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Analysis, General Views, Impeachment, PNoy-Corona war

Did Corona submit a truthful SALN?

Why is Cuevas preventing us from knowing?

Emmanuel Mongaya (journalist & blogger)

Ordinary Filipinos want to know whether they can trust Chief Justice Renato Corona to be the head of the country’s judiciary. I definitely want to see how he would answer allegations of corruption before the impeachment court.

This is the reason why many are glued to the live coverage of the ongoing impeachment trial at the Philippine Senate. Yup, even those pro-GMA radio commentators who repeatedly assert that the impeachment trial is not relevant and not worth watching are so updated in their commentaries.

I agree with the prosecution when they focused on first on the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth or SALN. These are vital documents that would show whether Chief Justice Corona conducted himself above reproach or he enriched himself through the years.

The vital question now is: Did Chief Justice Corona submit a truthful SALN? I would like to believe that the Constitution and its implementing laws provided for the submission of a truthful SALN and not a document that is full of lies.

But the defense lawyers of the Chief Justice led by former justice Serafin Cuevas want to prevent us from knowing whether the head of the judiciary submitted something containing the truth or mere lies.

Cuevas is now saying that Article 2 of the impeachment complaint only sought filing and disclosure of the Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth or SALN.

Now that the SALN has been submitted as evidence, they argue, the issue is in effect moot and academic. It has been shown that the SALN was filed with the SC clerk of court. Last Tuesday, the SC clerk of court Atty. Enriquetta Vidal submitted the SALN to the Impeachment Court. The complaint has already been addressed.

This is basically, as I understand the legalistic Cuevas arguments, the reason why they are objecting to the introduction of evidence about the multi-million peso Bellagio condo and other plush Corona properties.

As of the moment, the Impeachment Court has asked both the prosecution and the defense to submit their respective memorandums on this issue to guide each senator-juror in evaluating the evidences presented.

As far as I see this development, it all boils down to whether the senator-jurors would allow legal technicalities to prevent us from knowing whether Corona’s SALN told the truth or not.

Come to think about it, the Constitution and its implementing laws and rules provided for the submission of SALNs that correctly reflect the assets, liabilities, and net worth of officials. I don’t believe that the framers of our Constitution and the legislators who made the appropriate laws merely asked for the submission and disclosure of SALNs that contain false entries.

If our senate-jurors would give more weight to the Cuevas arguments, we might as well scrap SALNs as mere scraps of paper that are not effective in weeding out corrupt officials.

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About anol_cebu

POLITIKA PH is an initiative of Emmanuel 'Anol' Mongaya and some friends. This 50-something journalist based in Cebu, Philippines now serves as the POLITIKA PH blog administrator. He writes columns for Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita and occasionally in his personal blog http://www.inbetweencolumns.wordpress.com. One can catch him in the lively Facebook community 'Maghisgot Kitag Politika, Bay.' He is the author of soon to be published books on the history of Naga City and Minglanilla, Cebu and untold stories about Fr. Rudy Romano and the anti-dictatorship struggle (1979-1986) in Cebu, Philippines.

Discussion

11 thoughts on “Did Corona submit a truthful SALN?

  1. either he did submit a valid SALN or not, was there a paper trail to identify the properties he bought were from his pockets or not? just my 2 cents

    Posted by Starlet | January 20, 2012, 1:39 am
    • The prosecution definitely promises to produce evidences that the entries are not truthful. Cuevas wants to block this.

      As it is, the SALN looks full of holes. Much had already been written about Corona’s Bellagio condo that he said was worth P14.5 million. But the SALN does not show a property worth P14.5 million. He said he paid for it in installments. But the Taguig Registry of Deeds produced a deed of absolute sale, meaning it was already paid in full when the deed was issued. Corona’s wife likewise joined government early in Arroyo’s term. Under the SALN law, it should have have been reported. But he mentioned his wife starting only in 2007.

      How was he able to give a multi-million peso condo to a daughter at age 13? It was obvious that the prosecutors are interested in this.

      His net worth before joining the judiciary was only P7.5 million annually for a decade. During his eight years in the judiciary – from 2002 to 2010 – this jumped to P22 million. How did he amass this? Is the judiciary that lucrative?

      Investigative reporter Raissa Robles quoted a speech of Corona before members of media as posted in the SC website:

      “A corrupt judiciary is totally unacceptable as it severely handicaps the legal and institutional mechanism designed to curb abuses in government. As such we shall continuously cleanse the court’s ranks by strengthening the integrity of the judiciary and raising it to the highest level possible. I believe that a member of the judiciary who is found guilty of dishonesty should not only be dismissed from the service but also disbarred. No ifs, no buts.”

      Corona swore when he submitted his SALN that the facts therein reflects the truth. It should be easy for the prosecutors to show that Corona did not report the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

      Now, Cuevas wants to block this because when it would be established that Corona is not above reproach as a Chief Justice should, it would be easier to prove the other articles of impeachment. I am just worried about the bumbling prosecutors.

      Posted by Politika 2013 Watcher | January 20, 2012, 9:30 am
  2. And Noynoy is beyond reproach? Check this out and make the comparison of SALNs:

    http://getrealphilippines.com/blog/2012/01/corona-impeachment-prosecution-team-is-incompetent-not-just-underdogs/

    It is beginning to appear like the prosecution’s main reason for filing for impeachment was merely to humiliate CJ Corona into resigning. It probably didn’t occur to them that they would have to present the so-called compelling evidence they spoke of with the media in court. They are certainly learning the hard way that the due process involves dealing with facts and not fiction.

    Posted by Mishah Cruz | January 20, 2012, 12:19 am
    • If Corona’s SALN is beyond reproach, why would exposing the truth about its contents humiliate him? It would even acquit him. If the prosecutors are peddling fiction, then Cuevas should not prevent the them from exposing themselves as such. Why would fiction by prosecutors humiliate Corona. It would only make him shine. By all means, let us allow the prosecutors to bring in their so-called evidences.

      Noynoy’s SALN is a different matter and we should take a look at it too. But Noynoy did not hide his SALN. Corona did and it took senator-jurists to force the SC Clerk of Court to give it up. That does not speaks well of Chief Justice Corona.

      Posted by Politika 2013 Watcher | January 20, 2012, 12:42 am

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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