Defense welcomes prosecution move to drop 5 impeach articles vs Corona
MANILA, Philippines – The defense panel on Tuesday welcomed the Prosecution’s move to drop the five articles of impeachment against Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In a chance interview after the impeachment trial, defense spokesman Tranquil Salvador said that the withdrawal of articles 1, 8, 4, 5, and 6, would shorten the impeachment trial. He added that it would now be the turn of the defense to present their evidence and witnesses.
“We welcome the decision of the prosecution to stop their presentation of evidence. Siguro nakita na nila na kailangan nang madaliin ang prosesong ito at nakita na nila na [Perhaps they saw the need to speed up the process and saw that] they can no longer tarry or delay the presentation,” Salvador said.
“I think that at this point in time that they realize na hanggang dito na lamang [it stops here]. Hindi po namin hinuhusgahan ang ginawa nila, hindi namin sinasabi na mahina o malakas ang kanilang ebidensya, dahil wala po kami sa posisyon na sabihin ito [We are not judging what they did, we are not saying that their evidence is weak or strong because we are not in a position to say this]. The senate as the impeachment court will be in a better position to say (if) the evidence they presented so far is strong,” he added.
However, when asked when they would begin presenting their defense, Salvador said that they would wait for the prosecution to submit a formal offer of their evidence.
Nevertheless, Salvador said that they would wrap up their presentation of witnesses and evidence in three or four weeks.
He added that now it’s the turn of the defense to present their evidence and witnesses. Salvador urged the public to extend to them the same patience that they gave the prosecution.
“Sa paningin nila, sa pagsasalita nila ay sapat na yun para ma-convict ang ating chief justice, ang masasabi po namin bigyan ninyo kami ngayon ng pagkakataon para ipresenta ang aming ebidensya [They think that they have enough to convict our chief justice, all we can say is to give us a chance to present our evidence],” said Salvador.
“Kung nagkaroon kayo ng pasensya na pakinggan sila, bigyan nyo rin kami ng pasensya at pagkakataon para makapagpaliwanag, at matapos po rito, matatapos po ang proseso at magdedesisyon na ang [If you had the patience to listen to them, also give us the patience and opportunity to explain and after this, after the process is done, there will be a decision by the] impeachment trial,” he added.
The defense team nevertheless expressed confidence that they could defend Corona.
“Kayang-kaya [We can do it],” Rico Paolo Quicho, defense spokesman, said when asked by reporters if they could defend the respondent.
“Kidding aside, what we can say is that we have waited for this for a long time. We are going to present to you, especially on the issue of the SALN [statement of assets and liabilities and networth]. We just hope that you open your minds and always remember that these things can be explained. Alsp remember that our chief justice isn’t exactly poor before he became chief justice and so is his wife,” Quicho said in Filipino.