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REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES CONGRESS OF THE PHILIPPINES

SENATE

'12 JAN 25 AlO :08

SITTING AS AN IMPEACHMENT COURT

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IN

THE

MATTER

OF

THE

IMPEACHMENT

OF

RENATO

C.

CORONA AS CHIEF JUSTUCE OF THE SUPREME COURT OF THE PHILIPPINES,

CASE NO. 002-2011

REPRESENTATIVES NIEL C. TUPAS, JR.,

JOSEPH EMILIO A. ABAYA, LORENZO R. TANADA, III, REYNALDD V. UMALI, ARLENE J. BAG-AD, ET AL.,

Complainants.

x ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------x

MEMORANDUM

(Re: Article II of the Verified Complaint for Impeachment)

with

OPPOSITION

(To: Respondent's Motion to Quash Subpoena [Issued to BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares])

------

The HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,by its Prosecutors, respectfully states:

MEMORANDUM

A.

L The caption of Article" of the Impeachment Complaint provides:

"II.

RESPONDENT COMMITIED CULPABLE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE FAILED TO DISCLOSETO THE PUBLIC HIS STATEMENT OF ASSETS,

LIABILITIES, AND NET WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDER SEe. 17, ART.

XI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION."

(Underscoring ours)

2. In his Memorandum [On Article /I of the Verified Complaint] dated 24 January

2012 (the "Memorandum"),

Respondent Chief Justice Renato e. Corona ("Corona") insists that

insofar as Article II is concerned, evidence on his "ill-gotten wealth" is "irrelevant, improper and

violative of (his) constitutional rights." He claims that since Article II merely charges him with

failure to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth ("SALN"), any

evidence on the veracity of the contents of the SALN would be immaterial. This view is baseless

and shows Corona's misappreciation of the constitutional requ i remen t of filing a SALN.

3. The gravamen of the charge in Article II goes far beyond a mere failure on

the

part of Corona to mechanically file or disclose his SALN. His duty to disclose his SALN to the

public necessarily implies a duty to be truthful,

honest, and accurate in the

sworn contents

thereof (this is why the law requires the

SALN to be under oath). Corona's disclosure of a false,

dishonest, and incomplete SALN is as much a betrayal of public trust as his failure to disclose his

SALN. Simply put, the "disclosure" contemplated by law is disclosure of a SALN that is true,

honest and accurate. Anything less would be a useless, futile exercise; make a mockery of the

SALN requirement; and be tantamount to a culpable violation of the constitution and betrayal

of the public trust.

4. The significance of the truthfulness

of the contents

of the SALN cannot be

overemphasized.

It springs from the purpose for which this const i tutional

requirement was

created in the first place, that is - to curtail a public official's unlawful accumulation

of wealth

through graft and corruption. The ruling of the Supreme Court in Ombudsman v. Va/eroso 1 is

instructive in this regard, thus :

1 G.R. No. 167828, 2 April 2007, 520 SCRA 140, see also Carabeo v . CA , G . R . Nos. 178000 & 178003, December 4,

"Section 8 above, speaks of unlawful acquisition

of wealth,

the

evil

sought to be suppressed

and avoided,

and Section 7, which

mandates

full

disclosure of wealth in the SALN, is a means of preventing said evil and is aimed

particularly at curtailing and minimizing, the opportunities for official corruption and maintaining a standard of honesty in the public service. 'Unexplained' matter normally results from 'non-disclosure' or concealment of vital facts.

SALN, which all public officials and employees are mandated to file, are the means to achieve the policy of accountability of all public officers and employees

in the government. By the SALN, the public are able to monitor movement in the fortune of a public official; it is a valid check and balance mechanism to verify undisclosed properties and wealth . " (Underscoring ours)

5.

All told, the prosecution's evidence on Corona's accumulation

of ill-gotten

wealth strikes at the very heart of his failure to disclose his SALN to the public.

It shows that

Corona has not been truthful and honest in his SALN, and has therefore violated the very spirit

and the letter of the SALN requirement.

Such proof is, therefore, very material and relevant.

Notably, Corona, through counsel, marked and adopted the SALNs as his own evidence, thereby

admitting that the contents of the SALN are material and relevant to Article II.

B.

6. In any event, Corona's accumulation of ill-gotten wealth and his commission of

graft and corruption were sufficiently alleged in the Impeachment Complaint, as is evident from

the following excerpts from the Impeachment Complaint:

6.1 "As Chief Justice, Respondent has been lavish in the spending of public

funds; blind to ethical standards of behavior expected not only of him, but his family; intrigued and conspired against his fellow justices; and behaved more like a scofflaw than Chief Justice in refusing to disclose his assets and liabilities." (page 6, Complaint);

6.2

"x

x

x; and even

reportedly

engaging

not

only

in illicitly

acquiring assets of high value but even resorting to petty graft and corruption for his own personal profit and convenience . " (page 10, Complaint);

6.3 "Respondent betrayed the Public Trust, committed Culpable Violation of

the Constitution and Graft and Corruption

Respondent committed culpable violation of the constitution and/or betrayed the public trust when he failed to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth as required under Sec. 17, Art . XI of the 1987 Constitution." (page 11 and 22 of

the Complaint);

in the following manner: x

x

x

6.4

"It is also reported that some of the properties

of Respondent are not

included in his declaration of his assets, liabil i ties and net worth, in violation of the anti - graft and corrupt practices act." (paragraph 2 . 3, page 22, Complaint); and

6.5 "Respondent is likewise suspected and accused of having accumulated ill-

gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge

deposits. x

as a public official? (paragraph 2.4, page 22, Complaint).

x

x. Is this acquisition sustained

and duly supported by his income

7. Corona claims that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint are conjectural and

speculative, and do not amount to a concrete statement

of fact that might require a denial.

Corona ignores the real i ty that these proceedings have long left the realm of pleadings and

allegations, and have now reached the stage of the presentation of proof. Today will already be

the sixth day of trial.

That said, Corona's arguments are utterly

baseless and should be

rejected. In the first place, Corona has already waived this objection and is now estopped from

rehashing it again and again just to avoid tria l and facing the evidence a gainst him. Consider

the following:

7.1 First, if Corona truly believed that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 were merely

speculative and conjectura l , he should have moved to strike these allegations outright

before filing his Answer. i He did not do so.

7 . 2

Second , when he filed his Answe r, Coro n a denied Article II, as a whole,

and paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 specifically. He also affirmatively alleged that he "acquired

his assets from legitimate sources of income, mostly from his professional toils" and

that "he and his wife purchased on installment a 300-sq.m. a p artment in Taguig, which

was declared in his SALN when they acquired it. "

In other words, Corona " joined " the

issues of whether

or not the contents

of his SALN were, indeed, accurate and/or

whether or not he had accumulated ill-gotten wealth.

Upon a j oinder of such

factual

issues, trial and presentation of evidence the r eon should necessarily follow .

2 See Section 12 , Rule 8 of the Rules of Court.

This is not an admission

that the Rules of Court prov i sions

on

pleadings are applic a bl e to th es e pr oc eeding s. It i s cited m e r e ly because the movant him se lf (Corona) c i tes the

Rules of Court.

7.3

Third, in his 29 December 2011 Motion for Preliminary Hearing, which

prayed specifically for the dismissal of the Complaint,

Corona failed to move for the

dismissal of the charges against him for amassing ill-gotten wealth and instead, relied

exclusively on the supposedly defective Verification of the Complaint. Corona's failure

to argue the insufficiency of the allegations against him for accumulating ill-gotten

wealth prevents him from raising this ground anew in his Memorandum. The "Omnibus

Motion"

rule" states that

"a motion

attacking

a pleading x

x

x shall include all

objections then available, and all objections not so included shall be deemed waived."

7.4 Finally, during the

18 January 2012 trial,

Corona, through counsel,

expressly agreed to "abide"

by the Honorable

Presiding Officer's ruling to allow the

prosecution to present evidence on the Articles of Impeachment despite Corona's

objections to the sufficiency

Complaint, to wit:

of the allegations

"JUSTICE CUEVAS.

x

x

x

in paragraphs

2.3 and 2.4 of the

First, the issue of Article II, Your Honor, which is allegedly the

SALN, the

illegally acquired wealth, Your Honor, is or could be found in

paragraph

10 and 11 of their-In

paragraph 10, Your Honor,

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Go ahead.

JUSTICE CUEVAS.

Paragarah 2.2, Your Honor,

it is stated,

'Respondent failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets,

liabilities and net worth

as required by the Constitution.

If we go deeper into the import and denotation

of this particular

allegation, the essence of the imputation is the failure to disclose.

Nothing mentioned about the problem of illegally acquired wealth.

to read for the

Paragraph 2.3, it states, and may I be permitted

we

of the

respondent are not included in his declaration of assets, liabilities and net worth in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.'

'that

record, Your Honor, and by way of emphasis, 'It is also reported,'

underscore the word reported,

some of the properties

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. I give you an additional one minute to wind up.

Again, this is not an admission that the Rules of Court provisions on

pleadings are applicable to these proceedings. It is cited merely because the movant himself (corona) cites the

Rules of Court.

3 See Section 8, Rule 15 of the Rules of Court.

JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you. Thank you, Your Honor.

Paragraph 2.4 say, 'Respondent is likewise suspected and accused of having accumulated ill - gotten wealth, acquiring assets and so on with huge deposits." It has been reported.

In other words, this allegation gravitates or centers on the alleged

suspicion, on the alleged report which cannot be accepted

allegations in cases of pleadings required by our Rule of Procedure

because our Rule of Proceeding states that the pleadings should contain a brief concise statement of the ultimate facts upon which the pleader

relies.

the defendant for his defense.

as valid

On the part of the plaintiff or discourse of action on the part of

It has been ruled on so many occasions that report and suspicion cannot form part of allegations of the ultimate fact because they cannot be relied upon.

Secondly, if we examine the verification that they are claiming in

this case, they never stated they appealed the report and so on and so on.

So, to us, it will

be a deprivation

of our right to continue

presenting evidence in this court by reason of the fact that they would be allowed to present evidence of this matter without any resolution before

this honourable court on whether these are in accordance with the procedure laid down by our Rules of Court and Rules of Procedure, Your Honor.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Are you through, counsel?

JUSTICE CUEVAS. Yes, Your Honor. Thank you very much.

THE PRESIDING OFFICER. Thank you very much.

The Chair would about the proceeding. technicalities .

like to plead for understanding by both parties We cannot waste our time arguing with these

I am sure that as seasoned lawyers, we can handle the situation as

it comes inside a courtroom

whether the starting

point

of the

presentation

of the proponent

of the case is anywhere

within

the

allegations in the complaint,

the defense,

I am sure that

they

are

meet the challenge.

So, may I appeal to

you

prepared properly could that let us proceed with

the merits of this case so that the people

will

not think that we are delaying this proceeding .

rules that since yesterday there was a request to reorde r the burden of

proof to be done by the prosecution,

comply with that now, an d I order that it

The Chair, therefore,

which they have done now, let us

be so .

JUSTICE CUEVAS. Thank you, Your Honor . We will abide." (Underscoring and emphasis ours)

c.

8. Even assuming arguendo that Corona can still question the sufficiency of the

allegations at this late

stage, the fact is that the allegations

in paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 are

sufficient.

9.

As early

as 1960, the Supreme

Court in the case of Abe v. Foster

Wheeler

Corporation.' held that a complaint is sufficient

"if it contains sufficient

notice of the

cause of

action even though the allegations may be vague or indefinite, or in the form of conclusions, in

which event the proper recourse would be, not a motion to dismiss, but a motion for a bill of

particulars." The test therefore

is whether

the allegations in the complaint

are adequate

enough to put the defendant, accused or respondent on notice of the charges or claims against

him.

10. This rule applies regardless of the type of proceeding -

b e it civil, criminal or

administrative. Thus, in People v. Elamparo, 5 a criminal case for violation of the Dangerous

Drugs Act, the Supreme Court ruled that "it is not the designation

of the offense in the

Information that is controlling but the allegations therein which directly apprise the accused of

the nature and cause of the accusation against him?" In Santos v. Spouses De Leon', a civil case

for forcible entry, the Supreme Court reiterated the doctrine that "a c omplaint is sufficient if it

contains sufficient notice of the cause of action even though the allegations may be vague and

tndeftnite." Further, the complaint "does not have to establish or allege the facts proving the

existence of a cause at the outset; this will have to be done at the trial on the

merits of the

case.:" Also in Domingo v. Rayala,lO an administrative case, the Supreme Court held that the

designation of the offense charged is not controlling. Rather, the description of the offense and

4 G.R. No. L-14785 & L-14923, November 29, 1960.

5 G.R. No. 121572, March 31, 2000.

6,d., Emphasis supplied. 7 G.R. No. 140892. September 21, 2005 . 8 td., Emphasis supplied .

9 1d .

10 G . R. Nos . 155831, 155840 & 158700, February 18, 2008.

the particular fact recited therein are to be taken into consideration.

The acts or omissions

complained of must be alleged in such form as is sufficient

to enable a person of common

understanding

to know what offense is intended

pronounce proper judgment."

to be charged, and enable the court to

12. Here, the Impeachment Complaint (including paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 thereof)

sufficiently apprised Corona that he is being charged with amassing ill-gotten wealth, to wit:

"2.3. It is also reported that some of the properties

not included in his declaration

violation of the anti-graft and corrupt practices act.

of his assets, liabilities,

of Respondent are

in

and net worth,

2.4. Respondent

is likewise suspected

and accused of having iII-

gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits. It has been reported that Respondent has, among others, a 300- sq. meter apartment in a posh Mega World Property development at the Fort in

Taguig. Has he reported this, as he is constitutionally-required under Art. XI, Sec. 17 of the Constitution in his Statements of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN)? Is this acquisition sustained and duly supported by his income as a public official? Since his assumption as Associate and subsequently, Chief Justice, has he complied with this duty of public disclosure?" (Emphasis and

underscoring ours)

13. There is also no merit in Corona's claim that the allegations in paragraphs 2.3

and 2.4 are improper as they "expanded" the charges stated in Article II. They are referring to

the caption/heading of Article II. But the caption/heading

of Article

II should be read in

harmony and together with its supporting allegations. Indeed, the Constitution expressly states

that it is the Verified Complaint

(taken as a whole),

and not the mere captions or headings

therein, which constitutes the Articles of Impeachment. 12

Article

XI, Section

3(4)

of

the

Constitution expressly provides:

"(4).

In case the verified complaint or resolution of impeachment

is

filed by at least one-third

constitute the Articles of Impeachment, and trial by the Senate shall forthwith

of all the Members of the House, the same shall

proceed."

11ld., citing People v. Dimaano, G.R. No. 168168, September 14, 2005, 469 SeRA 647,666-668.

13.1.

If it is true that, as Corona now claims, the charges should only be limited

to the specific captions/headings

of the Articles, why did he file a 79-page Answer,

denying, admitting, and refuting all the allegations in the Impeachment Complaint?

14. Corona further argues that his Constitutional right to due process of law will be

violated if the Prosecution will be permitted to introduce matters "outside" Article II. This claim

is patently baseless .

15 .

Impeachment does

not involve a deprivation of life, liberty or property. Rather,

impeachment is a mechanism for determining the continued fitness of a high official to hold

public office. It does not involve the imposition of a penalty of imprisonment

or fine. Neither

does it involve a deprivation of property, since a public officer has no proprietary

claim over

public office. 13

Rather, public office is a mere privilege,

which can be revoked

anytime

especially if there is a showing of unfitness to hold office. As explained by Fr. Joaquin Bernas

(citing Justice Story), impeachment is "a proceeding, purely of a political nature, is not so much

designed to punish an offender as to secure the state against gross political misdemeanors. It

touches neither his person nor his property, but simply divests him of his political capacity."

16. More importantly, the essence of due process is the opportunity to be heard."

What the law prohibits is not the absence of previous notice but the absolute absence thereof

and lack of opportunity

to be heard." In the instant

case, even if this Honorable Court allows

the prosecution

to present evidence on paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint, there are

numerous avenues and opportunities for Corona to be heard and defend himself, including

raising objections in the course of the presentation of the prosecution's witnesses, vigorous

cross-examination of the prosecution's witnesses, and the presentation of defense evidence .

17 .

Corona also argues that paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4 of the Complaint

are not in

accordance with the "law on pleadings"

or the Rules of Court. He ignores Rule VI of Resolution

13 De Leon. The Law on Public Officers and Election Law (2008), p.3 .

1 4 Medenilla v. Civil Service Commission (G.R. No. 93868, February 19, 1991) .

15 td ., citing Tajonero v . Lamarosa, 110 SeRA 438 (1981),

39, otherwise known as the Senate Rules on Impeachment, which states that the Rules of Court

shall apply suppletorily on questions of evidence . There is nothing in the Constitution,

the

Senate Rules or in jurisprudence, which states that the Rules of Court shou l d strictly apply with

respect to the pleadings filed in an impeachment proceeding.

18. And even assuming arguendo that the Rules of Court would apply in matters of

pleading, the same specifically states that the rules shall be construed liberally - in order

to

promote their object

and to assist the parties in obtaining

just, speedy, and inexpensive

determination of every action and proceeding . 16 This is supported by a long line of cases where

the Supreme Court permitted the liberal interpretation

ends of substantial justice , viz:

of the rules so as not to frustrate the

"The fundamental purpose of procedural rules is t o a f ford each litigant every opportunity to present evidence on his behalf in order that substantial

justice is achieved. Court litigations are primarily for the

search o f truth, and a

liberal interpretation

of the rules by which both parties are given

the fullest

opportunity

to adduce proofs is the best way to ferret

out such

truth. The

dispensation of justice and vindication of legitimate grievances should not be

barred by technicalities.V" (Underscoring

ours)

D.

19. In the final analysis , the nation's

search for truth should not be obstructed

by

one man's blind and reckless adherence to technicalities (contrary to his previous boast that he

is ready to face trial in the Senate 18 ) .

Republic v. Sandiqanbayar n '"

"In all the alleged ill-gotten

In Corona's own words as the ponente in the case of

wealth cases filed by the PCGG, this Court has

seen fit to set aside technicalities and formalities that merely serve to delay or

i mpede judicious resolution. This Court prefe r s to have such cases resolved on

the merits at the Sandiganbayan . But substantial justice to the Filipino people

16 Rules of Court , Rule 1, Sec t ion 2 .

1 7 Metro Rail Transit Corporation v. Court of Ta x Appeals, G . R . No . 166273, September 2 1,2005 . 1 8 "Haharapin ko nang buang tapang at talina ang mga walang basehang paratang na ita, punta par punta, sa Senado . Handanghanda akong humarap sa pagl i litis. /1 (Dee. 14 , 2011 speech)

1 9 G . R . No . 152154 . July 1 5 , 2003 .

and to all parties concerned, not mere legalisms or perfection of form, should now be relentlessly and firmly pursued . Almost two decades have passed since

the government initiated its search for and reversion of such ill-gotten wealth .

The definitive resolution

fraud or

illicit conduct, let it be brought out now. Let the ownership of these funds and other assets be finally determined and resolved with dispatch, free from all the

delaying technicalities and annoying procedural sidetracks ." (Underscoring ours)

of such cases on the merits is thus long overdue. If

there is proof of illegal acguisition, accumulation, misappropriation,

OPPOSITION

To Respondent's Motion to Quash

(Subpoena

issued to 81R Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares)

 

20.

The Prosecution adopts the foregoing

discussion in support

of its herein

Opposition to Corona's Motion to Quash (Subpoena issued to BIR Commissioner Kim Henares).

21. In the said Motion to Quash, Corona argues that the income tax returns (ITR's)

and other tax-related documents are "irrelevant and immaterial."

This is baseless. The ITR's

and other documents

subject of the instant subpoena are very relevant and material to the

charges against Corona under Article II of the Impeachment Complaint (and even to some of

the other Articles for that matter). He is accused of acquiring ill-gotten wealth. Therefore, it is

highly material to determine whether the numerous expens i ve properties he has acquired,

under his name or that of his family, can be explained by his declared sources of income in his

ITR's . Under Section 2 of R.A. 1379 or the Forfeiture Law, properties of a public officer which

are "manifestly out of proportion"

to his lawful income, are "presumed

prima facie to have

been unlawfully acquired." Notably, in Republic v . Sandiganbayan, supra, which was penned by

no other than Corona himself, the Supreme Court considered the therein respondents' ITR's in

determining whether the properties amassed by them during their incumbency in public office

were derived from their lawful income.

22. Corona's SALN's have now been presented and marked in evidence by both the

Prosecution

and the Defense .

In his SALN's, Corona has admitted

under

oath,

his assets

and

liabilities during the periods covered therein. To ascertain the truthfulness and accuracy of

these sworn admissions in his SALN's, it is necessary to examine the ITR's which he, his wife and

his family members have been filing during the same period. The ITR's will show Corona's (and

his family's) financial ability or inability to legally acquire the assets he indicated in his SALN's.

23. Corona also argues that the ITR's of his children and son-in-law are irrelevant, as

they are not named in the Impeachment Complaint.

This reasoning is both simplistic and

flawed, because under the Forfeiture Law (RA 1379), unlawfully acquired property may include

not only those in the name of the respondent

public official,

but also those which are

"concealed by [their]

being recorded in the name of, or held by, the respondent's

spouse,

ascendants, descendants, relatives, or any other person."

24. Accordingly,

the instant

irrelevance, should be denied.

Motion

to Quash, based solely on the ground

PRAYER

of

WHEREFORE, premises considered, it is respectfully prayed that: (1) the reliefs prayed

for in Corona's Memorandum be denied; (2) the Prosecution be allowed to continue presenting

evidence on Article II, including paragraphs 2.3 and 2.4, of the Impeachment Complaint and on

all the Articles and their supporting allegations in the Impeachment

Complaint; and (3) the

Motion to Quash Subpoena (Issued to BIR Commissioner Kim Jacinto Henares) be denied and

that she be allowed to testify and present in evidence the documents subject of the subpoena.

Other reliefs, just and equitable, are likewise prayed for.

Quezon City, Metro Manila, 25 January 2012.

By :

HOUSE OF REPRESENTAT I VES PRO ECUTORS

Copy furnished (By Persona l Service) :

PRIVATE PROSEC U TORS

TI

A

PTR No . 3184702 , Jan. 09, 2012 , Makati City Lifetime IBP No. 00060, Makati City Roll of Attorney ' s No . 30196 MCLE Compliance No. 1110008479,2-9-2010

J USTICE SERA FI N R. CUEVAS (RET), E T AL.

Counsel for Respondent Chief Justice Renato Corona

Suite 1902 Security Bank Centre 6776 Ayala Avenue Makati City, Philippine 1226