‘Barbershop talk leads to complaint’
MANILA, Philippines – A former ally of the parents of President Aquino testified in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona Wednesday. He turned out to be the last witness to be presented by the defense before Corona testifies next Tuesday, May 22.
On Day 39 of the trial, lawyer Emmanuel Santos said he filed a complaint against Corona before the Ombudsman after hearing news of chief magistrate’s multimillion bank accounts and real estate properties.
“It compelled me to file this unexplained wealth case against the Chief Justice because the bank deposits are grossly disproportionate to his income,” he told the impeachment court.
Santos, a delegate to the 1971 Constitutional Convention, said he was motivated to file the complaint because “a lot of people in the barbershops, coffee shops and Club 265 have been debating that it does not tally.”
“I just heard from barbershop philosophers their impressions…also in the graduate school and PhD class, entrepreneurs and political leaders and experts in their own fields,” he said.
Santos said he filed the complaint before the Ombudsman last February, and attached clippings from the Philippine Daily Inquirer to support it.
He said that based on his research, the Ombudsman can initiate any investigation of a public official accused of wrongdoing.
“I just practice what I researched way back in 1971 before I filed the complaint. Clippings and records of radio programs can be attached to trigger the Ombudsman to initiate the investigation,” he said.
He also said it was the first time for him to file a complaint before the Ombudsman. “Hindi naman tayo basagulero,” he said.
Santos said he co-founded the Lakas ng Bayan with Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. in 1978. He was later appointed by then-President Cory Aquino to serve as OIC-Governor of Nueva Ecija after the 1986 EDSA Revolution.
He is the chairman and CEO of the International Academy of Management and Economics (IAME) in Makati City, which was recently ordered closed by the Commission on Higher Education.
In his testimony, Santos said the CHED closure order is unenforceable because it is in violation of due process.
He said he appealed the CHED decision before the Office of the President but was turned down. “I appealed to the Office of the President and as a result of the appeal, the Executive Secretary said the Office of the President cannot touch the CHED closure order,” he said.
Santos bragged that he has had distinguished graduates from his school including 8 generals and at least 2 billionaires.
He also said “a son of a senator” is currently enrolled in the school. “I don’t want to mention because I might be held in contempt,” he said.
When pressed, he said the student is Jolo Revilla, son of Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and the ex-boyfriend of Lovi Poe.
“Magaling naman, matalino pareho. Pwedeng maging next vice-governor,” he said.