Prosecutors want justices, journalists summoned

By Ira Pedrasa, ABS-CBNnews.com and RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 27 2012 12:17 PM | Updated as of Jan 28 2012 01:23 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Prosecutors are now preparing to present their case on article 7 of the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona. They want to subpoena several journalists, justices and Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez, among others, as witnesses.

Article 7, which will next be tackled by the prosecution, states that Corona supposedly “betrayed the public trust through his partiality in granting a temporary restraining order in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo in order to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice, and in distorting the supreme court decision on the effectivity of the TRO in view of a clear failure to comply with the conditions of the Supreme Court’s own TRO.

The partial list of witnesses includes: 

- blogger Raissa Robles who they want to testify, among others, on the close personal relationship between Corona and GMA;

- journalist Criselda Yabes, who they also want to testify on the close personal relationship between Corona and GMA;

- journalist Marites Vitug, who they also want to testify on the close personal relationship between Corona and GMA as well as her research on the Supreme Court inner processes, etc;

- Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who they want to testify, among others, on the various criminal cases filed against Arroyo and her husband;

- Principal Physician of former President Gloria Macapagal- Arroyo, Dr. Juliet Gopez-Cervantes, and her surgeon, Dr. Mario Ver, who they want to attest to GMA’s continuing recovery and her positive prognosis;

- Supreme Court Process Server and Cashier who they want to testify, among others: “on the working hours of the Supreme Court and that the Temporary Restraining Order was filed beyond working hours”;

- ABS-CBN News correspondent Ina Reformina and a Mediaman/Journalist – who they want to testify, among others on the circumstances behind the issuance of the TRO;

- Deputy Clerk of Court, on the circumstances behind the issuance of the TRO;

- Assigned Process Server or Sheriff;  SC Chief Judicial Officer Araceli Bayuga; “Juliet” of the Office of the Clerk of Court; and an assigned “Cashier to Receive Payment”;

- Jay Francis P. Baltazar, Notary Public of Magallanes, Makati City as Hostile Witness and who will testify “as to the time and manner that the Special Power of Attorney made in favor of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo was notarized.”

Clerk of court

The prosecution also wants to summon anew SC clerk of court Enriqueta Vidal, who will “testify, among others: (1) that Respondent Corona made handwritten corrections on the typewritten draft Resolution Justice Velasco with the instruction that the Chief Justice’s version is to be immediately promulgated; (2) Suppress the dissent of Justice Sereno; and (3)On the allegations contained in the Verified Complaint, and other pleadings filed by complainants, and other matters relevant to the instant case.”

Justices

As such, the prosecution also wants Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno to testify, among others that “the hurried issuance of the TRO against the DOJ on 15 November 2011 by respondent Corona in order to give the Arroyos an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice is a tyrannical abuse of power, an act of favoritism and an inexcusably negligent act amounting to a betrayal of public trust.”

They also named as hostile witnesses Court Administrator Jose Midas Marquez and SC Justice Presbitero Velasco.

Marquez will be asked to testify on the “hurried issuance” of the TRO. He will also be asked on his alleged acts “distorting the Supreme Court decision on the effectivity of the TRO in view of a clear failure to comply with the conditions of the Supreme Court amounted to a betrayal of public trust,” among others.

Velasco, the author of the decision, on the other hand will be asked to testify also on the circumstances of the issuance of the TRO.