Prosecution welcomes Vizconde as witness vs Corona-A A +A
Tuesday, January 24, 2012
THE House prosecution panel welcomed the reported decision of Lauro Vizconde to testify in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
House Deputy Majority Leader Romero Frederico “Miro” Quimbo, one of the spokespersons for the prosecution panel, said they see Vizconde as a credible witness especially that he has no grudges against the impeached Chief Justice.
“Certainly, we welcome any witness particularly somebody like him who we think has no reason to speak against or lie about the respondent because the Chief Justice helped him in his crusade for justice,” he said.
A daily newspaper on Tuesday reported that Vizconde – whose wife and two daughters were brutally murdered 20 years ago – was convinced by members of the House prosecution team to testify in Article III of the impeachment complaint.
In Article III of the complaint, prosecutors accused the Chief Justice of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for failing to meet Article VIII, Section 7 (3) of the Constitution whereby a member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence after flip-flopping in final and executory cases.
The said ground was assigned to Representatives Giorgidi Aggabao (Isabela), Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao (Akbayan party-list), and Cibac party-list Representative Sherwin Tugna.
The prosecution panel started presenting evidence and witnesses on Article II, and will be followed with Article I and VII. It has not lined up Article III yet.
Vizconde is expected to disclose the details of his meeting with Corona in September 2010 when he paid a courtesy call together with Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founding chairman Dante Jimenez.
Corona allegedly told Vizconde about the efforts of Associate Justice Antonio Carpio to pressure other SC justices to vote in favor of Hubert Webb. Webb spent 15 years of jail time for the murder of Vizconde’s family. The High Tribunal voted 7-4 to acquit Webb and the others accused.
Corona denied, however, he requested for the presence of Vizconde and instead said he was surprised that the widower came with Jimenez.
“Ayaw niya na parang sinabi ni Corona na nagulat si Chief Justice nung siya ay dumating,” Quimbo pointed out.
The prosecution panel’s spokesperson noted that Vizconde’s side on the issue was stated in an affidavit submitted to the High Tribunal compared to the Chief Justice’s answer where he did not even affix his signature to.
“Doon pa lang alam na natin kung sinong paniniwalaan,” Quimbo said.
Vizconde’s legal counsel, lawyer Ferdinand Topacio, said his client’s decision came “after lengthy and deep reflection, and without any intervention on my part, or of anyone else.”
“His resolve to testify is borne not by partisanship, but by his abiding desire to institute reforms in the Judiciary, so that his unfortunate experience regarding the trial involving the death of his entire family may not be experienced by others,” Topacio said in a statement.
“We hope that those whom Mr. Vizconde names as purveyors of extra-legal persuasions be likewise investigated and called to account for their misdeeds, so that the Impeachment Proceedings may reinforce, rather than erode, the Judicial System,” the lawyer added. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)