Corona counsel: COA has no power to issue notice of disallowanceBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—Counsel for Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday questioned the Commission on Audit’s issuance of a notice of disallowance by the Commission on Audit on the sale 11 years ago of a lot owned by the Basa-Guidote Entrprises Inc. to the City of Manila for P34.7 million.
Lawyer Ramon Esguerra noted that even CoA National Capital Region Cluster Director Baby Alagon disagrees with the notice of disallowance, saying “CoA has no power to issue the ND. CoA has no power even to rescind the Deed of Sale.’’
The CoA notice, dated March 19, 2012, disallowed the P34.7 million payment that the City of Manila paid in 2001 to Cristina Corona, wife of the Chief Justice citing overpricing and failure to submit some of the necessary requirements.
It further asked Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim to direct at least eight former City Hall officials and Cristina Corona who received the payment “in trust” for Basa-Guidote Enterprise Inc. (BGEI) to settle the matter immediately.
The notice was signed by Roberto Limcolioc, the audit team leader, and Elinore Lavilla, the supervising auditor.
The audit disallowance was apparently the result of an audit by a team that evaluated an earlier notice of suspension, dated March 5, 2002, on the payment for the purchase of Lot 1-A-3 with an area of 1,020.7 square meters belonging to the BGEI, a corporation that is the subject of an ownership dispute between Cristina Corona and the rest of the Basa side of family.
“It is our position that the Notice of Suspension issued in 2002 by then COA Manila Auditor Gabby Espina was not properly served to and received by the ‘persons liable,’ a breach of COA Rules and due process. Mere routing, unsigned logbook was used, not the authorized form which is a strict requirement of the law. Even if it were validly issued, it cannot be the basis for a ND, more so after 11 years,” Esguerra said.
“What we have here is another LRA when agencies and processes were compromised to support a certain position. What makes this worst is that COA is a constitutional commission,” Esguerra noted.