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MANILA, Philippines – Day 13 of the Corona impeachment trial was marked by much meandering, but the main discussions still centered on the court's game-changing Monday resolution allowing issuance of subpoenas to two bank officials and records of the Chief Justice's accounts.
The debates will spill over into Wednesday when the officials have been ordered to appear at 2 p.m.
Even before that, at 11 a.m., senator-judges will have a closed-door caucus on the bank subpoenas, which have triggered warnings of bank runs amid allegations they violate bank secrecy laws.
The latter part of Tuesday's hearing was perked up with House prosecutor Rodolfo Farinas, touted as one of the prosecution’s most brilliant members, standing up to tackle Article of Impeachment 3, in tandem with party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.
For its first witness for Article of Impeachment 3, the prosecution called to the witness stand Roberto Anduiza, the president of the Flight Attendants' and Stewards' Association of the Philippines (FASAP), on the Supreme Court's recall of its earlier decision declaring illegal the retrenchment of 1,400 PAL workers.
On direct examination by party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan, Anduiza testified on the SC's flip-flopping decision based on a letter from PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza. Anduiza said that the SC earlier ruled in favor of FASAP and denied the two motions for reconsideration filed by PAL. But after a letter from Mendoza, the SC reversed its ruling and allowed the retrenchment of PAL workers.
On direct examination by party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao of Akbayan, Anduiza said, "Nawalan na po kami ng tiwala sa Supreme Court. Pag naimpeach [siya] maibabalik ang tiwala [We lost faith in the SC. When he is impeached, our trust will return]."
Farinas ended up debating with the court presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, on criminal law. His lengthy discourse drew heckling from the gallery when he dropped the most memorable line for the day. He candidly described the oft-criticized impeachment complaint as "hindi maganda ang pagkakagawa." (Not well crafted.)
He claimed he did not sign the complaint because he was a "slow reader" and there wasn't time to read it, but he subsequently agreed to be a member of the prosecution panel.
The Fariñas episode aside, Day 13 appeared to be a prelude to the fierce debates expected when officials from the Bank of the Philippine Islands and PS Bank appear on Day 14 with documents on Corona’s peso and foreign-currency deposit accounts.
Despite the majority-crafted resolution, the defense led by Justice Serafin Cuevas filed an urgent motion to quash the subpoenae to BPI and PSBank, and earlier, Sen.-Judge Miriam Santiago filed, by way of a letter to the court, her own motion for reconsideration on the Tuesday resolution allowing issuance of the subpoenas.