March 14, 2012
MANILA — Senator-judge Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan questioned on Tuesday the Supreme Court (SC) for allowing SC chief judicial staff officer Arceli Bayuga to testify for the defense despite SC ruling barring its employees to appear before the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
”She was the witness from the SC. I have no issue against the defense. My issue is with the SC,” Pangilinan manifested during Day 28 of the impeachment trial of the chief justice.
”My concern here is that we now have situation where SC can choose which subpoenas on its employees it will honor,” he said.
Pangilinan said the solo power to try and decide on impeachment cases belong to the impeachment court.
Defense chief counsel Justice Serafin Cuevas explained that the SC ruling on February 4 only barred SC employees from testifying on confidential matters.
Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile allowed Bayuga to testify, adding that the issue will be thresh out during the rebuttal of evidence.
Bayuga testified before the impeachment court that Corona’s salary, allowances and other benefits from 2002 and 2011 totalled P21.64 million.
The SC employee said that from P353,000 in 2002, Corona’s salary increased to P1,147,301.77 in 2011, reaching his total salary for the past 10 years to P5,872,859.82.
Bayuga also received allowances and benefits from longevity pay, PERA, representation allowance, transportation allowance, extra ordinary miscellaneous allowance, monthly special allowance, additional cost of living allowance, productivity incentive benefit, clothing allowance, year-end bonus and cash gift loyalty, cash awards, and extra ordinary miscellaneous from Presidential Electoral Tribunal (PET).
Aside from Bayuga, the defense panel also presented Corona’s cousin Demetrio Vicente who bought seven parcels of land in Marikina City from the chief justice’s wife, Cristina, in 1990.
Vicente, a 70-year-old witness, said he paid P509,989 for the seven parcels of land with a total area of 1,700 square meters.
Vicente showed receipts proving that he paid real property tax for the property beginning third quarter of 1990 up to present.
Although he is paying the real property tax, Vicente said tax declaration is still under Mrs. Corona since the title of the property remain in the name of Corona’s wife.
Asked why the title of the seven parcel of lands still unregistered to his name, Vicente said he has no money to pay for the transfer expenses.
The House prosecutors alleged in the Article 2 that Corona failed to disclose to the public some of his properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). (PNA)
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