By Bad Seed
RESPONDENT COMMITTED CULPABLE VIOLATION OF THE CONSTITUTION AND/OR BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST WHEN HE FAILED TO DISCLOSE TO THE PUBLIC HIS STATEMENT OF ASSETS, LIABILITIES, AND NET WORTH AS REQUIRED UNDER SEC. 17, ART. XI OF THE 1987 CONSTITUTION.
Prosecution: Corona's posh condo not in asset statement
By Jonathan de Santos and Kathrina Alvarez
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
MANILA (Updated) -- The value of Chief Justice Renato Corona's properties is more than what he disclosed in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN).
This was what spokespersons for the House prosecution panel said after SALN records--later marked as evidence--were turned over to the Senate.
From 2009 to 2010, the worth of his real properties only increased by P4 million despite his purchase of a P14.5-million Bellagio penthouse, the prosecution panel said, citing his SALN.
The SALN records also showed that Corona's real properties from 2003 to 2009 was only "around P14 million." But in 2010, his properties were valued at P18 million, excluding the penthouse that he and his wife, Cristina owned.
The 303.5-square meter condominium unit was purchased on December 16, 2009 and the Condominium Certificate of Title was transferred in January 2010.
Corona's net worth for 2010 would have increased by P14.5 million had he declared The Bellagio property in his SALN.
"His (Corona) SALN did not change from 2003 to 2009, you can only assume that several properties were not in SALN," prosecution panel spokesperson Romero Frederico "Miro" Quimbo told reporters in a press briefing Wednesday.
"If he has five properties, it's either these properties are valued at P1 million or P3 million each, which certainly is not the case," Quimbo added.
Government and high-ranking public officials are required to file their SALN indicating their assets broken down into 1) real properties and 2) personal and other properties; liabilities (loans, mortgages, etc.; and net worth (total assets less total liabilities).
Corona earlier said he only owns five of the 45 properties he allegedly owns. The prosecution panel said records from the Land Registration Authority shows 45 properties were under the name of the Chief Justice and his family.
In his opening statement at the start of the impeachment trial, lead prosecutor Representative Niel Tupas Jr. presented some of the "prized pieces of the Corona crown jewels," including properties in: 1) Spanish Bay, Bonifacio Ridge, acquired October 2005, purchase price P9,159,940; 2) McKinley Hill, Fort Bonifacio, acquired October 21, 2008, purchase price P6,196,575; 3) The Bellagio Tower, Taguig, acquired December 2009, purchase price P14,510,225; 4) The Columns, in Makati, acquired in 2004; 5) One Burgundy Plaza acquired in 2003, purchase price P2,758,000; and 6) Number 57 Maranao Street, La Vista, acquired in 2003, zonal valuation P20.4 million, sold to his daughter for only P18 million.
Tupas said they "will prove at the proper time" if the properties declared in his SALN records were grossly undervalued or undeclared.
"Properties stated in the SALN were not specific...However, there were no amounts stated, like for instance, the Bellagio property...In the 10 SALN records submitted, there was no mention of it (Bellagio)," Tupas told reporters in a briefing after the trial.
Corona's net worth meanwhile are as follows: in 2002, he was worth P14.9 million; in 2003, P7 million; in 2004, P7 million; in 2005, P8 million; in 2006, P9 million; in 2007, 11 million; in 2008, P12 million; in 2009, P14 million; and in 2010, P22.9M.
Quimbo also said that the mere testimony of Supreme Court Clerk of Court Enriquetta Vidal that the SALN records were never disclosed to the public already shows that Corona is guilty of violating Republic Act 6713 or the "Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees."
"We cannot say that a mere SC circular is higher than the law," Deputy Speaker Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada, another spokesperson for the prosecution panel, said.
During the trial, Vidal cited a court resolution dated May 2, 1989 which bars SC justices from releasing their SALN.
A September 1992 en banc resolution, issued during the term of Chief Justice Andres Narvasa, further denied the disclosure of the SALN of the members of the Judiciary.
Defense panel to object ill-gotten wealth charge
For its part, the defense panel will "vehemently object" to charges of ill-gotten wealth that the prosecution is expected to argue in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Corona, saying it is not included in the articles of impeachment.