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As I See It

Corona’s ‘moro-moro’ at the Senate

Renato Corona need not worry if he is removed as Chief Justice. He would be a success as an actor. His drama at the Senate impeachment court last Tuesday is proof of that. In fact, his appearance there as a witness in his own defense did little to prove his innocence but proved his talent as an actor.

Tuesday’s trial was nothing but a moro-moro, starring Renato Corona and perhaps also produced and directed by Renato Corona. After asking the presiding officer, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, permission to give an opening statement, Corona delivered a three-hour-long speech, in which he praised himself and his family, excoriated his wife’s relatives, the Basas, with whom they have a family feud, as well as President Aquino and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, and denied that he had 82 dollar bank accounts (he said he had only four) and 45 real estate properties (again, he said he had only four).

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In the middle of his long peroration, Corona stopped and looked down, slowly shaking his head. When he looked up, there were what seemed like tears in his eyes. Bravo!

For dramatic effect, he signed a waiver allowing the examination of his dollar and peso bank accounts, then immediately took that back by imposing a condition that the 188 congressmen who signed the impeachment charges against him and Sen. Franklin Drilon also sign the waiver. What he did was a mere show, not a waiver, because it is almost sure that not all of them would sign the waiver. After all, they are not on trial; it is Corona who is.

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Then, after saying quickly, “Now the Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused,” he stood up and immediately left, trailed by members of his family and aides. He did not ask the court for permission to leave. The walkout caught Enrile, the senators, and even some of his own lawyers who were not in on the moro-moro, by surprise.

Enrile immediately ordered the Senate sergeant at arms to close all the building exits. At the basement parking lot, Corona’s car was already prepared to leave. Corona and his wife were caught by the sergeant at arms in the secret passageway behind the session hall. They were already near the elevator. Had the exits not been closed quickly, Corona could have successfully gotten away.

Contrary to what his lawyers said, evidence points to the likelihood that the whole thing was planned. According to lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas, Corona had an attack of hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, because he is a diabetic and was unable to take lunch that day. He said the Chief Justice could not stand and was gasping for breath. Later, after Corona was taken to Medical City, the doctors said he was at risk of a heart attack.

All bull! When Corona left the witness stand, he did not show any symptom of hypoglycemia. He was alert and moved fast, so fast that everybody was taken by surprise and he almost got away. But his wife was not surprised. She was immediately walking by his side as if she knew the next act of the moro-moro.

The symptoms of hypoglycemia are a slight blurring of vision, which makes the patient blink, and slowness of speech and movement. When he walked out, Corona’s eyes were blazing, not blinking, and he moved fast. The Senate security detail almost missed him. He wasn’t gasping for breath, either, as Cuevas averred. In fact, his voice and breathing were normal during his very long speech.

When he was caught and brought back in a wheelchair, he was meek as a lamb, looking down at his hands as if he were afraid to look anyone straight in the eye.

Hypoglycemia is easily corrected by a glass of regular Coke, or a spoonful of sugar, or a piece of candy. That immediately elevates one’s blood sugar. Corona doesn’t need confinement at the ICU where he would be incommunicado to those who want to see him and examine him.

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The doctors also said Corona had to be confined for at least 48 hours because he already had two heart bypasses, is diabetic, and has kidney disease. More bull!

Just because somebody has a heart bypass doesn’t mean he has to be confined at the ICU when he is called to testify in court. I also had two heart bypass surgeries, have a heart pacemaker, am also diabetic, suffer from total kidney failure and have to be dialyzed three times a week, but I am not confined in any ICU. I live a normal, though stressful, life. But of course I am not hiding any secret dollar bank accounts.

With doctors ruling out Corona’s discharge from the hospital within 48 hours, it is likely that he would not again appear at the Senate impeachment court today, the deadline given by Enrile for him to resume his testimony. Enrile warned that if Corona doesn’t show up, he would order his long speech, which serves as his defense testimony, stricken off the record and instruct the senator-judges to make their decision quickly based on the testimonies and evidence on record.

The betting now is whether or not Corona will show up at his trial in the Senate this afternoon. Or will he hide in Medical City?

As I see it, the Corona walkout last Tuesday was deliberate, not because of hypoglycemia, but a premeditated act to avoid being cross-examined by the prosecution. A witness telling the truth won’t be afraid of being cross-examined. So why is Corona afraid of it?

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TAGS: cross examination, featured column, hypoglycemia, impeachment trial, moro-moro, opinion, Renato corona
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