February 7, 2012
MIRIAM SEEKS RECON ON BANK RECORDS
Senator-judge Miriam Defensor Santiago filed a motion for reconsideration with the impeachment court which last Monday granted the prosecution's request for subpoena for certain bank documents.
Santiago said that defense counsel Serafin Cuevas filed a verbal motion for reconsideration, but she is filing her own motion for reconsideration, in order to avoid any technical objections.
"My motion is superfluous, but might be necessary to avoid objections that could cause further trial delay," she said.
Santiago said that she was filing the motion under the principle of ex abundanti cautela, which means "from an abundance of care."
"In other words, my motion is merely precautionary, because in my view the motion can be filed even only by defense counsel, and does not need to be filed by a senator-judge," she said.
Santiago's motion for reconsideration is a result of the observation made in open court last Monday by Sen. Francis Escudero that only a senator-judge can file such a motion.
"There is no such requirement in the Impeachment Rules. Perhaps what he referred to was the Senate Rules, which can apply as a supplemental reference, but only if it is relevant to the impeachment," the senator said.
Santiago said that the Senate Rules on a motion for reconsideration filed by a senator refers only to the lawmaking function, and not to the impeachment function, of the Senate.
The senator gave at least three reasons for allowing the motion for reconsideration, which she said, should be debated verbally in open court, and then by written memoranda by counsel for each panel.
She stressed that her motion for reconsideration will not prejudice her final vote, because she is only giving the defense a second chance to argue against the bank subpoenas.
The three reasons for the motion for reconsideration are:
1. It appears that the subpoena would violate this Court's own ruling that evidence shall NOT be allowed on ill-gotten wealth. (Complaint, Art. 2, para. 2.4.) Since 2.4 is the only paragraph that specifically mentions "bank deposits," any requests for subpoena concerning any bank deposits should be rejected.
2. It appears that the Court's resolution allowing subpoena even for foreign currency deposits appears to be a direct violation of R.A. No. 6426. The Supreme Court ruled in Intengan v. Court of Appeals, G.R. No. 128996 (2002), that this law is violated if a foreign currency deposit is examined, except only when the depositor gives written permission. This is the only exception, and it is not present in this case.
3. Prosecution cited the 1997 case of Salvacion, 2000 case of China Banking Corp., and 2006 case of Ejercito. It appears that all three cases are off-tangent.
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