Update: Impeachment court won’t wait for Corona, who is now at the ICU of Medical City. Enrile gives defense up to Friday to present their evidence. Oral arguments will be on Monday. After that, voting.
Just when it seemed that Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had scored with his almost three -hour long testimony, complete with tearful moments, at his impeachment trial he walked out of the trial!
He just declared: “And now, the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused.” Then he left the session hall.
A surprised and annoyed Presiding Judge Juan Ponce-Enrile ordered all the Senate building’s exit closed.
What a day!
My friend Marilyn Robles remarked: “Naluma ang theatrics ni Manang Miriam. May paiyak-iyak pa.Ayan nagalit si Manong Johnny.”
Dean Nilo Divina of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Civil Law, who is one of ANC’s panelists, said it beats any Korean telenovela.
After some minutes of confusion Atty. Judd Roy, one of Corona’s defense lawyers, came back with the chief justice’s son-in-law, Constantino Castillo, who reported that Corona had “hypoglycemic episode.” He didn’t have lunch and drank only coke.
He said his father-in-law has diabetes and towards the end of his testimony he felt his vision blurred.
Roy said he hoped that the chief justice would be excused because of his “slight medical condition” and is now in a wheelchair. “Anyway, the testimony can continue later.”
He said Corona did not walk out quoting him as having said, “I want to be excused.”
At 6:02 p.m., Corona returned to the session hall slumped in a wheel chair, looking weak.
Enrile, with the consent of all senator-judges, ordered the head of the defense panel, Serafin Cuevas, to bring back Corona today (Wednesday). If Corona fails to return, Enrile warned that said he would order the striking out of his testimony and will decide on the basis of the evidence on record.
“Huwag kaming bastusin,” Enrile said.
The walkout was anti-climatic for what seemed to be a convincing testimony that debunked many of the allegations against him.
He washed the dirty linens of his wife’s family to explain why they did not invest in properties and instead put their resources in foreign currency deposits. He did not however, disclose, how much is his dollar deposits except that it is not $12 million as stated by Ombudsman Carpio-Morales.
He said he has only four dollar accounts and not 82 as Carpio- Morales said.
As to the core issue why it was not included in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Networth, he said he is not obliged to reveal his dollar accounts under Republic Act No. 6426 (Foreign Currency Deposit Act.)
At the conclusion of his narration, complete with a power point presentation on his dollar accounts, he declared: “I am not a thief. I am not a criminal. I have done no wrong.”
But, he said, “I am no fool.”
He dramatically brought out a piece of paper which turned out to be a waiver for the disclosure of all his peso and dollar deposits and signed it. The waiver authorized all government agencies –BIR,AMLAC, SEC, LRA – to disclose his assets and liabilities as well as that of his wife.
He also authorized the Supreme Court to release his SALN from 2002 to 2011.
But on condition that the 188 congressmen who signed the Articles of Impeachment and Sen. Franklin Drilon also sign the same waiver in the spirit of transparency and accountability that the public demands.
Then the walkout.
In the evening, he was brought to Medical City. Wednesday morning,Medical City doctors said he was brought to the Intensive Care Unit where he was being monitored for a possible heart attack for 48 to 72 hours.
Stay tuned as the drama which is the Corona impeachment unfolds.