Corona pressured to take witness stand - prosecution

Posted at 05/08/2012 10:51 PM | Updated as of 05/09/2012 10:02 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona felt intense pressure to take the witness stand in his impeachment trial, a member of the House prosecution team said Tuesday.

Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara, a spokesman of the prosecution panel, said in a press statement that the pressure was on for Corona to face the impeachment court himself because the chief justice's lawyers have allegedly failed to present evidence to prove his innocence.

"The defense has been missing the target. His legal counsels are not hitting the bull's eyes," Angara said.

He added that the senator-judges themselves remarked that Corona's defense team was presenting evidence and witnesses that had no bearing on the case.

On Tuesday, Corona's lawyers caught many flatfooted by announcing that the chief justice has finally agreed to take the witness stand to disprove allegations about his reported $10 million bank deposits.

Atty. Jose Roy III said Corona will testify in his own defense to "contradict, deny, and rebut" testimonies of witnesses on the alleged dollar bank deposits.

Corona's defense team promised to present Corona himself in the impeachment court after Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and complainants in the alleged dollar accounts have testified.

The Senate granted the defense motion.

No need for waiver

Atty. Tranquil Salvador III said there is no need for Corona to sign a waiver on his bank records because he will already testify in the impeachment court.

Another defense lawyer, Jose Roy III, said Corona went to a defense team meeting on Tuesday morning and gave him instructions to announce that he would like to testify.

"We told the chief justice in the meeting that it's going to be open season once he's on witness stand. He said he's ready," Roy said. - with reports from Jing Castañeda and Ryan Chua, ABS-CBN News