Corona faces P120-M charge for tax evasion

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Nearly a year after his ouster as  Chief Justice, Renato Corona is facing a P120-million tax evasion charge that could lead to his imprisonment for up to 10 years if convicted.

In a 65-page resolution dated April 26 released on Thursday, a Department of Justice panel said it had recommended the filing of the case, which allegedly stemmed from Corona’s undeclared cash and properties in six annual statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), in the Court of Tax Appeals in Quezon City.

The panel headed by senior assistant state prosecutor Rosanne Elepano-Balauag said it found probable cause to charge Corona with violations of Sections 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code (NIRC) on tax evasion and willful failure to file income tax returns.

Violation of Section 254 is punishable by P30,000 to P100,000 in fines and imprisonment of two to four years, in addition to his liability for the tax due.  Violation of Section 255, on the other hand, is punishable by a fine of not less than P10,000 and imprisonment of one to 10 years.

“Considering the evidence submitted by the Bureau of Investigation … we are inclined to believe that the documentary evidence presented by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) outweighs the bare allegations made by Corona. We note that aside from his empty claims that his other funds were merely commingled with the accounts of his other family members, etc, [he] miserably failed to substantiate the same,” the resolution said.

The BIR, following an investigation, concluded that the former Chief Justice was liable for P120,498,219.52, inclusive of surcharges and interest.

Continuing persecution

Corona, who was ousted by a 20-3 vote in the Senate on May 29, 2012, following a six-month impeachment trial, denounced the indictment.

“What fairness could I have expected from the DOJ whose head, Secretary Leila de Lima, testified against me during my sham impeachment trial? Was there ever any doubt about the outcome of this charade? My savings are a result of 45 years of diligent work in the private and public sectors. I do not owe any tax liability to the government,” he said in a statement.

“I have never in all my life ever received even a single notice of deficiency assessment from the BIR. The contrived claims of the BIR will fall flat on its face because they are without legal, factual and moral bases and are just part of the continuing political harassment and persecution that they have been incessantly inflicting on me.”

Unless Corona files a motion for reconsideration or a petition for review in the DOJ, the case against him will be filed in court.

The BIR’s investigation on Corona’s taxes was prompted by revelations made during his Senate trial. The agency alleged it found substantial increases in Corona’s net worth from 2005 to 2010 that did not appear consistent with his earnings as a public servant.

Following the unconditional waiver signed, executed and submitted by Corona to the Senate during his trial, the BIR investigated his financial holdings, particularly his real properties and bank accounts. The bureau applied the so-called “net worth method”—basically assets minus liabilities equals net worth—to show that Corona earned income from other sources aside from his compensation as a public official.

According to the BIR, Corona’s real net worth increased from P12.87 million in 2003 to P53.72 million in 2010 although he earned between P1.4 million and P4.4 million every year during the period.

Inadmissible evidence

In his defense, Corona said the waiver he executed was effective only until he was convicted by the Senate so all pieces of evidence collected by the BIR using the document were inadmissible in court. He said the BIR had failed to prove that the discrepancy came from the sources of income that were taxable.

Corona added that the prescription period for the filing of the criminal cases for the taxable years 2007 to 2010 had expired. He questioned the BIR’s use of the net worth method.

He maintained that there was no underdeclaration of real properties or any substantial increase in his cash assets, mainly because other people’s funds were commingled with his own. He added that the BIR had failed to take into account that he came from a “family with means and resources” and had been “gainfully employed in the public and private sectors.”

Full-blown trial

The DOJ panel rejected all of Corona’s defenses, adding some of them could be “best threshed out in a full-blown trial.”

The panel said although the net worth method was used only in civil cases, there was nothing in the NIRC that prohibited the BIR from using this in criminal proceedings.

The prosecutors pointed out that Corona signed the waiver as a depositor not by virtue of his public office. The waiver also did not state that it was only for the purpose of the impeachment proceedings.

By the time Corona signified his intention to withdraw the waiver in his June 11, 2012, letter to Banco de Oro and his Oct. 10, 2012, cease-and-desist letters to other banks, the banks had already complied with the BIR’s demand for access to Corona’s accounts.

Consistent underreporting

With the withdrawal of the waiver, the BIR could no longer further inquire into Corona’s accounts and in effect blocked the agency from verifying his defenses.

The panel also junked Corona’s claims of prescription. This prescriptive period does not begin to run until the crime is discovered and judicial proceedings have been instituted, the panel said.

The prosecutors said Corona could not claim that the BIR had failed to take into account his family’s and personal wealth in computing his net worth, adding that the agency could not be faulted for relying on his SALNs.

“It should be highlighted that respondent Corona swore under oath that the information contained in his SALN is true and correct statements of his assets, liabilities, net worth and business interests,” they said.

As to his claim that the money in his bank accounts belonged to other persons, the prosecutors pointed out that Corona failed to produce a single affidavit to support this.

The panel said there was a “consistent pattern” of underreporting large amounts of income and noninclusion of all his income and properties in his SALNs.

“The evidence they (BIR) obtained, so to speak, was not culled out of thin air,” it said.

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  • Hey_Dudes

    Naku kuya Eddie talaga napakasakit nitong nangyayari sa aming maralitang buhay. Kaming mga Koronang tinik ay sadyang puro mahihirap lamang at niwalang kusing maliban sa kaunting naka-deposito sa punjang ko. All this is harassment from Ka Ninoy, Jr. all because GMA is my grandmother.

    • cato_the_younger

      Kaya ikaw Ato, magsumikap ka. Hindi talaga maganda ang kalalabasan ng pagnanakaw. Pero huwag kang mag-alala, makakasama mo rin ang lola mo balang araw. Malay mo, makasama mo rin ang lolo mo. Puwede mong i-request na magkasama kayo sa selda…err…kuwarto. Di ba ang saya-saya!
      Hanggang sa susunod, Kuya Eddie. (Siyanga pala, may e-mail ba doon sa loob?)

  • UrHONOR

    THE ex-cheap Justice will now retire in his cell.

  • calixto909

    Filing of the case is a prudent act that must merit appreciation from the public to appraise the world that our government is bent to put behind bars corrupt government men and that as constituents, we are much supportive

    • lostRunes

      So why are there no charges against Puno, Naguilat, Juico etc?

      • JuanTamadachi

        Because there is no prima facie case or evidence – a plaintiff’s lawsuit or a criminal charge which appears at first blush to be “open and shut” – against them

      • lostRunes

        Yung kay Naguiat, international agencies (pati FBI)po yung sumama sa investigation. Yung criminal charges laban kay Alfredo lim re:luneta hostage si De lima mismo nag recommend. Pinabasura ni Ochoa.

        in short, no government prosecutor dare to file charges against them because they are close to the president. ikanga KKK

      • JuanTamadachi

        Now I remember the case of Alfredo Lim, in respect of the Luneta hostage taking. De Lima was so disappointed that no charges were filed and she seriously thought of resigning.
        Good point

  • lostRunes

    Coloma bloggers are alive and kicking. Hail to the Malacanang Communications Group for wasting our taxes!

    • ESCAPEfmALCATRAZ

      OGAG! ha ha ha bading ka yata eh. type mo ba so coloma? ha ha ha

      • lostRunes

        Affected? bakit kaya? haha.. obviousssss…

  • regd

    It’s a ..what was it?…man….somebody help me out here….AHH! GOT IT!
    CO-MINGLED ACCOUNT! HAAH, GOTCHA!

  • ting0508

    The court should decide this right away to show to the Chinese Businessmen who are mostly tax evaders that their days are numbered!

  • Peter Lim

    Bakit si Corana lang? E lahat ng Judges ay magnanakaw, puro mayaman, bakit hindi e check kung saan galing ang kayamanan nila??? Kasi halos lahat na nasa gobyerno ay magnanakaw rin!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    • ESCAPEfmALCATRAZ

      dapat kasama ka rin… ha ha ha

  • Horst Manure

    Sounds like the law’s pertaining to bank statements should be over hauled.
    When there is a policy stating you can’t hand over any bank statement that might incriminate you, there is your problem right there.

    • JuanTamadachi

      “Section 17. No person shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.”

      Huh? you want us to give up our constitutional right against self incrimination?

  • JuanTamadachi

    You were the chief magistrate of the land. You were supposed to be an example of how a law abiding citizen should behave but you chose instead to consistently prevaricate about your SALN. Such behavior is anything but that of what a chief magistrate’s behavior should be. You have no one to blame but yourself and your lying and cheating ways for the mess of troubles you created for you and members of your family.

    Merece.

  • Peter Lim

    Bakit hindi gawin Jury system ang hukuman, sabi ni De Lima ng DOJ, hindi pa handa ang PH, kasi mahirap lutuin yun kaso kung babayaran pa yun 12 na juro at 1 judge!!! Ha! Ha! Ha!

    • JuanTamadachi

      Seriously speaking, “I believe the jury system will not work in a country as poor as the Philippines. Unlike in the US, a trial in the Philippines takes place sometimes over a period of months or even years because they do not go from day to day until it is completed. Juries cannot be sequestered for that long. Also, those serving on the jury cannot take off from work. How will they support their families? This is just scratching the surface.”

      • buttones

        Of course it won’t work, getting ’12 good men and true’ is simply not going to work in PH. Given the reserves I might have, I can buy anyone of 95 million anyway….…. Not only that our judicial
        system does not work on English Common Law anyway

      • JuanTamadachi

        I vaguely recall from my P.I. 100 class that there was a cogent reason(s) why the Americans chose not to give us a jury type of legal system. I have been wracking my brains trying to remember what that reason was but I still can’t remember. Perhaps some other poster(s) who likewise took up P.I. 100 and who remember what that reason was, can chime in. Hubba great weekend.

      • buttones

        There was an article in the NY Times no less, some time ago where a PH official, being asked about this issue simply
        said “Well it’s not going to happen” And that was the end of that…..And, given the fact the US system is actually based on English Common Law, and ours is not, despite the connections well I really have no idea. None at all…and have a nice
        weekend also…[trying to figure this out or do you have better things to do?-yes you probably do so enjoy!]

      • Horst Manure

        yet one Uni here has the impertinence to use Sir Thomas Moore as their patron saint, he would be rolling in his grave if he knew his name as lawyer is connected with the liaryers here.

        Here is Corona suppose to be the top judge saying some one put money in to my account and playing up like a second hand motor bike.

        At least in Tomas Moore’s day you could hang, draw and quarter the crooks

      • buttones

        Sir Thomas Moore was a saint? I never knew that, but even so to take this guy’s name and use it in connection with some obscure third world, no count third rate PH Uni is quite disgusting…..Corona? Well the only one I know is in a bottle, the new CJ is even worse, her best pal is actually God, boy oh boy do we have a problem…….

      • Kirat

        Thomas More said “I die the King’s good servant, but God’s first.” Her Serene Holiness is unlikely to be put in such a bind as More had been, but she might be wise to take heed of his words, and the circumstances in which they were uttered. Putting on a pious expression, looking upwards and citing the Almighty while writing the latest of her numerous minority opinions doesn’t automatically put Him on her side. :-P

      • Horst Manure

        or any other law, they make it up as they go, like school kids playing a game.

        The judiciary don’t have the ability to realise they are suppose to be professional and suppose to represent the Philippines legal system but all you have is chocolate teapot.

        In 2025 when the verdict is reached Corona won’t care much any way.
        All you can hope for is his ill-gotten gains have appreciated and sold of to start a University to teach law, you surely need one.

      • buttones

        2025? Well that’s a joke for a start, talk to Imelda, we often have tea together and laugh about this sort of thing, even the guy in the fridge is laughing. PH Law Schools? You’ve lost me, get one in the top 300 hundred in the world and THEN give me a call… too much time spent in spanking one another’s bottoms and not so much on learning Law if you ask me…..

  • nes911

    Bakit di nya aminin na kay gloria yung perang nakadeposit sa kanyang mga account. Dummy lang sya.

  • JosephNess

    “I have never in all my life ever received even a single notice of deficiency assessment from the BIR. The contrived claims of the BIR will fall flat on its face because they are without legal, factual and moral bases and are just part of the continuing political harassment and persecution that they have been incessantly inflicting on me.”

    that was before you were impeached…best way is to prove your innocence in court…prove that the BIR is wrong…

    • buttones

      Well I’ve never liked people that were actually wider than they were tall anyway- but in the matter of BIR I’ve been trying to pay inheritance taxes to these people for five long years now and they are NOT interested, they are completely clueless. Give me a demand and I will pay it ,but they can’t. They are basically stupid, and NO my grandfather never owned an apartment overlooking Central Park, and he did not own gold deposits in Switzerland either he owned 2 hectares of land and a cow, you want a new motorbike Mr BIR man,? Well you can kiss my sweet derriere……

      • JosephNess

        well, if BIR is that basically stupid, then he can always show how stupid indeed it is and win his case, instead of crying out loud, being harassed…

  • Almighty

    Puro drawing…………………… faces this, faces that.. wala namangyayari.. gloria faces this, politician faces that. FUKING INA NYO MAG KULONG NAMAN KAYO, PARA MAY MASAMPULAN!!!

    • Pulokoy

      If all testimonies and witnesses and evidence can be heard in a week then we can see results

  • kilabot

    corona has 3 options.
    1) he faces head-on the allegations;
    2) become state witness against family members;
    3) do a mancao.

  • UrHONOR

    PET PEEVE of corona: “When it rains, it pours!”

    Oro, plata, mata. Pang plata na ang kasong ito. Mata na ang susunod.

    Sabi nila, bad luck comes in 3’s: Pangalawa ng ‘to kay corona. Ano kaya ang pangatlo….kalaboso?

  • True Thinker

    No matter how honest a person can be (or claim) Money bring out the true color of every individual……….

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    Jail this Monkey…

  • True Thinker

    I wanted to attest my personal experience with Christina Corona (The wife of Justice Corona).
    She was a teacher in the very school I attended during my Grammar school year (in the early 1970s). I was a fourth grader who took my Stamp Collection very seriously. And I brought my Highly prized book of Old Stamps to school (to show my friends). And Mrs. Christina Corona (claiming that I distracted the class by bringing the book of Stamps) confiscated the book.

    After school, I went to her to ask if I may get it back. She said that I deserved a punishment and refuses to give back the Expensive book of Stamp Collections. I then went to the claim office of Discipline a week later (where all confiscated items are suppose to be surrendered by the professors). They never received anything from Mrs. Christina Corona.

    I then went back to her a few days later and she just brushed me aside and claimed that no such Stamp Book ever existed.

    This was my first and last encounter with Mrs. Christina Corona that happened many years ago. A Book of Stamps may not be a big thing to most, but it was indeed an expensive Stamp Collection involved here. And it was not the Books of Stamps that is important here, it was how she treated the whole thing, on a very irresponsible way. And it reflects on what kind of a person she was and maybe still is……….

    • jgl414567

      If Mrs. Corona can misappropriate large sums of money belonging to her relatives (the Basa family) and used the influence and power of her well placed husband to have them jailed only means one thing and that is that she and the impeached thief justice are evil personified indeed and they should be punished!!

    • marionics

      talaga??!!

      noon pa man mandurugas na siya???

      hahaha

      sorry for laughing. i did not mean to laugh at your misfortune

    • crisostomo_ibarra_the3rd

      Lumalabas na noon pa man evil doer na yang si Christina. Manipulator, corrupt and a user. Shame on her!

    • joshmale2004

      Its good you came out with this matter. Who knows Corona might thinkt of using the alibi that the millions in his bank accounts are from sale of expensive stamps collected and sold to a millionaire collector.

    • Saloi-CDR

      I really feel bad for you True Thinker. Regaluhan mo uli ng daan-daang stamps si Christina Corona but this time ilagay mo lahat sa ataul para i-mail na natin si Christina Corona deretso ke Satanas!

    • http://www.facebook.com/yet.jua Yet Jua

      they are good example of a family that live all their lives with lies and unfairness…

  • BotoMoKinabukasanMo

    JUSTICE to the Basa Family and Justice to Mang Indo!!…”When Corona
    put a gun to his head, Corona said: Gusto mo bang pasabugin kong mukha mo (Do you want me to blast your face)? That’s what the Chief Justice said to him back in 1997″….NASAAN NA ANG TAPANG AT TIGAS MO NGAYON IMPEACHED OUSTED KAPIT TUKONATO!!!…MAGBAYAD ANG MAY SALA!!!….The LADY JUSTICE although blindfolded will sentence you FAIRLY!!!

    • marionics

      yung basa sisters lang talaga ang pinagkakainteresan ko diyan he he

  • jgl414567

    Just like their master, the evil lady dwarf who plundered our country and cheated to become president, the Corona’s are evil too and should be punished severely!!

  • verconti

    naah.. if this case reaches supreme court, corona wud be acquitted..

  • Roy Rosales

    good work sec delima.they should expedite their case in court asap.these should served notice to tax evaders that this administration really means business to corrupt
    officials.shame on them

  • Eagle_Eye13

    Poor Corona, the curse of Glorfina is slowly but surely catching up with him.

  • Ommm

    If it looks like a pig…and makes grunting noises like a pig….rest assured it’s a pig….

  • Horst Manure

    Offer him some cold hard cash for evidence he will turn on his family, low enough to parachute out of a snakes behind, he represents all the judiciary here and 99% of liaryers like him give the rest a bad name.

  • crisostomo_ibarra_the3rd

    Mr. Corona, itigil mo na yang drama mo. Sa korte ka na lang magpaliwanag. Patunayan mong grade school ka lang, nagpapalit ka na ng dollars mo. Bugok!

  • tilamsik

    Corona still owns the court, especially the Soupreme Court (ah not soup? juicycourt?). Dami din kaya yumaman dyan dahil kay Corona… Bringing the case to court is like setting Corona free lols

  • Anqui

    We shall learn to live by the rules of the law regardless of our political and economical life style. Paying tax is a mutual responsibility of every citizen of any country. During Corona’s impeachment trial there were undeclared properties which were under his name, obusely, they were never taxed…so what is he crying about? Sir Corona, stop playing the game, it is over. Make your choice pay or be jailed!!!

  • simondj

    tingnan ninyo si corona,,, alam niya lahas ng batas pero siya ang lumalabag sa batas.
    why because the law cant in anyway make a man holy, on the contrary, knowledge of the law can make a man more sophisticated in creating a crime. the law is nothing, the law is meant to show to you you are commiting a crime, no more no less.

  • Taiko_Kauna

    ikulong na ninyo yan para mapatunayang mayron talagang totoong “daang matuwid””

  • pawok

    i-convict na yan without trial at ikulong agad sa pagyurak sa batas!!!

  • ztefertilizerscam10

    jail this monkey…

  • rinom

    he judged others but himself (CORONA) cant judge properly.

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