Press Release
January 19, 2012


I will ask the prosecution some questions just to enable us to understand fully Article 2, as we also listen to the arguments of the defense.

First of all, in article 2 you said "There is culpable violation of the Constitution and for betrayal of public trust when he failed to disclose to the public the statement of assets and liabilities."

Yesterday, all of the SALNs were presented. So is this institution now admitting that they have in fact been presented?

The second or the follow up, the more important question: In your eyes or in the judgment of the prosecution is this the disclosure that the law requires?

(JPE interjects that ASC's questions to the prosecution must be done under oath as his line of questioning makes witnesses out of the prosecution.)

With all due respect Mr. Presiding Officer, the rules allow us to ask questions to both the defense and the prosecution, to both the witness and also to the counsels.

The issue is whether or not Article 2 in fact if proven, will be a ground to impeach the Chief Justice. I'm actually only laying the groundwork regarding the charges to impeach the Chief Justice. Actually, sir, I'm going to go to my real questions after he answers my preliminary ones.

I'd just like to clarify what they are accusing the CJ of. This will help me in my final judgment later on of whether or not the Chief Justice could be held guilty of the charge in Article 2 or whether Article 2 is a non-charge at all or is not grounds at all to impeach him as brought up by the defense counsel.

So actually, sir, my questions are not about evidence and about the witness. I'm trying to figure out what the prosecutors are charging the Chief Justice of. I just have to be fair, I asked the defense counsel hard questions. When they were asking for a subpoena I believed in their cause but now that I have some doubts, I'd just like to clarify.

(JPE interjects that the ultimate fact to be considered here is the issue of disclosure. The questions to the prosecutor asks him to interpret the law, as such he should be put under oath as a witness)

With all due respect your Honor, I don't think it is improper because that is precisely their charge: the SALN was not disclosed. If I was allowed to ask the question, my second question is... yesterday, they were surprised and they admitted that it was the first time they saw the SALN. Now that they saw it and it has been filed, are they still charging that it has not been disclosed because it should be disclosed in a certain manner or are they now saying that now that they've seen it they're going to focus on 2.3 and 2.4?

And I was going to ask, your Honor, in 2.3 how can they know that there are properties that are not included in the SALN if in fact they haven't seen the SALN yet? That would have been the flow of my questions if I would be allowed to just ask him those questions.

If this does not have evidenciary value then so be it. But it will allow me to understand their charge.

(JPE stated the manner of disclosure as provided by law).

Well, actually, the Senate president answered the question.

(Prosecutor expounds his answer regarding the SALN disclosure made yesterday)

(JPE clarifies)

The Constitution says that the disclosure is to be provided by law. So now it is settled that he did file his SALN, assuming that that is not being disputed. So the republic act that deals with the SALN says that you can examine it any time of the day, etc. So basically, what you're saying is because that was not allowed by the Supreme Court then you are charging him for not disclosing it. Do I understand the charge?

(Prosecutor agrees.)

That is their defense and we will get there when the time is right. It's just a preparation to my other question which is: In the third paragraph which is part of the discussion now, 2.3 and 2.4, sabi niyo po dito, "It is also reported that some of the properties of the respondent are not included in his declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth in violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act."

And yun po ang nirereklamo ng defense: hindi pwedeng "reports" and then sa next paragraph, "suspected and accused."

Ang question ko po: Paano niyo po alam na mayroong properties na hindi kasama sa SALN kung hindi niyo pa pala nakikita yung kanyang SALN?

(Prosecutor agrees that they have only seen the SALN yesterday)

But when you made the articles of impeachment, hindi niyo pa nakikita?

(Prosecutor agrees)

So that's why you used the word 'reported' because you haven't yet gotten hold of it?

I'm just trying to understand why you used these words. In 2.4, "suspected and accused". So do you know if in fact the.. Are you accusing the Chief Justice of accumulating ill-gotten wealth and acquiring assets of high value and huge deposits or not? Or are you just suspecting that he does have?

(Prosecutor agrees)

And through this trial you will show us the evidence? So what you're saying is because the SALN was not available, you were constrained to use these words? But in your interpretation, this is sufficient to fulfill the requirements of having the ultimate fact?

(Prosecutor agrees)

But the defense is disputing that.

(Prosecutor says that they expect that)

Just one question to the defense counsel. Your honor, in one Supreme Court decision, the Supreme Court held that the complaint is sufficient if it contains sufficient notice of cause of action even if the allegation may be vague or indefinite or in the form of conclusions, in which event the proper course would be to file a motion for bill of particulars.

I'd just like to try to understand your argument. Are you saying that their use of the word suggested means that there is no cause of action or sufficient notice, even if they used the word accused?

(Defense expresses awareness of jurisprudence and clarifies their position)

What about the words, we accuse? Does that cure it or do you take it separately from suspicion or do you take it together?

(Defense states that if it is based on supposition then that is no accusation at all)

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