Prosecution tells Corona: Honor commitment to disclose all bank accounts

February 15, 2012 11:12 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, Feb. 15 — Impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona should make good on his promise to senator-judges and the Filipino people that he will open all his bank accounts, including his dollar deposits that are now subject of a temporary restraining order (TRO) by the Supreme Court, the House of Representatives’ prosecution panel said.

“The defense lawyers and the chief justice himself made a commitment that they will open all his bank accounts – both peso and dollar – in due course and we will have to take their word for it,” said panel spokesman Aurora Rep. Sonny Angara.

Voting 13-10, the Senate resolved on Monday to comply with the TRO, preventing the impeachment court from examining the chief magistrate’s dollar accounts believed to contain at least US$ 700,000 or roughly P30 million.

Marikina City Rep. Miro Quimbo, however, said an assurance from the defense team to open the dollar accounts “provides some kind of relief to this temporary setback.”

“We welcome the commitment made by the chief justice and his counsels. We thought there was no other way for us to see the contents of Mr. Corona’s dollar accounts after the Senate ruling until we get this commitment from the defense,” Quimbo said.

Republic Act 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act guarantees absolute confidentiality of bank accounts denominated in a foreign currency. There is only one exception to the confidentiality of foreign currency deposits: it can be examined only with the consent of the depositor.

House Deputy Speaker Erin Tañada said they hoped Corona would issue a written consent in connection with his dollar accounts “at the soonest possible time.”

“We couldn’t wait to see the dollar deposits of the chief justice. We’re glad Mr. Corona himself will make these accounts public. The prosecution expects him to sign a written permission to that effect,” Tañada said.

In last Monday’s hearing, one of Corona’s lawyers, Jose Roy III, told the impeachment tribunal their client did not authorize them to release his bank information because he himself will do it in “due course.”

“Let me be clear. This is the way we understood our instructions. The Chief Justice has informed us and authorized us to announce that he would disclose the bank accounts himself at the appropriate time. That is what we mean by ‘in due course,’” Roy said in response to a query by senator-judge Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III.

Corona is being accused of failing to make truthful and honest declaration in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) in violation of the Constitution and existing laws. (PNA) RMA/jfm

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