Senator says Corona’s dollar accounts not in his SALN
MANILA, Philippines—Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged failure to declare his dollar accounts in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) has caught the attention of a senator-judge on Day 29 of the impeachment trial.
Assuming Corona could explain why he only declared P3.5 million cash in his 2010 SALN when the prosecution team claimed he has more than P31 million in bank accounts, Senator Teofisto Guingona III asked why the Chief Justice did not declare any of his dollar accounts in his SALN.
A temporary restraining order was issued by the Supreme Court against opening of Corona’s alleged dollar accounts with the Philippine Savings Bank.
“What I would like to find out is how come the dollar account, hindi po naka declare dito sa SALN (was not declared in the SALN)?” Guingona said at the resumption of the impeachment trial on Wednesday, directing his question to Corona’s lead counsel, former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas.
“You agreed with Senator (Panfilo) Lacson that a SALN has to be accurate, truthful?” asked Guingona.
“By accurate, we don’t mean centavo per centavo, peso per peso…” Cuevas said.
“In so far as the dollar deposit is concerned, we have not gone that far your honor. There’s no necessity for revelation of this because this is covered by exemption provided for under the foreign deposit account,” the chief defense lawyer added.
“But there’s no indication of its existence in the SALN,” Guingona pointed out.
At this point, Senate president and presiding officer Juan Ponce-Enrile intervened and said the Senate should wait for the reception of evidence from the defense team before they tackle the issue.
Before this, Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero estimated that only six properties out of 24 properties offered as evidence by the prosecution team remained unexplained based on his own computation.
Of the 24 titles allegedly owned by Corona, Escudero pointed out that three were parking lots and have no titles, three other parking lots were already incorporated in a title for a condominium unit, five were already admitted by Corona while the seven other titles in Marikina were already identified as the ones sold to a relative of the Chief Justice.
“Yong hindi niya (Corona) inaamin na lamang ay anim,” said Escudero, directing his statement to chief prosecutor and Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr.
“Yong wala pang tangka pa po pagpapaliwanag,” said Tupas.
Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada then asked the chief prosecutor if he now admits that Corona did not own 45 properties as earlier claimed by the prosecution team.
“So inaamin niyo po ngayon Cong. Tupas na hindi po 45 properties ang pagmamay-ari ni Chief Justice?” Estrada asked.
“Hindi po 45,” said Tupas.