Senate threatens to cite witness in contempt
MANILA, Philippines - Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile on Wednesday, May 16, threatened to cite Kaya Natin leader Harvey Keh in contempt for "trying to influence" the court by submitting unverified documents in relation to Chief Justice Renato Corona's dollar accounts.
Kaya Natin is an advocacy group for good governance and was allied with President Benigno Aquino III in the 2010 presidential race.
Called to the witness stand as a "hostile witness" by the defense, Keh said he received on May 3 the documents pertaining to Corona's alleged dollar and euro accounts. The documents, contained in an envelope, came from an unknown source.
"I received those documents anonymously at the mailing area of our office. I did not know what to do with it. I gave it to your good office because when we receive anonymous documents or complaints, we usually forward it to the corresponding government office concerned."
Keh said he decided to bring the documents to Enrile on May 7, and asked him in a letter to look into them.
Enrile asked, "Why me instead of the Ombudsman?" Keh, after all, is one of the complainants in a forfeiture case filed against Corona before the Ombudsman.
Keh explained: "I don’t know I just felt the Senate would be in the best position to evaluate this document and see if it can be used or not. I did not bring any television crew. In fact, they waited for me there and I was actually surprised. .... I was surprised that the ABS-CBN reporter was also there."
Enrile took offense and felt "insulted" that a media team was with Keh when he submitted the documents to Enrile's office and that Keh was trying to influence the court at a time when it was about to resume the Corona trial after a long break.
"Because of this," Enrile ruled, "I am ordering you to show cause why you should not be cited in contempt of court by this impeachment court. You are trying to influence this court. I did not open it. I did not read it. I did not know what these documents are. I felt insulted as presiding officer and I am ordering you to show cause why you should not be cited in contempt."
Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Jinggoy Estrada also grilled Keh, casting doubt on his motives for sending the documents to the court. Santiago even belittled Kaya Natin as a civil society group.
Keh's documents pertain to Corona's alleged dollar and euro accounts. - Rappler.com