Senate stands by decision to subpoena CJ bank records

By Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Feb 08 2012 02:49 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2012 03:11 AM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, junked Wednesday a motion for reconsideration on the impeachment body's decision to subpoena bank records of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

During the trial, Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said he “moved to adopt the MR made by Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago in view of the contrary view on the ruling of the impeachment court expressed by the senator-judge through an MR, a vote to consider the motion is necessary.”

Sotto, reading a resolution, said however that after deliberation "the majority resolved not to consider the motion for reconsideration.”

The Senate later went into caucus to discuss the repercussions and effects of the petition of the defense asking the Supreme Court to stop the impeachment trial.

After an hour, Sotto announced the majority has denied the motion of the defense to defer action pending a petition before the SC. The majority also moved to receive evidence in connection with the FASAP case vis-a-vis Corona's role, but reminding the prosecution not to touch on the merits.

This morning, the defense went to the SC to stop the proceedings at the Senate.

Based on the 39-page urgent petition for certiorari, the defense said they have been “forced into litigation with standards so far below the norm in regular proceedings.”

This was filed before the Senate could render a judgment on the motion for reconsideration filed by Santiago on the subpoenas issued on the bank records of Chief Justice Corona.

The issuance of the subpoenas is one of those cited in the petition of the defense before the high court.

The Philippine Savings Bank also asked for a halt order from the SC against the subpoenas.

Class on its own

At the start of the trial, senator-judge Teofisto Guingona III took the floor and insisted on the right of the Senate to hear an impeachment complaint.

“The impeachment is the people’s way of making officials accountable…[The Constitution] has reposed this power upon the Senate,” he said.

He said the case is a class of its own and “the SC can’t and should not impose its will.” He said the SC is co-equal to the Senate only if the latter is doing its legislative function. “At this point, we’re not legislating but doing a specific judicial function.”

He said the Senate, therefore, has the sole power to try and decide such cases.

He asked the SC to help the Senate “in searching for the truth.”