Too early to see guilty verdict for Corona, says prosecution | Inquirer News

Too early to see guilty verdict for Corona, says prosecution

/ 02:17 AM February 27, 2012

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara

Spokespersons of the House prosecution panel on Sunday said it was too early to say whether it had presented enough evidence to convince at least 16 senator-judges to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona amid Palace calls to end the trial soon and avoid what it described as public “fatigue.”

“It’s difficult to say because most senators seem to be holding their cards close to their chest, so to speak. Only a handful seem to openly display their preferences in the course of the trial and even these could not be said to be definitive, at least not until there has been an actual voting,” said Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara.


“We have not stopped because there is still evidence that has not been presented. We have not begun the process of actually counting the votes that are needed since it is premature,” said Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo.


Senator Manuel Villar has told reporters that he expected the prosecution to continue with its presentation of evidence because it was not confident that it had done enough to pin down Corona in at least one of the eight articles of impeachment.

“If they have the numbers, they would rest their case,” Villar said in an interview.

Palace spokesperson Edwin Lacierda last week urged the prosecution to avoid a protracted trial because the public was noticeably losing interest in it and the work of Congress was being affected.

“I think there will be fatigue if the trial drags on. And in the estimation of the prosecutors, they have already proven some of the articles so it’s a judgment call on the part of the prosecutors,” said Lacierda, who wanted the prosecution to end its presentation by March.

Hard to predict

But Quimbo said it was difficult to predict the senators’ verdict on evidence presented in the trial that began January 16.


“Considering that the defense has not even presented its evidence yet, we cannot expect all the senators to have already made up their mind,” he said.

One of the prosecutors, Isabela Representative Giorgidi Aggabao, said his team was seriously considering wrapping up its case soon.

“We have abbreviated Article 3 (of the impeachment complaint), and we will wind up Article 7 with one more hearing day, and be ready to rest our case. Were it not for the extended inquiry on the provenance of the PSBank bank records of Corona, we would probably be already deep into the defense evidence at this time. All told, the prosecution is very confident of conviction,” Aggabao said.

Akbayan Representative Walden Bello concurred with Aggabao that the prosecution has a very strong case on Articles 3 and 7 and that the senators had no choice but to convict Corona.

Quimbo and Angara said the big discrepancy between what Corona declared as his assets and cash holdings in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth and what was exposed in the course of the trial was too big to dismiss as an honest mistake as averred by the defense.

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The two said Corona’s bias toward former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was also too obvious to ignore by the senators, especially in view of how Corona went out of his way allegedly to subvert the travel ban on Arroyo imposed by the Department of Justice.

TAGS: Judiciary, Politics, Renato Corona, Senate, Supreme Court

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