Defense bid to recall de Lima opposed

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2012 02:29 PM | Updated as of May 05 2012 02:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - House prosecutors on Friday urged the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, not to recall Justice Secretary Leila de Lima as a hostile witness in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In a 10-page motion to quash subpoena ad testificandum et duces tecum, the prosecutors noted that Corona’s defense team had already been afforded the chance to question de Lima when she testified last February.

"It must be noted that during cross-examination the Defense was allowed to ask leading questions. For the Defense to claim that the Respondent’s due process rights will be violated if the 'request' is not granted is without basis. On the contrary, recalling Secretary de Lima will be violative of her rights," the motion read.

They also noted that recalling de Lima as a witness will be unfair to the House prosecutors and will unduly lengthen the proceedings.

The prosecution said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile was “very liberal” with cross examination, allowing the parties all the opportunity to test the accuracy and truthfulness of the witness and the testimony, even allowing cross examination of issues not dealt with in the direct examination.

“This means that the Defense has been given all the opportunity to ferret any information from Secretary de Lima when she testified. Clearly, her recall is not only a delaying tactic but an act of harassment as well, considering that no new startling evidence or legal issue has been mentioned by the Defense that will necessitate her recall,” the motion read.

The prosecution said rejecting the request to recall de Lima will not affect Corona’s due process rights but will protect the rights of witnesses. It said the defense’s request for subpoena violates Section of Rule 132 of the Rules of Court.

De Lima earlier rejected the defense's motion to recall her to the witness stand after already undergoing cross-examination. "This is procedurally objectionable because if they missed certain points in their cross examination, that is their fault," she told radio dzMM.

The justice secretary previously testified on Article VII of the impeachment charges, which accuses Corona of "partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo in order for them to escape prosecution."