What Went Before: Charges against former Chief Justice Corona
On Jan. 28 last year, the Office of the Ombudsman found probable cause to charge in the Sandiganbayan former Chief Justice Renato Corona on eight counts of perjury and eight counts of nondeclaration of assets, a violation under Republic Act No. 6713.
Corona, who was ousted by a 20-3 vote in the Senate in 2012 after a six-month impeachment trial for discrepancies in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs), was found by the Ombudsman to have amassed, along with his wife, Cristina, a combined wealth of at least P130 million.
The Ombudsman computed the increase of over P8 million in the Corona couple’s net worth in 2010 by adding their 2010 undeclared bank deposits amounting to P134,437,207.88 and undervalued cost of real properties totaling P17,297,145 less their combined income of P30,369,120.13.
From 2001 to 2011, the Coronas earned a total income of P30,369,120.13, of which P27,145,472.68 was earned by Corona as an official at the Office of the President, as a justice of the Supreme Court, as a member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and as a member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
Discrepancy in bank deposits
His wife earned P3,223,647.45 for the period of 2007-2010, based on the reports submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue by John Hay Development Corp. where she was employed.
The Ombudsman said that from 2002 to 2010, Corona’s actual cash deposits ballooned from P1,337,072.28 to P137,937,207.88, and by 2010 the cumulative discrepancy between his SALN and his actual cash deposits amounted to P134,437,207.88.
The Department of Trade and Industry certifications showed that the Coronas had no existing business registered in their name, although Corona’s 2003-2009 SALN showed that his wife was connected with Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc.
On the charges of perjury, the resolution found that the sworn declarations in Corona’s SALNs were “false,” as he failed to include the numerous peso and dollar bank accounts, a condominium unit at The Columns in Makati City and a condominium unit at Spanish Bay Tower in Taguig City.
Undervalued by P17M
Land Registration Authority records showed that the couple’s properties in Quezon City, Makati City and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City were undervalued by some P17 million.
The former Chief Justice is also facing a tax-evasion case in the Court of Tax Appeals, which was filed by the government on Aug. 30, 2012, to which he pleaded not guilty in February.–Inquirer Research
Sources: Inquirer Archives
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