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'Leaked' CJ bank docs may be OKd as evidence

MANILA, Philippines – Some senator-judges are considering accepting all marked documents presented by the House prosecution team before the Senate impeachment court as evidence, including those allegedly illegally obtained bank records of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

”As much as possible, all the presented and marked documents, we will admit as evidence. And we will leave it to the defense panel to answer point-by-point all issues and pieces of evidence presented so far,” Senator Panfilo Lacson said today.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV also believed that except for the dollar accounts, all the peso accounts of the chief magistrate with the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) should be automatically accepted as evidence by the prosecution against Corona.

”The peso accounts should be admitted because, anyway, these were already shown to the public during the impeachment trial. What Chief Justice Corona should do is explain these bank accounts except for dollar accounts,” Trillanes said.

Senator Gregorio Honasan II also agreed that the bank documents should be accepted as evidence.

”For me, it should be accepted as evidence. What’s the difference? These were already entered into the records and accepted as evidence on national TV,” Honasan said.

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The bank records of Corona with PSBank have been included as one of the agenda up for discussion in a caucus of the senator-judges on Tuesday.

The senator-judges will also tackle the prosecution’s motion to drop five of the eight articles of impeachment complaint and penalty for Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre, who was cited for contempt for disrespecting Senator-Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago by covering his ears while the senator was berating the prosecution team.

Prosecution: Accept leaked docs as evidence

The House prosecution team, meanwhile, has formally asked the Senate impeachment court to junk the defense teamn's motion to refuse as evidence the bank documents that were allegedly obtained illegally and presented in court.

In a 41-page manifestation, the prosecution asked the Senate to deny the motion of the defense since there has been no final determination yet that the bank documents of Corona are fake.

”There has been no final determination nor concrete evidence to show that the document attached as Annex ‘A’ to the supplemental request for subpoena filed by the prosecution was fake. Thus, there is no basis for the suppression, exclusion, and expunging from the record of the evidence,” the prosecution stated.

The prosecution panel pointed out also that a subpoena validly issued by the impeachment court does not constitute as an unreasonable search.

”It must be emphasized that the bank accounts of the respondent, including his bank accounts in PSBank, has been ruled as relevant to Article 2,” the prosecution said.

”Likewise, the validity of the subpoena has already been affirmed by the honorable impeachment court when it denied the reiterative motion to quash the subpoena filed by the respondent,” it added.

The prosecutors said the subpoena resulted to the enumeration of at least 10 bank account numbers of Corona on February 6 and 9.

”Even assuming arguendo that Annex ‘A’ was illegally- obtained, the evidence presented in court is still admissible,” the prosecution insisted.

CPAs helping defense team

Ramon Esguerra, one of Corona's counsels, said the defense is also conferring with a team of lawyer-accountants who can help explain the intricacies in the issue of the Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN), the non-disclosure and alleged failure to declare some properties are subject of the Article 2 of the verified complaint.

“There is a team, a lot of them CPA-lawyers and auditors, helping us. From the team, there are five individuals from whom we will choose to testify,” Esguerra said.

“Pinipili pa naming depending on the final report that they will submit to us, based on their assessment on how the SALN, cash or otherwise can be best explained,” he added.

Esguerra said these personalities came from “big auditing firms” who are helping the defense team.

Another defense lawyer, Tranquil Salvador III, said that the accountant should be able to explain the details in the SALN.

“So we are strongly considering a lot of things. We will be presenting an accountant, who will be able to explain the SALN, especially the figures,” Salvador added. “Kailangan lang naman mapaliwanag yan. Sa tingin ko pag-napaliwanag yan, may laban na tayo,” Salvador added. - Tina Mendez

 

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