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MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers on Tuesday slammed the ‘premeditated’ and ‘planned stunt’ of Chief Justice Renato Corona, who walked out and refused to be cross-examined after delivering a three-hour statement to refute questions about his wealth.
Representatives Erin Tanada of Quezon and Sonny Angara of Aurora, prosecution spokespersons, and Bayan Muna party-list Representative Teddy Casino, urged the Senate impeachment court to cite Corona in contempt and order his arrest if he fails to return to the court.
They said they would also not bite the bait posed by Corona that he would waive his right on the secrecy of his bank deposits only if Senator Franklin Drilon and the 189 lawmakers who signed the impeachment complaint would do the same thing.
Casino said what Corona did was a “stunt” and “gimmick” to “bait the impeachment court to impeach him so he could declare a mistrial.”
Later, however, in a television interview, Corona’s son in law, Dr. Constantino Castillo said the chief justice, who is diabetic, apparently became hypoglycemic, or his blood sugar level had plunged because he had not taken lunch.
He said Corona felt he might faint, and therefore hurriedly left the courtroom. Tanada said, however, it is now apparent that the move starting from Corona’s opening statement was “premeditated and planned” from the moment he decided to appear at the trial.
“It’s clear he doesn’t want to be cross-examined, in which case, the Senate impeachment court should junk his statement,” Tanada said. Angara said Corona was at his “all-time low” for disrespecting the impeachment process.