Corona lawyers on Ana Basa interview: Why only now? These are old issues
Why only now?
Lawyers of Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday questioned the timing of the interview that Ana Basa, a daughter of Jose Maria Basa III, gave to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, dismissing her accusations as a mere rehash of previous allegations against Corona.
“If they really believe they have a cause of action against the Chief Justice, then it would be better if they just file the case,” Ramon Esguerra, one of Corona’s defense counsels, said over the phone.
Esguerra said Basa’s decision to come out in the media was “very suspect” because it came a week before the defense was set to present evidence in Corona’s impeachment trial in the Senate.
He noted that the allegations against Corona involved incidents which happened “decades ago and [are] not, in any way, connected” with the impeachment trial.
“Why go to the media? Is it because we’re about to present our case? I think this is intended just to malign the Chief Justice,” Esguerra said. “These are old issues. Why revive them now?”
Tranquil Salvador III, one of the defense panel’s spokespersons, declined to comment fully on Basa’s revelations “because we’re not the lawyers” of Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI).
Salvador said the defense panel was just being careful not to speak on matters not within their competence. “We will be showing something if it’s our time to present evidence, but not (before the media),” he said in a separate interview.
Esguerra insisted that Corona’s wife, Cristina, was “virtually the owner” of BGEI when a transaction between the company and the city government of Manila was made.
“Who was the controlling (party) during that time? You better check it out. The way I look at it, (Cristina) was the virtual owner of BGEI,” he said.
“Anyway, the money is still intact. The Coronas withdrew the money apparently in anticipation of this impeachment trial.”
Asked about the supposed unauthorized release of BGEI funds to Corona, Salvador said: “We’re not in a position to say something on that. We cannot determine the truth or falsity of those allegations.”
If at all, he said Basa’s allegation “is a confirmation that the funds in question are not (owned) by the Chief Justice.”
“That matter is clear. That’s a confirmation that the funds are not pooled by the Chief Justice and the money was not ill-gotten,” Salvador said.
As to the purported gun-poking incident, Salvador said: “I will ask him (Corona) about it. But to my mind, it’s not in the character and personality of the Chief Justice to do those things.”
He said it was “hard to say” that Corona influenced the judge to drop the estafa case that Cristina’s relatives had filed against her regarding the intracorporate squabble.
“We always presume regularity in the conduct of the proceedings of a judge. In a regular manner, no amount of influence may affect a judge,” he said.
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