Ombudsman Morales: AMLC report shows Chief Justice Corona has US$ 10-M accounts

May 14, 2012 10:54 pm 

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

MANILA, May 14 – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales took the witness stand on Monday as a "hostile witness" of the defense during the 37th day of the impeachment trial against Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona at the Senate Session Hall in Pasay City.

Before the start of Morales' testimony, the defense lead counsel, retired SC Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, told the Senate impeachment court that the declaration of the Ombudsman under oath would prove that Chief Justice Corona has no US$ 10-million account.

Cuevas said that the defense would also prove that the investigation of the Ombudsman on the alleged Corona dollar account is illegal.

He also cited the dissenting opinion of Morales in the appointment of Corona as Chief Justice on May 17, 2010 by then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

At this juncture, Morales said that she has always clung to her earlier decision if she knows that her decision is correct.

When asked by Cuevas about the letter she sent to Corona to explain within "72 hours" his side on the alleged US$ 10 million account, Morales said that she sought the assistance of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) and formed a panel to look into the complaints on Corona's alleged dollar accounts.

Morales told the senator-judges that they received information that there are several dollar accounts with the aggregate amount of US$ 10 million in the name of the Chief Justice which is violative of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

On the other hand, House prosecution private counsel Mario Bautista told the impeachment court that the mere fact that the Ombudsman is investigating the respondent does not make her as an adverse witness.

The court ruled that the Ombudsman is a "hostile witness" for the defense.

Morales said that the Office of the Ombudsman is merely conducting a fact-finding investigation on the Chief Justice and is not yet in the process of determining probable cause.

She cited Section 26 of the Ombudsman Act as the basis for making the request for assistance from the AMLC.

Morales said that attached to the complaints are newspaper clippings, stressing that before she sought the assistance of the AMLC, she first furnished the AMLC with the copy of the complaints.

She said that the complaints did not mention about the US$ 10 million, but added that based on the 17-page report of the AMLC, there are dollar accounts in the name of the Chief Justice in the aggregate amount of US$ 10 million.

Morales said she thought that it was not necessary to mention the US$ 10-million dollar accounts in her letter to the Chief Justice for him to reply on the complaints filed against him before the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman said that if the US$ 10-million is not included in the impeachment complaint against the Chief Justice, then probably, it may be the subject of another impeachment complaint in December.

Under cross-examination by Bautista, Morales presented to the impeachment court the 17-page report of the AMLC which contained 705 entries or transactions, which Morales confirmed. (PNA) scs/PTR


One Response to “Ombudsman Morales: AMLC report shows Chief Justice Corona has US$ 10-M accounts”

  1. lorna angeles on May 15th, 2012 8:19 am

    Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales’ testimony is likened to a can of worms opened.