Corona's cross-exam will be rigorous, says Belmonte

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2012 07:25 PM | Updated as of May 11 2012 02:52 PM

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte on Thursday said House prosecutors will submit Chief Justice Renato Corona to a rigorous cross-examination when the latter takes the witness stand in his impeachment trial.

Belmonte welcomed Corona's decision to personally testify before the Senate impeachment court, saying it will be good for everybody.

"I'm very glad about that, for his own sake because there are many questions there only he can, not even his wife, will be in the best position to answer," he said.

Belmonte, however, sidestepped questions on how Corona's testimony could affect the court's verdict.

"If he testifies, he's a witness for the defense. He can be cross-examined on everything he says there. I think he will be treated with dignity without a question none of the prosecutors will demean him or anything like that," he said.

Belmonte also welcomed the testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, noting Morales' access to Corona's own waiver of confidentiality in his statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth.

He said with the waiver, even other public officials such as the president could be probed even though they are immune from criminal prosecution.

Meanwhile, Belmonte asked for a stop to speculations on who will be the next chief justice should Corona be removed from office.

Belmonte is also committed to releasing his own SALN and other congressmen's SALNs to the public after the trial so as to avoid taking away public attention from the trial.