Sandiganbayan asked to dismiss perjury charges vs late CJ Corona
The lawyers of the late Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday filed a motion to dismiss the perjury charges against the deceased magistrate for false declarations of wealth.
In his motion to dismiss filed before the anti-graft court Third Division, the lawyers of Corona said the latter’s death “totally extinguishes his supposed criminal and civil liabilities.”
The court has yet to release its resolution finding probable cause to hold Corona on trial.
Corona’s lawyers cited the rules of criminal procedures which state that upon the death of the accused before arraignment, the case will be dismissed without prejudice to a civil action against the estate of the deceased.
“Considering the foregoing, and in view of the untimely demise of accused, a fact which was reported in the news and media, and is requested to be made of judicial notice, undersigned counsel respectfully pray that this Honorable Court dismisses the instant cases against the accused,” Corona’s motion said.
The motion was signed by his lawyers Magilyn Loja and Reody Anthony Balisi.
Corona, who battled diabetes, died of cardiac arrest on April 29. He was 67.
Corona was impeached by Congress in 2012 for false declarations of wealth in his statement of assets and liabilities (SALN).
As a result of his impeachment, the Ombudsman charged Corona before the Sandiganbayan with eight counts of perjury and eight counts of violations of Republic Act 6713, or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, which require public officials to file truthful SALNs.
During its investigation, the Ombudsman said from 2001 to 2011, Corona and his spouse earned a total of P30.4 million, of which P27.1 million was earned by Corona as an official at the Office of the President, a Supreme Court justice, member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).
On the other hand, his wife, Cristina, earned P3.2 million for 2007-2010, based on the Alpha List submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by the John Hay Development Corp. (JHDC) where she was employed.
But from 2002 to 2010, Corona’s cash deposits ballooned from P1.34 million to P137.9 million, the resolution said.
By 2010, the cumulative discrepancy between his SALN declaration and his actual cash deposits had amounted to P134.4 million.
The resolution also cited records of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) on several properties owned by the Corona spouses in Quezon City, Makati City and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, which were found to be significantly undervalued by P17.3 million.
With these allegations, the Ombudsman also slapped Corona and his wife Cristina with a P130.59 million civil forfeiture case. JE/rga
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