Corona lied in his SALN, says prosecution
MANILA, Philippines—Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona has allegedly lied in his sworn statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) when he did not fully declare his properties, including a P14.5 million condominium unit, which he recently acquired, a spokesman of the prosecution said on Thursday.
During Thursday’s trial in the Senate, Randy Rutaquio, the register of deeds of Taguig, submitted a deed of absolute sale pertaining to a 303.5-square-meter condominium unit in Taguig City in the names of Corona and wife, Cristina.
“The deed of absolute sale pertains to the so called Bellagio…residences with Megaworld Corp. appearing as seller and with the espouses Cristina Corona and Renato Corona being the buyers,” said Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga, who conducted the direct examination of Rutaquio.
Barzaga said the deed of sale covered the condominium unit and three parking slots with an area of 12.50 square meters each listed in separate condominium certificate of titles.
“For the record also, I would like to manifest that the selling price as indicated in this deed of absolute sale is P14,510,225,” said Barzaga.
“And further, I’d like to manifest that, in the SALN which was presented and identified, these Taguig properties were declared for the first time in the SALN of the respondent, Chief Justice Renato Corona, for the year 2010,” Barzaga added.
Corona’s lead counsel, former Supreme Court Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, immediately moved to strike out Barzaga’s manifestations.
Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, who was presiding over the trial, ruled in favor of Cuevas.
But in a statement after the trial, prosecution spokesman Miro Quimbo noted that
none of the two condo units that Corona had declared in his 2010 SALN was valued at P14.5 million.
In his 2010 SALN, Corona listed a condominium unit which he acquired in 2004 at P2.3 million and another unit he bought in 2010 valued at P6.8 million.
“These are very damning evidence insofar as the degree of honesty and integrity of the Chief Justice is concerned,” Quimbo said.
“SALN is a matter that is placed under oath and we will show later as far as these properties are concerned…Makikita natin ‘yung talagang mabibigat na ebidensya laban kay (We’ll see in the stronger evidence against) Chief Justice Corona,” he added.
Aside from Rutaquio, two other witnesses — Carlo Alcantara and Sedfrey Garcia, registers of deeds of Quezon City and Marikina City, respectively — appeared before the Senate to testify on other properties in the name of Corona and relatives.
Quimbo said the prosecution would present more witnesses in the coming days to testify on the alleged properties that Corona allegedly failed to declare in his SALN.
The total value of these properties, Quimbo said, was grossly disproportionate to Corona’s income since he joined government in 1992.
“Based on his SALNs from 1992 to 2002 as presented by our witness from the Office of the President, his overall assets from 1992 to 2002 hardly moved. But when he joined the Supreme Court, his assets of P7.5 million in 2003 practically tripled to P22 million after nine years,” Quimbo added.
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