Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This piece was first published in Interaksyon.com on March 6, 2012.
At this writing Corona has produced five witnesses. His first witness testified on the provenance of the impeachment complaint, a topic that the Impeachment Court ruled off-limits two months ago. All of Monday and long minutes of Tuesday were wasted as the Senate tolerated his bellyaching over the late release of his pork barrel. Why did the Impeachment Court put up with him? Because senators are politicians and the witness is the kingpin of a vote-rich congressional district.
The next witness was a woman from the Supreme Court. She produced documents regarding Corona’s salaries and allowances. Two other witnesses, one from the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the other from the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal, testified on Corona’s allowances. What for? According to Corona’s chief counsel they were called to clarify issues regarding the source of Corona’s wealth. But a senator pointed out that there was no need to explain the source of Corona’s wealth since the Senate already granted Corona’s motion to drop all references to it. That’s four defense witnesses speaking on matters that are irrelevant and immaterial. Ano ba talaga?
The first defense witness to address the allegation that Corona mis-declared his SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) explained why a property in Marikina that was in Mrs. Corona’s name belonged to him. He said he bought the property from Mrs. Corona 20 years ago but he just never got around to putting it in his name. He presented a deed of sale as proof of ownership. So a deed of sale is better proof of ownership than title to a property? Now comes Corona’s non-disclosure of a condominium unit in Makati. He said he did not consider it his despite a deed of sale and a title to the unit because he had not taken possession of it yet. Ano ba talaga?
Corona keeps repeating, “When I submitted myself to the Senate from the start, I trusted our senators that they will do their duty responsibly. Whatever verdict they will have, I will accept it.” But last February Corona petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the trial because the Impeachment Court acted “with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction.” Ano ba talaga?
Corona claims he is not hiding his dollar accounts and will produce them in due time. But he petitioned the Supreme Court to prohibit the opening of his dollar accounts. Ano ba talaga?
Corona said he closed his multimillion peso account with PS Bank on the day he was impeached because he lost his trust in the bank. But he opened a new account in the same bank with the money from his closed account. Ano ba talaga?
Corona pointed to money from a family firm he claimed his wife owned to explain how he was able to buy high-end condos and maintain several hefty peso and dollar bank accounts. And then Ana Basa and Sister Flory Basa raised questions about Mrs. Corona’s ownership of the family firm. Now Corona says any mention of the family firm is irrelevant to the impeachment. Ano ba talaga?
Corona says he will personally explain everything before the Impeachment Court. But he also says he will do so only if his lawyers allow him to testify. Ano ba talaga?
The truth is everybody already knows the truth and everybody knows what needs to be done. The problem is that the doing will be done by 23 politicians, some of whom you would not trust with your pet cobra.