay po namin we have been married for almost 43 years now, buong buhay po namin, wala po kaming nabiling malaking property o mamahaling property.  Lahat po ng pera namin talagang nakatali po sa cash.  Iyong bahay naming tinitirhan ngayon, iyon pa rin iyong bahay namin when we started, iyon hong unti-untin naming …

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Except po for the properties admitted …

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Iyong mga condominium po, pero maunti-unti lang po iyon.  Kumbaga po iyon eh hindi po naman, I am sorry to use the term, hindi po mabonggang mga properties iyon.  Mga condominium units lang iyon.  Iyong isa nga po, 48 square meters lang, iyong isa, 62 square meters, mga ganoon lang po.  Tapos, nagkaroon po kami ng dalawang lote, pero lote wala naman pong bahay, nabili naming murang mura, pero nai-dispose na rin po namin para nga ipalit nga bayaran kung anuman iyong ipinagkukulang doon sa Belagio at saka doon sa Bonifacio Ridge.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Actually, sir, I am awkward asking you about this because, you know, asking a man to account, etc. and to tell his lifestyle, pero eto lang ho kasi talaga iyong issue.  But just to close with the last question ho, so ang depensa ninyo po doon sa dollar account, is that because of the law that guarantees secrecy, you did not declare it because your interpretation, I will just finish …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Please wind up.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  … iyong interpretation, sir, of the law, and I heard some have also interpreted it the same way, pag dollar hindi kailangang i-declare, nasabi po ninyo iyon noong isinalaysay ninyo po noong Tuesday.  Ang tanong ko lang po, but wouldn’t that not give the—pag tiningnan ninyo po iyong letter and spirit noong SALN law, hindi tuloy po makikita iyong tunay na assets at iyong tunay na liability at iyong networth.  Kung ganoon ho ang magiging interpretation ng lahat, hindi po ba mangyayari pag nilagay na lang lahat ng pulitiko iyong pera nila sa dollars, hindi nila makikita ngayon kung talagang nagbabago iyong networth o hindi.  So, hindi na po sa inyo, but as public policy.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  With due respect to the Gentleman, will you kindly go direct to your question.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Yes.  So, that is my question, sir.  If that is the interpretation of the honourable Chief Justice, wouldn’t that interpretation harm the main purpose of the SALN law?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Well, unang-una po, I don’t want to sound legalistic.  Ang legalistic ano po diyan eh, iyong isa general law, iyong isa special law, mayroong specific guaranty of confidentiality, iyong isa naman eh wala.  Pero, alam po ninyo, kung ngayon lang po ako nag-ipon ng mga dollars na iyan, maaaring sabihin po ninyong totoo iyan eh.  Pero matagal ko na pong iniipon iyong mga dolyares na iyan kasi doon po naming ini-invest iyong aming pera.  Maraming tao po pag nakaipon ng pera, ang tendency po, mag-invest sa bahay, lupa, bahay, kung medyo mataas-taas iyong kita mo, medyo mataas-taas ang stature mo sa lipunan, medyo sa exclusive subdivision.  Mga tipo pong ganoon.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  May I remind you—Mr. Chief Justice, I was want to remind the Members of this court, our function is to elicit facts, not to call for an opinion in our interpretation of laws.  So we are tryers of facts.  So, proceed, Mr. Chief Justice.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  So, ganoon po iyon.  From the beginning po, iyong mga ibang tao nag-i-invest po ng lupa at bahay, nag-i-invest sa painting, nag-i-invest sa jewelries, nag-i-invest sa shares of stock.  Eh kami po, ang pinag-investan po namin foreign exchange po.  Kasi nga po, nai-explain ko po noong Tuesday iyon eh, kung bakit dollars eh.  Dahil napaka-stable noong currencying iyon, napaka-mabilis po tumaas ang halaga at hindi kami nagkamali.  Hindi kami nagkamali doon sa hedging in dollars.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Well, thank you for that, Mr. President, and thank you, Chief Justice.  I just wanted to know your interpretation of that law, not because I will agree or disagree, but I wanted to know, in evaluating the facts, if you were in good faith or not, or what was your state of mind when you formed the SALN because this sparked a debate nationwide from the barangay captains all the way to the President or the Cabinet members—kung ano dapat o hindi dapat isama sa SALN.  Thank you for those answers and your candor.  Thank you, Mr. President.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Wala pa po iyong FCDU Law, nag-iipon na po ako ng dollar.  Nag-i-invest na po kami sa dollar.

SEN. CAYETANO (A.).  Thank you, sir.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  The President Pro-Tempore Senator Estrada, wishes to be recotnized.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from San Juan.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Thank you, Mr. President.  Magandang hapon po, Mr. Chief Justice.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Good afternoon po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Unang-una, ako po’y nakikisimpatiya po sa inyo. Alam ko po iyong nararamdaman ninyo, nararamdaman po ng pamilya ninyo sapagkat iyon po ay po naramdaman po namin 12 taon na ang nakakaraan. Halos lahat po ng batikos ay tinanggap po naming lalung-lalo na po si dating Pangulong Erap, pati iyong mga anak ko ay ininsulto sa kanilang mga eskwelahan. Ngunit, Ginoong Chief Justice, kailangan din po nating malaman ang buong katotohanan, kailangan pong malaman ng aking mga kapwa-Senador, kailangan din pong malaman ng taong-bayan ang buong katotohanan sa lahat po ng mga paratang laban po sa inyo.

Ang una ko pong katanungan, Ginoong Chief Justice, at any given point, did you have $12 million, in any or all of your foreign currency accounts?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  The answer po is never.

SEN. ESTRADA.   Never did you have?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Never at any time at $10, $11, $12 million.

SEN. ESTRADA. Magkano po iyong pinakamalaki?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Ngayon po siguro, iyong $2.4 million na iyon.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Doon po sa $2.4 million, doon po sa apat na account na sinabi ninyo, lahat na po iyong apat na account, combined, that amounts to $2.4?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  More or less po.

SEN. ESTRADA. Am I correct?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes.

SEN. ESTRADA. Alright.  Doon po sa peso account, you said you only have three peso accounts left since hindi na po namin ipapatawag iyong mga bank managers, I will take your words for it, Mr. Chief Justice.  I know you have an idea of how much do you have in your three peso accounts?  Can you give us a figure, Mr. Chief Justice?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Opo. Ang kwenta ko po ay mga humigit-kumulang mga 80, 8-0 million pesos. Eto po ay comingle funds, sinulat ko na nga po para hindi ko malimutan. Itong P80 million na ito, it can be broken down into the proceeds of the Basa Guidote property, the expropriation proceeds of the City of Manila, consisting of about P34.7 million.  Tapos, iyong kinita po nito ng Basa Guidote money na ito over 11 years na humigit-kumulang po ang estimate ko po ay siguro ay mga mga nasa mga P10 million.  Tapos, mayroon pong iyon nabanggit nga po iyong binasa namin exhibit dito ng anak kong si Charina Exh. 269, mayroon po siyang around P15 million broken down further into the savings that she had when—before she left for the State about 10 years ago at iyong mga pera niyang binibigay sa amin pagpunta namin doon, which is about once or twice a year at iyong pag-uwi niya rito which is usually two or three times a year binibigay niya sa amin.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Iyon pong sinasabi ninyo mga peso accounts ninyo iyon ba ho na ilagay ninyo po sa inyong SALN.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  May I just continue to explain.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Sige po.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Iyon nga po kay Charina for her house and savings mga—ang estimate ko po ngayon mga around P15 million.  Tapos, iyung kinita po ninyo itong comingled funds na ito sa BPI ay ang estimate ko po, siguro mga 6 to 8 million na po by now over the years, malaki na po. At iyong mayroon din pong nanggaling doon sa anak kong si Carla na four million.  By the way, si Carla po, ang anak kong si Carla matagal din po sa America iyan, she is a license physical therapist also in three states in the United States and she earned quite a some of money when she came home to get married to her husband Dr. Castillo, so, naglagay po siya ng P4 million from her savings at saka si Francis po meron po siyang two million from his own.  Kung tatanungin po bakit nandun iyong kay Carla at kay Francis, sapagkat po mas malaki po ‘yung deposit, mas malaki po ‘yung interest na nakukuha namin.  Ngayon, may isa pang component po ‘yan, iyong tinatawag naming Corona fund named after my mother iyong kinwento ko po sa inyo nung Tuesday about a few years before my mother actually died in 1995, nung mga 1990 po ibinigay nya sa akin ‘yung cash na nasa pangalan pa nya na inihabilin nya sa akin, sabi nya, kukunin mo na lang dyan lahat ng pagpapagamot sa akin, at ‘yung mga gamot ko,  doctor, at iyon na nga po iyong kanyang funeral expenses dahil siguradong darating doon.  And by the way, just a point of interest, nung nagka-cancer po iyong mother ko, inoperahan po siya, ang doctor po nya ay ‘yong asawa ng ating Senate Secretary, si Dr. Reyes po sa  UST, iyon po ang nag-opera sa mother ko.  Ako po ang nagbayad ng lahat ng bill na iyon pati sa UST at all the medications until she died.  At nabanggit ko din po nung Tuesday, na iyong aking kuya, si Arturo, si Toti, dati pong DOTC Secretary nong panahon ni President Cory, malubha na po ‘yung kalagayan nya ngayon, meron po siyang sakit sa puso at saka scoliosis na hindi na po siya nakakapagtrabaho.  Iyong ibinibigay ko po sa kanyang P15-20,000/month panggastos po sa doctor at saka sa gamot nya, dito ko po kinukuha at iyong pinagpa-opera naming sa kanya, iyong nagpa-stent po siya, limang stent po about two or three years ago, na nagkagasta po kami about a million, or a little over a million, dito ko po rin kinuha sa pondong ito.  Ito po ay total mga P80.7 million.

SEN. SOTTO.  Maraming salamat ho,Ginoong Chief Justice.  Doon po sa P80 million na ‘yan, sa aking pagkakaintindi, iyon ba ho ay co-mingled accounts na po ‘yon?  Kasama na po iyong pera ng misis nyo, pera ng anak nyo at pera ninyo?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Actually, not strictly pera ng misis ko, pera ng Baa-Guidote po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Okay, lahat na po iyon?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Oho, may co-mingled pa kasi po nakakakuha po kami ng malalaki at matataas na interes e pag malaki po ‘yung deposit.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Opo.  Ginoong Chief Justice, kasi nag-testify po si Ombudsman Morales dito po sa impeachment court, na halos talagang kami ay nabigla at halos napapaniwala nya kami na talagang meron po kayong—can I have a minute extension, Mr. President?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Alright.  You have additional.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Nagkaroon ng—meron ho kayong 82 dollar account in a total of 12 million dollars.  Sinabi nyo and you did not denied it flatly that you only have, as of now, 2.4 million dollars.  Never in a point in time na nagkaron ho kayo ng 10, 11, 12 million dollars.  Am I right?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Never po, never.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Alright.  As a member of the JBC, you are the Chairman as Chief Justice, am I right?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Chairman po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Yes.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  By law po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  According to the Ombudsman, you did not vote for her to be included in the shortlist for the Office of the Ombudsman.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Opo.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Why is that so, Mr. Chief Justice?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Kasi po ano e, I would like to be honest, siguro, although we were civil to each other, e, alam po naman ninyo, in any—siguro, may undercurrent na po nong  distrust or sabihin natin, for lack of a better word may element na po sigurong basta hindi kami magka alyado at ano po ba ang ibig sabihin noon?  Kasi po alam naman po ninyo noong kami, ng mabakante po yong posisyon ng Chief Justice noong 2010, noong nag-retire po si former Chief Justice Puno, isa po sa mga contender dyan ay yong pinsan ni Ombudsman Morales, si Justice Antonio Carpio, at siguro doon po nagsimula yon.  At saka alam ko kakampi sya sa pinsan nya siyempre hindi naman sya kakampi sa akin.

SEN. ESTRADA.    So doon ho nagsimula yong inyong animosity, noong nagpipilian ng…

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Well, hindi pa po animosity doon pero medyo yong siguro, for lack of a better term, as I said, distrust, whatever that means.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Sya po ang walang tiwala sa inyo o kayo po ang walang tiwala sa kanya?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Siguro pareho po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Pareho?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Tapos may nangyari pong incident pa after that noong—ah hindi before that noong ako na nga po ang nahirang na Chief Justice, I felt there were many times to be careful about what I say.  Medyo nagkakagirian kami although in a very subtle way ni Justice Carpio.  Siguro natural lang po sa isang collegial body yong ganon pero napupuna ko na even if I felt na tama ako, hindi ako kinakampihan ni Justice Morales, kakampi sa pinsan nya for the sake of ano, at least that’s how I felt.  Maybe she has her own version of things.  But ganon po yong nangyari noon until dumating na nga po yong kanyang retirement ay humihingi po sya ng isang napakalaking badyet for her retirement.  Sabi ko  hindi naman yan yong usual badyet ng retirement ng Justice of the Supreme Court.  Masyadong, almost, I cannot remember anymore the exact figure pero at least po malaki po talaga, malaki po ang hinihingi nyang badyet.  Sabi ko hindi pwede.  Siguro minasama nya yong ganon.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ibig nyo pong sabihin humihingi sya ng malaking badyet sa kanyang…

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  No, not personally po ano.  I will have to hasten to say na hindi naman si Chief Morales yong pumunta sa opisina ko at sinasabing bigyan mo ako ng ganitong badyet.  In fairness to her, hindi naman po.  Actually ang nagsabi sa akin yong Clerk of Court  at siguro doon na nya dinadaan sa Clerk of Court yong hiling nya sa akin.  So ganon po, hindi ko sya napagbigyan.  Ang binigay ko lang po sa kanya yong usual level ng binibigay sa retiring Justice.  Kasi hindi ko naman po maintindihan kung bakit special budget yong sa kanya na hindi naman nae-enjoy noong ibang Justice.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Magkano po ang hinihingi, Chief Justice?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Hindi ko po maalala pero malaki po, siguro mga…

SEN. ESTRADA.  Magkano ba ho yong regular ano retirement…

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Ang regular badyet po ng retirement for a Justice po ay nasa mga P500,000 to P600, 000, mga ganoon po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  P500,000.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Oho.  Pero hindi naman yon binibigay sa kanila in cash.  Pwede kung gusto ninyong mag sabbatical leave, pwede nyong gamitin sa retirement program, pwede nyong gamitin sa retirement party, yong ganon po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  So ano ho yon, doble o triple ang hinihingi ng Clerk of Court?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Pagkatanda ko hindi naman umabot ng triple, hindi naman po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Doble lang?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  At least po, at least.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Meron po ba kayong ibang alam na rason kung bakit ho sya magte-testify laban po sa inyo bukod doon sa mga sinabi nyo po?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  I think po, I’m sorry I really apologize to this court to have to say it pero may tanong po si Senator Jinggoy Estrada.  Palagay ko po nagpagamit si Ombudsman sa Malacañang.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Pano nyo po nasabi yon, Ginoong Chief Justice.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  E kasi naman po, winagayway niya rito yung isang dokumento ng supposedly or allegedly coming from the AMLC.  Parang hindi naman po tama yon kasi ni hindi naman po authenticated yung dokumentong yon.  Wala naman po akong alam na guilty ako nung isang predicate crime.  Alam ko naman hindi naman ako iniimbistiga.  Wala namang court order.  Wala akong ganito, wala akong ganyan, and yet naglabas na po siya nung alleged AMLC report na yon at PinowerPoint presentation pa dito.

May isa pa pong bagay na kinakataka ko doon sa pangyayaring yon e.  Kasi po, pinadalhan niya ako ng sulat, pinasasagot niya ko within 72 hours.  Ngayon, nakalagay po don sa taas ng papel niya, in bold black letters, “Strictly Confidential.”

Nung natanggap po ng opisina ko yung sulat ni Ombudsman Morales, naka-seal po yung envelope e, thick brown envelope, at nasa Baguio po kami kasi nagsa-summer session kami.  Nung kami ay bumaba na sa Maynila, at saka ko pa lang po nakuha yung mga dokumentong galing kay Ombudsman Morales na nakaselyado pa po.  Sealed, sealed pa po.  Ibig sabihin, hindi pa po nabubuksan ng any member of my staff in Manila.

Ang pinagtataka ko lang po, “Strictly Confidential,” pero may kopya po yung Philippine Daily Enquirer.  Corona—I forgot how they worded the banner—banner headline po e.  Linggo pa, natatandaan ko.  It was a Sunday issue of the Philippine Daily Enquirer.  And obviously pag nagpa-publish kayo ng ganon in a newpaper like the Enquirer ay for maximum damage po yon e.  For maximum damage to reputation.  Nakalagay “Corona has 12 million or 10 million US dollars”.  Kino-quote yung sulat ni Ombudsman Morales.

Sino po nagbigay sa Enquirer nung sulat e sabi “Strictly Confidential.”  Hindi naman ho manggagaling sa akin.  Obviously, hindi naman ako magbibigay non sa Enquirer.  At yung kopya ko, naka-seal pa ho yung envelope e nung nakuha ko, nung pagbaba namin sa Maynila.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Ginoong Chief Justice, nung isiniwalat po ni Ombudsman Morales na mayron kayong di-umano’y 82 dollar accounts, at agad-agad sinabi nyo kinabukasan sa media na papatunayan ninyo na wala kayong 82 dollar accounts at wala kayong 12 million.  At sinabi nyo pa rin sa TV o sa mga pahayagan na hinahamon ninyo na magbitiw sa tungkulin si Ombudsman oras na mapatunayan ninyo na wala kayong 82 dollar accounts at wala kayong 12 million dollars.  Yan po ay hamon nyo pa rin hanggang ngayon?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Hinahamon nyo pa rin si Ombudsman Morales …

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Na mag-resign?

SEN. ESTRADA.  … na mag-resign?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Kayo po, hindi kayo magre-resign?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Hindi po.

SEN. ESTRADA.  Salamat po.

SUSPENSION OF HEARING

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

It was 4:24 p.m.

At 4:28 p.m., the trial was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The trial is resumed.

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, the witness is in the restroom.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Session is suspended.  Let us wait for the Chief Justice.

It was 4:29 p.m.

4:35, session resumed.

 

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Session resumed

Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, we are ready to resume with the continuation of clarification. May we recognize Senator Drilon, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Iloilo has the floor, Senator Drilon.

SEN. DRILON.  Thank you, Mr. President. I would like to raise a few clarificatory questions.

Mr. Chief Justice, we go back to the issue in this impeachment trial.  The issue is whether or not you reflected correctly in your Statement of Liabilities, Assets, and Networth your assets for the years in question.  And just to save time, I have prepared the PowerPoint presentation which will show to you our analysis of your accounts and amounts reported in the various accounts.  Can we start with year 2005?

In the year 2005, your SALN reflected a deposit of cash of P3,300,000.00. We checked the evidence and the evidence on record show a BPI peso account with the balance of P149,767.36 and some substantial dollar accounts as reflected there. If you go back to 2005, the total dollars reflected per records, per the evidence on record is $700,265.12 and in fact, some of these dollar accounts were reflected in what you have presented to this Court as the log-tern(?), specifically, I refer in, for example, PSBank Cainta Account No. 14100712, per your presentation, you opened this on January 14, 2005 with the deposit of 57,000 as reflected in the AMLaC report and it was closed on 6 October 2008 per your own presentation. And a credit memo for deposit of $15,242 on July 19 2005, this on page five of Exh. 11. (Bell ringing)

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Continue. You may have additional two minutes.

SEN. DRILON.  Alright. So, can we just go quickly.

2005, this is the SALN and the accounts.

2006, your report of 2.5 million, the total 2006 is  $700,265.12  and a total of 153,000.

2007, SALN 2.5 million, total peso deposits P10,087,966.44; total dollar deposits $414,611.39.

2008, SALN 2.5 million, total peso deposits, P1,525,887.00; total dollar deposits, $768,733.96.

2009, SALN 2.5 million, total peso deposits, P9.1 million; dollar, $768,733.96 and 2010 total SALN reflection of cash 3.5 million, total peso deposits P31,752,623.00 and dollar deposit of $768,733.96.

Now, you just mentioned that you have $2.4 million and P80.7 million.  Apparently, none of which has been reflected in your SALNs, Mr. Chief Justice, is that correct?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes, sir, but I already explained that last Tuesday. And the reason was because I believe that the dollar  deposits need not be reported in the SALN because of Republic Act 6426.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  So…

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Iyong pesos naman po, gaya po nung ipinaliwanag ko, hindi ko pa rin nireport ‘yun kasi co-mingled funds ‘yon ng hindi—sa pangangasiwa ko lang po iyon hindi naman po sa amin ‘yon.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay.  Iyon po ay sa pangangasiwa mo.  Ngunit hindi ba dapat iyong pera na nasa pangangasiwa mo ay dapat ireport mo rin at iyong corresponding liability ay ireport mo.  Halimbawa, 34.7 million ang inyong hawak for BGEI,  iyan po ay liability, ngunit iyan din po ay assets, hindi po ba ‘yun?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Pardon me, Senator, pero hindi po ako accountant.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay, sige.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Hindi po ako nakakaintindi nung mga asset-liability debit-credit na ‘yan.  Ang naintindihan ko lang po, iyong ordinaryong pagkakaintindi ng abogado diyan, na hindi naman akin, hindi ko naman inutang, kaya hindi ko naman po kelangang ireport.

SEN. DRILON.  Okay, sige.  So, factually there is no dispute there, you did not report it, in the same manner that you did not report your dollars because in your view the law provide you full secrecy of the dollar accounts.  Now, when did you start depositing your dollar—last question, when did you start depositing your vanishing dollars in the banks?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Siguro po mga, kung hindi po ako nagkakamali, mga 1972, 1973, mga ganun po, kasi bagamat nagpapapalit na po kami ng dollar non, nung umpisa po ay hindi naman kayo mag-open ng dollar accounts sa bangko eh.   Kasi po at that time, I think, the government was—you were required to, at least, a businessmen those who were earning dollars from their businesses had to sell under their dollars.  Iyong mga ordinaryong tao po katulad natin na magbibyahe, halimbawa, tapos may sosobra e hindi na natin ibinabalik sa bangko ‘yun, tinatago na natin ‘yun.  Kung merong kaibigan na mangangailangan ng pesos, meron siyang dollar, gusto mong bilin ‘yung dollar ko, o, sige bibilin iyong dollar mo, itinatago lang po natin ‘yun, hindi po pwede mag-deposito nun eh.  Nong mga ’72, ’73, hindi ko pa maintindihan ‘yung year na yon, parang naglabas po ang—wala pa po ‘yung FCDU Law.  Ang tawag pa yata nila don iyong parang 343 account yata ang tawag dun eh, ‘yung Central Bank Circular No. 343 allowing people who had dollars to open dollar accounts.  Pero parang nag-umpisa yata po ‘yun, kung hindi ako nagkakamali, around ’72 or ’73.  Doon lang po ako nakapagdeposito nun.

SEN. DRILON.  For the record, the FCDU account started in 1974.  Thank you very much, Mr. Chief Justice.

SEN. SOTTO.  May we recognize Sen…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Who is next?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If the court will allow me, Your Honor, may I just be given only one minute, Your Honor, to make a short statement.  I notice in their—I’m sorry, Your Honor, I am not yet permitted.

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

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you.  Because there is a…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is your pleasure?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  There is a statement there, Your Honor, that per testimony of Mr. Garcia, there was something 738,000 dollars, Your Honor.  I understand, based on the record of the proceedings, if I am correct, because I was going over them several nights, this was not pursued by Mr. Garcia because there is a restraining order, Your Honor.  And we do not know, it was not even marked, Your Honor, neither the amount.  And he was very clear before this court that in view of this restraining order, Your Honor, he cannot proceed with his testimony on this dollar accounts.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, we record your manifestation.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

SEN.DRILON.  Can I just respond to the manifestation, Sir.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Iloilo.

SEN. DRILON.  Yes, that is correct.  Mr. Garcia only testified on the account number.  The amount of 768,000  is reflected in the AMLA report which has the same account number ending 0373. That is the account number identified by Mr. Garcia as existing and owned by the Chief Justice in the amount of $716,733.96 is reflected in the AMLC report with the same account number.  Just to clarify.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I would not go any further, Your Honor, because I’m worried that I might incur the displeasure of the entire impeachment court.  But the AMLC report is under question, there is no authentication.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no. no, no.  You can speak but I would like to remind the defense that the Ombudsman was your witness…

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … and whatever she presented here will be treated as a part of your evidence.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  No.  But if we go by the rules of procedure and evidence, Your Honor,…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What is the material rule of evidence on this?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If the court allows the introduction of the testimony of a witness who is hostile, his or her testimony shall not be considered as against the party calling him to the stand, neither will it be considered as testimony as against the other party, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  What section of the rules of evidence would that be?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  That is the—if I recall correctly, Your Honor, it’s a jurisprudence on the point, Hong Kong Bank versus, volume 53.  I have it before but…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Anyway, we will evaluate this matter and we will study the rules.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor, thank you.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Pangilinan.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Senator Pangilinan.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Magandang hapon po, Ginoong Chief Justice.

MR. CHIEF JUSTICE.  Magandang hapon po sa inyo.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Sabi po nyo kanina po meron po kayong $2.4 million na dollar account at nasa pangalan po ninyo at P80 million sa pangalan po ninyo na hindi pa ho kasama yong mga nakapangalan po sa inyong ari-arian ano.  Sa SALN po ninyo noong 2010, P22 milyon lang po ang nakalagay.  Hindi ho ba pagka tayo po ay nagdeklara ng ating statement of assets and liabilities and net worth ay  kinakailangan ilagay po ang lahat po ng assets.  Meron po kayong dahilan, sabi po ninyo merong absolute confidentiality.  Pero hindi ho ba  napakalayo po noong P22 million na dineklara po ninyo doon sa $2.4 million nasa pangalan po ninyo at yongP80 milyon din po na nasa pangalan po ninyo?  Para hong napakalawak po noong pagkakaiba.  Would  you care to comment?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Opo.  Yong as far as the pesos are concerned ay hindi ko po talagang nilagay yon dahil hindi naman amin yon.  Ang sinabi ko nga po yon ay co-mingled funds.  Yong dollars naman po ay nandoon sa batas po yon.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Opo, okay at nabanggit na po ninyo.  Kung susundan po natin yong inyo pong argumento  bilang Chief Justice po at kayo po ang nagsasabi po noong mga batas, ano po ang dapat sundan, ano po ang intepretasyon, hindi ho ba tayo mauuwi na lahat po ng ating mga opisyal ng pamahalaan pwede pong gawin ito, sundan po yong inyong ginagawa na ang idedeklara lang po nila ay P10 milyon pero meron pa ho silang dollar account dahil nga hindi sila nagdeklara?  Maaari pong mangyari po yon hindi po ba?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  May posibilidad po pero ipinaliwanag ko po kanina yan. When Senator Cayetano was at the rostrum, ipinaliwanag ko po kanina yan.  Sinabi ko po sa inyo na yong kung halimbawa ngayon lang ako nag-ipon nyang mga dollar na yan ngayong nasa gobyerno ako, siguro mapapag-isipan ninyo na bakit ganon na yan,  tinatago ko.  Pero hindi naman po ganon ang sitwasyon noon.  Kasi Far East Bank, noong mga Far East Bank days pa po nag-iipon ako, nandoon na po  sa bangko yan.  Nasa pribado pa po ako.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Opo.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  At saka isa pa po, kung tinatago ko pa yon, bakit ko po ilalagay sa pangalan ko kung tinatago ko yong dollar na yon.

SEN. PAN GILINAN.  Iyon din po ang tanong ko po. Kung talaga pong inipon po ng napakaraming taon at sa malinis na paraan po, …

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  … bakit—meron ho bang masama na ideklara po ninyo kahit na po mayroong absolute confidentiality?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Hindi na nga po kailangan ideklara kasi nasa batas po mismo yon.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Oo nga po, pero yun lang po ang tanong ko, kung sa malinis na paraan po nakuha ho ito, ano hong masama na ideklara po?  Yun lang po ang aking katanungan.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Ang pagkakaintindi ko po, ang absolute confidentiality na under Republic Act 6436 ay absolute, wala pong exception yon e.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yun po ang depensa po ninyo na hindi po dapat ideklara?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  At dahil po depensa po ninyo yon, ang tanong ko lang po, meron ho kasi tayong probisyon sa ating Saligang Batas, yun pong Section 17, Article II na nagsasabi na dapat po, under oath we declare our assets, liabilities and net worth.  Kung meron pong Saligang Batas na probisyon na nagsasabing dapat po nating ilabas yung ating SALN,—(Bell rings) May I we just have one more minute, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.  Proceed.  (Gavel)

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Ano hong mangingibabaw, yung isang batas o yung Saligang Batas?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  E dun din naman po tutuloy e.  Kasi nakalagay po sa Saligang Batas, as may be provided by law.  E yun po yung law e.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Well, yun po ang magiging—Well, maaaring i-argue po yon, ang posisyon lang po natin and for the record, the Republic Act 6426 is a 1973 law, and the 1987 Constitution is a later law and it is the Constitution.  So, …

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Nabanggit po ninyo yung word na malinis, kung nanggaling sa malinis na paraan, kaya nga po kanina, nagbigay na po ako ng waiver at sinabi ko nga po that I don’t mind you calling the bank managers.  Kasi po, yung account officer ko po sa BPI, siya po ang makakapag-testify dito at makakapagsabi sa inyo na siya na rin mismo, nung FarEast Bank pa sila, inaalagaan na yung mga account kong yan.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Salamat po.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Kaya nga po vinolunteer ko na nga po yung sabing yon.  Tawagin na sila e.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Nag-rule na po ang ating Presiding Officer tungkol po ron ano.

Don po sa usapin po nung cash advance na 11 million dahil ito po ay nilagay po ninyo sa inyo SALN, hindi po sa inyo yung pera, yung Basa Guidote, pera po ng Basa Guidote, pero sa inyong pangalan po nakalagay.  Bakit po sa pangalan po ninyo kung hindi sa inyo?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Pinaliwanag ko po sa isang interview.  Tinanong po sa akin yun e.  Sinabi ko po, kasi nakalagay nga po yan at that time yung mga time deposits, nagma-mature po yan e.  At that time, my wife was president and chairman John Hay Management Corporation sa Baguio.

Kadalasan po hindi naman nagma-mature—yung pagro-roll over niyan weekday po e kasi wala naman pong banking day Sabado’t Linggo.  For convenience lang po actually yan na nasa pangalan ko.

Pero ang imprtante po diyan ay even if it was in my name, we never denied that it belong to Basa Guidote.  As in fact, paulit-ulit pa kami dito sa impeachment trial na ito na ina-acknowledge namin na yang perang yan, Basa Guidote.

At second thing po, Senator, the other important thing here is the money is intact.  Wala pong nabawas diyan.  Intact.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Opo.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  And even now, right now, here and now, sinasabi ko, ina-acknowledge po namin na hindi amin yon.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, umutang po kayo sa perang hindi po sa inyo?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Hindi po utang, bumale po.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  A, nag-cash advance.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Cash advance po.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  At binabayaran po ninyo?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Opo.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, account po ninyo, kayo po ang umutang, hindi ho sa inyong pera pero nasa pangalan po ninyo.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Actually po, yung wife ko po.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Yes.

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Kaya po nung pinambili po namin yan nung La Vista, yun titulo po—wala po sa pangalan naming.  Wala po ang pangalan ko sa titulo e.  Nasa pangalan po ng wife ko.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, pag binabayaran po ninyo taon-taon, binabayaran po ninyo yung tseke sa pangalan din po ninyo?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Merong minsan po tseke minsan po cash.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  So, dine-deposit po ninyo sa inyong account yung utang po ninyo

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Basta nakalagay po cash, binibigay ko sa wife ko, bahala na siya.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Hindi po namin alam ang actual net worth po ninyo dahil nga po base don sa SALN ho ninyo, P22 million.  Pero base po sa salaysay po ninyo, mas malaki.  Magkano po ang net worth po ninyo sa inyong palagay?

CHIEF JUSTICE CORONA.  Wala po akong calculator pero binigay ko na po yung mga figure sa inyo.  As far as I’m concerned, yan po ang actual, accurate figures.  It’s a matter of adding them up po.

Kung gusto ninyo pong isasama yung dollar despite the 64-26, at saka kung isasama din nyo yung pesos kahit na iyong hindi amin.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Bakit po doon ninyo winithdraw lahat noong Basa-Guidote accounts noong December 12, noong impeachment day?

CJ CORONA.  Sasabihin ko po sa inyo ang totoo, kasi po, marami pa rin naman po akong naiwang mga kaibigan at saka mga kumpa-kumpare doon sa Malacañang e.  Ilan po sa kanila ang tumawag sa akin, ipi-freeze iyong mga deposits naming, kung palagay ko, kung kayo po ay nasa lagay ko, palagay ko, pareho din ho ang gagawin ninyo e, pangangalagaan ninyo iyong pinaghirapan ninyo sa buong buhay ninyo at iyong mga perang hindi naman sa inyo.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Nabanggit ho sa isang interview na nawalan na po kayo ng tiwala sa PS Bank kaya po ninyo winithdraw.

CJ CORONA.  Hindi po, doon sa manager po, iyon po ang—lilinawin ko po iyon.  Na-disappoint kami doon sa manager po.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Kasi ang nakalagay po, PS Bank, nawalan na kayo ng tiwala sa bangko kaya po winithdraw po ninyo.

CJ CORONA.  Siguro pagre-report na lang po iyon.  Ang sabi ko po, iyong manager po, nawalan kami ng tiwala.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  Dahil noong winithdraw po ninyo, sa PS Bank din po ninyo dineposit.

CJ CORONA.  Hindi po nag-deposit, mali po kayo, Mr. Senator.  Iyong sinasabi ninyong ni-redeposit namin sa PS Bank, iyon po ang settlement account kasi kapag nag-terminate kayo ng time deposit certificate, hindi naman iyong palitan ng cash at saka time deposit e.  Alam na alam naman po natin sa magta-transact sa bangko, iyon po, ang halaga po noon, iyong net proceeds pong iyon, ipapasok muna sa tinatawag na settlement account, at doon ninyo iwi-withdraw.  Isang transaksyon lang poi yon e.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  We will have to check the records because if I recall, sabi po ng PS Bank President na—tinanong ko po iyon e, winithdraw lahat, saan ho napunta?  At sabi po niya, doon din po sa bangko ng PS Bank …

CJ CORONA.  Ako na po ang nagsasabi sa inyo niyan, mali po ang interpretasyon niya, kasi alam ko po iyong nangyari e, ipinasok po sa settlement account iyon.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  One more question, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Proceed.

SEN. PANGILINAN.  It is okay, Mr. President, nasagot na po iyong iba kong tanong, salamat po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, may we recognize Senator Francis Escudero.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Gentleman from Sorsogon has the floor.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Thank you, Mr. President.

Actually, I just have a few questions, first to defense counsel, Justice Cuevas, since you already rested your case, does that mean to say na hindi niyo na ipiprisinta iyong mga dokumento ng bangko base sa waiver ni Chief Justice Corona para i-dispute iyong report ng AMLC?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi pa po kami—mukha pong hind ayos iyong inyong pronouncement na nag-close na kami ng evidence.  Hindi pa po.  We have not yet close our evidence.  We made a commitment on record that we will have no other witness other than the Chief Justice, but as to the closing of our evidence, we have not yet closed, we have not even made a formal offer of our documentary exhibits.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Babaguhin ko po ng kaunti, ang sasabihin ko po ay ito, dahil po wala na kayong ibang testigo, ibig sabihin po nito, hindi niyo na gagamitin, anumang dokumentong maaaring makuha mula sa waiver ni Chief Justice Corona, para patunayang hindi totoo iyong AMLC report o kung totoo iyong AMLC report.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Hindi na po kami hahantong sa ganoong pagkakataon dahil—I am sorry—dahil hindi naman po naming ebidensya iyon e.  All we did was to comply with the—shall we say, pronouncement or the order of this honorable court, in order to show our obedience, our respect for the authority of this court, Your Honor.  But as to whether we will utilize whatever document is procured to—there is no commitment on record to that effect, Your Honor.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Thank you, Justice Cuevas.

May I address some questions to the prosecution.  May I address it to either Atty. Bautista or perhaps, the lead prosecutor.  This is more policy and tactic on the part of the prosecution really, may I address this to Congressman Tupas.  Congressman Tupas apat na buwan na nating ipinagsisigawan, pati kayo, na magpirma na ng waiver si Chief Justice Corona.  Ngayong pumirma na siya ng waiver, maaari ko po bang tanungin, papaano ninyo planong gamitin itong waiver na ito, kung gagamitin man ninyo, dahil ang tagal na ho ninyong hinahamon din, at namin hinahamon ang Punong Mahistrado na pumirma ng waiver.  Ngayong nandiyan na po iyan, ano pong balak ninyong gawin?

REP. TUPAS.  Napag-usapan namin na, on the part of the prosecution, ay tapos na, nag-rest na kami ng kaso namin at nagre-rely kami doon sa AMLC report, at sa testimony of the  Ombudsman, at wala na kaming rebuttal evidence.  So, as far as the prosecution is concerned, sarado na ang aming kaso.  And we are preparing now for the closing arguments on Monday.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Naguguluhan lamang po ako dahil nagbotohan pa kami kung gagalangin ba iyong TRO ng Supreme Court o hindi, nagdebate at nag-away-away kami kung bubuksan ba iyong mga account o hindi, ngayong bukas na, parang wala ng interesado bigla.  Hindi ko ho maintindihan iyon.

REP. TUPAS.  Kasi, kanina, mayroon na rin dito kaninang ruling ang ating Presiding Officer na hindi na rin ipi-prisenta ng defense, wala na ring additional evidence with respect doon sa waiver at nag-agree ang prosecution na nag-rest na rin kami ng aming kaso, wala kaming rebuttal evidence.  Iyon po ang napag-usapan kanina dahil nag-usap din kami ng defense counsel about this, Senator Escudero.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Sa panig po namin, maliwanag na hindi kami puwedeng mag-prisinta ng ebidensya at ipanalo ang kaso sa panig man ng depensa o ng prosekyusyon.  Subali’t sa punto rebista at sa mata namin man o ng publiko, parang malaking kawalan kung saka-sakali iyong pagkakataong ibinibigay nito para mapalakas, mapatunayan o mapahina ang posisyon ng magkabilang panig.  Ang hinihimok ko sana, magkabilang panig, para po sa amin at sa publiko, pakinabangan at gamitin ho natin itong pagkakataong ito, pero hindi po namin kayo kayang diktahan, at hindi ko ho kayo dinidiktahan kaugnay nito.

Just one more point, Mr. President.  Through the distinguished Chief Justice.

CJ, magandang hapon po.  Ang dating po sa akin ng inyong testimonya ay …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Excuse me.  Because he was already complaining to us that he is not feeling well anymore.  So, I wanted to bring that to the knowledge of the court and ask the court’s permission to kindly excuse the witness already.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Tapusin na lang po natin si Senator Escudero, kung puwede.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Kung mamarapatin po ninyo, CJ, isa na lamang po.  Paumanhin po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Well, the Chief Justice is excused.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Tatapusin na lang po natin si Senator Escudero.

SEN. ESCUDRO.  Inamin po ninyo na mayroon kayong dollar deposits at peso deposits na wala sa SALN ninyo.  Subali’t ang pagkakaintindi ko po. co-mingled iyong ibang peso deposits and hindi ninyo kailangang ideklara iyong dollar deposits base sa inyong paniniwala na dahil sa 6426 ay hindi ninyo po ito kailangang ideklara.  Tama po ba iyong pagkakaintindi ko?

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Oho.  Because of the absolute confidentiality rule po.  Kasi sa aking pag-aaral po noong batas, talagang hindi naman po nire-require na unless, rather, let me rephrase what I am trying to say.  Iyong requirement po ng confidentiality ay guaranteed by 6426.  At nabanggit ko po noong Tuesday, sinayt ko po iyong pag-aaral ni Director Estrella Martinez na SALN expert po ng BIR for 32 years.  Sa kanya pag-aaral in her 32 years ng pagsusuri ng mga iba’t ibang SALN as a member of the BIR, SALN group, wala pa po siyang nakitang kahit na isang SALN ng public official na nagtaglay po ng dollar deposits kaya, kaya siguro po, malinaw naman po iyong batas, eh, hindi naman po nating kailangan i-belabor. Kung malinaw lang po iyong batas, siguro, wala namang choice ang lahat ng tao kung hindi ilagay po iyong dollar deposits.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  So, ibig sabihin po, Chief Justice, inilalagay ninyo na po sa kamay ng Hukumang ito ang pagdesisyon ang mangyayari po sa inyo at depende kung sumasang-ayon po kami sa interpretasyong iyan na binigay ninyo o hindi. Dahil …

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Ang sinasabi ko po, Senator, there seems to be a conflict between the SALN Law and the FCDU Law. Hindi naman po ngayon lang ako nagipon ng dollars na iyan noong araw po noong nasa pribado pa ako. Ngayon, kung biglang sasabihin sa akin ninuman, “O, mali ka, dapat nilagay mo.”  Sabi ko, ang sasabihin ko naman po, “Ano iyong pagbabasihan ko po naman noon, eh, I relied on the law.” Ayun po ang sabi ng batas. Iyon din po ang sabi ng Constitution “as may be provided by law.” Eh, iyong law pong iyon, eh, iyong nga iyong FCDU Law na iyan. So, tiningnan ko din po kung mayroong mga desisyon nitong nagumpisa ng impeachment trial na ito. Tiningnan ko po kung mayroong desisyon ang Korte Suprema interpreting which prevails whether it is the SALN or the FCDU Law, eh, wala naman pong desisyon din ang Korte Suprema tungkol diyan, so, I relied on it in good faith.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Maraming salamat po CJ at isa na lamang po, binabati ko po kayo sa pagpirma noong waiver ng Secrecy of Bank Deposits gaya ng FCDU, mayroon na ho kaming panukalang batas tungkol diyan na naglalayong lahat ng opisyal na required mag-file ng SALN ay magpirma po ng waiver ng secrecy of bank deposits. Sana po ito’y mapagtibay sa lalong madaling panahon.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  It’s the least I can do po for our people for transparency para sa ang taong-bayan ko po ginawa iyon.

SEN. ESCUDERO.  Salamat po, CJ. Salamat po.

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Salamat din po.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Thank you.  Majority Floor Leader.  Mr. Chief Justice …

SEN. SOTTO.   Because of—yes …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Are you …

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … requesting to …

THE CHIEF JUSTICE.  I am very, very tired already.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Alright. The witness is discharged.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor please, before the Chief Justice actually leave the witness stand, Your Honor, may we just place on record the medical bulletin which we took liberty, Your Honor, …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   Actually, counsel, the Chief Justice is discharged, you can make your manifestation, so that he will not suffer on the witness stand.

SEN. SOTTO. Yes.  He may step down while Justice Cuevas is manifesting, Mr. President, or giving his manifestation.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.     The defense counsel can make a manifestation on the podium of the defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you. Thank you, Your Honor. What we are trying to request, Your Honor, this Honorable Court is for us to permit to put into evidence, Your Honor, this medical bulletin, Your Honor, as part of the testimony of the witness.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.     You submit it and I will accept it.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor. As Exh. 268, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.     Granted.

SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may I have a one-minute suspension.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.   One-long minute suspension.

5:09 session suspended.

5:09 session resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.    Session resumed. Now, what is the pleasure of the defense?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, since we have closed the testimony of the respondent, the Honorable Chief Justice, Your Honor, we are asking permission that we be allowed to make a formal offer of all our documentary exhibits.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.  Right now. (Gavel)

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We just filed it today, Your Honor, and we will furnish…

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Will you kindly submit—you filed it today, you filed  with whom?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  With the Secretariat, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Secretary, will you kindly find out where the formal offer of evidence of the defense is.

SUSPENSION OF TRIAL

SEN. SOTTO. Mr. President, may we have another suspension while they are securing all the necessary documents from their holding rooms, Mr. President.  I move to suspend for a few minutes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Trial suspended for…how many minutes?  Five minutes?

SEN. SOTTO.  Five minutes, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Five minutes.

It was 5:11

 

RESUMPTION OF HEARING

At 5:22 p.m., the hearing was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Session resumed.  (Gavel)

Defense counsel, are you ready to present your—to formally offer your evidence?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, we are making of record that the 39 copies of our list of exhibits, written offer, Your Honor, are now with the—We are making a formal offer of all these documentary exhibits to a written offer, Your Honor.

As soon as they are stamped received we will bring the copies there and furnish the other party with their respective copies, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Counsel for the prosecution, have you gone over the testimonial and documentary evidence of the defense?  And do you have any objection to any of those evidence presented by the defense …

REP. TUPAS.  We have no objection, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  … to the admission of all those testimonial and documentary evidence of the defense?  All right.  Then submit to us your written offer.

REP. TUPAS.  And, Your Honor, we are also filing our supplemental offer of documentary evidence for the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

REP. TUPAS.  Now.  We’re also submitting it now.  We’re just waiting for the staff from the prosecution.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And after both sides have completed their formal offer on their evidence in chief in the case of the defense, and supplemental evidence in the case of the prosecution, the case is deemed and treated as a submitted for decision by this court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Submitted, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  That’s understood ha.  Is that understood by both parties?

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And the defense?

SEN. SOTTO.  Defense.  Defense, is it understood, the question of the Presiding Officer?

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, do you understand that once the formal offer is accepted …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  I’m sorry.  I’m sorry.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  I will repeat my question.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  We are now requesting you to submit formally, in writing, your testimonial and document—the defense for admission by this court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  We have complied with that, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have complied.  And also, the prosecution will likewise submit for admission by this court, their supplemental documentary evidence and testimonial evidence, if any.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Okay.

REP. TUPAS.  We have here a 19-page …

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  No, no, I am just asking you.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  After the ruling is formally issued by this court, then, this impeachment case is deemed submitted for decision.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Your Honor, please, I thought the honorable court had scheduled the oral argument on Monday.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Subject to the arguments …

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  This coming Monday.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Yes, Your Honor.  That is our understanding, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Correct.  I am coming to that.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  And then, after the oral argument, this court will decide whether to make the decision on the same day or postpone it for another day.  Okay?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Clear, Your Honor, to us, for the defense.

REP. TUPAS.  Clear to us, Your Honor, but we just like to manifest, Your Honor, that we have already submitted the supplemental formal offer of documentary evidence, and received by the Senate secretariat at 4:05 in the afternoon, today.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  So, you are making that offer.  How about the—one after the other, let us start first with the defense.

We understand, Mr. Defense Counsel, that your written formal offer of all your evidence, your documentary evidence had been received by this court.  So, may I now ask the Majority Floor Leader to read the formal action of this court, with respect to your documentary evidence.

SEN. SOTTO.  Thank you, Mr. President.  The defense has presented evidence on the allegations of the answer of respondent, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, in relation to articles 2, 3 and 7 of the Articles of Impeachment, under the verified complaint for impeachment.  They have also filed a formal offer of documentary evidence identifying several documents previously marked as Exhibits 1-269.

and their sub-markings, and the prosecution’s Exhibits 10Os to 11Cs and 11Es to 12Cs and their sub-markings, subject to the appreciation of the individual Senator-Judges as to their weight and sufficiency for the purposes for which they have been offered.

Further, the foregoing documentary exhibits are admitted as part of the testimonies of the witnesses who testified thereon.

The defense is deemed to have rested its case.

Mr. President.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your Honor please, in connection with the supplemental offer, Your Honor, may we request even up to Monday morning to file our objection, Your Honor.  Because there are so many things here that we have been objecting to.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  O, sige.  Granted.  Until Monday morning, you can submit your objection.

REP. TUPAS.  We will ask one-minute recess, Your Honor.  Just one minute.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

Session suspended at 5:31 p.m.

At 5:32 p.m., the hearing was resumed.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Session is resumed.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, before the suspension, the Presiding Officer granted the request of the defense.  But may we appeal the ruling and ask the defense to withdraw the objection so that we will no longer prolong the problem and the agony.

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

SEN. SOTTO.  The defense, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The defense.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  If Your please, with that admonition, Your Honor, we  just go on record  as not objecting to the offer, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.

SEN. SOTTO.  Both sides, Mr. President.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The motion of the Majority Floor Leader is granted.  So, you have withdrawn your objection to the supplemental offer of evidence by the prosecution.  So Ordered.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right, so, therefore, to clarify, this case is now submitted for final resolution by this impeachment court subject to the oral arguments of the two sides to be held next Monday at 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon.  Is that understood?

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Agreed, Your Honor.

REP. TUPAS.  Yes, it is clear, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  You have an equal time of one hour each side.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Per your instruction, Your Honor, it is up for us to divide.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Yes, yes.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.  Thank you, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  All right.  Majority Floor Leader.

SEN. SOTTO.  Yes, Mr. President.  May we ask the Sgt-At-Arms to make an announcement.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  The Sgt-At-Arms is directed to make the announcement.

THE SGT-AT-ARMS.  Please all rise.  All persons are commanded to remain in their places until the Senate President and the Senators have left the session hall.

SEN. SOTTO.  Mr. President, there being no other business for the day, I move that we adjourn until 2:00 o’clock in the afternoon of Monday, May 28, 2012.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER.  Granted.

It was 5:34 p.m.

 

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