Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Enrile won’t hear PAL exec’s testimony

An incensed Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Tuesday rejected a prosecution witness called to testify that Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife allegedly enjoyed special treatment from Philippine Airlines (PAL) while a case involving the company was pending in the Supreme Court.
On Day 21 of Corona’s trial, Enrile noted that Enrique Javier, PAL vice president for sales, was “incompetent” in proving that Corona committed betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution under Article 3 of the impeachment complaint because he had a “platinum card” that allowed him “special benefits” from the airline.
Bribery would have been the charge, but this was not included in Article 3, Enrile pointed out, warning that the prosecution would then have to prove that this is a high crime and an impeachable offense.
The prosecution also would have to go back to the House of Representatives to amend the impeachment complaint, said Enrile, presiding officer of the Senate tribunal.
Article 3 accuses Corona of “failing to meet stringent standards under Article 8, Section 7, Paragraph 3 of the Constitution that provides that ‘a member of the judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.’”
Enrile said the instances indicated in Article 3 of the impeachment complaint did not include Corona’s alleged abuse of PAL flight privileges.
The prosecution only accused Corona of “allowing” the Supreme Court to act on “mere letters” filed by PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza which caused the issuance of a “flip-flopping decision” in the “final and executory case” involving the company’s entanglement with the Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (Fasap).
Article 3 also charges Corona with creating excessive entanglement with then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo through her appointment of his wife, Cristina, to Camp John Hay Development Corp. and discussing with Lauro Vizconde the pending murder case filed against Hubert Webb then pending before the tribunal.
Enrile said Javier’s testimony was not relevant to any of the three charges and advised the prosecution that the impeachment court would not “allow the expansion” of Article 3 “unless you amend it.”

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