Congress, Philippines (26 January 2012) — After a hearing at the Sandiganbayan, I dropped by the office of Rep. Nery Colmenares (Bayan Muna Party List) after lunch.
Colmenares is the team leader of the prosecutors of the Lower House for Article 7 (issuing of TRO to let GMA flee the country) of the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona.
While watching the impeachment trial for Article 2 (culpable violation of the Constitution for non-submission of statement of assets, liabilities and net worth or SALN), Colmenares drafted a press statement that he immediately dispatched to the media defending Rep. Niel “Jun-Jun” Tups, Jr., chief prosecutor of the impeachment trial.
Conversely, he chided some Senator-Judgesfor constraining the scope of the presentation of evidence by the prosecution. He also castigated Senator-Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago for grandstanding and browbeating Tupas and private prosecutor Philip Lim.
The impeachment is satisfied that CJ Corona has complied in filing his SALN. While it subpoenaed BIR Commissioner Kim Henares to submit Corona’s income tax returns (ITRs), the impeachment court as of 3:30 pm today denied the prosecution’s motion to press the witness from the BIR from further revealing the contents of Corona’s ITRs submitted by the BIR.
Colmenares commented that the impeachment court constrained the proceedings to the “title” of the article. “The title is not the complaint; the whole body is,” he stressed. “If the impeachment court read the whole complaint it will find that the issues go beyond the SALN. The complaint enumerates the acts of Corona like graft and corruption and amassing ill gotten wealth.”
“Corona might have filed his SALNs but his ITRs show that he misdeclared his assets; he has unexplained wealth,” stressed Colmenares.
Colmenares, from La Castella, Negros Occidental, further bewails Sen.-Judge Miriam Defensor-Santiago (from W. Visayas also) for grandstanding and browbeating the prosecutors.
“Kabay pa nga kun ako na magprosecute, nga indi lang nya paghimuon ina kay sabton ko gid sia (I hope that she would not do 5he same to me because if she did, I will really give her a piece of my thought),” he said.
Defensor-Santiago threw fits of trantrums at the opening of the trial. She ask private prosecutor Atty. Arthur Lim if he was accusing Corona for violating the Anti-Graft Law. Lim answered but his answer did no please her prompting her to give a dressing down. She threatened the private prosecutor with “contempt”.
A person cited by Congress for contempt may be detained indefinitely at the pleasure of the legislature.