An eyewitness or Justice Sereno testifying could save prosecution, says Santiago

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04:03 PM February 23rd, 2012

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By: Katherine Evangelista, February 23rd, 2012 04:03 PM

MANILA, Philippines—Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago on Thursday said the prosecution still has a chance to save their case amid their continuous booboos in the impeachment trial proceedings if they present a surprise witness or if they convince Supreme Court Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to testify.

In a chance interview with the media minutes before the trial of on Wednesday, Santiago was asked how the prosecution could salvage the situation they are in.

Santiago said: “Kung mayroon silang surprise witness for example (If they have a surprise witness).”

“Especially an eyewitness to what is being testified upon. That’s the important thing. Problem is wala silang eye-witness. Puro sila circumstantial evidence. (The problem is they don’t have eyewitness. All they have is circumstantial evidence),” Santiago said.

The prosecution has been continuously receiving flak from senator-judges, particularly from Santiago and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile during trials.

She added that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s testimony on Wednesday’s hearing is not admissible.

“The testimony of the justice secretary, as I will bring up later, is hearsay, it is not admissible, she is not testifying based on her own personal knowledge but her testimony is based on the dissenting opinion of Justice Sereno,” Santiago said.

When asked whether it would be better for the prosecution to have Justice Sereno herself testify before the impeachment court, Santiago said: “Just to answer your hypothetical question if the justice herself testifies, that will of course, bolster the case of the prosecution.”

The statement came a day after De Lima came as the prosecution’s first witness for their presentation on Article 7 or Corona’s alleged betrayal of public trust for his partiality in ruling on the temporary restraining order which allowed former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel, to leave the country. Likewise, the prosecution team said that Corona allegedly used his position as the chief justice and tampered with the ruling of the Supreme Court en banc on the TRO.

During her testimony, under direct examination of the prosecution, De Lima kept referring to Sereno’s dissenting opinion on the Supreme Court’s en banc decision on TRO which stated that the resolution issued did not bear the decision voted upon by the justices in their hearing.

The prosecution initially wanted to subpoena several members of the Supreme Court however, the Senate, acting as the impeachment court, denied the request since the judiciary and the legislative are co-equal branches of government.

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