Renato Corona on verdict: “I am accepting this Calvary we’re going through.”!

Chief Justice Renato Corona accepted yesterday the verdict of the impeachment court convicting him of culpable violation of the Constitution.

Chief Justice Renato Corona said:

“Kung ito po ang ikabubuti ng ating bayan, tinatanggap ko na po ang kalbaryong aming pinagdaanan (If this will be for the better of our country, I am accepting this Calvary we’re going through).”

“Dahil sa simula’t sapul naman ay handa na akong mag-alay ng sariling buhay para sa bayan (Because even from the start I was ready to sacrifice my life for the nation).

“Kung kaya, ipinapaubaya ko na po sa ating Poong Maykapal at sa taong bayan na higit na makapangyarihan sa ating demokrasya ang aking kinabukasan at ang kinabukasan ng ating Hudikatura (That’s why I am surrendering myself to the Lord and our people who are more powerful in our democracy, my fate and the future of our judiciary).”

Corona insisted on his innocence and said further:

“But bad politics prevailed.“I am innocent. There’s no truth to the allegations against me in the Articles of Impeachment. My conscience is clear.”

“Hindi kaila sa akin na gagamitin ng Pangulo ang buong puwersa ng gobyerno, kasama na ang mga ahensiyang dapat sana ay malayang nagpapasiya – ang Kamara, ang BIR, ang LRA, ang AMLC, ang Ombudsman, at iba pa. (We all know how the President used the entire force of government, including agencies that should be independent – the House, the BIR (Bureau of Internal Revenue), the LRA (Land Registration Authority), the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council), and the Ombudsman and others,)”.

“Hindi rin kaila sa akin na gagamit ng kabang-yaman para sa mapanira at mapang-aping media campaign, sa radyo, telebisyon a tdyaryo, laban sa akin at sa aking pamilya. (We are also aware how resources of government were used in destructive media campaign in radio, television and newspapers against me and my family).”

 

Renato Corona is Guilty!

20 Senator judges voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona for his failure to declare his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

 

Sixteen “guilty” votes are required under the two-thirds rule to convict Corona.

Senator 16th “guilty” vote that made the Impeachment trial of Corona to be convicted as guilty on article to for not declaring his true SALN.

The senators who voted to convict Corona were

1. Senator Edgardo Angara
2. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
3. Senator Pia Cayetano
4. Senator Franklin Drilon
5. Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
6. Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
7. Senator Teofisto Guingona III
8. Senator Gregorio Honasan II
9. Senator Panfilo Lacson
10. Senator Manuel Lapid
11. Senator Loren Legarda
12. Senator Sergio Osmeña III
13. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
14. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
15. Senator Ralph Recto
16. Senator Bong Revilla Jr.
17. Senator Vicente Sotto
18. Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
19. Senator Manny Villar
20. Senator Juan Ponce-Enrile
Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Bong Bong Marcos have voted to acquit Corona.

 

Renato Corona Impeachment Trial Coverage by ABS-CBN Reaches More Filipinos!

More Filipinos in the country and around the world tuned in to ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs’ live coverage of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona when Corona took the witness stand on the 40th day of the trial last Tuesday (May 22).

 

Based on data from Kantar Media, ABS-CBN’s coverage had the biggest viewership with a national TV rating of 11.3%, way ahead of TV5 (3.3%) and GMA News TV’s (3.0%). The coverage created a blogosphere through social media wherein viewers actively watched and participated by posting their thoughts on the microblogging site Twitter using ABS-CBN’s official hashtag #CJonTrial that became a top trending topic of Twitter in the Philippines. People were watching the hearing on free TV via ABS-CBN and Studio 23, on cable TV via DZMM TeleRadyo and ANC, on cable TV via DZMM Radyo Patrol 630, and online livestreaming via abs-cbnNEWS.com.

Also delivering updates from the Senate are the country’s most trusted anchors with Korina Sanchez and Ted Failon for ABS-CBN Channel 2, Julius Babao for DZMM, and Tony Velasquez, Lynda Jumilla, Karen Davila, and Atty. Adel Tamano for ANC. ABS-CBN, the largest and leading multimedia conglomerate in the country, broadcast the hearing live in lieu of its regular programming for the Filpino public and widened its reach through all of its media platforms and generated wider political participation by making information more accessible to them.

Corona got P10-M discount’!

Chief Justice Renato Corona got a P10 million discount for the purchase of a penthouse unit in The Bellagio in The Fort, Taguig City, one of the impeachment prosecutors said Monday.

During Corona’s impeachment trial, private prosecutor Joseph Joemer Perez said he received information from Megaworld finance director Giovanni Ng that Corona received a P10 million discount for the 300-square-meter Bellagio property, which was purchased for P14 million.

“To be candid, the witness informed us that the chief justice received a 40% discount, or P10 million for the property. We believe this is highly material because it goes to the property in the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth,” he said after being questioned by Sen. Aquilino ‘Koko’ Pimentel III.

Perez said the P10 million discount could fall under Article 2 of the Impeachment Complaint, which accuses Corona of failure to “truthfully” disclose his SALN.

The prosecutor questioned Corona’s accepting the P10 million discount especially from a developer that might have pending cases before the SC.

Ng, meanwhile, said the sales and marketing department usually gives up to 15% discount to clients who avail of shorter term payments for units.

“In this case, the unit was paid in roughly around a year if I’m not mistaken. So we would normally give around a 15% (discount) to most if not all buyers,” he said.

He also said the marketing department gave certain considerations intricate to the Coronas’ purchase of The Bellagio condo unit.

He said the particular unit, 38-B, had technical and finishing issues that would have meant reworking the unit.

“Fortunately they were able to find a client, in this case the spouses Corona and rather than going into costly rectification but just factor in the cost and lower the cost,” he said.

He also said that at the time of acquisition in 2008, the marketing department was affected by a gloomy sentiment brought on by the onset of the global financial crisis. “They had a bearish factor towards sales,” he said.

“Marketing is responsible for the price. It is their lookout, their judgment and they have to be accountable for their decision,” he said.

The Senate impeachment court has issued a subpoena for Megaworld official Noli Hernandez on the pricing of the property, including the 40% discount.

Graft and corruption?

Rep. Erin Tañada, a House impeachment panel spokesman, said the discount goes against the Judicial Code of Conduct and the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

He said judges of lower courts are penalized for accepting bribes or other benefits for lower amounts.

“We have to be fair. We must have higher standards for members of the Supreme Court,” he said during a press conference.

Prosecutors also said it violates a provision in Republic Act No. 6713 on the Code of Conduct of public officials, which states: “Solicitation or acceptance of gifts. — Public officials and employees shall not solicit or accept, directly or indirectly, any gift, gratuity, favor, entertainment, loan or anything of monetary value from any person in the course of their official duties or in connection with any operation being regulated by, or any transaction which may be affected by the functions of their office.”

Prosecutors said they are now investigating pending cases Megaworld may have had or continue to have before the Supreme Court. They will also find out if Corona was a ponente in any cases affecting Megaworld.

A journalist-blogger, Raissa Robles, has reported [http://raissarobles.com/2012/01/07/realty-broker-coronas-posh-condo-a-steal-at-p14-million/] that Corona penned a decision favoring Megaworld in March 31, 2004.

Defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III, meanwhile, said the information about the alleged P10 million discount did not come from Ng but the private prosecutor. “The lawyer is just there to ask questions and not testify,” he said.

Lawyer Karen Jimeno said Perez did not even swear an oath “so there is no way to find out if he is telling the truth.”

Source:  David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Patrol on defense, prosecution panels!

Trying to score off each other in Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial are his defense team made up with veteran lawyers and a retired justice, and the prosecution composed of young congressmen. Outside the court bubble, how does each team prepare before attending each hearing?

Tonight on ABS-CBN’s Patrol ng Pilipino, meet the members of the defense and the prosecution teams as Jing Castañeda unveils how both intend to perform their tasks in the hearing.

Jing will interview lawyers Tranquil Salvador and Jose Roy of Corona’s defense team, and Representatives Neri Colmenares, Erin Tañada and Niel Tupas of the prosecution panel. Also get a glimpse of what happens during and behind their press conferences.

Jing stressed the role of the media in the developments of the trial, which she compares to an unruly reality show that has no script.

Meanwhile, join Jacque Manabat as she takes you to a three-hour travel with farmers on the newly-improved tramline in Sariaya, Quezon. Due to the installation of the cable cars, the 45-minute trek of farmers from their farms to the province’s business center is cut short.

Patrol ng Pilipino airs after Bandila on ABS-CBN, or watch it earlier on DZMM TeleRadyo (SkyCable Channel 26) at 9:15 p.m.

Senator Miriam’s 10 legal impeachment notes!

After an initial absence from the first week of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago made her first appearance as senator-judge on Tuesday. She set the tone for her participation, and arguably for Tuesday’s discussions, by offering a handful of legal insights, questions, and challenges to the Impeachment Court.

On Tuesday morning, she came out of “terminal boredom …ready to rumble,” attended the regular Senate session, then faced the media and made these observations on the first week of the trial.

1. The Senate, as an impeachment court, is higher than the Supreme Court and cannot issue a temporary restraining order regarding any of its rulings,  including one to stop the impeachment proceedings. 

The Senate as an impeachment trial court should be called the Presidential High Court of Impeachment, she said.

It is “not subordinate to the Supreme Court, given the constitutional phrase, “exclusive power to try and decide” on the impeachment of the chief justice.

“You might be supreme but we are high,” she said.

Even under the Rules of Court, there are exceptions which the Supreme Court cannot handle like those on land registration, naturalization, and elections.

This is another exception, Santiago said.

“The Supreme Court has no power over us,” she said, adding that the high tribunal can proceed to issue a TRO, but “we will proceed anyway, and you and what army can stop us?”

Santiago said the Supreme Court cannot assert its authority over the Senate as an impeachment court because its “level of authority is separate and independent.”

“The Supreme Court has absolutely no role in this process,” she said.

2. If it finds him guilty of any of the articles of impeachment, the impeachment court may censure Corona, and not be limited to either acquitting or convicting him, Santiago said. 

Citing the Constitution, the only senator who has been a trial judge said the Senate “cannot go further than removal and disqualification from public office.”

“Reprimand or censure, pwede rin. The choice is not simply to acquit or convict,” she said.

3. The public must understand the impeachment proceedings because it is also an issue of governance, Santiago said as she advocated the use of Tagalog during the hearings. 

The public must understand the “crisis befalling the country,” she said.

“The main issue here is the public should understand what’s going on, also the non-lawyers among the senators,” she said.

The trial has not caught the public’s fancy because the public has “no immediate intimacy” with the chief justice, unlike former President Joseph Estrada, who was voted into office.

4. All evidence must be admitted because the impeachment court is not strictly bound by the rules of evidence, Santiago said. 

She explained that the trial is both quasi-judicial and quasi-political, giving the court some leeway as the proceedings are “sui generis,” or a class of their own.

5. Santiago also suggested that the process be short-circuited but without the “triumph of technicalities.”

Both sides should list down their witnesses and documents sequentially and what they want to prove with their presentation, she said.

“Ayoko ng sagot na (I don’t want an answer that says) it depends, your honor,'” she said, making a slapping gesture.

The marking of the evidence is “very tedious for TV… (which people) are not thrilled to watch.”

Quoting United States Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, Santiago said the “life of law is not logic, experience, so the law is not a question of common sense, but of technicalities.”

“Don’t think too badly of technicalities … (because) they are absolutely essential to the achievement of justice,” she said, even as she vowed that the trial will not be a “triumph of technicalities.”

6. Media coverage has prompted some senator-judges and lawyers of the parties to primp before the cameras to get their “15 seconds of fame,” unnecessarily extending the proceedings, Santiago said. 

Everyone “tended to go overboard. They have to take a dramatic stance in front of the camera following the principle that the observer changes the observed,” she said.

She said she would suggest at the caucus that the cameras be shut to hasten the process, which she thinks could “end in one week.”

On the other hand, she said the “histrionics” of the private lawyer are a product of the billing system. They have to earn their appearance fees of P10,000, she said.

Senator-judges may ask questions of witnesses but should take care not to appear in favor of one party or  they may be accused of earning their appearance fees,  she said.

The prosecution lawyers were “a little bit nervous, (showing) little fear of the unknown,” given that the trial has been “pretty unstructured,” Santiago said.

But they are getting the “swing of things.”

Normally, “hotshot lawyers come to trial very, very prepared. That’s how they earn their reputation,” she said.

7. Surprise witnesses and evidence are not allowed,  Santiago said. She would thus ask the prosecution team to come out with an outline of its actions, including its witnesses and the substance of their testimony.

Normally, there are discovery procedures that can be resorted to, she said, adding that it would be unfair to present “surprise” witnesses and evidence.

Presenting a “mystery witness” would only pander to the television audience, she said.

8. Asked about her pro-Corona statements before the impeachment trial started, Santiago said she has since stopped discussing the merits of the case when the articles were submitted to the Senate. 

They were “general sentiments” based on what she read in books, but at this time, as senator-judge, she is “bound not by what she read in books, but actual evidence.”

9. Santiago has been happy with the way Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, whose eye problem is taxing him but whose “rulings have been respectable,” has been running the trial of Corona.

10. Despite her hypertension, Santiago will attend the hearings.

“This is a duty. I would really rather go scuba diving at the Bermuda Triangle and get lost there. This would surely raise my blood pressure, but in any event, this is my duty and I have no choice,” she said.

Source

Corona richer by P8M after joining SC, SALNs show!

Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona‘s net worth went up from P14.9 million in 2002 to P22.9 million in 2010, according to documents submitted to the impeachment court on Wednesday.

Based on Corona’s 2010 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) turned over by Supreme Court Clerk of Court Enriqueta Vidal, Corona bought a condominium in Makati in 2003 worth P1.2 million, a condominium in Taguig in 2004 worth P2.3 million, and another condominium in Taguig in 2010 worth P6.8 million.

These prime properties were purchased purportedly on installment after Corona was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002 by then-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. His net worth has gone up by P8 million since his appointment to the high court.

Corona’s net worth has been rising since 2004, based on his SALNs.

Corona’s net worth was P7.3 million in 2004. It went up to P8.3 million in 2005, P9.5 million in 2006, P11 million in 2007, P12.5 million in 2008, P14.5 million in 2009, and P22.9 million in 2010.

The condominium in Makati is believed to be a unit in The Columns, Ayala Avenue, Makati City.

The 2 condominiums in Taguig City are believed to be a unit at Bonifacio Ridge and a unit in Bellagio Tower.

Corona has admitted to owning a 300-square meter apartment in The Fort, Taguig, and that he has declared this in his SALN “when they acquired it,” according to his reply to the impeachment complaint.

He has also admitted to owning 4 other properties from a Land Registration Authority (LRA) list of 45 properties released by House prosecutors last week.

Undeclared properties

After getting copies of Corona’s SALN, House chief prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas said Corona did not declare 6 supposedly big-ticket properties in his SALN.

This was Tupas’ initial assessment of the SALNs after these were obtained by the Senate impeachment court.

He said the documents show that while some properties were declared, others were misdeclared with a lower value.

He also said he did not see the Bellagio Tower property specifically stated in the SALN.

Tupas said he would like to leave it to the senator-judges to appreciate the SALNs.

House prosecutors also said the 5 properties Corona has admitted to owning in his public statements are worth over P18 million already, indicating that the properties were under-declared.

They also said the SALNs show that Corona has “undeclared assets,” and that he could not have afforded the properties under his name.

Rep. Sonny Angara, one of the spokesmen for the prosecution, said Article 2 of the impeachment complaint is all about the “hidden wealth” of Corona.

Prosecution panel spokesman Miro Quimbo said the SALNs show an intent to “deceive on the part of the chief justice.”

‘Declared in SALN’

Meanwhile, SC spokesman Midas Marquez said Corona already said in previous interviews that he has only 5 real estate properties, which he declared in his SALN.

He said the fact that Vidal brought Corona’s SALNs to the impeachment trial shows she had every intention of complying with the subpoena of the Senate impeachment court.

He said Vidal did not have time to consult with the SC en banc before going to the Senate on Wednesday.

Marquez said the guidelines of the 1989 SC resolution show that the SALNs of the justices can be released as long as it is not used for fishing expeditions or harassment purposes.

“We would like to think subpoenas issued by court are not for fishing expeditions or for harassment. These are valid court processes that we have to comply with,” he said.

Former Justice Undersecretary Ramon Esguerra, one of Corona’s defense lawyers, said the disclosure actually proves their point that Corona was filing his SALNs with the Supreme Court Clerk of Court, and did not violate the law.

“On the part of the appointee, there is no duty to disclose. The Clerk of Court also did not have any duty to disclose,” he said.

He noted that Vidal said during her testimony that she had been receiving requests for the SALNs of the Supreme Court justices.

He said Vidal brought the requests to the SC en banc for proper guidance because she is bound by the guidelines of the Court.

The defense lawyer said Corona is actually the first Supreme Court magistrate to disclose his SALN in public even before the SC en banc could rule on various requests for the justices’ SALNs.

He said Associate Justices Antonio Carpio and Maria Lourdes Sereno merely issued summaries of their assets, liabilities and net worth, and not their SALNs, to the media.

Prosecution spokesman Angara said it was the first time in 22 years that a Supreme Court justice’s SALN was disclosed to the public.

Source

Prosecution scores on first day of Corona impeachment trial!

The House prosecution team was off to a good start in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona when the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, junked two pleadings favoring the chief justice, one of them a bid for a preliminary hearing — a move that, if granted, could delay the trial proper.

The Senate also denied a motion, filed by lawyer Fernando Perito, who is not from the defense team, asking the impeachment court to cite the members of the prosecution team for indirect contempt for presenting at a press conference the deed of sale of Corona’s condominium unit at The Bellagio in Taguig — an evidence in the case.

At the start of the historic trial on Monday, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile denied Corona’s motion for a preliminary hearing “for lack of merit.”

In his Answer to the Articles of Impeachment, Corona sought the outright dismissal of the complaint, citing constitutional infirmities and bias against him. He then filed a separate motion asking for a preliminary hearing to declare the impeachment complaint against him “defective.”

In junking the motion, the Senate gave weight to the House prosecution team’s position, argued by lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr., that the impeachment process was done in accordance with its rules.

“It is very clear that it is verified by 188 members of the House. It went through the plenary and was approved by the plenary,” Tupas told the impeachment court.

Tupas even presented a copy of the House journal showing that the 188 signatures in the impeachment complaint were verified by House secretary-general Marilyn Baura-Yap.

Meanwhile, Enrile said he denied Perito’s petition to cite the members of the prosecution team in indirect contempt because Perito does not have a “standing” in the impeachment court.

“He is neither a lawyer for the defense or lawyer for a participant in this proceeding,” the Senate leader said.

The Senate just “noted” Corona’s motion to take the appropriate action against the prosecution team regarding the presentation of the evidence.

Section XVIII of Senate Resolution 39, which contains rules on the impeachment trial, prohibits prosecutors, senator-judges, the person impeached, their counsel and witnesses from “making any comments and disclosures in public pertaining to the merits of a pending impeachment trial.”

Prosecution welcomes ‘early victory’

Tupas, meanwhile, thanked the Senate for dismissing the two motions favoring Corona.

Nagpapasalamat kami sa impeachment tribunal doon sa dalawang motions na dinismiss. At least ‘yung inaasahan namin, nangyari naman lahat,” he said at a press briefing after the adjournment of the impeachment trial.

Marikina Rep. Romero Quimbo, one of the prosecutors’ spokesmen, said he hopes the favorable rulings of the Senate will motivate members of the panel.

“We are hoping that we will be doing just as well in the coming days,” he said during the same briefing.

Tupas said members of the prosecution team will not rest on their laurels after their initial victory at the Senate.

Ilang araw naming pinaghandaan ito, pero mahabang usapin pa ito. Hindi kami magiging kampante. Tuloy-tuloy pa rin ang magiging paghahanda ng prosecution laban kay Corona,” he said.

He added that the prosecutors will strictly comply with Enrile’s directive to observe the rule prohibiting the public release and discussion of evidence for the impeachment trial.

Historic impeachment

Members of the 23-person Senate sit as judges to determine whether Corona, an appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, should be removed from his post and become the highest-profile scalp yet in the Aquino administration’s relentless anti-graft drive.

The session started less than an hour after Corona, who has denied the charges against him, arrived at the Senate. He was accompanied by his wife Cristina and two children, Carla and Francis. He was also accompanied by SC spokesperson and Court Administrator Midas Marquez.

Earlier in the trial, retired Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, head of the defense team, manifested the presence of Corona. He likewise manifested that Corona is entering a plea of not guilty to all charges in the impeachment complaint.

Senator Franklin Drilon, however, told Cuevas that he is only being asked to enter the appearance of the defense team and not make manifestations yet.

Cuevas agreed and introduced the remaining members of his team. 

Source: GMA News

CJ Renato Corona shows up in first hearing day!

Chief Justice Renato Corona‘s presence is felt  at the Senate for the first day of his impeachment trial.

He arrived at the Senate premises 50 minutes before the scheduled start of trial at 2:00 p.m.  He did not entertain any media interviews.

He heeded the advice of his lawyers who wanted him to appear and face his accusers during the first day of trial at the Senate.

As of the moment the impeachment proceeding is still going on in the senate.

 

Live Coverage of Impeachment Trial of the Chief Justice on ANC this Monday!

In 2000, ANC launched a pioneering coverage of the impeachment trial of then-President Joseph Ejercito Estrada, where it devoted every necessary resource and manpower to become the only channel to cover the hearings from start to finish.

 

This year, ANC is mounting another important coverage as it presents “Chief Justice on Trial, the ANC Coverage,” a wall-to-wall, uninterrupted live coverage of the impeachment trial ofChief Justice Renato Corona starting on Monday (Jan 16), 1 p.m.

Veteran political reporter and news anchor Lynda Jumilla and impeachment expert and Harvard alumnus Atty. Adel Tamano will be broadcasting from the senate for the duration of the trial.Broadcast journalists Karen Davila and Tony Velasquez will team up with legal experts in giving timely updates as they anchor from the ANC studio.

Prior to the coverage proper, a full hour of primers will be delivered at 1 p.m. They will include a backgrounder on the impeachment process and the profiles of the trial’s key players such as thedefense team, the prosecutors, the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Corona himself. Also to be looked into are other components crucial to the proceedings such as the senator-judges and their possible votes and the rift between Corona and President Benigno Aquino III.

ANC will be extending its reach by delivering up-to-date news on Twitter via @ancalerts (#CJonTrial) and ANC 24/7 on Facebook. It will also be simulcast on Studio 23 and streamed live over abs-cbnnews.com.

Supplementary to the live coverage are ANC programs that will provide in-depth analyses of the proceedings. Atty. Adel Tamano’s “Tamano Perspective” will present the highlights, summary and analyses of the week’s impeachment hearings every Thursday at 7 p.m. Lynda Jumilla,meanwhile, will provide a weekly rundown on the progress of the trial on “ANC Presents: Chief Justice on Trial” every Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Stay informed and watch crucial developments unfold live on “Chief Justice on Trial: the ANC Coverage” starting Monday (Jan 16) at 1 p.m. on ANC (SkyCable ch. 27).

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