3 CJ accounts in Ombudsman report match PSBank data

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 17 2012 01:27 AM | Updated as of May 17 2012 12:40 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Three of the bank accounts mentioned by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in her testimony and reports match the account numbers testified to by Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) President Pascual Garcia earlier in the trial, House prosecutors said on Wednesday.

"Nung ineksamin namin yung 17-page document from the Ombudsman, at meron ho dun tatlong account sa PSBank, napareho po yung account numbers na pinagusapan nung nagtestify ho yung PSBank official," said House prosecution panel spokesman Sonny Angara.

"So I don't know what you want to call that, kung may corroboration, meron talaga. I think at this point, mahirap na ideny o itanggi ni chief justice na meron siyang dollar account, because these are two independent sources who did not speak to each other."

House Rep. Miro Quimbo added that the Ombudsman's testimony is "directly related" to what the PSBank president told the impeachment court.

"So, what Congressman Sonny Angara is talking about is that the testimony of the Ombudsman as far as the PSBank accounts are concerned are a match and those are the various amounts that we have seen," he said.

Quimbo also lamented that the defense is now using conspiracy theories for the legal woes of the chief justice.

"At the end of the day, even assuming na sabihin pa natin ang buong kalangitan ay nagkaisa...para ipitin si chief justice, there's still concrete and solid evidence which, up to today, they have not been able to answer. In the last three days since the Ombudsman has sat down, they have not denied whether these bank accounts exist or not. It's a very simple question and I challenge you to ask them," he said.

No damage to prosecution

In an earlier briefing, House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said none of the defense witnesses presented today--former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros, Harvey Keh and Noli Santos--damaged the prosecution's case.

"There's no relevance at all. Dahil kung paguusapan po yung Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth (SALN), dapat ang mga hinaharap po nilang testigo ay yung magpapatunay na yung nilagay po ng ating punong mahistrado sa kaniyang SALN mula 2002 hanggang 2010 ay makatotohanan at accurate 'no. Ngayon, yung dalawang testigo hindi nga namin alam, testigo nila ito kung ano yung koneksyon sa Article 2. Anong koneksyon sa Statemens of Assets and Liabilities and Net worth," he said.

The prosecution noted that so far, Corona has not directly denied the existence of dollar accounts.

Angara said, "Madali lang naman pabulaanan yung mga rebelasyon ni Ombudsman Morales di ba? Tumuntong lang si chief justice sa witness stand, sabihin niya hindi totoong mga bank accounts yan, at ilabas niya alin yung sa kaniya at kaya niyang pabulaanan yung mga rebelasyon ni Ombudsman Morales and yet, up to now, hinihintay po natin yan."

Prosecution promises to respect CJ

The House prosecution panel also welcomed the commitment of the defense panel to present Chief Justice Renato Corona on Tuesday, May 22, 2012.

Tañada noted that now, there is actually a fixed date for the presentation of the chief justice.

Tañada said the prosecution looks forward to asking Corona questions about his SALN, and urging Corona to open his bank accounts to scrutiny.

Quimbo said the defense has already been given enough time, noting that the defense has already been given 2 continuances and that the prosecution has been liberal enough. He hopes the defense uses this time to prepare the respondent for his testimony.

Tañada assured Corona that prosecutors will be respectful of his office and will not be rude. He couldn't immediately say how long they will cross-examine Corona.

Tañada and Quimbo declined to identify the prosecutors who will be tasked with cross-examining Corona, saying though that the job will go to the polite and sharpest prosecutors.

He stressed there are ways to impeach Corona's credibility without being rude.

At least one source in the prosecution, however, said the consenus is to let one of the private prosecutors cross-examine Corona to make sure none of the congressmen grand stand.

When quizzed on who would fit the bill of the most polite, most patient and sharpest prosecutor, the panel mentioned chief prosecutor, Niel Tupas, Jr.