MANILA, Philippines (May 22 2012) - At the end of today's session of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato, he ended up slouched in a wheel chair, neck-tie loosened and overcoat removed - an image of defeat if not a broken man - while receiving a scolding from presiding judge Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile.
"Wag naman po kami babastusin. Hindi ko papayagan na babastusin ang husgado na ito ng maski sinuman," Enrile said when the wheelchair-borned Corona was returned to the session hall after earlier walking out of the trial court.
"The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Republic wishes to be excused," Corona said in concluding a 3-hour feisty opening statement that was later declared by Enrile as narrative testimomy.
Without waiting to be discharged as a witness, Corona silently walked out of the session hall leaving an angry Enrile and confused head defense counsel former Justice Serafin Cuevas.
It was later revealed that Corona attempted to leave the Senate building but was prevented by the men of the Senate Sergeant-at-Arms who promptly closed all exits on Enrile's order.
Before closing his testimomy, Chief Justice Renato Corona signed a "conditional" waiver to allow government agencies, regulators and banking institutions to disclose and release to the public documents and information on his assets and business interests including his foreign currency accounts.
"I, Renato C. Corona, hearby waive my right of confidentiality and secrecy of bank deposits under RA 1405 as amended and authorize all banking institutions to disclose to the public all bank documents, pertaining to all peso and foreign currency accounts under my name," Corona said, reading the waiver.
He also declared: "I authorize the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Anti-Money Laundering Council, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Land Registration Authority to disclose to the public, any and all information that may show my assets, liabilities, networth, business interests and financial connections, to include those of my spouse."
Corona, who spent about three hours in his opening statement, signed the waiver before the impeachment court - a dramatic sight as details and data about his assets and dollar deposits have long intrigued the public.
However, Corona said he will only submit the waiver if the 188 legislators from the House of Representatives who signed the impeachment complaint and Senator-Judge Franklin Drilon also execute a waiver to open their dollar accounts.
Corona's lawyers distributed template of the waiver to Drilon and members of the House of Representaives' prosecution team, whose members are signatories of the impeachment complaint as the chief magistrate closes his testimony.
He also told the court that he is authorizing the SC Clerk of court to release his statement of assets, liabilities and networth for the years 2002 to 2011.
Corona said he did not declare his dollar deposits in his SALN because the Republic Act 6426 guarantees full and complete confidentiality of any dollar accounts in the country.
In his statement, Corona scored the prosecution for alleging that he had 45 properties, 82 dollar accounts and 31 peso deposits in various banks. Corona said he only has five properties, four dollar accounts and three peso accounts, which also hold money from his children.
He also explained that the amount in his foreign currency deposits are "compounded" as he had been maintaining them since the late 1960s. He said his three peso accounts contains "co-mingled funds," including cash from the sale of the Basa-Guidote property ot the city of Manila and his daughter, Charina.
"Sinasabi ko po sa inyo at tumitingin ako ng diretso sa mga mata ninyo, wala po akong itinago. Sapagkat kung ako ay may itinago, 'di ko po ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang kuwarta pong ito. Kung ako ay may itinago, 'di ko ilalagay sa pangalan ko ang mga perang ito," he said.
Ending his statement, Corona told the Senate impeachment court: "I am no thief. I am no criminal. I have done no wrong."
"Honorable senators, I am also no fool. I pray tthat these gentlemen will accept my invitation," referring to his challenge to the 188 impeachment complainants and Drilon.
Right after his testimony, Corona walked out of the session hall, leaving a shocked audience and creating speculations that he disrespected the Senate as an impeachment court by leaving the court without proper notice. Enrile would later tell him that as the Chief Justice he should know his decorum.
As of this posting, reports said that Corona left the session hall in a hurry to rest. Reports said that Corona was staying at the Senate building's lounge, where a wheelchair was being brought in.
A son-in-law of Corona, meanwhile, told confused mediamen that Corona's blood sugar significantly went down as he had not taken his lunch. He said that the chief magistrate left because he did not want to "faint inside the session hall."
He said Corona actually suffered a hypoglycemic episode and had to be given shots of sugar. A defense lawyer told the media that Corona was given three cans of softdrinks to stabilize his blood sugar level.
A defense lawyer also speculated that Corona might have been offended by heckles he overheard from the gallery. (From Philstar.com)