Prosecution seeks ‘flexibility’ in impeach processBy Maila Ager
NEED TO BE FLEXIBLE. Prosecution leader Neil Tupas Jr. explains earlier on Tuesday, Jan. 24 the need for flexibility in the impeachment trial. Video by INQUIRER.net's Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—The prosecution team has asked for “flexibility” in asking questions in the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, noting that the defense team raised about 30 objections during last week’s proceedings.
Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., the chief prosecutor, complained during Tuesday’s resumption of the trial that they had to reform their questions last week at least 20 times because of the defense panel’s objections.
“We observed that in the last two hearings, there has been at least 30 objections from the defense and the prosecution reformed our questions around at least 20 times,” Tupas said.
“Our request is for the honorable tribunal to be liberal in the asking of questions by the prosecution so that that the truth would really come out,” he said.
“Are you suggesting that we should allow misleading questions? Are you suggesting that we should allow hearsay evidence? Are you suggesting that we should allow argumentative questions?” asked Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, who presided over the trial.
Tupas answered in the negative in all the questions raised by Enrile.
“What then are you suggesting? Are you suggesting that we should allow hypothetical questions? Are you suggesting that we should allow leading questions teaching the witness what to say?” said the Senate leader.
“That’s not the suggestion of this representation – just giving flexibility to the prosecution,” said Tupas.
Enrile answered, “The chair is open to any suggestion. How flexible you want the chair to be? If you want me to relax the rules, tell me.”
He even pointed out how he helped the prosecution at one point to ferret out the truth in his desire to immediately end the trial.
The Senate leader, acting as presiding judge of the impeachment court, assured that he was not favoring anyone and that he would not allow himself or the institution to be used by anybody for their own interests.
“Kung sakali na hindi niyo matanggap ang aking pamamalakad sa paglilitis nitong kaso na ito, ako po ay open… Ibibigay ko itong upuan sa sinumang gustong pumalit sa akin. So ordered,” said Enrile.
After Enrile’s statement, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III moved to adjourn the proceeding pending the submission of the prosecution of a memorandum explaining why the ill-gotten wealth allegation against Corona should be allowed as part of their evidence against him.