Rep. Umali stands by his ‘small lady’ and Corona’s photocopied bank documentBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — Amidst inquiries into the veracity of the leaked foreign deposit account allegedly owned by impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, prosecutor Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali on Tuesday stressed that he was sticking to his story of a “small lady” approaching him and handing over the photocopied document.
“I have no proof but my word as an officer of the court. I have reason to believe that this is authentic considering that the information contained therein have been testified to as existing in the bank records,” he told reporters before the resumption of the trial. “Hindi ko itataya ang lisensya at reputasyon ko para sa bagay na yan [I will not stake my license and reputation for something like that]. I will stand by my story.”
He added that he was being candid when he told the impeachment court that he could not pinpoint the particular area where the “small lady” approached him for the bank record. But he maintained, “It must have been here [Senate], I was on my way to Midas Hotel [at the time].”
Umali however said that it was not up to him to convince the impeachment court that his story was true, explaining “I need not convince the court because this is a side issue and this has nothing to do with the impeachment of Chief Justice Corona.”
“If there is law violated I am willing to face whatever investigation, proceedings there will be.”
Commenting on closed circuit television (CCTV) footage obtained by the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, which indicated that no “small lady” handed Umali identification and specimen signature cards of the chief magistrate, the Oriental Mindoro representative said that he wanted to see the said footage “to refresh [his] memory.”
“I don’t know if this building is fully wired, fully covered by CCTV.”
Umali responded to questions on the tendency of bank officials to tell the court that the said document was fake, telling reporters that the witnesses have not proven that the bank record was indeed so. “You know, the best evidence is the document of the bank itself but I have reasons to believe that the document was a photocopy of an authentic document.”
He said that he understood why the bank officials were telling the senator-judges that the document was fake, saying that they were afraid of being held liable for the “leaked” document.
He brazenly added, “I think some people are lying or are being made to lie if only to protect their own skin. On the one hand they are saying that it is fake but they are not confirming that they have reviewed and compared it with the original.”
“We are saying these are not illegally acquired [and were] given by an anonymous person. There will be a forum that will determine the truthfulness of the story.”
Umali also challenged Corona to present his bank records to the impeachment court, citing the chief magistrate’s statement that he would face the complaint lodged against him.
“He said he would face [the complaint] but what is he doing now?”