The exchange of hugs and kisses between the Basas and the Coronas at the Senate last Friday was “just the first step in a long journey of healing and reconciliation.”
In a statement they issued on Saturday, Carmen, Ana, Isabel, Francesca and Eric Basa said there were issues concerning their family that still needed to be resolved, even as they try to heal the rift that has divided them for three decades.
“There are still fundamental differences that have to be addressed, including the damaging statements, falsehoods and accusations against our family, the probate of our Lola Charing (Rosario Basa), court convictions, BGEI stock and financial issues, and, most especially, clearing the tarnished good name of our father, Jose Maria Basa III. The truth must be made evident,” they said.
“This will be a long journey of healing and reconciliation. It will take time and it may be a painful process for all involved in light of the 30 years of pain preceding it,” the Basa siblings said in their statement.
The Basas are embroiled in a protracted legal battle with their cousin, Cristina Corona, over the Basa family’s properties. The dispute between the cousins was dragged into Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial when he said that money in one of the bank accounts in his name belonged to Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI).
Peace in the family
The Basas, who reside in the United States, flew in for Corona’s appearance at the trial on Tuesday, and were sitting in the gallery when the magistrate said it was their father, Jose Maria Basa III, who had oppressed Cristina’s mother and her family, and described Basa III as a “spoiled brat” who had never worked in his life.
The Basa siblings said this was not true, that their father was a farmer who provided for his children. But they also wished for the family’s troubles to be over, they said.
In their statement, the Basas said they were happy over the positive turn of events in their family.
“We are happy that our pursuit for peace within our family is finally becoming a reality. As we have said in past interviews, this has been a long struggle for us,” they said.
They said they were glad that their aunt Sister Flory Basa’s message was well received by the Coronas.
“We are grateful to the Lord that He has touched their hearts and appreciate the initiative they displayed at the Senate impeachment court last Friday to mend our broken relationship,” they said.
Leaving it to the Senate
As for the impeachment trial, the Basas are leaving it in the hands of the Senate. They hope the country will find peace and would be successful in its quest for true justice, they said.
“We fully support the efforts in the search for the truth. The impeachment is in the hands of the senator-judges. Ultimately, the determination as to whether or not Chief Justice Renato Corona is fit to remain in office must be made based on the evidence presented in court and what is best for the country and the good of the people,” they said.
As Corona sat on the witness stand during a break in the hearing last Friday, his wife approached and tearfully embraced her estranged cousins in the VIP gallery behind him, ending decades of bitter fighting over the family-owned BGEI. Cristina’s children, Francis and Carla, followed suit.
The Basa siblings then went over to the Chief Justice and exchanged hugs with him as well.
Bearing on verdict
The dramatic reconciliation between Cristina Corona and her long-estranged cousins at the impeachment court last Friday will inevitably have a bearing on the verdict in the case of the Chief Justice, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said.
“Definitely it will tug at the heartstrings of every sentimental Filipino. The masa (masses) like tons of tears leading to a happy ending. After all those waterworks, the public might not become comfortable with an unhappy ending,” Santiago said in a phone interview.
It is not entirely far-fetched that politicians seeking reelection in May 2013 will take advantage of this, she said.
“Politicians are first and foremost political animals. The first instinct is to survive, and the survival instinct is strongest among politicians when an election is approaching. The reconciliation tableau that we all saw on TV, which affected millions of voters, will surely affect those who plan to run for office,” she said.
Her Senate colleagues, Senators Gregorio Honasan II and Aquilino Pimentel III, maintained, however, that the reconciliation would not impact on the outcome of the trial. It was a happy ending for the Coronas, that’s all, they said.
“At the end of the day, it will be God, country and family. Whatever the verdict will be, it has already ended on a happy note for Corona,” Honasan said.
Pimentel agreed: “I’m very happy for them. In a time of crisis, they realized that family is very important.”