Roy: Corona was test case of LRA system

MANILA, Philippines - Defense counsel Jose "Judd" Roy III said the testimony of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) chief showed that the impeachment of his client was politically motivated. 

On Day 32 of the impeachment trial, LRA Administrator Eulalo Diaz III told the Senate that the list of Chief Justice Renato Corona's alleged 45 properties just came from a name search of a test computer system. 

It was later proven that some of the titles on the list have already been cancelled, others belonged to distant relatives of Corona, and there were even properties of name sakes of Corona and his family members.

The LRA chief also admitted being a grade school classmate of President Benigno Aquino III. He was also a Senate staff member of Aquino.

Diaz said the LRA has stopped using the system after discovering the flaws but Roy said damage has already been done.  

"Can you imagine allocating government funds to create a search engine and what-not and after that you'll suddenly withdraw it? Why was this the test case? How fortunate for the Chief Justice that he became the sample of this computer system," Roy said in a mix of English and Filipino. 

Defense to insist on other execs' SALNs 

Roy also reacted to the statement of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile that presenting the SALNs of other government officials is irrelevant.

On Wednesday morning, Enrile said he will not issue a subpoena to journalists from the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ). The PCIJ has released reports showing that even members of the prosecution, and cabinet members are not diligent in completely filling out the entries in the SALN form. 

The defense wanted to have the journalists summoned to show that incomplete data in the SALN is a "prevailing and institutional practice." 

Responding to Enrile's statement, Roy said the defense will still pursue the issue and will show that its request for a subpoena has basis. 

"He said we have to show why it is relevant," said Roy. "We have to show what is the accepted practice or what is the perceived practice. There are many standards you can apply and the form itself raises questions." 

Roy added, "I think we should be allowed that leeway. After all, the senators are presenting their own views on what the SALN should contain." - Rappler.com