The case of the missing crystal ball
Dr Elenita Binay opposed the inclusion of whistle-blower Ernesto Mercado as a witness for the prosecution in the “P21.536 million overpricing of the P72-million contract for panel fabric partitions and connector brackets for the Makati city hall.”
Why? Because the prosecution failed to include Mercado in the pre-trial order of witnesses filed on Sept. 2013.
Her lawyers argued that including Mercado now as a witness “would in effect be another investigation during which the prosecution is free to discover evidence that they should have known in the first place…”
Sounds reasonable, right?
Except for the fact that Mercado only surfaced as a whistleblower about a year after the filing of the list of witnesses or around June 2014.
“To state the obvious,” said the prosecutors, “the prosecution could not have known that Vice Mayor Mercado was a viable witness at the time pre-trial was being conducted.”
But Binay’s lawyers insisted,
“(T)he prosecution should have known all of their potential witnesses and documents during the pre-trial. In fact… (t)he prosecution, at the time of the filing of the information should have already identified all of its witnesses and documents necessary in proving the allegations.”
In other words, it’s the prosecution’s fault and not Dra. Binay’s that the prosecution could not predict Mercado would become a whistleblower. It’s the prosecution’s fault and not Dra. Binay’s that the prosecution did not have enough sense to buy a crystal ball or consult Madame Auring.
Ridiculous argument, diba? Well, maybe to us normal human beings but not to lawyers.
So the judge will have to carefully consider Binay’s motion and the prosecution’s reply before he renders a decision on whether or not to allow Mercado to testify.
If Mercado is not allowed to testify, chances are the doktora will be found not guilty of stealing P21,536M from Makati’s coffers.
Blame it on the missing crystal ball if that happens.