Press Release
May 23, 2012


Day 41 of the impeachment trial of CJ Corna
Interview with Atty. Adel Tamano, Linda Jumilla, Tony Velasquez and Karen Davila
ANC Chief Justice on Trial

To walk us through the schedule for next week. Ano na ba ang dapat nating asahan?

SJEE: The Senate President was very firm with his ruling in this afternoon's impeachment trial. We gave the defense, Chief Justice Corona to appear by Friday. And we will start the oral arguments by Monday, and siguro 'pag natapos both parties, we give them one hour each to finish their oral arguments, then we can decide. Or if not, the next day.

So hindi katanggap-tanggap, kasi earlier this afternoon one of the Radyo Patrol reporters of DZMM reported that the defense is asking for Friday, as also confirmed on the floor by Justice Serafin Cuevas, hindi talaga katanggap-tanggap yung Monday.

SJEE: No. We have a deadline to follow.

Nag-report ba ang mga Senate doctors?

SJEE: No. I don't think the Senate President allowed the doctors of the Senate to proceed to the Medical City because it might be binding the Senate.

So that's new. All along everybody expected that the doctors of the Senate went to Medical City to independently examine.

SJEE: No. We will just take the word of the lawyers of the defense.

Anong rationale?

SJEE: Dahil kapag pareho ang findings, we will be bound by the findings of the Senate doctors and we will have to wait. We have no choice but to wait. Hindi naman kami pwedeng maghintay nang maghintay.

So you ruled on the basis of the what for you is the most acceptable timetable and the manifestation of the defense on the condition of the chief justice?

SJEE: Yes. Correct. I think Friday is reasonable enough. Kasi sabi naman ng doctor niya, 48 hours. So, if you count 48 hours from now, hanggang Friday iyon.

Ano sa tingin mo, dadating?

SJEE: I am hoping for the sake of our country and of our people, sana sumipot siya.

Do you still want to ask him some questions?

SJEE: Well if I will be the cause of delay, I will not anymore ask questions. But if there is still time to propound questions to the Chief Justice, I will.

What to you was the impact of yesterday's event?

SJEE: Well, medyo mabigat, being a Chief Justice, he knows the law. He should know the law being the highest magistrate or the highest lawyer of the country. He should not disrespect the court. When he sat down in that witness stand, he was not the Chief Justice anymore, he was just an ordinary witness, he was the respondent of the case. He should know the law.

Kasi mayroong konting confusion. May napag-usapan ba ang Senate, na kung hindi siya dumating this Friday, ano ang value or anong magiging admissibility ng testimony, ng opening statement niya?

SJEE: We will proceed as ordered, by ruled by the Senate President. But we will not strike out his testimony, what he said yesterday.

So considered testimony niya iyon?

SJEE: Yes.

Pinag-uusapan namin, what's going to happen to the testimony of the Chief Justice. Now, you are confirming that it will remain on the record even if the Chief Justice does not return.

SJEE: Yes.

Interesting point. Noong una, sinabi ni presiding officer Senate President Enrile, if he doesn't come back, we will strike it off the record. Bakit po nagkaroon ng change between yesterday's position and today?

SJEE: You know, I came in late in the caucus this afternoon. That is the information that I gathered that the testimony of the Chief Justice yesterday will remain on record. I am sorry I was late in the caucus.

Sinabi naman ni lead prosecutor Cong. Niel Tupas gusto sana nilang mag-cross examine kay Chief Justice kung sumipot siya, but they will waive it kung sakaling hindi na rin siya ibalik. Based on the testimony, they'll just let it stand, hindi na nila ku-kuwestiyunin.

SJEE: For us not to waste time, siguro pumayag na rin ang prosecution na hindi na sila mag-corss examine kay Chief Justice.

Or could it be senator, one of the reasons the opening statement of Chief Justice Corona will remain on the record, is because he did admit to having 4 dollar accounts?

SJEE: Yes, practically he admitted that he had 4 dollar accounts and 3 peso accounts. But he did not divulge the amount of each account that he mentioned, even the peso accounts. I don't remember anything yesterday in his opening statement that he mentioned the contents of the dollar accounts.

You're curious as to how much these accounts contain?

SJEE: Actually, yan sana ang magiging unang tanong ko kung saka-sakaling mabibigyan ako ng pagkakataon magtanong kahapon. Bakit hindi sinabi ni Chief Justice kung magkano ang nilalaman ng bawat account, bawat dollar accounts, yung apat na natitirang accounts?

You challenged Cong Tupas.

SJEE: I just want to satisfy my curiosity. But he gave a satisfactory reason, explanation.

The impeachment court has given the Chief Justice until Friday. Many people have been talking about the possibility of a mistrial in this case...the defense might try to push for a mistrial?

SJEE: I don't think so. Wala akong naririnig na magre-raise sila ng ganoong issue, I don't think the Senate leadership will allow it.

Your thoughts on the yesterday's supposed walkout. Do you believe it was deliberate on the Chief Justice's part? Did he walk out? Or was he really feeling ill?

SJEE: Let's give him the benefit of the doubt. Sa akin namang palagay, hindi ka naman mapupunta sa ICU, kung talagang hindi malubha ang iyong sakit. Be that as it may, marami pa rin talagang tongue waggers na talagang sinasabi na drama yan. Let's leave up to his doctors to explain to the Filipino people and to the impeachment court what his condition is. Kung talagang malubha siya, wala tayong magagawa.

I think it was Sen. Gringo Honasan who earlier raised the question of moral fitness on the part of the Chief Justice. Whatever the outcome of this trial may be, it has affected his reputation. Somehow he has to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation. Do you think that that in itself is going to be a question. Will he still have the moral fitness to remain in office?

SJEE: For me, he has one more day to redeem himself. That is on Friday. If he does not appear on Friday, I cannot do anything about it.

Hypothetical question. I asked Sen. Pia Cayetano this question this morning. If the Chief Justice resigns, will the Senate impeachment court still render a decision?

SJEE: If he resigns, I don't think we will still have to render a decision. That is my own personal opinion, me not being a lawyer. But it's useless if he resigns before we render a decision, let it be. I don't think we have to render a decision.

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