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MANILA, Philippines -- (UPDATE - 6:15 p.m.) Chief Justice Renato Corona will finally appear to testify at his impeachment trial on Tuesday, May 22.
The trial will take a break on Thursday (May 17) and Monday (May 21) on the request of the defense team, which sought time to allow them to prepare their key witness and examine the documents earlier presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, who appeared this week as a hostile witness and testified for two days on the chief magistrate’s alleged dollar accounts.
Corona’s lead counsel, retired Justice Serafin Cuevas, requested the court secretariat to furnish them a soft copy of Carpio-Morales’ presentation to analyze this.
The Chief Justice will be the last witness for the defense.
After his testimony, both the prosecution and the defense will be given time to deliver their closing arguments.
Based on the impeachment rules, prosecutors from the House of Representatives will deliver the opening statement to be followed by a response from the defense team, and then a closing statement again by the prosecutors.
But Cuevas appealed to Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to allow them to make a rebuttal of the prosecution’s closing statement.
“We will discuss that in caucus,” Enrile replied, explaining this would “be a suspension of our rules.”
Both Cuevas and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr., the lead prosecutor, agreed to take up one hour each for their statements.
Both panels can have, at most, two speakers for the closing statement.