Cross-examination left to private lawyers

House lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr.

House lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr.

Lawyer Mario Bautista will have the first crack at questioning Chief Justice Renato Corona during cross-examination when the latter takes the witness stand on Wednesday at his trial in the Senate impeachment court, House lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. said Monday.

Should the need arise, Bautista will be assisted by his fellow private counsels Arthur Lim and Jose Justiniano, Tupas said in a phone interview.

Bautista, Lim and Justiniano are among the 58 private lawyers assisting the 11-member prosecution panel from the House of Representatives.

Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara, a prosecution spokesperson, confirmed in a phone interview that Bautista had been chosen to grill Corona.

“Lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. can argue on certain points,” Angara said.

It was Bautista who conducted the cross-examination last week on Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, who dropped a bombshell with her revelation that the Chief Justice kept $12 million in 82 accounts.

Bautista is the managing partner of Poblador, Bautista and Reyes law firm.

At the onset of the trial in January, Lim, a former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), incurred the ire of Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago for arguing with the senator over admitting Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares as a witness for the prosecution.

Lim, Santiago and Senator Franklin Drilon belong to the University of the Philippines’ College of Law Class of 1969.

It was Justiniano, a partner in SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan law firm, who elicited crucial information from defense witness Demetrio Coronado Vicente, a cousin of Corona.

Vicente, a bonsai artist, bought parcels of land at Marikina Heights in Marikina City from Corona’s wife, Cristina, in July 1990. The title of the lot is still registered in Cristina’s name.

Focus on 3 issues

Tupas said the cross-examination would focus on three main issues. These are the bank accounts, both peso and dollar; real properties (undervaluation and nondeclaration in several statements of assets, liabilities and net worth); and Corona’s participation in Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc.’s ownership battle between his wife and her surviving aunt and cousins.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II laughed off reporters’ suggestions that Tupas take charge in grilling Corona.

“We’d rather have someone, whose daily job is the practice of law, do it than someone like me who has not done it for quite some time,” Gonzales said in a press conference.

He said Tupas and Ilocos Norte Representative Rodolfo Fariñas would deliver the prosecution’s closing arguments.

Chinese dinner

On the eve of Corona’s testimony, the prosecution panel dined in a Chinese restaurant at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel in Mandaluyong City.

Gonzales described the mood as “OK” as the panel was looking forward to a conviction.

He said the trial had gone beyond the legal confines of the trial court because the defense softened and agreed to address other public issues not included in the original articles of impeachment, specifically Corona’s dollar accounts.

A prosecutor advised Corona not to invoke legal technicalities during his testimony, claiming that the public would not be so forgiving.

But defense spokesperson Karen Jimeno said the use of legal technicalities would ensure that due process was observed.

At the Kapihan sa Diamond Hotel, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said: “This (impeachment) is an administrative proceeding, not a criminal proceeding. For you to use technicalities to avoid removal from office would pose a bigger problem.”

“If the Chief Justice will persist on legal argumentation … I do not think the public will be forgiving with that explanation,” Colmenares said.

Moral fitness

He said the primary issue was the “moral fitness” of Corona to stay in office.

Jimeno disagreed with the prosecution’s take on invoking legal technicalities. “The defense has always been accused of using technicalities. But then, this is not about technicalities but the observance of due process and what is provided by the law,” she said.

Technicalities are used to ensure that the process is organized and consistent with the Bill of Rights, she said.

“I am still in disbelief why he (Corona) would be made to testify. As far as the prosecution is concerned, he cannot explain the unexplainable,” Colmenares said.


In Cebu City, Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said Corona might refuse to answer questions and just announce that he would resign.

At a forum organized by IBP-Cebu City and Free Legal Assistance Group, Tañada said he doubted that Corona would answer questions that would tend to incriminate him.

“But of course, the more he expresses his right against self-incrimination, the more the public will turn against him,” he said. With a report from Edison A. de los Angeles, Inquirer Visayas

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  • R

    It would be an embarrassment for Kupas or any Tongressman doing the cross-examination. They will be humilated by the Senator/Judges for they don’t know what they are talking/doing since Day 1 of the trial.

  • $16638896

    para narin sinabi ng kupal na si neptali na bobo si tupas nyahahahah!
    si tanada naman nananaginip hehehe
    nagpapalakas ng loob ang mga kupal hehe

  • Guest

    The day is coming….get ready!

  • pulis

    Tupak, tapos na ba yung Mansion mo?

  • Spike

    dapat si tupas uli para ma sermonan ng senator judges – kakahiya walang kasing kupas!

    • totan

      Between you and Tupas, definitely, Tupas is more intelligent.  You dont even know how to speak english.  Its understandable that Tupas will not be as good as the private lawyers because, the private lawyers are in the practice of law while tupas is was out of practice as he is a politician.

      • pulis

        Bakit, pag marunong ka bang mag english, matalino ka na? yung mga kano nga ang salita ay english mas bobo pa sa akin…Marunong ka ngang mag enlish pero hindi ka naman marunong ng karay-a…Sino ang matalino?

      • ptoprin

        dapat siguro. tingnan mo si cuevas, magaling sa inglis. nasasabi nya at naiintindihan ng maayos… 

      • smiley

        …yong taga janiuay, iloilo. hanggud ti kinaray-a.

      • Nong

        kung i cross examine ni tupas si cj sa karay-a.. basi madukol siya ni meriam..hehehe

      • popeyee

        That’s the reason why Tupas and the likes prefer to be a politician…they won’t succeed in law profession..

  • junpaxx

    In a demoratic country like ours, supposedly, peolple should adhere to democratic process such as the Rules of Law, Due Process, person is innocent until proven otherwise, etc… The burden of proof is that of the accusers and/or the prosecutors. It the other way arround. The prosecutors, legally can’t prove their case. That’s why they went to black propaganda, demonizing the accused and brought their case to the bar of public opinion where the public is ignorant to legal and law matters. Even knowing themselves to be law violators and corrupt.

    • RiverHorse

      quoting Sen. Enrile, the presiding officer, “if that is your position, then that’s your problem.” we are after the truth, that is why people are clamoring to hear it coming from Corona. and all he did was hide for the past four months. obviously, he is sensitive about the dollar accounts that’s why he dared Morales and company to take the stand, assuming that all they have were conjecture and hearsay. they did not expect a bomb. besides, who called the clerk of court, the court sheriff and the ombudsman to the stand, wasn’t it the defense? and they were the three witnesses who did Corona the most harm. if you need to blame someone, blame the entire defense team.

      democracy is at play with the rules of law and due process you are championing, otherwise, Corona would have been removed by another route, one that could be sinister in nature. at least, he is given the opportunity to defend himself, flawed as though the manner is according to those who defend him.

      that is why, the senate has learned and will introduce changes based on what they learned. whether guilty or not guilty, we should be able to move on, we should come out more mature as a nation and as a people.

  • QQU

    “Defense spokesperson Karen Jimeno said the use of legal technicalities would ensure that due process was observed.” (News, 5/22/12)

     I think in the Impeachment, however the TRUTH comes out…in the SHADE of reason or law…is reasonable & legal enough observance of DUE PROCESS.
    Afterall, Mr. Corona, has to PROVE his FITNESS to sit as Chief Justice of the land.

    It is a wide ranging territory…that Ms. Jimeno and the defense team cannot indulge themselves to narrow the view into little strips of legal technicalities.

    That’s why Mr. Ponce-Enrile made an order for the Impeachment Court that—all evidence, including illegally obtained evidence, are admissible…in the wake of the testimony on dollar accounts said to belong to Mr. Corona.  

  • joshua kings

    nakakatakot mag blog dito; ang daming demonyo na nagpapanggap na tao…lol…..

  • morale_reform

    Just speak out the truth… nothing to lose!  Kung wala ka man ding kasalanan, divulge everything, open what needs to be open.  Prove your innocence without hidding anything.  Di kailangan mag invoke ng right to self incrimination kung wala kang nagawang mali.  Kung nagkasala ka man, aminin… God is so forgiving.  Ang tao naman eh madaling makalimot at magpatawad bastat bukal sa puso ang pag amin ng kasalanan. It’s really make or break… May the Holy Spirit guide you.  It’s never too late! 

    • RiverHorse

      he has about 10M-12M (x 43.++) to lose just in case.

  • Russell Ariola

    Hahahaa.. yan ang matapang. Susuba sa alanganin para sa kapakanan ng marami.
    Kudos Atty. Mar Bautista!
    (kapatid ba ni Atty. Felix Bautista president ng IBP?)

    Seguraduhin mo lang ser na masisindak mo si THIEF JU$TICE at mapapakanta mo.
    Dahil pag hindi sya naimpeach, matutulad ka ser kay Atty. Marlou Ubano.


    malapit na matapos ang mansion ni tupas kasabay ng pagtatapos ng impeachment hahaha..

    • smiley

      isumbong mo sa umbodsman para maimbistigahan, sige na.

  • ptoprin

    atty bautista, please ask din if na convert na ni corona ang mga dollars into gold sa black market….

  • reydomingo

    sana tanungin din ng  prosecution si corona kung sa legal opinion nya tama yung ginawa ng judge regarding the basa quidote case… dito makikita natin paano siya magisip at kung ano ang tunay na pagkatao niya…

  • RiverHorse

    how many lawyer jokes are there? 2 or 3, the REST are true. ;)

  • RiverHorse

    first good decision na ginawa nila… no grandstanding tongressmen. talagang it’s going to be PEOPLE of the PHILIPPINES vs. RENATO C. CORONA, hindi moro-moro ng mga politiko.

  • PeteJrfern

    Yong mga bank accounts nang mga bishops tignan niyo, pinatago daw ni Corona kaya yong mga bishops panay misa sa SC.  Hindi na raw ibabalik kay CJ yong dollars…..

    • RiverHorse

      speaking of dollar accounts, yung evidence na galing AMLC kay RENATO C. CORONA pa lang, wala pa yung kay CRISTINA R. CORONA. wala bang nag isip kung bakit???

      kasi, si CRISTINA CORONA nde inimbestigahan ni MORALES dahil private citizen sya, nde within the scope of the office of the OMB. kung linabas ng AMLC at ni MORALES yung kay CRISTINA (kung meron nga), then ang laking gulo nyan. kung yung kay CRISTINA ang iimbestigahan, dun kailangan ng COURT ORDER. tama?

      NAISIP ba ng defense yan? i guess not.

      • samarutan

        tunay ka kapatid! the total amount involved must be bigger than what has been discussed. 

  • kilabot

    the prosecution may use any lawyer it likes who subscribes and well-versed in the following:
      1) diaz-morales theory on prostituted arithmetic;
      2) umali-banal-keh theory on prostituted evidence;
      3) henares-delima theory on prostituted govt agencies;
      4) ppp-roque theory on prostituted media.

    in short, the lawyer must be a prostitute.

  • Andrew Stephen

    Why private lawyers?  This is the job of the house prosecutors.  This should not be delegated to a non-house member, who impeached the Chief Justice.

    This only shows that the house prosecutors and the house, in general, has no case at all.  If CJ is acquitted, they can blame the private prosecutors for bungling the cross examination.

    Or shall In say, they have, at their beckon, senate lawyers like Drilon and Guingona, ready to pounce on CJ Corona…

    • smiley

      “We’d rather have someone, whose daily job is the practice of law, do it than someone like me who has not done it for quite some time,” Gonzales said in a press conference.”WE” is better than “ME/I”.

    • Nong

      the rule… knoe your enemy

      • Nong

        know..sorry.. hindi kasi ako typist… kaya ipinaubaya ko na sa maid namin ang pagsagot sa blog na ito…

  • JosephNess

    the cross examination and re-cross will not be so interesting, what will be the most exciting moments to this matinee entertainment, will be the part when the senator judges will stand to speak their minds, see how they react, maybe, lose their temper and their minds, berating the innocent prosecutor lawyers, deride their ways of squeezing the juice of truth out of the seemingly truthful lies… they will be berated, if they can catch the CJ by his mouth, when finally the truth will come, out of the whole lies…then, if the first fool shamed oneself and failed to brake the prosecution, another will rise with the same vigor ways of further berating, then another, and another, until the gavel will be banged, the sitting judge speak…this whole exchanges of foolishness will be the most awaited part to this matinee entertainment… to see these exposed senators lost their mind… 

  • JosephNess

    this will be a test of jurisprudence…the CJ will be caught in his own court…best witness indeed to bare what mess the whole judiciary have…

  • Ang Kampanero

    cross examination of a chief justice will be a challenge and a rare opportunity for any lawyer.  for the prosecutor-congressmen to delegate it to their supervised private lawyers is just like admitting their incompetence to dissect, analyze and resolve issues, which is the meat of their work as legislators.  sila itong nagsampa ng complaint yet they refuse to face their respondent.  baliktad ano

    • smiley

      Tupaz already gave a reason why the cross-examination was given to private lawyers. i think it’s a good strategy and brilliant decision by the prosecution. 

    • deadlyshooter

      ang nagsampa ng kaso karaniwan humahanap ng magaling na abugado para ipaglaban ang kanilang sinampang kaso…sinabi ni gonzales na hindi regular na trabaho ng mga congressmen na tumayong abugado sa korte, gawain yan ng beteranong trial lawyers…totoong dumaan din sila sa procesong ito, naging trial lawyers, pero, kung matagal na hindi nila ginagawa ito, di na sila magiging effective trial lawyers kaya nga sa rules ng impeachment, pinayagang kumuha ng private lawyers ang magkabilang panig para tulungan sila sa pagtalakay ng kaso…totoong malaking karangalan ng isang abugadong na macross examination si CJ, pero ang mga congressmen na matagal nang tumigil sa trabahong ito hindi na magiging sanay, magaling at matatag sa procesong ito.

  • alexfrommactan

     The only thing that caught my attention on
    this report is the  58 lawyers assisting
    the prosecution?!! 58 lawyers!. Ganito ba kaunproductive ang mga lawyers na
    nakuha ng prosecution (who are also lawyers!) that they need these many?

    • Nong

      kulang pa nga yaan… see with 58… kaunti lang ang nakuha nilang  ebidensya…maski anong try nila….dapat nga 705.. para lang sa 705 line transactions ng AMLC… mahirap kasi magresearch.. dagdag mo pang ang support  staff..kulang pa rin…
      ubos din…

    • popeyee

      Kaya nga ang bilis naubos ng 5M budget nila. Yong kinain nila sa Edsa Shangrila, i don’t think free you, kaya buwis na naman ng nakakaraming mahihirap at yong ibang nagbabayad ng tamang buwis ang nagamit…

  • paul

     The use of legal technicalities would ensure that due process was observed and smokescreen the truth.

  • Regd

    Kahit ako na lang pwede. Isa lang ang tanong ko: If the dollar accounts are not yours, You will not mind signing these withdrawal slips so that all the amount will transfer to my account. If the transaction is unsuccessful, you’re acquitted, if not — I’M A VERY RICH MAN & THANK YOU! The conviction part will happen after I immediately leave the country.

  • aluvera

    Naku, lagot kayo…si Corona ang hari, baka i disbar kayo pagkatapus ang kasong ito….alam nyo na lahat na nag question nang judges sa supreme court…alam nyo na kahit nga ang spokesman sa supreme court naging spokeman din niya….

  • Taiko_Kauna

    with the way corona delivered his litany of defenses, he will have a hard time parrying the cross of the prosecutors. If he has not convincingly deliver his litany of defenses during his presentation even with the aid of notes  and speak in taglish, what more in answering surprising questions? With this upcoming horrifying episode, he has every reason to stay at the ICU, and perhaps compose a letter of resignation. 

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