Chief Justice’s dollars | Inquirer News

Chief Justice’s dollars

/ 08:05 AM February 14, 2012

The trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is becoming more interesting now that the SC issued a temporary restraining order barring the Senate sitting as an impeachment court from opening Corona’s PSBank dollar account because the foreign currency secrecy law protects foreign investors from opening dollar accounts to scrutiny without the account owner’s permission.

Senators are in a quandary whether  to contest the SC order. Some Senators-jurors believe that the impeachment court cannot be prevented by the Supreme Court from performing its function though the presiding judge indicated they would respect the SC order. Yesterday the top story of the Inquirer was about the defense’s claim that President Benigno Aquino III is dangling P100 million for each senator who will defy the High Court.

That accusation, said Sen. Panfilo Lacson, is rubbish, though the defense insisted that it is true as they got their information from an insider. But what was quite ironic is that defense team leader former justice Serafin Cuevas was not in the press conference. Cuevas earlier accused Malacañang of pressing him to quit the team in exchange for a favorable ruling in the Gatdula case. Cuevas later denied his story.


I think the burden of proving their accusation now lies with  the defense team because what they are doing is preempting the impeachment court from coming up with a decision related to the SC order. This definitely will not sit well with the senator-judges. I think the defense is distracting the trial from the real issue that is the contents of the dollar account of Chief Justice Corona. I suspect its opening would in a way prove that the Chief Justice did not fully disclose his true net worth.


Funny but the prosecution got information that in PSbank Corona had deposits of about US $700,000 or about P30 million that he would be hard-pressed to explain and account for. The way I look at it, the spirit of the law only protects the interest of the foreign investors from the prying eye of the government but does not protect an erring government official from wrongdoing while in government service. The SC ruling would only encourage our government officials to steal money from the people’s coffers and deposit in a dollar account so that it cannot be open to public scrutiny. That is contrary to the provision of the Constitution about the accountability of public officials.

I hope that the Senate would stand its ground.  I hope that the Senate can help clarify the confusion that the SC got itself into to set the direction of the impeachment trial. Finding out the truth plays a very important factor especially in the drive of the government to cleanse our bureaucracy of graft and corruption.

* * *

Last week’s earthquake showed many deficiencies in the way government agencies face  an emergency.   Consider the tsunami scare that panicked  many people in Cebu City.  A  government agency has to act immediately to inform  people about the true situation in any emergency and explain warnings like the one they issued to alert people against a tsunami.

The  pandemonium was aggravated because s no government agency took charge and went on radio to announce that fears of a tsunami smashing Cebu harbor and downtown Cebu Ctiy were baseless.

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TAGS: PSBank, Supreme Court

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