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MANILA, Philippines - As the impeachment court prepares to vote on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s case on May 29 at the latest, both the prosecution and defense panels expressed confidence about the historic trial ending in their favor.
Defense panel spokesperson Atty. Rico Quicho said the prosecution might be surprised with the results.
“Sa aking tingin, wala ho silang (senator judges) 16 (votes) pero kahapon ho nung ayaw na nilang (prosecution) magcross-examination, sa akin pong pananaw, ang tingin nila, meron na silang 16 pero baka magulat sila sa Martes [The way I see it, they (prosecution) would not be able to get 16 votes from the senator judges. When they (prosecution) announced yesterday their intention to waive their right to cross examine [Corona], they [probably] thought they had gathered 16 votes; but they might be surprised on Tuesday],” Quicho said in an interview on Thursday with Radyo Singko’s Punto Asintado.
Quicho affirmed the defense’s enduring support for the Chief Justice, saying that the whole team will rise and fall with their client’s testimony, notwithstanding the fact that defense lawyers themselves appeared stunned by Corona’s acts when he appeared at the Senate on May 22. After insisting on reading an opening statement for nearly three hours, Corona fished out a waiver authorizing authorities to look into all documents pertaining to his assets, and signed it in front of the senator-judges. Then he said he will not submit the waiver to the court unless all 189 congressmen-complainants, along with Sen. Frank Drilon, sign similar waivers.
And then, even without being discharged by the court, he boldly declared, “And now, the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused,” and strode out of the session hall.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile ordered the entire building sealed to “stop anyone from leaving,” and when Corona returned an hour later on a wheelchair, with his lawyers claiming he did not walk out but had hypoglycemia, Enrile warned the defense of the consequences of such disrespect for the impeachment court.
Meanwhile, in Punto Asintado, the prosecution expressed the same confidence as the defense. Asked the same question, prosecution panel spokesperson Rep. Neri Colmenares replied that their camp has always been confident with the evidence they have presented in court.
“I was convinced na wala talaga silang ebidensiya when he appeared sa isang make or break testimony at wala talaga siyang pinakitang ebidensiya. Tapos pangalawa, ayaw pa niyang magpacross-examine. Sa amin, kung wala ka namang intensyon magpa-cross examine, pwede ka na talagang lumarga doon sa kwento mo, hoping na maka-convince ka ng taumbayan but in the end para sa amin, the tactic was to distract, to get sympathy, and it didn’t work. Nadagdagan pa syempre when he walked out after the testimony which made people believe na he didn’t really intend to answer [I was convinced that they (defense) have no evidence when he (Corona) failed to present evidence in his make or break testimony. Second, he does not want to undergo a cross examination. For us (prosecution), if you do not have the intention to be cross-examined, you can rely on your story hoping that you can convince the public. But in the end, for us, this tactic is to distract, to get sympathy and it did not work. Also, it worsened when he walked out after his testimony, making the people believe that he did not really intend to answer],” Colmenares said.
Romsanne Ortiguera, Research News5