We’re ready to face Basa family in court but…, says Corona counsel
The defense panel on Wednesday expressed its readiness to take on members of the Basa family as possible rebuttal witnesses for the prosecution in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona in the Senate.
But Jose Roy III, one of Corona’s lawyers, played down the weight of the would-be testimonies of Ana Basa and Sister Flory Basa who had accused Corona of using his position in government to help his wife Cristina take control of the family-owned Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI).
“The complaints of the Basas… are irrelevant. They have nothing to do with the Chief Justice,” Roy told reporters before the start of the impeachment trial.
“They are no longer stockholders or maybe, never were. You will find that out when our turn gets to that point—that the full ownership of (BGEI) belongs to the Coronas,” he said.
On Tuesday, Corona’s lawyers asked the Senate impeachment court to summon two court personnel of a Quezon City court which handled the libel case that Cristina filed against her relatives involving their ownership dispute over BGEI.
Real status of firm
The move may have given the prosecution an opportunity to present the Basas as witnesses in its rebuttal.
But Roy said the motion would not necessarily allow the presentation of the Basas since the testimony of the court officials would only cover the existence of BGEI as a juridical entity.
He noted that the prosecution had presented an official of the Securities and Exchange Commission who testified that BGEI had been dissolved.
“The pendency of this case and the actions taken by the court … will show what is the real status of this corporation,” Roy said.
“If they feel that the Basas would provide good rebuttal evidence, that’s up to them. But as the (Senate) keeps reminding us, the only jurisdiction of this court is impeachment. It cannot review what happened in a corporate dispute,” he added.
Asked if the defense was prepared to hear the testimony of the Basas, he replied: “Sure. We’ve been waiting to have a chance to cross-examine those people who have been critical of the Chief Justice.”