Prosecutors twit defense on Angara inhibit call

Posted at 05/07/12 11:30 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Prosecutors on Monday criticized the bid of Chief Justice Renato Corona's lawyers to have Senator Edgardo Angara inhibit himself as a judge in the Senate impeachment trial.

Prosecution spokesman Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III said the senator and his son, Rep. Sonny Angara, have different minds and have taken different positions in the past.

Tañada said it is unfair to imply that the 2 influence each other's positions.

He said Rep. Angara refused to be a prosecutor precisely because of their relationship. He believes the motion to inhibit is a desperate move by the defense.

Another prosecution spokesman, Rep. Miro Quimbo, wonders why this was raised just now months after trial began.

Rep. Angara was named spokesman in December. Quimbo feels the matter is just an "ambush" to make sure there are not enough numbers to convict Corona.

Quimbo said getting Angara to inhibit means having Senator Jinggoy Estrada and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile inhibit as well because they also have relatives who are complainants in the impeachment case.

He feels the defense may be laying down the ground work for a scenario to bring the matter to the high court on the required voting to convict an impeached official.

Rep. Angara himself dismissed the matter as rumor-mongering to bring down the number of votes needed for a conviction. Sixteen votes are needed to convict Corona.

He also downplayed President Benigno Aquino's supposed endorsement of himself in the 2013 senatorial elections.

He also maintained that their home province of Aurora merely got the funding that has been due it.

Tanada said the budget of Aurora was considered by both chambers of Congress.

Quimbo said prosecutors are among the last to receive releases of pork barrel funds.

Meantime, Rep. Angara said the defense has run out of important witnesses since it's been presenting witnesses whose testimonies can be stipulated on by both sides. The prosecution is satisfied at the progress of the proceedings.

Tañada also said there seems to be no need to submit rebuttal witnesses by the prosection based on the presentation of the defense.

He feels the defense has reached the bottom of the barrel and still has not made its case.

He also called on the defense to categorically state if it will present Corona as a witness.