January 26, 2012
TRANSCRIPT OF INTERVIEW OF SEN. SERGE OSMENA WITH ANC ANCHORS LYNDA JUMILLA AND ATTY. ADEL TAMANO
Serge: You're right on that issue. Actually, we know what the Rules of Court are, even those who are not lawyers. On the other hand, there's always pressure from the public to come out with evidence regardless of whether it is legally acceptable under the Rules of Court. So, that's the pressure. Senator Enrile has handled that very well. He has bended backwards in favor of the prosecution because of what the public would want to know. We have yet to see how things will go. But unfortunately, maybe from the legal point of view, the rights of the respondent are not properly protected. Unfortunately also, this is a political trial. You must understand that the right to know is just as important as strict rules of evidence is normally observed in courts.
Q: There were some confusion yesterday (Wednesday) with regards the ruling of Sen. Enrile, saying that evidence on 2.4 would not be included. And if you think about 2.4, there is a mention there of bank deposits. I know that the request for subpoena was made with regards to these bank deposits. Is the Senate going to allow that? Or is it something that is prescribed by yesterday's meeting?
Serge: Paragraph 2.4 has something to do with ill-gotten wealth. Nowhere have they, the prosecutors, lay the basis for illegal wealth. So therefore, the senators decided yesterday we will allow 2.1, 2.2, 2.3 but we will withhold approval of 2.4 until you lay the basis to open 2.4. Yesterday they started with the testimony of BIR Commissioner Henares, and they are beginning to lay the basis for 2.4 after which we expect them to file a motion asking that evidence under 2.4 be allowed. That might be forthcoming if they lay the basis for it.
Now, under the Banks Secrecy Act, bank deposits can be opened in impeachment cases. That's very broad, it just says in cases of impeachment. So, therefore, we expect the prosecutors to use that as their reason for their asking for the records of the bank deposits of the respondent in various banks, I think there are 6 to 7 banks.
Q: Phasing of the trial? Rep. Tupas said they are very confident about Art. 2. In fact, he said there's a small possibility that they will soon rest their case on Art. 2...
Serge: I think everybody wants a short trial. You know, all the bills we are suppose to sponsor on the floor are now all hanging. And we're looking at a 3-month delay. Actually, there will be some proposals, we know that, that if some members feel, if the prosecutors feel that the evidence presented on Art. 2 is strong enough, that we come to a vote. Although the earlier decision by everybody is to finish all the articles first before we take a vote. Well, it could change.
Q: Is it solely the discretion of the prosecution to say that we are resting our case? Or has the defense has something to say about that?
Serge: I have no idea. I guess it's always the prosecution which says they rest their case.
Q: Is the AM sessions not enough to address the backlogs in legislation?
Serge: No, absolutely not. You know sessions are only part of the process. It's the hearings that are important, because that's the way you get all the resource persons, that's where everybody's comments, ideas, positions are made. We hold 4, or 5, or 6 hearings, then we a Technical Working Group meetings. There's absolutely no time for that now. You see, there are actually very few bills on the floor, because nobody has even found time to study for the debates when we go to the floor. I even have to, there were requests from other senators, to postpone my hearings on the DBP. We have to because they don't have time to study for the hearings. This has put everything in limbo, we have to wait until the trial is over before we can resume our legislative work.
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