LRA searched in computer for list of Corona properties, exec admits
MANILA, Philippines – The list of 45 properties that were allegedly under the name of Chief Justice Renato Corona was “computer-generated from different registry of deeds,” an official of the Land Registration Authority told the Senate, acting as an impeachment court, at the resumption of Corona’s trial Tuesday.
LRA Administrator Eulalio Diaz III said that when he received a phone call from Representative and chief prosecutor Niel Tupas on January 10, asking for the list of properties in the name of the Chief Justice and his relatives, they simply punched the names of the people requested and the 45 titles appeared.
Diaz made the admission in response to a question by Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile how he got the list of Corona’s titles.
The defense has maintained that Corona actually owned only five of the 45 properties allegedly under his name.
Corona lawyer Noel Lazaro said that of the 45 properties, 17 were cancelled titles, four referred to a condominium unit and three parking lots at “The Bellagio” and seven were in Marikina.
The defense had presented witnesses and documents showing that The Bellagio properties belonged to Corona’s daughter, Maria Charina, while the Marikina properties were already sold to a relative – Demetrio Vicente – in 1990.
“That makes six in this list [but] there is a big lot that has actually two titles your honor,” Lazaro said in explaining how the 45 properties were trimmed to five during a direct examination of the LRA chief.
Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada then asked why there were titles in the names of former Quezon City Mayor Ismhael Mathay and the National Housing Authority, Diaz said because the titles were sold to a certain Constantino Castillo, the name sake of Corona’s son-in-law.
“You have to be sure next time around kasi pinagyayabang ng prosecution that the respondents own 45 properties…” Estrada said.
Senator Joker Arroyo also stood up and slammed what he described as cavalier attitude of the administration and the prosecution.
“Quite frankly you misled the public by announcing 45,” Arroyo said, directing his statement to Tupas, adding that the accusation against the Chief Justice was “terribly unfair” for him.
In his opening statement, Lazaro said they presented Diaz to prove the “motive,” “bias,” and the “bad faith” of the prosecution when they filed the complaint against Corona.
The appearance of Diaz came even after strong opposition by the prosecutors , saying they have clarified that Corona’s properties were not 45 but only 21.
Private prosecutor Jose Justiniano repeated this objection but Enrile allowed the witness to testify.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.