MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Renato Corona’s defense team was “disintegrating” to a point that its own head, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, had allegedly wanted one of its members cited for contempt and detained, a senator bared on Thursday.
“Given what we saw last Tuesday, indeed the defense team was disintegrating,” Senator Franklin Drilon, an administration ally, said at a weekly forum in the Senate.
Drilon revealed that when senators were holding a caucus after Corona’s walk out on Tuesday, Cuevas came in and explained that he had no hand in Corona’s walkout.
And when Cuevas saw another defense lawyer, Jose Roy III being interviewed on television about the walkout, Drilon said the lead defense counsel made this remark: “Ayan daldal ng daldal. I-contempt nyo at ikulong nyo ng 10 araw, hindi ako mag o-object (There he goes [referring to Roy], giving a lot of talk. I won’t object if you cite him for contempt and jail him for 10 days).”
“And another incident during the same episode, Atty. Roy was going to join the caucus, hinarang sya ni Justice Cuevas (Cuevas blocked his way). Papasok ka dyan, mumurahin ka (If you go in there, you’ll receive a lot of flak),” Drilon said quoting Cuevas.
Roy now in control
It appeared, the senator said that Cuevas was no longer in control of his team and that Roy seemed to have been taking his place.
“(It was clear) that he (Cuevas) had no control over what was happening. It would appear to me that Atty Roy is the principal lead counsel from what had transpired,” Drilon said, noting Cuevas’ own admission that he had tried to resign from the defense team because of a “conflict of opinion.”
The senator believes Cuevas had indeed no hand in Corona’s walkout, which he described as “premeditated.”
“Somebody else is directing the show,” Drilon said without saying who.
“I have no doubt that the walkout was premeditated, planned. I can conclude reasonably that Justice Cuevas was not part of the plan,” he added.
Originally posted at 12:03 p.m.