MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Thursday said the Ombudsman's probe into Chief Justice Renato Corona's alleged $10 million deposit will not affect his impeachment trial at the Senate.
Enrile explained that the impeachment court, which he heads, and the Office of the Ombudsman have different jurisdictions.
"Ang jurisdiction ng impeachment court ay removal. Ang jurisdiction ng Ombudsman ay prosecution," he said.
He said this means that should the impeachment court convict Corona and he is removed from his position, the Ombudsman may file cases against him based on its own investigation.
Earlier, former Supreme Court Associate Justice and now Ombudsman Morales, acting on several complaints against the Chief Justice, asked Corona to explain his alleged dollar deposits, which according to news reports have an aggregate value of at least $10 million US dollars.
Corona has denied owning $10 million, saying the reports are part of black propaganda ahead of the resumption of his impeachment trial.
Supreme Court to the rescue again?
Meanwhile, Sen. Frank Drilon said he expects Corona to again seek the help of his colleagues in the Supreme Court to stop Carpio-Morales from investigating the alleged $10 million accounts.
"I expect the Chief Justice to run again to his colleagues in the Supreme Court and ask for temporary restraining order (TRO) and prevent the Ombudsman from scrutinizing and revealing his bank accounts in public," said Drilon.
"However, I am hoping that the Chief Justice will not do that since it will contradict his earlier claim that he had nothing to hide as far as his bank accounts are concerned."