Impeachment court junks motion to summon Corona, family
MANILA, Philippines—The Senate acting as an impeachment court threw out on Tuesday an appeal by a senator-judge against the issuance of subpoena against Supreme Court chief Justice Renato Corona’s wife and other family members.
Fourteen senators voted to sustain Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile’s ruling to deny a request to subpoena Corona, wife Cristina, and two children– Clara and Francis– while only six voted in favor of Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano’s appeal to reconsider the ruling with regards to the wife and other family members.
While he agreed to the Senate’s decision to deny the issuance of subpoena against the Chief Justice, Cayetano expressed his reservation against the denial to subpoena the wife and other family members.
“I agree with the ruling in so far as the Chief of Justice is concerned but as to the wife, the children and the son-in-law, may I put on record my reservation,” he said.
Cayetano explained that some of the properties discovered by the prosecution team were allegedly in the names of Corona’s wife and children.
And under Republic Act 1379 on forfeiture of ill-gotten wealth, Cayetano pointed out that property unlawfully acquired by the respondent but its ownerships concealed by its being recorded in the name of, or held by the respondent’s spouse, ascendants, descendants, relatives or any other person was characterized as “not among legitimately acquired properties.”
Cayetano said the court should not shortcut the process by denying the subpoena against other family members “because we can’t predict if and when the daughter will in fact manifest or claim the privilege or the husband will claim the disqualification against the wife.”
“The proper procedure is for us to issue the subpoena and for the defence or witnesses to be the ones to claim the privilege later on,” he pointed out.
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