MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesman Tranquil Salvador III on Tuesday said Chief Justice Renato Corona should be given his day in court after the Ombudsman testified on Corona's 82 dollar accounts and $12 million in "transactional balances."
Interviewed on ANC's Headstart, Salvador said the chief magistrate will answer everything at the proper time.
He said there was a reason for calling Carpio Morales as a hostile witness, which Corona himself had insisted.
Salvador said defense lawyers had already asked the chief magistrate about his alleged dollar accounts. “And his answer was, I don’t have,” he said.
He also dismissed insinuations Corona has not been truthful with his defense laywers, forcing miscues in their strategy.
“We respect their opinion. Everyone’s entitled to their opinion. I myself would also want answers on the alleged 82 accounts: How many are still active? How many have been closed? To whom were those named? We can’t just accept everything hook, line and sinker,” he said.
He noted that Carpio Morales only provided “transactional balances.” He said he was expecting aggregate accounts, which would show if there was indeed $10 million in bank deposits.
Asked if they would call the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) to the witness stand, Salvador said “it is one consideration.”
“[Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile] asked yesterday how the evidence was obtained, and [Ombudsman] said it was electronically-generated. The person in custody of the documents can only be the one who can attest to veracity of entries,” he said.
No data misinterpretation: Tañada
Meantime, House prosecution panel spokesman Erin Tañada said Carpio Morales did not misinterpret the AMLC data as alleged by Corona.
In an interview with ANC Headstart also on Tuesday, Tañada said: “There was no misinterpretation of data. It just shows that money moved from one account to another. To get out of that, it will be very difficult.”
After the hearing, Corona immediately issued a statement, calling Carpio Morales’ PowerPoint presentation a “lantern of lies.”
He described her statements as “malicious” and a “hoax,” and urged her to resign from her post once proven wrong.
Corona added: “The initial testimony of the Honorable Ombudsman is quite unfortunate, if not very malicious. I don't know how she came up with her own mathematical equation.”
Lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr. on Monday described the money flows in Corona's dollar accounts, as shown by Carpio Morales in her PowerPoint presentation, as “professional money laundering.”
Aside from this, Tañada asked: “Were those dollar accounts listed in the SALN. We’re not saying those accounts are legal or illegal. This is what we’ve been saying since the beginning, were those accounts included in the SALN?”