Prosecution remains confident even after resting case vs CoronaBy Karen Boncocan
MANILA, Philippines — The prosecution panel’s decision to rest its case after presenting three articles of impeachment to the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, was not sudden and was made unanimously by their team Monday afternoon, lead prosecutor Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. said on Tuesday.
He told reporters this during a press briefing after Day 25 of the trial, saying that even Speaker Feliciano Belmonte and Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales were in on the decision.
“Originally Article 2 should have taken only two weeks but dragged on for a month because of the amount of evidence. Every night we met and this week we finally decided that we will terminate the presentation of evidence.”
There were even thoughts of resting the case as early as Article 2 “because of the mere strength of the article but we felt we have to present the complete story,” said Tupas.
But Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez’s announcement on Tuesday also prompted the prosecution’s decision, said Marikina Representative Miro Quimbo. He said that based on Marquez’s statement, the Supreme Court had as good as barricaded their justices and officers from being summoned or invited to the impeachment proceedings.
Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares on Monday invited Associate Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to testify. He said that the statement reiterated the Supreme Court’s February 14 resolution barring its officers from testifying.
“Sinemento na ng Supreme Court [ang resolution nito] at kahit process servers at messengers nito ay hindi na maaaring tumestigo,” he told the media, adding that they did not see Sereno voluntarily testifying anytime soon and were no longer hopeful that she will show up. “It seems unfair to the defense and the senators if we keep on dragging the issue solely on the fact that we want her to appear. We never gave up on her but the process could not wait until she appears.”
“Hindi namin nagustuhan na nilagyan [ng Supreme Court] ng mahigpit na kulambo ang mga testigo at ebidensya… [ngunit] tinatanggap namin ang rulings ng impeachment court,” said Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Tanada III.
The prosecution will formally rest its case on Wednesday after the defense panel finishes their cross examination of the last witness for Article 7. “Once that’s done we will be ready to rest our case. We feel strongly about articles 2, 3, and 7,” said Quimbo.
Tupas however explained that they could go back to Article 2 should the high tribunal issue a decision favoring the prosecution on Corona’s dollar accounts.