Corona offers ‘unconditional’ waiver allowing opening of all accounts
MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona on Friday gave the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, “without any condition” his waiver authorizing all banks to open all his dollar and peso accounts.
“Nais ko po sanang i-sumite na po sa kagalang galang na Juan Ponce-Enrile yung aking waiver po [I would like to submit to your Honorable Juan Ponce Enrile my waiver],” Corona said, referring to Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce-Enrile.
“Hindi ko na po hihintayin yung waiver noong 189 [I will not wait for the waiver of the 189]. I’m submitting this without any conditions whatsoever,” Corona said.
Corona was referring to the 188 congressmen and Senator Franklin Drilon, whom he challenged last Tuesday to sign their own waivers, a condition he set before he would submit his own waiver to the Senate.
“Alam nyo po kagalang na galang na mahistrado, ang problema namin dyan kahit may waiver kayo, kaninong witness ang pupunta ditto [You know honourable Chief Justice, our problem with the waiver is whose witness will go here]?” asked Enrile.
“Kung mamarapatin po ninyo, pwede naman pong patawag yung manager ng bangko [With all due respect, you may call the manager of the bank],” Corona answered.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto suspended the proceedings to “formalize” the acceptance of the waiver. But Enrile decided to instead call all senators to a meeting to discuss Corona’s waiver.
Before this, Corona’s lead counsel and former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas announced that they would no longer give additional direct examination of the respondent since the Senate accepted their client’s statement last Tuesday as part of the testimony.
Cuevas also recalled the prosecution team’s promise that it would no longer conduct a cross examination of Corona if he would return to the witness stand and no additional direct examination would be conducted by the defense team.
“We found it unnecessary anymore to proceed any further by going into additional direct examination, your honor and we are through with your direct examination,” Cuevas said.
Also before submitting his waiver, Corona apologized to the Senate and the public for what happened last Tuesday when he excused himself without getting the approval of the chamber after giving his opening his statement.
“Ako po ay nagpapakumbaba at humihinging paumanhin sa nangyari noong Martes. Hindi ko po inasahan na ganun ang mangyayari kaya lang po alam nyo naman po ang pinagdaanan namin, particularly pinagdaanan ko sa nakalipas na anim na buwan [I humbly apologize for what happened on Tuesday. I did not expect that to happen but you know what I’m going through, particularly what I’ve been through these past six months],” he said.
“Hindi po madali ang pinagdaanan namin. Mahirap pong i-describe yung sama ng loob at sakit ng loob na aming pinagdadanan the past six months kaya nga lang po ay siguro nagkasunod sunod na po [What we’ve been through wasn’t easy. It’s hard to describe the pain we’re experiencing the past six months that’s why perhaps one thing led to another],” he said.
Corona admitted that he had sleepless nights for almost a week now.
“Hindi po madali o masarap ang kinalalagyan ko ngayon. Nakatutok sa akin ang mata ng milyonmilyong kababayan natin at ako ay hinuhusgahan sa trial na ito [Being where I am right now is neither easy nor comfortable. The eyes of millions of our people are on me and I’m being judged in this trial]],” he said.
“Kaya po siguro hindi rin ako makakain noong [That’s why maybe I couldn’t eat] lunch time before I came here last Tuesday dahil [because] I have to admit with all candor and honesty, nagbabaligtad po ang aking sikmura dahil sa nerbyos [my stomach was churning due to nerves]. Kayo na po ang bahalang magpatawad sa akin [I ask for your forgiveness]…”he added.
Corona clarified that he did not walkout last Tuesday but said he was saddened because it appeared that some people wanted to see him dead first just to prove that he was telling the truth.
“Para bagang kailangan pa bang ako ang mamatay para patunayang ako ay nagsasbai ng totoo [It’s like do I have to die first to prove that I’m telling the truth],” he lamented.
Enrile accepted and even thanked the Chief Justice who could not stop himself from taking a swipe at President Benigno Aquino III.
“I have been disrespected by our President several times. You did not hear me speak one bad word against him because it’s not how I am. I’m not a disrespectful person,” he said in Filipino.