CJ defense eyes 10 more witnesses

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 04 2012 07:28 PM | Updated as of May 05 2012 07:47 PM

Atienza to take stand again

MANILA, Philippines - Former Manila Mayor Lito Atienza will return to the witness stand on Monday during the resumption of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Defense spokesman Karen Jimeno said Atienza was the last to testify before the summer break last March 23. She said senators still have to ask Atienza some questions.

Jimeno said at least 10 more witnesses will be presented by the defense before resting its case. However, the panel is looking at abbreviating the proceedings by checking what testimonies can be stipulated to by both sides.

Meantime, prosecution spokesman Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said prosecutors will cross-examine Atienza regarding the documents he presented in the trial.

The ex-Manila mayor previously testified on the Manila city government’s purchase of a piece of property owned by Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc., a family corporation owned by relatives of Mrs. Corona.

No decision on Corona testimony

Jimeno said there is still no decision on whether the Coronas will take the witness stand though the defense has not ruled it out.

In particular, Jimeno said Atienza's testimony made Mrs. Cristina Corona's testimony unnecessary since she would have only testified on the BGEI expropriation of a property to the City of Manila, something Atienza already talked about.

"Dati kailangan talaga si Mrs. Corona magtestigo sa in-issue na cheke sa BGEI, sa kanya nakapangalan. Wala dating katiyakan na matatwag si Mayor Atienza pero dahil pumayag si Mayor Atienza, malinaw na ngayon may natanggap P34 million mula sa City of Manila," she said.

Defense spokesman Tranquil Salvador III said that so far, no impeachable offense has been proven so they see no reason to present the Coronas yet.

Acquittal only if CJ testifies?

Prosecution spokesman Romero Quimbo said it will be hard for the defense to get an acquittal unless they present Corona on the stand.

Quimbo said a speedy trial is in everyone's best interest. That way, even Corona can lead the judiciary in peace and without suspicions on his motives.

Prosecution spokesman Sonny Angara says it would be good if the Senate came up with a self-imposed deadline to finish the trial and clamp down on irrelevant witnesses and debates.

Quimbo said the prosecution would be willing to make stipulations to expedite the proceedings.