Day 9 – The Impeachment Trial – January 31, 2012
By Wilfred Avila
The hearings began again at exactly 2:00pm. As if by a silent signal, all the networks covering the event fell silent expecting more fireworks. They were not disappointed.
Relief was written all over the elfin face of Representative Niel Tupas Jr. The chief of the House prosecution team broke into a smile when it was announced that Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago would be absent Monday. Without her, the nationally televised courtroom drama took a more sedate—if civil—air. She will return, Tupas!
The Prosecution tried to insert a new witness in the hearings but fell short of their objective when the Presiding Judge, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, reminded them of a standing warrant issued to the SVP of Megaworld, Noli Hernandez. Apparently, the guy was, indeed, in the Senate Hall Holding Room waiting to be called. He met with the Prosecution Team earlier, we learned later.
Atty. Joseph Perez took the task of presenting and examining the witness. Perez who is a bar topnotcher, fell of his high-wire act when the witness answered his questions directly and convincingly in favor of the Defense. Today, Perez lost his cool and really looked bothered.
Hernandez, clarified that when the Corona’s bought the condominium, times were hard all around. There were really no buyers and even his hair started to fall then. Hahahaha. This drew laughter as Pangilinan tried to salvage the Prosecution’s line. Hernandez said that it was normal practice to give discounts in the industry.
He also underlined that the condominium bought by the Corona’s was on the top floor of the Bellagio and ravaged by a typhoon. In effect, it was unfinished, water damaged and had to be refurbished by the Corona’s.
But the bombshell was still to be hurled. It was MEGAWORLD THAT DECIDED TO lower the selling cost and even added a discount just so they could sell the unit. The Prosecution did not know what hit them. Sen.-Judge Manuel Villar corroborated the statement of the witness regarding the state of the industry at that time.
Noli Hernandez, senior vice president for Megaworld Corporation’s marketing department, explained Tuesday that Corona was not given a discount but instead a “reduction” because the penthouse unit was semi-bare and rain-damaged.
“It made more economic sense to sell it as it was so it merited a reduction in price… Apart from this damage, basically, we just computed how much it would cost us if we will do redo everything…[We] factored that in and decided to sell it in reduced price,” Hernandez said.
The carousel of the hearings, bearing the various senators in succession, tried so hard to discredit Hernandez to no avail. He was, obviously, a very credible witness and one that was not about ready to present testimony not all true and nothing but the truth.
Prosecutor Rep. Barzaga took up the cudgels for Perez when Senator Judge Panfilo Lacson took his turn to ask clarificatory questions. When asked whether he was an expert on tagging price on prime lots and properties such as a municipal or tax assessor he, after a long convoluted answer, was forced to admit that he was not. He was dismissed immediately by Lacson. Poor thing, from day one he was always a loser when he took the stand. This day was no different! Hahahaha.
Almost looking defeated, Private Prosecutor Perez, tried to turn the tide of the boat ride around by asking questions (on re-direct) that pointedly made his own witness, Hernandez, look like a hostile witness. JPE immediately cleared the waters by asking whether he wanted to impeach his own witness. Tail properly tucked between his legs, Perez retreated and released the witness.
Sen.-Judge Magsaysay showed his true colors when he tried to bamboozle Hernandez. Hernandez stood his ground and answered the questions directly on whether pictures, estimates and other aspects were known to him. He said no and named the persons responsible for them. These persons were invited for the next hearing. Magsaysay, feeling so smug, did not score any points for the prosecution but had to wait another day for the answer to his questions.
Senator-Judge Loren Legarda seemed to be playing with something in her hands all throughout the hearing and seemed to be in a totally different world. Well, maybe she is. After all, she was in Enchanted Kingdom! hahahaha
Senator-Judge Lito Lapid seemed lost in the Impeachment Hearing. He looked like he was doing a movie and looking out in space at all times. I felt that he was saying, “Somebody, please explain to me in Tagalog what is happening. Wala akong naiintindihan. Alam nyo ba?”
Senator-Judge Drilon has the bad and arrogant manner of turning his back on witnesses when he doesn’t feel it going the way of the Prosecution. So, all you could see of him was his triple chin of fat layered on fat. What a distasteful sight!
Prosecution Spokesman Miro Quimbo quipped in a mid-hearing Press Conference that, “At least we proved with finality that there was a ‘discount’ despite the legal hypnotism in today’s testimony.” So what, idiot? As my friend Ingkay Garutay would say, “Where is the love, Quimbo (meaning Pag-Ibig and Globe Asiatique mess).
Even Senator-Judge Pia Cayetano complained almost exasperatedly about the slow questioning and presentation by the Prosecution. When the cameras turned towards the Prosecutors, to show their reactions, you could see that all felt sanctimonious though they all realized they were being scolded!
Senator-Judge Bongbong Marcos took the stand and pointedly asked the Prosecution what this was all about since, obviously, all of the previous and today’s presentation of evidence did NOT relate to anything identified in the charge leveled against Chief Justice Corona in Article Two.
As if that were not enough, Senator-Judge Kiko Pimental strongly warned (coated as a suggestion) the Prosecution Panel to forget anything about discounts because it will not hold water in the deliberations or decision to be taken by the Judges. WOW! Strong words to call the Prosecution Panel as STUPID!
It was a fun-day at Enchanted Kingdom. The Senator-Judges really played while the Prosecution kept pouting! The Defense did not have to talk so much. The Prosecution was committing hari-kiri on their own at the House of Horrors!
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