Justice Secretary Leila de Lima gets Senate subpoena
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima received on Friday a subpoena from the Senate impeachment court to produce documents and testify in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
The subpoena, which was requested by the House prosecutors, directed De Lima to appear before the Senate on Feb. 22 to testify on Article 7 of the impeachment complaint, which charges Corona with betrayal of public trust through his alleged partiality in granting a temporary restraining order (TRO) on the travel restrictions imposed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo.
“If I’m subpoenaed, I have no choice [but to appear], especially since the prosecution may be planning to take up Article 7,” De Lima told reporters in an interview.
She said her testimony would be “essential” in view of the watch-list order that she had issued on the Arroyos.
According to the House prosecutors, the TRO was issued by the Supreme Court to give the Arroyos “an opportunity to escape prosecution and frustrate the ends of justice.”
Corona was also accused of “distorting” the high court’s decision on the effectivity of the TRO after it was discovered that the Arroyos had failed to comply with one of the conditions.
De Lima has been directed to produce, aside from court pleadings, immigration records on the entry and exit of Corona in October and November 2011, a surveillance camera video of the Padre Faura entrance of the DOJ building on Nov. 15, 2011, and the record of the denial of the Arroyos’ request to be allowed to leave through the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on the same day.
Through the subpoena, the House prosecutors want to prove, among others, that Gloria Arroyo intended to travel abroad for reasons other than health, that the TRO was attempted to be served to the DOJ on Nov. 15, 2011, that the Arroyos tried to escape the country on the same day, that they made multiple travel bookings on the same day and that Corona “hastily” returned to the Philippines on Nov. 10, 2011.
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