February 20, 2012 · Posted in: General
SENATOR Miriam Defensor Santiago, citing provisions of the Rules of Court on “disputable presumptions” yesterday raised the possibility of penal sanctions against two congressmen who obtained copies of he supposedly spurious signature cards of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona for his accounts with Philippine Savings Bank.
On Day 19 of the impeachment trial of Corona at the Senate, Santiago said persons found to be in possession of documents declared in law to be “absolutely confidential” could face jail terms of one to five years, and/or commensurate penalties.
Two House members — Quezon City Rep. Jorge ” Bolet” Banal and Mindoro Rep. Rey Umali — had separately obtained photocopies of the “fake” signature cards of Corona
Banal said found his photocopy of the document at the gate of his house, reportedly left there by an anonymus source on Jan. 30, 2012.
Umali, on the other hand, said he was at the Senate on Feb. 9, 2012 when a “small lady” handed him his photocopy of the document in an envelope, just as he was leaving for an appointment elsewhere.
Thr day after he found his photocopy — which did not reveal in which PSBank branch the account was lodged — Banal visited the PSBAnk Katipunan branch and met with branch manager Annabelle Tiongson.
Tiongson said she as “shocked” and “disturbed” when Banal showed her what appeared to be copies of the customer signature cards of Corona. “He said, if you could please help me on a personal basis… Pa-guide lang, if this is a dollar, if this is a K,” Tiongson said, in response to clarificatory questions from Senate impeachment court presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile.
Tiongson said Banal spoke with her for about 10 to 20 minutes. “I asked him how he got it (document). He said, I will tell you if you will help me.”
After Banal left, Tiongson said she made two phone calls and received a third from her superior officers in PSBank. That night, the PSBank president met with the personnel of the PSBank Katipunan branch at the Red Garlic restaurant on Katipunan Avenue.
The next day, Tiongson said the bank officers ordered the transfer to the PSBank head office in Makati City of the Corona bank documents from the Katipunan branch.