MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Edgardo Angara on Monday said the Office of the Ombudsman can present its findings on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged $10 million in foreign currency accounts.
Speaking to ANC’s Headstart, Angara said the Ombudsman has the right to conduct a fact-finding inquiry into Corona’s dollar deposits. He said the Ombudsman can secure an original copy of Corona’s dollar accounts despite a temporary restraining order from the Supreme Court.
"Its findings are officially acceptable as evidence in any judicial, as well as administrative bodies...and basic presumption of irregularity. That's why I said it's just fair that we provide the defense an opportunity to rebut whatever findings that the Ombudsman will forward to the impeachment court,’ he said.
He added: “There's a presumption that if you don't rebut it, it's true."
Corona has thumbed down calls for him to explain his alleged $10-million bank deposits before the impeachment trial that resumed today.
After meeting with his lawyers, Corona issued a denial and instead said Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales should explain why she initiated an investigation on an allegation not supported by evidence.
“I don’t own any such $10-million deposit. It simply does not exist,” Corona said.
Corona, however, called on the Senate to invite Ombudsman Morales to the trial should the House prosecutors raise this new allegation at the resumption of hearings.
“Why doesn’t the Ombudsman instead explain how she came up with that incredible, fantastic and mind-boggling amount?” he said.
The Chief Justice also said he sees no need for him to face the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
“How can anyone be made to explain something that does not exist?” he asked critics who are urging him to explain the alleged hidden wealth during the trial.
Angara to CJ: Expect fairness
Angara said he expects the impeachment proceedings to be shorter and more focused after the defense team announced that they only have 10 witnesses left to present.
He assured the Chief Justice of fairness even though his son, Rep. Sonny Angara, is a spokesperson of the House prosecution team.
“He can expect fairness in all aspects from me... cause the reason, as you may have noticed, I’m not standing up and making commentaries is precisely out of respect for the perception that I must act in strict neutrality, the cold neutrality of a judge,” he said.
“I’m trying to do that. I’m trying to act on this issue even-handedly, with objectivity and fairness to the Chief Justice and I recognize that right and responsibility on my part,” he said.
"So I don't think the issue of father and son would color my judgment,” he added. With a report from Philippine Star