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MANILA, Philippines -- Just days before the May 7 resumption of Chief Justice Corona’s impeachment trial, the prosecution fired the first salvo -- a motion seeking to block the return of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to the witness stand.
The prosecution’s motion to quash said recalling De Lima would be “violative of her rights, and not to mention unfair to the prosecution and this Honorable Impeachment court, as it will unduly lengthen the proceedings.”
De Lima is among the witnesses Corona’s lawyers want to place on the stand when trial resumes at the Senate next week.
The defense asked De Lima to bring the following documents:
De Lima appeared in February as a prosecution witness on Corona’s alleged partiality in the Supreme Court decision granting Arroyo and her husband, Jose Miguel, a temporary restraining against enforcing the watch list.
The ruling would have had allowed the Arroyos to go abroad, ostensibly to seek treatment for the former president’s spinal disorder.
However, De Lima ignored the order and prevented the Arroyos from leaving.
The prosecution said the defense had cross-examined De Lima during her earlier testimony.
“This means that the Defense has been given all the opportunity to ferret any information from Secretary de Lima when she testified. Clearly, her recall is not only a delaying tactic but an act of harassment as well, considering that no new startling evidence or legal issue has been mentioned by the Defense that will necessitate her recall,” the prosecution said.
The motion added that not letting De Lima testify would not affect Corona’s right to due process.
“By attempting to recall Secretary de Lima through a Request for Subpoena Ad Testificandum Et Duces Tecum, the Defense is not only making a mockery out of our legal procedure but is also transgressing the precept of fair play well-entrenched in our adversarial legal system. More abhorrently, this delaying tactic of the Defense serves no purpose but to frustrate the administration of justice to the prejudice of both the this Honorable Impeachment Court and the Filipino people,” they said.