A million dollar question: How much more is hidden in Chief Justice’s dollar accounts?
By Emmanuel Mongaya
(Journalist & blogger)
Government officials with some unexplained stash of wealth must be very interested right now at how Chief Justice Renato Corona would shake off determined efforts by the prosecution panel to pin him down for his so-called mistakes in filling up his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth or SALN.
The Chief Justice’s position is particularly difficult with the bank documents so far submitted to the Senate Impeachment Court.
An initial peek into Chief Justice Renato Corona’s peso accounts in PSBank was very revealing. Millions of pesos were not reflected in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.
Let’s compare his SALN entries on his cash and the amounts reflected in CJ Corona’s peso bank accounts in PSBank:
Year SALN Peso accounts
2007 P2.5 million P5.018 million
2009 P2.5 million P8.5 million
2010 P3.5 million P19.6 million
How much more is hidden in his dollar accounts? And there are still his accounts in the Bank of Philippines Islands (BPI).
Come to think of it, all the Corona accounts must be so big that no less than PSBank’s president Pascual M. Garcia III appeared before the Senate Impeachment Court to demonstrate the bank’s good faith in complying with the subpoenas issued but at the same time refusing to bring documents on the dollar accounts.
The prosecution panel must be very pleased with what had been uncovered so far. According to Cebuano volunteer lawyer for the prosecution and former DOTC Usec Aristotle Batuhan to some members of the Cebu media:
“What is the import of the evidence so far unearthed on the multimillion peso accounts of CJ Corona? It now ties in with the testimony of BIR Commissioner Kim Henares who showed discrepancies in his SALN. For almost a decade, he did not report many of his properties running into tens of millions. For almost a decade, he undervalued the properties he did report running into tens of millions. For so many years, he never declared cash deposits in multiple accounts. That is falsifying tax declarations. That is defrauding the citizens. That is betraying public trust which amount to nothing less than a conviction by the Senate Impeachment Court.”
But Corona’s lead counsel former justice Serafin Cuevas seems to have several cards up his sleeve. While he tells the Impeachment Court that they can explain the discrepancies, the defense panel earlier went to the Supreme Court (SC) seeking a stop to the impeachment proceedings.
After yesterday’s hearing, defense panel spokespersons likewise keep on saying that the evidences are “fruits of a poisoned tree” suggesting that they will soon succeed in getting all the documents inadmissible as official evidence.
In subsequent hearings, I expect a stiff fight to prevent the submission of Corona’s dollar accounts.
Will Cuevas succeed? Perhaps. If he does, let us expect government officials with millions unreported in their SALNs to begin opening dollar accounts.
- Corona seeks SC TRO on impeachment (ph.news.yahoo.com)
- Sen. Lapid speaks finally & Corona’s SALN mistakes (politika2013.wordpress.com)
- Corona can beat impeachment? (politika2013.wordpress.com)
- Cebuano lawyer among private prosecutors vs. Corona (politika2013.wordpress.com)