Despite suffering defeat, prosecutors and senators seeking to scrutinize Chief Justice Renato Corona’s dollar deposits on Monday did not exactly go home empty-handed.
Sen. Franklin Drilon, a close ally of President Benigno Aquino III, managed to make the defense panel admit in open impeachment court that Corona himself had promised to “personally” disclose information on his bank accounts under question.
“So the issue is not whether or not he has agreed to open this account, but it’s a question of when it should be opened,” Drilon said, to which defense counsel Jose Roy III replied: “That is the authorization we were given by the Chief Justice to declare.”
“In that case, Mr. President, the Chief Justice, through his counsel, has agreed to open these accounts. It is very clear from the admission of the counsel and it’s up now to the court to require when these accounts should be opened because consent has been given by the account holder,” Drilon said.
The senator squeezed the admission from the defense panel shortly before Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile read the impeachment court’s decision to obey the Supreme Court’s temporary restraining order (TRO) on Corona’s dollar deposits.
Drilon was among three Liberal Party senators who joined seven of their colleagues in voting against obeying the TRO.
Sen. Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who voted with 12 other senators in favor of the TRO, sought to make Roy’s admission even more unequivocal. “Do you confirm (Drilon’s) statement that the client, your client, is consenting through you, to the opening of his dollar accounts?” Pimentel asked.
“I confirm that the client has told us that he would release information in due course. He did not authorize us to do it for him,” the defense lawyer replied.
Pimentel said: “So he will do it personally and in due course … that is your safety mechanism.”
“Let me be clear. This is the way we understood our instructions. The Chief Justice has informed us and authorized us to announce that he would disclose the bank accounts himself at the appropriate time. That is what we mean by ‘in due course,’” Roy answered.
Roy earlier admitted to Drilon that “at the appropriate time, (Corona) will disclose information to the relevant bank account.”