Enrile notes lack of prosecutors’ trial savvy
Despite the tantrums made by Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago on the Senate floor, Wednesday's resumption of the impeachment trial against Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona had at least made a headway after a private prosecutor succeeded in convincing the Impeachment Court to allow the commissioner from the Bureau of Internal Revenue to take the witness stand.
But this didn't happen in a flash as even the Impeachment Court's presiding officer--Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile--and the defense team were adamant against the idea of the prosecution team's move to present and cross examine Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares as the first witness of the prosecution.
Private prosecutor Atty. Arthur Lim had insisted, after consulting with his colleagues and reaffirming the defense team and the presiding officer that the questioning will not delve outside articles 2.2 and 2.3 of the Impeachment complaint filed earlier with the Senate tribunal. Lim had reassured the Senate judges and the defense team that his questioning will only be limited as to the "authenticity" of the Income Tax Returns (ITRs) of CJ Corona and his wife Kristina. Which the defense team agreed without raising any question at all.
While the cross-examination continued, as allowed by the presiding officer, Lim was able to get through the entanglements when he asked the BIR Commissioner Henares if she could show the ITRs of CJ Corona?
Eyebrows of the audience and that of the Senate judges began to raise when Henares revealed that there were no ITRs to show at that moment as CJ Corona failed to file his income tax returns beginning 2002 until 2010.
"What I have your honors are the Alpha Lists which showed that CJ Corona's incomes were reflected during those years," Henares told the Senate panel.
Henares explained that the Alpha List is the dossier of officials and employees for a particular employer and how much salaries they received and the withholding taxes that were deducted from them during that particular year. The Alpha List showed, as enumerated by Henares, that CJ Corona's biggest annual income was more than P600,000.
When I watched Day 6 of impeachment trial, I hadn't the slightest idea that Private Prosecutor Arthur Lim would be able to penetrate the impregnable fortress of the defense. But he did with flying colors. it caught me by surprise that the stalwart of the defense former Justice Serafin Cuevas remained silent throughout the duration of the cross examination of Henares. Except that Cuevas had butted in to raise a few objections during the cross examination of Henares. But to me , they were just tactics to distract the mental focus of private prosecutor Lim.
What was strange about the cross examination was because it turned out later that Kristina Corona, the wife of the Chief Justice, that she didn't file her income tax return as she didn't have an income for the tax year 2003, yet Henares revealed that she was able to buy a property at La Vista Subdivision worth P11 million as shown by BIR Certificate Authorizing Registration (CAR) during that year. This was followed by at least eight more CARs under the couple's name.
The big question that now plays up in the minds of ordinary Filipinos is that how come the couple was able to acquire those properties despite their meager salaries? Atty. Tranquilo Salvador, spokesman of the defense team, said during a press conference that the P11 million used to buy that La Vista property came from a loan. But a document revealed that the family corporation where that multi-million loan came from was not active anymore at the time the loan was made.
Where in the world did the couple sourced out those huge sums of money to buy all those properties?