Corona defense wants 'sincere' Lenten truce

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Mar 26 2012 04:44 PM | Updated as of Mar 27 2012 12:44 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The defense team of Chief Justice Renato Corona said it welcomes the Lenten truce extended by the prosecution but it should be sincere.

Defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III noted that “while a spokesman for the prosecution panel has declared a so-called ‘unilateral ceasefire’ involving the Chief Justice, a media offensive was simultaneously launched linking him and members of his family to US properties.”

Salvador is referring to a statement from Aurora Representative Juan Angara Jr. for a ceasefire during the Lenten season.

Congress went on recess March 24. Trial will resume on May 7.

On Monday, journalist-blogger Raissa Robles said she has evidence to prove that Corona’s daughter has a property in the US.

“The timing of the release of this report is highly suspicious. We are at the start of a six-week Senate impeachment recess, and there would be no hearings to clear the issue,” he said.

He noted this is not the first time this happened.

“Remember the media bombshell questioning the Chief Justice’s Ph.D. headlined by one newspaper on New Year’s Day, it was a holiday and everybody was in a cheerful mode. Where is fairness there?”

He said the prosecution members themselves are violating such kind of truce.

“Their sole purpose is to condition the mind of the public during the long break and to give them something to chew on and discuss in the interim,” Salvador said.

‘Who will benefit?’

He stressed the prosecution may not be behind the alleged Corona property in the US.

“But in the end, you just have to answer the question: Who stands to benefit from stories like this? Sadly, we expect stories of this kind to filter media during the break.”

In an earlier interview with ANC, senator-judge Aquilino Pimentel III said the Senate will disregard supposed evidence on the Corona properties, especially if not offered before the court.

Senator-judge Ralph Recto also added the report is “irrelevant, immaterial, and impertinent to the ongoing trial.”

Corona on Sunday already denied ownership of the US properties mentioned by Robles.

“The addresses cited were the apartments rented by my two daughters at various times over the past 14 years,” Corona told reporters in a text message.