video from government television NBN-4
SUPREME COURT Chief Justice Renato Corona has decided to submit the waiver of bank secrecy that he had signed before the impeachment court last Tuesday, saying he is withdrawing the conditions he had set last Tuesaday.
Corona had signed the waiver before the senator-judges on the first day of his testimony, but had said he was holding on to the waiver until all the 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment complaint against him sign a similar waiver. Corona had also challenged Senator-judge Franklin Drilon to sign a similar waiver. Defense lawyers had been insisting that Drilon had been showing bias in favor of the prosecution.
The waiver in effect authorizes banks and financial institutions to publicly disclose the contents and nature of assets they hold for Corona and members of his family.
On the second day of his appearance before the impeachment court, Corona said that he would no longer wait for the congressmen and Drilon to sign a similar waiver.
“Hindi ko na iintayin,” Corona told the court. “I am submitting this iwthout any conditions whatsoever.”
Presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile however asked what value the waiver would have for the impeachment court.
“Kahit may waiver kayo, kaninong witness ang pupunta dito?” Enrile asked Corona.
To this, Corona responded: “Pwede naman pong ipatawag ang mga manager ng bangko.”
At the same time, both defense and prosecution lawyers announced they would no longer subject Corona to any grilling, in deference to his medical condition.
Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas said the defense panel sees no need for a direct examination of their client, saying they think that the opening statement rendered by Corona last Tuesday was more than sufficient. Corona had delivered an opening statement that lasted almost three hours, where he lashed out at President Benigno S. Aquino III, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and his other critics. Corona said all the evidence presented against him were fabricated, and sought to explain why he did not declare his four dollar accounts in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.
Prosecution lawyer Mario Bautista told the court that the prosecutors would also not bother with a cross examination, saying that Corona’s lengthy opening statement had no “evidentiary value” whatsoever.
Enrile then suspended the session and summoned senator-judges to a caucus to decide what to do with Corona’s waiver.