Santiago wants to know Corona’s real intent in filing incomplete SALN

March 20, 2012 2:02 am 

MANILA, March 19 -– As the impeachment trial marked its 31st day on Monday, Senator-judge Miriam Defensor Santiago instructed both the prosecution and defense panels to show the real intent of Chief Justice Renato Corona in not filling up completely his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

Santiago, a trial judge who recently elected as the next judge of the International Criminal Court (ICC), made her challenge after Corona failed to fill up the acquisition cost of his properties well as his bank deposits in his 2010 SALN.

”I will challenge these two panels: prosecution, show that there is intent to commit dishonesty on the part of the defendant. On the part of the defense: show that your client was in good faith when he declared in his SALN all his deposits both peso and dollar deposits, and if he did not, why not. Please take this accordingly,” Santiago instructed the two panels as she delivered manifestation at the start of the resumption of the impeachment trial.

Both panels agreed to comply with Santiago’s instruction which was supported by fellow Senator-judges Joker Arroyo and Pia Cayetano.

”Is a correctable offense an impeachable offense?,” Arroyo asked the defense and the prosecution.

”I agree with Senator Santiago, defense should prove that Corona disclosed all his bank accounts and explain if he didn’t,” Cayetano said.

For his part, Senator-judge Francis ‘Kiko’ Pangilinan also asked the defense and prosecution panel to submit memorandum on standard of conduct of members of judiciary and legislative.

Lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas of Iloilo said prosecution will submit memorandum while acting defense lead counsel Atty. Joel Bodegon also agreed but explained that SALN form does not require disclosure of bank accounts.

In her manifestation, Santiago said prosecution should at least show substantial evidence in proving the impeachment case.

”Supreme Court says gross misconduct should be proven by evidence showing intention to violate law. That’s what prosecution has to prove. You have work cut out for you. Show that an omission or misdeclaration was deliberately intended by Coronas," Santiago said.

Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile said it is not yet time for both panels to submit legal memorandum since the prosecution and defense panels will submit their legal opinion during the formal offer of their case after the trial.

”Let’s go on the trial and let’s hear the defense present the case because we will not decide the case based on manifestation,” Enrile said as he instructed the defense to present its witnesses.

The defense presented Makati City assessor Mario Badillo and Atty. Carlo Alcantara, chief of the Registry of Deeds of Quezon City.

Badillo presented the tax declaration of Mrs. Corona’s The Columns condominium unit with current fair market value of P1.2 million and assessed value of P726,000 which Corona declared in his 2010 SALN.

On the other hand, Alcantara was presented on the basis of non-inclusion of La Vista and Ayala Heights properties in Corona’s SALN. He showed documents showing La Vista property sold to Corona’s daughter Carlo Castillo while the Ayala Heights property was sold to Rodel Rivera and Amelia Rivera.

Like his other properties, Corona did not also indicate the acquisition cost of his The Columns property acquired in 2003. (PNA) DCT/jfm


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