Corona confident he’ll be cleared in tax caseBy Christine O. Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—Ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona is confident the Department of Justice (DOJ) will throw out the P150-million tax evasion case against him, his daughter and son-in-law after the panel handling their case had completed its preliminary investigation on Friday.
Speaking to reporters after appearing at the DOJ for the last hearing of the tax evasion case filed against his family by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Corona described the complaint against him as “an endless series of double counting of accounts.”
“That kind of complaint by the BIR is for propaganda. It is not for a court of law,” Corona said, but did not elaborate on what he meant.
He left immediately with his wife Cristina.
Corona was at the DOJ to submit and subscribe his rejoinder affidavit to the BIR’s complaint at a closed-door hearing held at the DOJ executive lounge.
Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Roseann Balauag told reporters the panel will now submit for resolution Corona’s tax evasion cases and that it expects to issue a resolution next month.
Balauag said she has to ask other panel members whether they will have to issue a joint resolution of the cases of Corona, his daughter Carla Corona-Castillo and son-in-law Constantino Castillo III.
She said Corona made good his promise to attend yesterday’s hearing after he was absent last Tuesday, the original schedule of the hearing, because he had the flu.
The BIR said Corona should pay the government P120.5 million in taxes, inclusive of surcharges and interests covering 2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Based on the BIR findings, Corona allegedly undervalued three of his properties by P17.30 million, failed to declare two properties valued at P12.75 million and underdeclared the value of his cash asset in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) from 2003 to 2010, with the cash underdeclaration reaching P134.44 million in 2010.
On the other hand, Corona’s daughter is being sued in connection with a tax liability amounting to P9.93 million, and her husband, for a tax liability of P20.24 million.
Last May, Corona was ousted from his office after a Senate impeachment court found him guilty of failing to declare in his SALN that he had around P200 million in peso and dollar accounts.