The impeachment court could not compel a bank to show Chief Justice Renato Corona’s foreign accounts and be used as evidence, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday.
Voting 8-5, the SC En Banc granted Philippine Savings Bank's (PS Bank) petition for a temporary restraining order against the Senate subpoena for Corona’s dollar accounts, SC Spokesperson Midas Marquez said in a press conference.
“The justices took into account the law on foreign accounts,” Marquez said.
PS Bank President Pascual Garcia earlier invoked the Foreign Currency Act when he refused to produce Corona’s five different dollar accounts. Garcia had said he needed Corona's consent to avoid criminal liability.
The Senate has complied with the TRO, prompting Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to suggest that the prosecution and defense move on to other issues.
Ayes and nays
Marquez said Corona left the room when the other Supreme Court justices deliberated the merits of issuing the TRO. Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio presided.
Those who voted against the TRO were Carpio, together with Associate Justices Mariano Del Castillo, Diosdado Peralta, Ma. Lourdes Sereno and Estela Perlas Bernabe, Marquez said.
But Associate Justices Teresita Leonardo De Castro, Arturo Brion, Roberto Abad, Jose Perez, Lucas Bersamin, Martin Villarama, Bienvenido Reyes and Jose Mendoza all agreed to issue the TRO.
Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco did not participate in the deliberations.
No decision yet on Corona petition
Marquez disclosed that the Supreme Court has yet to decide on Corona’s petition for a TRO against the impeachment.
Instead, the High Court asked Senate and the defense to react to Corona’s request to declare the trial null and void from the beginning. Both parties have been given 10 days to submit their comment.
Senate Majority Floor Leader Vicente Sotto III said that the senator-judges will discuss all issues concerning the TRO on Monday.
Meanwhile, the prosecution said they will consider filing an impeachment case against the eight justices who voted in favor of the TRO for meddling with the proceedings of Corona’s trial.