Press Release
February 13, 2012

Transcript of interview with ANC's Headstart

ANCHOR: Karen Davila
GUEST: Sen. Francis G. Escudero (FGE)

K.DAVILA: And joining us on hot copy today, none other, then, okay this is gonna be controversial for today, as the Senate impeachment trial opens, one of the senator-judges, Senator Chiz Escudero, one of the senator-judges at the Corona impeachment trial. Good day to you Senator Chiz thank you for coming.

FGE: Karen good morning and of all our televiewers good morning, parang bata 'yung picture ni Jojo doon a?

K.DAVILA: Alright, ito sir huwag na tayong magpasikot sikot pa. Yesterday, the defense panel came up to a press conference, to the surprise of everybody and many were thinking, "magreresign ba si Chief Justice Corona?" "Ano ang mangyayari, pabubukas na ba 'yung bank accounts?" but they did something very different, people were surprised, what they did was, in effect, nagsumbong sila sa publiko, na allegedly, Malacañang, through Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa is offering each and every senator o nililigawan ang bawat senador to open the bank accounts, the foreign deposits. My question is this, did you receive an offer?

FGE: No Karen, pero una sa lahat baka gumaganti lang sila sa prosecutors kasi media din ang kausap ng prosecutors, nagbabawian lang sila. No, but to be fair to Secretary Ochoa, he's a good friend, alam naman din ng publiko din 'yan. Twice kami nagkita this week, pero hindi namin napag-usapan o pinag-usapan 'yun, walang offer.

K.DAVILA: Pwede ba 'yun?

FGE: Pinag-usapan man namin Karen, 'yung nakakatawang parte ba. 'Yung mga joke time doon sa impeachment, 'yung mga kapalpakan, na syempre ako lang 'yung tumatawa, sya hindi tumatawa, seryoso kasi tungkol sa prosecutors 'yun e.

K.DAVILA: But then a source told me from Woodside, that's where you lived, they did see Executive Secretary Jojo Ochoa visit you?

FGE: Yeah, as I've said we saw each other Tuesday and yesterday, but Karen, sa haba ng pagsasama kasi namin ni Jojo, even the president, we have learned to be friends both in agreement and in disagreement and them as you very well known, last Friday already came up with my position and made known in my position about this whole TRO issue, which is, kung papatigil ng Korte Suprema ang Senado, hindi kami papayag doon, dahil mali, mali 'yun talaga, maliwanag sa Saligang Batas, pero kung tungkol sa interlocutory orders, we have enough space to wait for the outcome of that particular hearing in the Supreme Court, but I disagree with the decision. I think the Senate should fight for the subpoena that we issued, I voted together with the majority on issuing the subpoena, but while there is a TRO in effect, pangit naman, masama sa panlasa ko na pagbotohan namin 'yun, in fact, in the caucus later, I hope we will not put it in a vote. Can you imagine the Senate putting to a vote, whether or not to follow a TRO of the Supreme Court? The last thing we want Karen is for other Sanggunians nationwide is to follow suit. Can you imagine a local provincial board, voting whether or not to follow a CA or RTC decision? We wouldn't want to set that example.

K.DAVILA: Okay, can you give your interpretation of what the impeachment court is? We heard Senator Frank Drilon, Senator TG Guingona defined it many times during the trial saying it is a class of its own, it is neither superior nor below any other court, but superior only in impeachment trial concerns.

FGE: Actually I suscribe to Verno's view that is zone in the constitution that is supreme, not the Supreme Court over the Senate, not the Senate over the Supreme Court even when it comes to impeachment cases. So, the constitution is clear, the Senate will try and decide, that cannot be stopped. However the Supreme Court is also empowered to interpret the law, not the Senate impeachment court.

K.DAVILA: Really?

FGE: Under the constitution it says, that the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the law, and this is in its exercise of interpreting the law. Of course if there are conflicting provisions in the constitution, you have to balance it and you have to give both provisions give meaning to each other. So, in that sense, we are supreme with respect to trying and deciding, but all other matters, it does not change the picture of our institutions.

K.DAVILA: Yeah, because I read the foreign currency deposit act, I think it is Republic Act 6426 is it?

FGE: 6426 or 6246, I'm sure there is a 6 and a 6 at the end.

K.DAVILA: No, I wanted to ask you, it's quite clear well I mean, I'm a layman, gusto lang kita tanungin, in that particular foreign currency act, nakalagay talaga doon, "only the owner of the account, can give permission to open it."

FGE: And it says absolutely confidential Karen. Two things on that, one of course, the solution is for the depositor to wave and to agree, but that is at entirely up to Chief Justice Corona which him, I too and he says he will do, when he's going to present evidence will come. Second Karen, I have a long pending bill in the Senate actually, it's a Senate Bill Number 107 this is Committee Report Number 2, meaning this is the second committee report placed on the floor in the Senate for this particular Congress. We sought to include in all the SALNs of all public officials required to file a SALN a waiver of the secrecy of bank deposits and the FCDU law.

K.DAVILA: I so agree. Papayag ba congressmen at mga senador dyan? 'Yung mga mayayaman na congressmen at senador?

FGE: Ang logic ko doon Karen, bato-bato sa langit. 'Yung ayaw magfile ng waiver, edi huwag kayong pumasok sa gobyerno? 'Yung gusto lang magfile ng waiver ang pumasok sa gobyerno. If you have some concerns, government service is a priviledge it's not a right and if you're afraid or scared to do that? Then, don't run for public office, don't be appointed in public office.

K.DAVILA: But what happened to that? It's been sitting there?

FGE: Well, I hope this will serve as a wake up call for everyone, both my colleagues in the House and in the Senate, for us, once and for all approve this, because if the rule is good for Corona, it should also be good for all of us. If it's good for all of us, it should also be applicable to him.

K.DAVILA: Because that's what you know for regular people when I meet them, that's what they often tell me, "ang lalakas naman ng loob nila e ang yayaman ng mga 'yan, hindi naman magpapabukas ng dollar account 'yang mga 'yan."

FGE: Well, narinig ko na 'yun, let him who is without sin. Narinig ko na 'yun, 'yung mga nakatira sa bahay na gawa sa salamin ay huwag mangbato, pero maganda sigurong pagkakataon na gawin namin ito. I know there are some concerns, there are some legitimately rich people who are in government right now who might be afraid of being kidnapped but if that is a valid concern, then, masakit mang pakinggan, then don't enter government? But for those who really want to serve, nobody ever said that government service is not a vocational calling, it is, and if you're willing to do that, then you're free to enter government.

K.DAVILA: I wanna ask you, are there other models of other countries, wherein talaga, when you enter government, there is a waiver on bank accounts?

FGE: I'm not sure but ang waiver at ang SALN ngayon Karen, may waiver din naman sa SALN ngayon e, it's a waiver in favor of the office of the Ombudsman to look into your ITR. In fact, pwedeng gawin 'yun e and to seek the help of other government agency in finding your true net worth. So, LTO kasama na dyan, Land Registration Authority kasama dyan, but there is no waiver with respect to your personal bank accounts.

K.DAVILA: Okay, alright. I'm curious because the defense team had this concern as the hearing was going on, that in any court, you will not hear any kind of accusation where you get the evidence from something illegal. It makes sense logically speaking. When you wonder, let's say I accused you if it were a wire tapped conversation even if the conversation were true, that wouldn't be admitted as evidence. So, ang tanong ng marami, why is the Senate hearing these accounts when the source of the accounts is illegal to begin with?

FGE: Well, let's start Karen. Senate President Enrile refused to issue a subpoena that didn't even contain account numbers. He cannot just issue a subpoena to a bank, "lahat ng account na may Coronang last name dyan amina," hindi naman pwede so he demanded from the prosecution, "you have to give us account numbers."


FGE: Now, I think the blunder of the prosecution here is, why they even attached it to begin with? They could have just identified the account numbers. Nobody would've asked them any questions, but they attached it.

K.DAVILA: What do you mean?

FGE: In their request for subpoena, they attached the bank records.

K.DAVILA: I see.

FGE: That's what I pointed out when I stood up sabi ko, "I just want to be clear, we're not tolerating neither or we're part of this," because we didn't want the institution of the Senate to be dragged into that, but if they just simply enumerated the numbers from their intelligent source or whatever, okay lang 'yun e, but in the subpoena, they attached in documents that actually constitute the clearest evidence of the violation of the Republic Act 1405 or secrecy of bank deposits. Well, that's in so far, the fruit of the poison tree is concerned. However Karen, there is a limitation to that rule.

K.DAVILA: Okay, I wanna hear this.

FGE: According to the Supreme Court, it only applies to government officials who conduct an illegal search or a search in violation of the law. If it is not a government official, technically, it is admissible.

K.DAVILA: Is this really in the law?

FGE: Kaya siguro, it's in Supreme Court's decision. Kaya siguro ganoon din 'yung kwento nila hindi ba? "Binigay lang sa amin, hindi kami ang kumuha."

K.DAVILA: Ng small lady?

FGE: Oo pero malalaman natin mamaya 'yan kung totoo o hindi, pero "binigay sa amin," because if it's a government official functionary or agent, he is covered by the illegal search clause of the constitution and that makes it inadmissible, but if it's a private individual who did it, if it's a private individual and not an agent of government, even if he is a private individual, then the rule will not apply and there have been several decisions in the Supreme Court to that effect already.

K.DAVILA: Because I just wanted to ask you, there was that particular day when the senator-judges were asking, I think Senator Enrile asked, "who has the copy of these particular accounts?" And the president said, "only Katipunan," but that doesn't seem to be true for a person like us, because like me, I'm in BDO, you go to any BDO bank you say, "Can I withdraw money I mean, it's an emergency?" then they'll say, "Karen Davila po, anong main branch po?" they will be able to get it in the system.

FGE: But we're talking Karen about the signature card here. What they attached was the signature card. This is the initiating documents of any depositor. Hindi ba pipirma ka ng tatlong beses?

K.DAVILA: Tama. 'Yun local bank branch lang 'yun.

FGE: Ang may hawak lang nun 'yung branch e. But having said that Karen, para 'tong noong Garci tapes noong panahon ni GMA. Alam mo 'yun, illegal daw, wiretapped daw, so, hindi pwedeng pakinggan pero.

K.DAVILA: Pinakinggan natin?

FGE: Ano 'yun hindi pwedeng pakinggan ng Kongreso pero pinakinggan ng buong bansa? Ganoon din ito. Lumabas sa buong bansa tapos kami sasabihin namin, "Ay! Wala kaming nakita, sino evil, we have no evil, kami?" It's an awkward position for the Senate.

K.DAVILA: Alright you're right, okay, another question, in the caucus today, what you'll be discussing essentially is whether or not to defy the TRO of the Supreme Court?

FGE: Actually, I refuse to be confronted with that question. I would rather decide first, whether or not we should even put it to a vote. Again, I refuse a situation wherein the Senate will be a laughing stock, or expected, we are putting to a vote. Can you imagine an institution of the government putting to a vote in media, in the public, whether or not to follow a decision of our highest court? Ano naman ang itsura natin Karen sa mga foreigners, sa mga law students din, kahit sa mga kababayan natin? Ano to, so, pwede palang pagbotohan ng Senado 'yan, pwede ring pagbotohan ng Kogreso 'yan, pwede ring pagbotohan ng Sanggunian 'yan? Right or wrong? And I disagree with the decision Karen.

K.DAVILA: What I'm learning from you right now is, you're telling me the impeachment court is not absolute, meaning, its powers and freedoms even with this case?

FGE: Well, I would like to think, any senator would love that, the Supreme Court will also love that to be absolute in their respective spheres, but that is not the case. We do not live in a vacuum. We do not exist in a vacuum, even as an impeachment court. We have to make sense of what is going on around us, including the respective powers of the Supreme Court, of the House of Representatives, and even of the executive branch.

K.DAVILA: We'll be right back with the Senator-Judge Chiz Escudero. This is getting exciting, so, he says, if you ask him, he wouldn't put it to a vote today, whether or not they should defy the Supreme Court TRO on the dollar accounts. Tweet your questions for Senator Chiz, we'll be right back.

K.DAVILA: Welcome back to Hotcopy. We're talking with Senator Chiz Escudero, one of the senator-judges at the Corona impeachment trial. Okay, quick questions first, you know, there are lot of texters that are very pro-Corona, even on Twitter frankly, okay, "Karen enough of the double talk, just ask Chiz a simple question, how many senators maintain foreign currency deposit accounts take a roll call on the floor? How many will sign a waiver on the floor to open up the senators' dollar accounts, just to put Corona, they should set an example in this trial to put Corona to shame."

FGE: That's why I authored and filed a bill Karen. Yes I will and I don't have any.

K.DAVILA: You don't have a dollar account?

FGE: No.

K.DAVILA: I just wanna stress it, it's not crime for anyone to have a dollar account.

FGE: It's not bad to have one but I don't have any.

K.DAVILA: Now, where is the AMLA play in the dollar account? How do we really, kasi ang sinasabi ng prosecution, "Edi ngayon, kung ang batas na ito ang susundin, lahat na ng magnanakaw, lahat na ng mafia, ilalagay sa dollar ang pera?"

FGE: I cannot win the case with the prosecution, in fact I'm wondering why they are persuing an avenue using the bank officials and not AMLA? And in fact, it's not for me to tell them what to do.

K.DAVILA: On facebook, Gina Villalon asks, "Mr. Senator, do you think fair trial pa po ang nangyayari ngayon kay sa CJ on trial? Sumusunod pa po ba sa due process?"

FGE: I would rather wait for the final outcome rather than decide on the day to day basis. This is not a boxing match that you grade the senator-judges or both sides, defense and prosecution by the round. You don't get the judges by the round, you get to judge it by its final outcome.

K.DAVILA: Very good point, not by the round but by the final decision. Now, this is a practical question, right now they're talking about Article 2, doesn't it make sense also to the public because this is also a public trial, that after the prosecution presents its evidence, the defense should be allowed to present its evidence on article 2, instead of the whole set of articles, then it's the defense's turn, it's not fresh in the minds of the viewers anymore.

FGE: Ideally, yes Karen, you're correct, however, in regular court proceedings, that's not done. The prosecution usually finishes its entire case, and then the defense presents its side. Secondly, there is a practical reason, why we cannot allow it, that's not in our rules, and if we amend it now, we have to republish it all over again, postpone the trial for 15 days before that rule will become effective to allow for that eventuality.

K.DAVILA: Okay, now, can I tell you something that is very different. In the United States, there were more articles of impeachment before the actual trial but because they had a deposition, they only allowed two accusations against Clinton, perjury and obstraction of justice. The way that I see this trial, this is my view, they have 8 articles and then the prosecution has leeway to decide, "Ay! Tatlo na lang ang ipipresent," "Ay! Apat nalang ipipresent," that's a bit unfair.

FGE: Hindi ganoon kasimple 'yun Karen. One, if they decide to present an evidence aliunde, meaning evidence outside their complaint, if they decide not to present evidence aliunde anymore and simply rely on the allegations of their complaint then, they can very well to do that, they are free to do that. So, in other words, present evidence outside of the complaint in three articles and let the case rest on their allegations in complaint with respect to the five others, that's their call, but...

K.DAVILA: But shoudn't they decide on some point? at some point? FGE: Well before they finally say that, yes. But there is nothing that prevents the defense from presenting evidence aliunde on all eight.

K.DAVILA: I see, that's a good point.

FGE: The prosecution cannot prevent them from doing that.

K.DAVILA: That's a good point.

FGE: If they say, "we will let our case rise and fall, stand and fall based on the allegations of the complaint, the four corners of the complaint," that's their call, but the defense is not bound by that. Second Karen, if they decide all of us Karen to withdraw the five other articles and keep the three, so that the defense won't present evidence on all eight anymore. I am afraid a new legal question will crop up. That is an amended complaint. That is a totally different complaint, and that it is barred by the one ban. So, I would rather not go there really. Again I was assuming and everybody was thinking that this is a well thought of complaint.

K.DAVILA: It's not clearly, I mean, you have Congressman Fariñas even saying that, a way it was written was strange.

FGE: You know, we hear comments being said that they will file an impeachment complaint against this and that impeachable officers but if this is how it's going to be Karen, sana huwag naman. I hope they will take be more careful next time around.

K.DAVILA: No, I wanna ask you this, because in the US, when Clinton was going through trial, it was two weeks, they only chose to present 3 witnesses, it was agreed upon during the deposition and then they heard three witnesses, the prosecution had an oral argument, the defense had an oral argument, then tapos na. You know why I'm asking this? It did not abuse television coverage. This can go on for six months. This is what I'm asking, think of the effect on the public, the prosecution could be, submit a not pro or anti, I'm just giving you...

FGE: Can submit a hundred as they said witnesses.

K.DAVILA: Yes, and the prosecution can go for six months straight. No, really, meaning this was the defense is asking, so, you're destroying the respondent in public because the defense can only present afterwards. There is no rule on the time.

FGE: We are on day 182 on the Corona impeachment trial.

K.DAVILA: But do you understand the effect, both the respondent, the public and the institutions?

FGE: I can see that Karen but you also have to bear in mind, this is part of our country's and the impeachment court's growing pains. This is our second impeachment case to have reached trials. First one is former President Estrada's impeachment trial. In the United States they have been at it for nearly 300 years. They have had impeachment cases heard by the Senate for the past 2 to 300 years, this is only our second.

K.DAVILA: Kaya kasado nila saUS ang two weeks, period.

FGE: And in the US Senate, Karen, they take up the impeachment now, and then they suspend, they take up legislative matters, while they are waiting for the witness and then resume. Kami, kailangan namin baligtarin ang upuan e so, we can't so easily do that. In the Senate, the chairs are arranged in such a way na, pareho 'yun whether Senado sila, or whether impeachment court sila.

K.DAVILA: It's a regular duty lang, it's a function.

FGE: Kami hindi e, kailangan pa namin baligtarin 'yung silya, irrearrange 'yung ano, so, we cannot so easily shift. All it shift to our legislative functions, "let's pass this bill first, while we are waiting for this witness." K.DAVILA: Ganoon sa US?

FGE: Sa US ganoon.

K.DAVILA: Ang galing a.

FGE: Let's shift, they shift back and forth. Kasi ganoon na sila kasanay ba, it's part of their daily work na.

K.DAVILA: Oo, I'm curious, will that ever be taken up or it will change the rules? If there's an agreement let's say that the prosecution, you have two months present the everything, you know what I mean, to control time?

FGE: I think at some point Karen, palapit na kami roon. I think at the very least, most of the senators, I can speak for myself only, I won't speak for them, we're expecting at the very least that the prosecution will be done before we go on recess, some time, second or third week of March.

K.DAVILA: That's what they hope?

FGE: Hopefully, they would be done. Even the prosecution tells this morning, I saw Congressman Angara, and Sonny Angara say that hopefully daw before we go on recess, they will be done. So, that in resume it will be the defense's turn and that'll be enough time before we can go on a recess in May.

K.DAVILA: Wait, what are you saying? You're saying the prosecution hopes they're done end of March? That would've been two and a half months? Then you go on recess? But, you see what I mean? Then the public forgets. What's on the public's minds is the prosecution's when the defense were turns, there's already a break in terms of understanding the trial?

FGE: Yes and no Karen but that's why in so far as we are concerned, those who got to decide, that's why it's a court of record, that's why everything is recorded. That's why we can refresh our memory and that's why it's important for some senators, for some counsels to always put on record what the demeanor of the witness is, because sometimes in a regular hearing or in a trial the judge is replaced, napapalitan 'yung judge eh. 'Yung magde-decide iba nang judge. So ito ganun din, mahabang panahon na ang lumipas kaya kailangan di ba, "counsel would like to place on record that the witness is crying profusely while she was saying ganyan, ganyan."

K. Davila: But iba pa rin 'yun.

FGE: I agree but at the end of the day ang advantage naman ng defense dito, although bugbog, they get to have the last say.

K. Davila: All right, okay. Now a quick question, if Sen. Enrile gets sick, who takes over?

FGE: In accordance with President it was President Pro Tempore.

K. Davila: But Sen. Jinggoy said he can't imagine, though he's not a lawyer. I understand him.

FGE: I think he finished Law or he took up Law. The difference is, perhaps he can,

K. Davila: Ang hirap daw niyang mag-sustain sustain doon, over-rule, io-over-rule daw niya hindi naman siya abogado.

FGE: In accordance with the Senate, impeachment precedents in the US the Senate President Pro Temp would take over.

K. Davila: Okay but if Jinggoy refuses do you take that into a vote? Because you can take over.

FGE: No. I don't have the stature of Senate President Enrile. With Senate President Enrile he can get away with some things that I cannot simply because he has the stature and I don't.

K. Davila: All right, another question, you're known to be the president's good friend and yet you're not accused as one of those senator-judges actually prosecuting for the prosecutors.

FGE: Perhaps because as I said earlier, we have reached the point that we are friends and we agree and we disagree and I think 'yun 'yung mas magandang batayan ng pagkakaibigan, na magkaibigan pa rin kayo kahit hindi kayo magkasundo sa maraming punto. Na hindi lang kayo magkaibigan dahil magkasundo kayo sa lahat ng ginagawa ninyo.

K. Davila: But you don't feel the pressure personally, I mean this is the president. People have said that he's put all his eggs in this basket.

FGE: It's consideration for me Karen and that can't be denied but that makes me conscious about it.

K. Davila: How will you vote?

FGE: What do you mean?

K. Davila: Will you vote on friendship, parting lines, evidence, substantial evidence, clear and something conscious? I mean,

FGE: Everything are put together, it's a funny thing. I think they say what is it proof beyond reasonable doubt? Overwhelming preponderance of evidence? Preponderance of evidence? Substantial evidence? At the end of the day ask a lawyer who is not a judge he wouldn't know the difference among those things. So at the end of the day we will vote according to our conscience. What makes us sleep at night, what will make us look ourselves at the mirror, what will make us, perhaps face our constituents and justify our action and decision.

K. Davila: Is moral fitness a factor for you?

FGE: To remain in office? Of course Karen, that's a requirement not only by law but by Constitution as well. But at the end of the day Karen, we are elected, that's the difference between judges and the senator-judges.

K. Davila: Many people are asking in the two minutes of the senator-judges, I mean Enrile had said, the senator-judge can pry into the brain, the soul and the heart I think of the witness but at the end people already feel, "Wait, the prosecution should be doing that particular thing and not the senator-judge."

FGE: I agree with you Karen, you know I was against wearing robes at the start.

K. Davila: You know abroad, they don't.

FGE: I was against wearing robes but you know what there is a practical reason to it according to Sen. Sotto and when he told me that I agreed already. He said "You know, we must be able to distinguish our role as legislators and our role as senator-judges." This gets to remind us, apparently not for some that we are not conducting a senate-inquiry where we can have a subpoena issued, that you can cross-examine a witness. As a senator-judge we cannot and we should not win the case for the prosecution. We cannot and we should not win the case for the defense. It's up for them to win or lose it. We may care for the truth or search for the truth etc., in a Congressional inquiry yes, but in an impeachment trial it's up for the prosecution and the defense as far it's practicable, we should leave it to them. And we should be passive, as far as practicable. With some of my colleagues I think it's not, well some may say it's biased, I would rather base it on frustration and exasperation na ang simple simple nung tanong hindi pa matanong-tanong.

K. Davila: So ang senator-judge, 'yun ang nagtatanong na lang.

FGE: "Ano ba naman, bakit hindi mo tanungin 'to?" So it's out of exasperation really that, they have been exasperated and frustrated that's why it's taking so long to elicit one simple fact, "Magkano 'yung laman nung 2008 ending balance?" And it's taking them 5, 8, 10 questions.

K. Davila: Now I have a question, the prosecution won't say where they got the evidence from simply because they're not under oath. Everytime the senators would ask them they are not under oath. Is it right or in the rules to put Cong. Niel Tupas or any of the prosecutors in the witness stand and ask them "You are under oath, who gave you the bank documents?"

FGE: At least you pronounced his first name correctly. (Davila: Yes). Kaya Junjun na lang ang tawag ko sa kanya.

K. Davila: No isn't it that, frankly, if anyone thinks of that I would be amazed.

FGE: There is no prohibition on the rules Karen. That is a possibility in this afternoon's hearing but given the revelation of the Defense last night it's equally a possibility that Atty. Roy or one of the counsels who said that P100M is being dangled to the senators.

K. Davila: You have to put them on the stand too.

FGE: I can also, to under the same oath because they're not under oath when they asked them.

K. Davila: Okay, (Sange Diomangay) asked "Don't you think Senator Drilon is too transparent? Aren't you bothered by how he acts and delivers his clarificatory questions? All right, might as well tell you that there is a running joke that one of the prosecutors is Sen. Drilon but I'm just saying this as a matter of reaction on twitter.

FGE: I cannot blame them if they think that way. Some people think that way, I cannot speak for Sen. Drilon but as he said, I sit one seat away from him, Sen. Estrada is in between us.

K. Davila: But he questions very well, I have to say, to be fair.

FGE: Actually he's very good.

K. Davila: He's very good. But then again,

FGE: The Prosecutors would love him to be a practitioner and from being there. I think again, it's because of exasperation and frustration, the reason why he's doing that. But it's up for Sen. Drilon to defend himself with respect to accusations that he's biased, that he's siding with the prosecution. It's up to him to defend himself.

K. Davila: Okay. (Dan Vergara) asked "What if CJ Corona decides to resign instead? Can he still do that at this stage of the trial? What are the implications?"

FGE: Yes. He can at any point in time. Resignation is a voluntary act, but there are two things. One view says rendered moot like what happened to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and if this is rendered moot, and I think everybody will have a sigh of relief and tapos na 'yung impeachment trial. Secondly, the trial should continue because it involves a penalty of absolute and perpetual disqualification which he might be able to escape from if he simply resigns. I think one of the columnists wrote that watching the impeachment trial is like being stocked in a traffic for four hours.

K. Davila: No but can I say this, I read the Petition for Certiorari and many may have not noticed this but Corona said he will not resign, in the Petititon for Certiorari at the Supreme Court so I don't think, I mean it's already in the written word that he will not resign.

FGE: I think that will be also good not only for him, it might affect the economy somewhat but then again nobody wanted this but it will be good for the precedence, and the Senate and for the trial to be, at least once Karen matapos man lang natin 'yung isang nasimulan natin.

K. Davila: Yeah, you said it that it could affect the economy but can't you manage that by managing the time? I mean time management is key to success.

FGE: It's not only time management Karen. You know, banks may be affected, other insititutions being affected. Ika nga ng matatanda, "huwag mong sunugin 'yung buong bahay gaano man kalaki 'yung dagang hinahanap mo, hindi mo dapat sunugin 'yung buong bahay." Na damay-damay lahat, that's what the Senate is trying to do as an institution.

K. Davila: And can I tell you people noticed that the senator-judges were kinder to the BPI Manager because she was pregnant and some of the senator-judges were almost rude to the PS Bank President just because he believed it was not the right thing to do.

FGE: There's a basic distinction Karen. There were no dollar accounts in BPI as alleged so there was no issue there. Under 1405 impeachment cases will be considered an exemption but with respect to PS Bank maliwanag na ayaw nilang i-release dahil doon sa batas at dahil na din sa TRO ng Supreme Court so there was a disagreement there. Clearly with respect to the BPI Representative there was no disagreement.

K. Davila: Okay another question, "Can the senators compel the defense to reveal their source even in an executive session. Is it possible for any of the judges to admit being the target of the bribery attempt by the Palace? Why did you allow," Dami nito, 'yun muna.

FGE: That is possible, we have not yet done an executive session and I don't know how the public will react to that na 'di ba this is supposedly a public trial and then we're conducting an executive session. Remember Karen, that in an executive session we cannot reveal what was said inside so baka mayroong may ayaw na gawin namin 'yun.

K. Davila: Okay, and more than that Sen. Lacson also said that under the rules there is no executive session. Is that right?

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