By Raïssa Robles
In January 2001, Joker Arroyo took the lead in asking the Senate impeachment court to subpoena Cathy Weir, then president of Citibank N.A., in order to produce records on then President Joseph Estrada’s dollar deposits. Arroyo was then a House senior prosecutor in Estrada’s impeachment trial.
A grateful nation subsequently voted Joker Arroyo to the Senate four months later in May.
I am raising this matter because moments ago, I heard Joker Arroyo, now a senator-judge, express wariness and caution in opening Chief Justice Renato Corona’s bank records, particularly dollar account records.
Sen. Arroyo said:
Whether foreign bank deposits can be opened and disclosed before us, an impeachment court, it is very serious….We are treading on a gray area which I share….I have read all the books….on this. we have to discuss this very thoroughly. No one can say he is an expert on this interpetation of the bank secrecy law. And whether it can be opened or not. And because of the policy consideration of course (whether) there will be capital flight or whether there’ll be a bank run and all that sort of thing.
I just could not believe it when I heard Senator Arroyo say all that because he did the exact opposite 11 years ago during Estrada’s impeachment trial.
As the lead House prosecutor Joker Arroyo urged the court to delve into Estrada’s dollar and peso deposits.
It was House prosecutor Joker Arroyo who delivered the bombshell in his opening statement before the Senate impeachment court in December 2000 – that President Estrada had a secret bank account under the alias Jose Velarde or “Valhalla”. Joker Arroyo even flashed on a screen Estrada’s signature on the money bill side by side with the Jose Velarde signature.
The House prosecutors led by Joker Arroyo were successful in getting the Senate impeachment court to open the Equitable-PCI bank records on Estrada’s Jose Velarde secret accounts.
In January, according to a Philippine Star report, Congressman Joker Arroyo divulged details of Estrada’s bank accounts to the press, despite a bank secrecy law.
Philippine Star published a report on one of Joker Arroyo’s news briefings:
Makati Rep. Joker Arroyo, a member of the House panel that prosecuted Estrada, told reporters yesterday that had the “now famous” 11 senator-judges allowed the presentation of bank records as evidence (for the second time), the nation would have known that the former President maintained numerous accounts under false names, including airplane models.
He said some of the bank deposits of Estrada and his mistresses were denominated as 747, 737 and 727, which are types of Boeing planes, and A-300, A-310, A-320, and A-330, which are Airbus models.
These are in addition to the bank accounts the fallen leader kept under the name Jose Velarde, Jose Marcelo and Kelvin Garcia, he said.
“He even has a checking account which he signs as Three One Eight in letters,” said Arroyo.
In another Philippine Star report, Joker Arroyo told reporters:
Arroyo said the pro-Estrada senators deliberately filed a motion to put the second envelope to a vote by the senator-judges, preempting Davide from making an impartial ruling on the issue. “This is a grand conspiracy between Malacañang and the 11 senators. They knew they had the numbers ,(so) to hell with fairness and justice.”
Arroyo has branded the result of the voting as a “shameless act of acquittal for the President.”
The (second) envelope reportedly contained details of transactions pertaining to the bank account of “Jose Velarde” holding some P1.2 billion deposits.
Equitable-PCI Bank senior vice president Clarissa Ocampo testified at the trial on Dec. 22 that Mr. Estrada repeated signed bank records as “Jose Velarde” in her presence.
The first envelope opened by the tribunal last month also contained bank records on the Velarde account, among them a P500-million trust account testified to by Ocampo.
From these news accounts, it is clear that Joker Arroyo was all for lifting the secrecy of bank records when it came to Estrada’s dollar and peso accounts, including those held in the name of Estrada’s wife and mistresses.
It is clear that Joker Arroyo believed that secrecy of bank accounts should be lifted during an impeachment trial.
But not now, it seems, when it is Chief Justice Renato Corona on trial and it is the dollar and peso bank accounts of the Corona family.
What is the difference?
I could only retrieve online a portion of the news story on Joker Arroyo’s motion to subpoena Estrada’s and his wife’s dollar bank records. Here it is below:
Prosecutors set to focus on Estrada bank records.
January 15, 2001
Congressmen-prosecutors in President Joseph Estrada’s impeachment trial are asking the Senate to compel the production of bank records covering Mr. Estrada’s and First Lady Luisa “Loi” Ejercito’s joint foreign currency deposits at Citibank N. A.
In a five-page urgent ex-parte request, prosecutors led by Makati City Rep. Joker P. Arroyo requests the Senate (convened as an impeachment court) to summon or subpoena Citibank N.A. president Cathy Weir to produce records on alleged Estrada accounts.
Prosecutors want Citibank to submit the alleged accounts’ specimen signature cards, identification cards as well as approval papers – documents using the accounts’ opening at Citibank’s branch in Greenhills, San Juan. The bank branch is less than a kilometer away from the Estrada/Ejercito couple’s private residence on Polk St., North Greenhills.
Prosecutors also want Citibank to produce deposit and withdrawal slips as well as monthly account statements as evidence of money movement to and from the accounts from July 1998 to April 30, 2000.
They claim the documents can prove the graft and corruption charges against the President under the second impeachment article. Prosecutors want the documents submitted to the impeachment court at 9 a.m. today.
Among others, Mr. Estrada is accused of not reporting the true extent of his private wealth in his statement of assets and liabilities (SAL) for 1999, on which he states that he and his wife have business interests in only three firms.
“The President, by the sworn …
yob evangelista says
I was reading the latest thread regarding Joker’s vote in the impeachment case and I can’t help but wonder how in heaven’s name did Joker Arroyo now appear to be contradicting his past noble values.
What has happened to the man?
Can anyone enlighten me?
I do not think The horrible, este horrorable, este honor-disabled senator is joking… Because the Flipino people is suffering already in poverty due to CORRUPTION and his partiality to the prosecutors of CORONA( and indirectly to GLORIA) shows he is serious, DEAD SERIOUS in protecting one of the sources of the poor people’s sufferings. DI SYA NAGPAPATAWA AT DI NA SYA NAKAKATUWA> PAHIRAP SA TAONG BAYAN ANG PAGHARANG NIYA SA KATAOTOHANAN AT KATARUNGAN
correction* partiality against the prosecutors
“BATO BATO SA LANGIT,TAMAAN HUWAG MAGAGALIT”. THE BATO-BATO means a METEOR,if you know what i mean.so Senator JOKING ARROYO,better watch over your HEAD(not over your shoulders).thanks for the space Raissa.
i just want to share with you Good Filipinos, a very good read:
Re: Bren Dameds Merriam
This is in reaction to the rantings and ravings of Miriam Santiago at the impeachment trial. When she took a private prosecutor to task and engaged him in what she termed a “colloquy,” little did anyone realize she meant to do a soliloquy and expected everyone to keep their mouth shut. For the irrepressible senator loves talking to and listening to herself so much she probably thinks she is the only person she can have a sane and intelligent conversation with. Thus, when the prosecutor tried to butt in, he should have seen it coming: “How dare you argue with me!”
After some hiatus due to high blood pressure (thank God for little mercies), Santiago returned with more barbs and rhubarbs. She was snorting like a raging bull—and did anyone notice those dagger-stares? She berated the prosecutors (again!) for not knowing the persnickety technicalities of the law. She also took potshots at her own colleagues for issuing subpoenas indiscriminately. We submit that having been away from the courtroom for a very long time, she already forgot the usual praxis that subpoenas are issued perfunctorily ex parte to compel production of testimonial and/or documentary evidence germane to the allegations made in a pleading (so long as they are not “privileged”). Nobody is sent to jail for procuring subpoenas in aid of prosecuting or defending cases. The paramount interest is the search for the truth. It is up to the court to determine the weight (or lack of it) of the evidence produced thereby.
But Santiago was simply being true to form: At times funny when in a good mood, but totally homicidal when provoked—which happens more often. Her colossal inability to manage her anger should be real cause for alarm. Lucky for us she won a seat as a judge in the International Criminal Court. Imagine what she would have said had she lost: “Who wants to be in the company of idiots anyway!” That’s what she said of our very own Supreme Court when the ship sailed without her in search of a new chief justice!
While in the Netherlands, she will be the egregious representation of the best “criminal” mind our country has to offer the world. Let’s all cross our fingers and earnestly pray she will not make a bizarre spectacle of herself there as she does so hilariously here almost all the time! Really, “[i]t’s more fun in the Philippines”?
—STEPHEN L. MONSANTO,
Monsanto Law Office,
Loyola Heights, Quezon City;
the joker, has lost every gram of logical brain cells in his head claiming that a mass exodus of dollar depositors would be triggered by disclosing the dollar account of Corona.
did the swiss banks collapse when it relaxed its secrecy on the deposits? where will they go if they witdhdraw all their dollar deposit? there are only two types of people who benifits this law. 1) those who are hiding a dishonest loot, and 2) those who avoid paying interest tax. either way, both reasons promotes dishonesty.
I read this month that the combined OFW remittances to the philippines is 2-BILLION dollars. If the object of the law is to promote dollar currency inflow–then this law has already lost its purpose a long, long time ago.
by the way, the senate should have a ruling to disallow filibusters. the joker, arroyo is using up all the time in the senate impeachment hearing by speaking so slow that at the end of his long agonizing clarifitory, i have forgotten the reason of what he was trying to clarify in the first place.
Romy Faylona says
Agree with you. Either he is delaying or his brain matter has slowed down.
12 Angry Men
DVD Video Review
12 Angry Men is arguably the greatest legal drama of all time. It marked the directorial debut of Sidney Lumet, a filmmaker who has made a career out of exploring the various facets of law and order and the workings of the judicial system with such films as Serpico, Prince Of The City, The Verdict, Q & A and Night Falls On Manhattan to his credit. The film also gave Henry Fonda one of his most memorable starring roles and indeed, Fonda, in his role as the movie’s co-producer, proved instrumental in getting the film made in the first place. The story itself, written by Reginald Rose, was originally made for television, but Fonda recognised its cinematic potential and the film version was released in 1957 to become the widely acknowledged classic it is today.
The story begins at the summation of a murder trial. A young teenage boy has been accused of killing his father and the jury, ‘twelve good men and true’, is made aware of its responsibilities before retiring to the jury room. The rest of the movie takes place almost entirely inside this claustrophobic space, the increasingly hostile atmosphere exacerbated by the swelteringly hot and humid weather – “the hottest day of the year”. As the case seems pretty much open-and-shut, the members of the jury seem anxious to deliver a quick ‘guilty’ verdict. Well, all but one of them. Juror number 8 (Fonda) believes that a boy on trial for his life deserves more than just a simple show of hands and feels that a discussion of the evidence presented at the trial is called for. And so the stage is set for a battle of wills as Fonda tries to persuade his fellow jurors, led by a very temperamental Lee J. Cobb, that the case is not as cut-and-dried as they initially thought.
However, the path to justice is not an easy one. Fonda, the calm and rational voice of reason of the group, is going to have a tough time convincing hardnosed challengers like the aggressive and patriarchal Cobb, the clinically detached and cool-as-a-cucumber E. G. Marshall and an unashamed racist like Ed Begley. He has also got to contend with a character like Jack Warden’s cynical wiseass, a guy who couldn’t care less about the fate of the accused because he is being delayed from attending a ball game. Even the more fair-minded jurors initially try to dissuade Fonda from supporting what is clearly a lost cause. Nevertheless, as this lone holdout starts to poke holes in the prosecution’s case, the jurors start questioning their own assumptions and come to realise that their judgment may have been a little too hasty. The movie’s chief strength is that all the characters are remarkably well written, each with clearly defined personalities, strengths and foibles, and the performances are impeccable. Aside from those already mentioned, we have the easygoing and democratic Martin Balsam, never quite comfortable in his position as jury foreman; the whiny and eager-to-please John Fiedler, constantly fighting just to have his opinion heard in a room full of domineering personalities; the shy Jack Klugman, who grows in confidence as he comes to identify personally with the accused and his lower-class background; the blue-collar Edward Binns, an inarticulate man perhaps but possessing an innate sense of fair play that means no one in the room gets to belittle anyone else; the elderly Joseph Sweeney, not as senile as other members of the group would see him, indeed, he proves to be an astute observer of human nature; the unfailingly courteous George Voskovec, a methodical man, carefully assessing the facts of the case; and finally, indecisive young executive Robert Webber, who succumbs to herd instinct, basing his decision on the majority vote.
Although it may seem that labelling these characters in such a way makes them appear more like caricatures than believable human beings, the perfectly chosen ensemble cast easily accomplishes the task of bringing this quarrelsome bunch to life, each actor delivering a vivid, subtly observed and focused performance, occasionally histrionic in some cases but always recognisably human. It is fascinating to watch the various personality clashes brought about by the differences in class, work environment, social background and education; indeed, the film often seems to play as a sociological experiment, with this diverse cross-section of society placed in a situation where members must learn to deal with one another in an often adversarial environment. Witness Marshall’s condescending behaviour towards the other members of the jury, the upper class intellectual having assumed an air of utter superiority right from the start that is only deflated by Fonda’s sweat-inducing interrogation of him in the final stages of the movie. Or Cobb’s apparent refusal to feel any sense of sympathy or understanding for the boy on trial, describing Fonda’s character as a “bleeding heart” for attempting to do so. Indeed, the increasingly antagonistic relationship between Fonda and Cobb is memorably highlighted by a tense moment when Cobb, with the aid of the murder weapon, demonstrates how the stab wound was made using Fonda as the victim! In fact, Cobb’s reasons for believing in the guilt of the accused turn out to be more a reflection of his own views on father/son relationships, a fact which illustrates one of the film’s central concerns, that of the difficulty in maintaining an open mind, an objective point of view, when confronted with a situation that demands absolute neutrality.
One of the most pertinent questions the film asks then is: is it possible for a jury to remain truly impartial? Can they carry out their duty without bringing their own prejudices and preconceptions into the jury room with them? One need only look at the ugly scene where Begley is cruelly but nonetheless justifiably boycotted by the rest of the group for his blatantly racist tirade against the accused to see that a man of his character should never have been put on a jury in the first place. In order for justice to prevail, human prejudice, hard though it might be to avoid, must be kept out of the equation, as one character observes: “we should not make it a personal thing.” The concept of reasonable doubt is another contentious issue tackled by the movie. As the film progresses, we observe that Fonda does not conclusively prove that the accused has not committed the crime; indeed, even though he brilliantly undermines some of the stronger evidence indicating the guilt of the young boy (a great moment when he dramatically impales a switchblade in the table, for example), there is just as much evidence to suggest that the boy is in fact guilty. What he achieves is to place just enough doubt in the minds of the other jurors as to force them to re-consider their position. Hence, the movie can be read on two levels: on one hand, it can be interpreted as an endorsement of the legal system, of sticking to the letter of the law. On the other, it can be seen as an indictment of it, illustrating just how easily a jury can be swayed by clouding the issue with broad assumptions and conjecture. I think the best thing that can be said about 12 Angry Men is that no matter how one chooses to read the film, the result never seems unbelievable or artificial.
Director Lumet does a stupendous job maintaining the sweaty, claustrophobic tension (he allegedly moved the walls of the set in tighter as the film progressed, cranking up the tense, hothouse dramatics to ever more intense levels) but never allows the inherent staginess of the setting to become tedious for the audience. He achieves this difficult balancing act by keeping the camera in motion, making use of numerous tracking and panning shots to follow his demonstrative actors around the room, utilising slow zooms to emphasise key moments, and essentially using as many different angles and as much compositional imagination as possible to make the audience sweat at least as much as his ensemble cast does. It has to be said that there have been so many legal dramas made over the years that the entire genre has become tired and clichéd but 12 Angry Men is an exception, remaining as fresh and as thought-provoking as when it was first released, thanks to the perfectly realised characterisations achieved by its actors and the confident, inventive filmmaking exhibited by its director. A genuine classic.
Mike, you are right. I watched the movie couple of times. One time I was a juror and we almost had the same situation. It resulted in a mistrial because we did not reach a decision.