MANILA, Philippines – Former Chief Justice Renato Corona on Thursday said the filing of tax evasion case against him is part of political persecution after he was impeached by the Senate sitting as impeachment court.
He said the Department of Justice’s decision is already expected.
“Was there ever any doubt about the outcome of this charade,” Corona said in a statement to reporters after the Department of Justice approved the filing of P120.5 million tax evasion case against him.
“What fairness could I have expected from the DOJ whose head [Justice Secretary Leila] De Lima testified against me during my sham impeachment trial,” Corona said.
The DOJ, in its resolution, said there is probable cause to charge Corona before the Court of Tax Appeals.
Based on the BIR complaint, Corona did not declare all his assets in his Statement of Assets Liabilities and Networth.
Aside from the bank deposits, he also did not declare two real properties he acquired during his stint in government: a condominium unit at the Columns, along Ayala Avenue that he bought for P3.6 million in 2004 and a property in Fort Bonifacio that he bought for P9.16 million in 2005.
After examining Corona’s bank records and compared it with his networth, Henares said they discovered a substantial disparity between the acquisition cost of the properties declared in his SALNs and the cost declared in the certificates authorizing registrations.
“My savings are the result of 45 years of diligent work in the private and public sectors. I do not have any tax liability to the government. I have never in all my life ever received even a single notice of deficiency assessment from the BIR,” he said.
“The contrived claims of the BIR will fall flat on its face because they are without legal, factual and moral basis, and are just part of the continuing political harassment and persecution that may have been incessantly inflicting on me. This, after the farmers’ angry dismay on the anniversary of the final and executor decision of the Supreme Court ordering the Aquino-Cojuangco family to distribute Hacienda Luisita,” Corona said.
The Corona court ruled in favor of the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita land to farmers. Hacienda Luisita is owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III.