MANILA, Philippines—Senator Sergio Osmeña III confirmed Wednesday that Demetrio Vicente was residing in the 3,400-square meter property in Marikina City and added that it was “full of bonsai.”
The said property is among the many Osmeña confirms Vicente lives in 3,400-square meter property full of bonsai that Vicente claimed he bought from Chief Justice Renato Corona’s wife Cristina.
“I confirmed with certain people if he lived there and they said ‘yes, we visited him there’,” Osmeña said.
“As a matter of fact, he has one of the largest collection of bonsai, kaya ang laki-laki ng lupain niya (that why his property is so big),” Osmeña said.
“He’s one of the best bonsai artists we have in this country,” Osmeña added.
Osmeña did not name his contact who had visited Vicente but described him as “very credible” and “very respected.”
Vicente testified that he bought eight properties from Cristina Corona back in 1990 and that he has been paying the corresponding real estate taxes since but was not able to have it transferred to his name because he ran out of money to pay for the required transfer tax.
The titles of all seven properties are still under the name of Cristina Corona, Chief Justice Renato Corona’s wife, prompting the prosecution to suspect that Vicente was just a caretaker.
Osmeña said that due to the long time it will take and large number of paperwork that needs to be done to transfer a title, it causes some people to become lazy in transferring the title.
“I have relatives whose properties are still in the name of their lolas (grandmothers),” Osmeña said.
Osmeña said that Vicente was a credible witness for him.
“He was credible; his answers, [the] consistency, he seemed to know what he was doing [and] quite sure of his facts,” Osmeña said.
Osmeña added that Vicente was not perfect, which indicates an association with being true.
Osmeña also jokingly said that he found Vicente credible “because he likes bonsai and I like bonsai.”