Properties of Corona spouses bared on 6th day of impeachment trial

January 25, 2012 11:09 pm 

MANILA, Jan. 25 – Some of the properties acquired by Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife, Maria Cristina Corona were divulged during the sixth day of the impeachment trial against the Chief Justice before the Senate Impeachment Court on Wednesday.

During her testimony, Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares authenticated a certified true copy of a certificate authorizing registration (CAR), showing the buyer as Cristina Corona dated Sept. 16, 2005 and valid until 2006 with acquisition cost of P9,159,940 for a property in Global City, Taguig City, particularly Bellagio Condominium property.

Also presented was a certified true copy of a CAR with name of the buyer spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona on a 303.3 square meters (sq. m.) property in Bellagio valued at P14,510,225.00 dated Dec. 17, 2009 valid until 2010.

It was also disclosed that a property in the name of the buyer Renato Corona and Cristina Corona with acquisition cost of P2,508,000 dated Dec. 8, 2003.

Likewise, a CAR showing the seller as Cristina Corona of a property consisting of a parcel of land measuring 1,200 sq.m. costing P18 million dated Oct. 22, 2010.

Henares also authenticated a CAR showing a 260-sq.m. property sold on March 12, 2010 with selling price P8 million.

She testified on the shares of stock in the Palms and Country Club, Inc. dated Dec. 5, 2011 with selling price of P700,000, whose buyers are spouses Renato Corona and Cristina Corona.

The hearing was adjourned at 5:10 p.m.

Next hearing will be tomorrow (Thursday) at 2 p.m.

In a press conference, Defense Spokespersons lawyers Tranquil Salvador III and Karen Jimeno said that the presentation of the properties marked in CAR transactions involving the properties was not surprising at all.

They said that the said properties were all declared in the SALN, which are reported in the SALN of Chief Justice Corona and the same are also the documents for the defense panel.

Jimeno said that there were allegations which were excluded in the verified impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice.

The defense spokespersons said that the Chief Justice had been accused of many allegations, but without evidence.

Salvador said that it was not proper to compare the ITRs (Income Tax Returns) and SALNs (Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth) of Chief Justice Corona such that ITR shows the source of income.

The P11 million in the SALN, Salvador said, came from a loan which was paid in installment basis.

The defense panel said that they were admitting all the evidences of the prosecution panel in the sense that such evidences were also the evidences of the defense.

They asked that let the Impeachment Court examine the SALN in question based on the warning of the Impeachment Court that the merits of the case should not be discussed in public.

Salvador cited the reminder of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, the presiding officer of the Impeachment Court, on the prosecution about what is the purpose of the presentation of their evidence.

The "Speedy Trial Act", Salvador said, guarantees the right of an accused to a speedy trial of a case filed against him.

Jimeno said that they were still hoping for an "impartial justice" during the entire duration of the impeachment proceedings.

She said that the comparison between SALN and the ITR was not accurate measurement of one's financial capability to acquire properties and that doing such comparison was again a violation of the Impeachment Court's ruling against the disclosure of the merits of the case in public.

In due time, Salvador said, they believed all of these (continuing objection) would be validated in pursuit of one's right to due process.

Likewise, the defense spokespersons also said that the defense should not be faulted for the delay in the impeachment proceedings.

"We have come prepared, we have done our work and we have remained respectful of the institution of the Senate as well as the Senator-Judges," Salvador said.

The defense works on what was presented in the "verified" complaint of impeachment, he said.

"Not on allegations and conjectures. We have our list of witnesses and evidence we want to present to the Impeachment Court. When the Court tells us to submit a Memorandum, we do so because that is the right thing to do. We do not wait for a deadline. So to say and play up in media that we are the cause of delay is absurd and uncalled for," Salvador said.

He said that "as spokespersons for the Defense, we stick to our role. The role of spokespersons is to explain and elaborate the legal details and make sure Juan dela Cruz understands what is happening. We do not tell a different story from what is happening in the arena of the Impeachment Court. The various media organizations have been witnesses of our decorum and our effort to reach out and explain the position of the Defense."

The defense, Salvador said, would seek all legal remedies in order to defend the rights of CJ Corona but "we will abide with the wisdom of the Impeachment Court as it makes a ruling on the presentation of evidence."

Salvador said that "as in any trial, the remedies are all in the rules." (PNA) RMA/PTR

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