‘Huge discrepancy’ between Corona’s SALN, bank accountsBy Matikas Santos
MANILA, Philippines—The prosecution team on Wednesday said there is a “huge discrepancy” between Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) and his bank accounts.
Marikina Representative Romero Quimbo said that based on the testimony of PSBank president Pascual Garcia III, Corona had P19,728,555 in two bank accounts for 2010 but his declared cash and investments in his SALN was only P3.5 million.
“In spite of the fact that we were only able to open two accounts it is very apparent that there is a huge discrepancy on the SALN of the chief justice as against the amounts that were disclosed just by one bank involving two accounts,” Quimbo said in a press briefing after Wednesday’s proceedings.
Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara said Corona had P8.5 million in 2009 which means that his bank balance grew exponentially.
“I think this is not yet the end because the witness for Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) has not yet testified and we have not yet seen the dollar accounts,” Angara said.
Quezon Representative Lorenzo Tañada III said they are hoping the impeachment court would have the dollar deposits opened because if they fail to do so, it could set a precedent for future impeachment cases against officials.
Impeachable officials would just put their bank deposits in a dollar account so that the court will not be able to open it and they would not be held accountable, Tañada said.
“Crooks in government will just put the money in dollar accounts because our interpretation of the law prevents us from looking at those accounts even if the money was stolen from the people,” Angara said.
He said that while it is true there are bank secrecy laws, the Supreme Court has ruled in many cases that the law cannot be used to protect criminal acts.
Tañada said there should be a distinction between private individuals and impeachable officers. Not all foreign currency deposits of every person can be opened, “only here in the issue of impeachment should the [bank secrecy law] not apply because we are talking about accountability,” Tañada said.