Press Release
May 25, 2012

Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano
Manifestation During the DAY 42 of the Impeachment Trial
of the Chief Justice

ASC: Magandang hapon po, Mr. President and Mr. Chief Justice.

Mr. Chief Justice, nasabi na din po ng inyong defense counsel ang sinasabing well-orchestrated campaign against sa inyong credibility at sa inyong pagkatao. Kami ni Senator Ping Lacson, parang medyo ayaw naming makinig kasi nangyari sa amin 'yan noong panahon ni dating pangulong Arroyo. So we know how it feels kapag sinisiraan, kinakalkal ang pamilya mo at nag-aalala ka sa safety mo. We feel for you in that respect, without saying that anyone is guilty or not.

But I hope you understand that regardless, whether or not there is persecution, or whether or not there is a well-planned campaign against you, our issue here is whether innocent or guilty, based on the accusations and evidence.

Kaya kung papayagan po ninyo, I would like to as some few questions to help me decide. Kasi po ayaw kong mag-convict ng isang tao na inosente, at ipawalang-sala ang isang taong guilty. Alam mo naman kaming mga abogado, napakataas ng tingin naming sa Supreme Court, lalo na sa Chief Justice.

As difficult as this may be, allow me to ask you these questions.

Pinakinggan namin nang mabuti ang inyong tatlong oras na pagsalaysay ng inyong depensa at lahat ng nangyari. And in the long line of Supreme Court decisions, hindi ko na babanggitin, ay 'yung sinabi din doon na kung testimony lang, at walang kasamang documentary evidence, or other kind of evidence, minsan kulang ito o kapos. Ngunit sabi ng inyong chief counsel, i-base nalang daw sa inyong credibility.

Itatanong ko lang ulit, will you be submitting other evidence to bolster your defense at 'yung istorya na sinabi ninyo sa amin?

For example, sinabi ninyo na 1960s pa nag-iipon na kayo ng dollars, can you show us a 1970s or 1980s passbook or receipts?

CJ explained that his deposits are under time deposits. He said that his account officer can shed light on the matter.

ASC: Kasi, 'yung mga ganoong istorya po, 'yung mga ganoong testimony, will help us verify. Pero tama po ang Senate President na hearers of fact kami, hindi kami ang dapat magpatawag ng witnesses. Pero dahil hindi pinapatawag ng defense, we're left with your story.

For example, sinabi ninyo na 'yung ibang co-mingled peso funds ninyo, kasama doon ang sa anak ninyo na pambili ng bahay. Usual po sa isang pamilya 'yon. It's a natural thing, especially if you're a closely-knit family.

But will you present to us anything, for example, kung idinaan sa bangko ang remittance, o kung noong umuwi siya may Central Bank approval? Just anything that will help bolster your story. I am not questioning your credibility. But what I am saying is we have to act like judges here, and an ordinary judge will ask the same questions.

Corona said that he has submitted into evidence a letter from his daughter, talking about the house that she planned to build on her McKinley Hill lot.

ASC: Anyway, Sir, they will be submitting a formal offer of evidence. Ang sinasabi ko lang naman po, ayaw kong basta nalang hindi paniwalaan, o ayaw kong basta rin lang paniwalaan ang istorya ninyo noong Wednesday. Except that there is a need to follow the jurisprudence of the Supreme Court on a testimony.

I don't want to grill you or test your credibility here because I don't think that's the right thing to do.

Defense counsel Cuevas read from the letter of Corona's daughter which the Chief Justice earlier mentioned.

The prosecution objected on grounds of hearsay.

The Senate President reminded everyone that the court is intelligent enough to rule on the matter.

ASC: I don't have enough time, Mr. Chief Justice, to ask my individual questions, but this weekend, while I evaluate on this and pray for guidance, and I know the whole nation will pray for us to make the right decision, I just wanted to make sure that each and every part of your story, I'll make sure that I have, if there is any, evidence on them.

Corona explained that evidence on some matters need not be presented because they are already common knowledge.

ASC: Tutal na rin po ay pinirmahan ninyo ang waiver, and I congratulate you for that. After the impeachment I will ask the president to also ask his cabinet to sign a waiver.

Corona said he is aware of this and he saw ASC's interview.

ASC: Sen. Ping and I have been consistent in the Arroyo administration that what the rule is on one should be the rule on everyone. But since we're focused on this case, tutal pinirmahan na din ninyo ang waiver, are you willing to reveal kung magkano ang laman ng dollar accounts ninyo? Magkano po?

Corona revealed that the contents of his dollar accounts amount to around $2.4 million, and explained that the amount was not deposited in whole at one time. He explained that the amount is accumulated through years.

He also explained that his money was transferred from one account to another to maximize growth from interests.

ASC: Thank you for answering that directly. Last question lang po. Medyo lumilinaw po sa akin 'yung depensa ninyo, from the properties and the peso accounts.

Corona added that the only properties that they bought were the condominium properties, that, according to him, were not even that big.

ASC: Actually, Sir, I feel awkward asking you about this, asking a man to make public his lifestyle, but this is the issue now. To close it with my last question, your defense to you having dollar accounts is that because of the law that guarantees secrecy, you did not declare it because of your interpretation of the law.

I have heard that some have also interpreted it the same way that dollar accounts need not be declared. 'Yon ang sinasabi ninyo noong isinasalaysay ninyo ang side ninyo noong Tuesday.

My question is, if we look into the letter and spirit of the SALN law, hindi po makikita ang tunay na assets at tunay na liability at net worth ng isang official kung ganoon ang magiging interpretation ng lahat, hindi po ba mangyayari na ilagay na lang lahat ng politiko ang pera nila sa dollar account, at hindi na makikita kung talagang nagbabago ang net worth o hindi?

My question is, if that's the interpretation of the honorable Chief Justice, wouldn't that interpretation harm the main purpose of the SALN Law?

Corona appealed that the fact that he has been collecting dollars since the 1970s be considered in his interpretation of the law.

The Senate President reminded the members of the court that its duty is to elicit facts, and not to call for opinion or interpretation of laws.

ASC: Thank you for that, Senate President, and thank you, Mr. Chief Justice. I just wanted to know your interpretation of the law, not so I can agree or disagree, but I wanted to know, in evaluating the facts, if you were in good faith or not.

I wanted to know your state of mind when you formed the SALN. Because this debate will tell the barangay captains, all the way to the president, or the cabinet members, what should be included in the SALN.

Thank you for your answer and your candor.

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