Senate resumes Corona trial
MANILA, Philippines – The Senate, acting as an impeachment court for Chief Justice Renato Corona, opened the sixth day of trial on Wednesday with the senator-judges seeking to resolve the question of whether the prosecution should be allowed to present evidence against Chief Justice Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth as part of Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment.
Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile banged the gavel at around 2:00 p.m.
The impeachment trial was halted Tuesday noon pending the prosecution team’s submission of a memorandum explaining why they should be allowed to present evidence on Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.
Corona’s defense team has been objecting to the presentation of evidence pertaining to the ill-gotten wealth, saying that Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment only refers to the Chief Justice’s alleged non-disclosure of his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
The impeachment court is also expected to act on the defense team’s motion to quash the subpoena issued to Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares to stop her from testifying on the income tax returns filed by Corona and his family.
Corona’s lawyers claimed that Henares’ testimony was irrelevant since the ill-gotten wealth allegation was not included in the complaint.
So far, only five witnesses were presented by the prosecution: Clerk of Court Enriqueta Esguerra-Vidal and Marianito Dimaandal, head of Malacanang Records Office, Randy Rutaquio (register of deeds of Taguig City), Carlo Alcantara (register of deeds of Quezon City), and Sedfrey Garcia (register of deeds of Marikina City.)
Garcia was already called last Thursday to take the witness stand but the presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, adjourned the proceeding even before the prosecution could conduct direct examination of the witness.
Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr, a member of the prosecution team, said Garcia’s testimony would reveal seen properties in the name of Corona’s wife, Cristina.
All these seven properties, Barzaga said, were not in the SALN of Corona from 2002 to 2010.
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