Senator-judges allow Morales to show powerpoint presentation on CJ dollar accounts

May 14, 2012 10:54 pm 

By Jelly F. Musico

MANILA, May 14 – The Senate, sitting as impeachment court, unanimously ruled on Monday to allow Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to use powerpoint presentation to explain how she came up with a conclusion that impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona has at least US$ 10 million accounts.

The defense lead counsel, former Justice Serafin Cuevas, repeatedly opposed the attempts of prosecution lawyer Mario Bautista to let Morales explain, including through powerpoint presentation, the alleged US$ 10 million bank deposits of the chief magistrate.

”Apparently, there is no competency on the part of this (powerpoint presentation) report to explain the AMLC (Anti-Money Laundering Council) report,” Cuevas said.

With this, Senate President and Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile was forced to submit the opposition of Cuevas to a vote and all the senator-judges agreed to allow the powerpoint presentation.

”If you don’t want a powerpoint presentation from the Ombudsman, I will submit it to the body for a vote,” Enrile said.

Senator-Judge Panfilo Lacson made the motion after colleagues Loren Legarda and Miriam Defensor-Santiago urged the defense to give the Ombudsman a chance to explain the figures on the documents.

”I hold that the presentation is relevant and should be admitted,” Santiago said.

Morales requested to seek the assistance of Commission on Audit (CoA) Commissioner Haidee Mendoza in the powerpoint presentation, but Enrile turned down the request.

The Ombudsman readily agreed and enumerated Corona’s alleged 82 dollar accounts in five banks, amounting to “at least US$ 10 million in transactional balances” from 2003 to 2011.

Morales said she made significant observation that most of the transactions occurred in the 2004 and 2007 elections and on the day the Chief Justice was impeached on December 12, last year.

”On the day he was impeached, the chief justice terminated account with an amount of 418,193.32 dollars in which 417,978.80 dollars have been transferred to Bank of the Philippines Island account,” Morales told the court.

”There is a circuitous fund movement in Corona’s principal dollar accounts,” she added.

Morales said Anti-Money Laundering Council Executive Director Vicente Aquino gave her the 17-page summary report on Corona’s dollar accounts.

The AMLC, according to the Ombudsman, conducted the investigation after she turned over the complaints filed by former House partylist Rep. Liza Hontiveros-Baraquel and others before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Aside from the BPI, Morales said Corona has also dollar deposits in Philippine Savings Bank, Allied Bank, Deutsche Bank and CitiBank.

Morales admitted to the court that she has to seek the assistance of the CoA in coming out with the conclusion that Corona has at least US$ 10 dollar deposits.

”My computation, arrived at with CPA lawyers, is that Corona’s fresh deposits amounted to more than $ 12 million,” Morales said.

The Ombudsman, however, admitted that she cannot determine the balance by the end-period of the AMLC report.

Morales, 71, has to ask the presiding officer to use magnifying lens to read clearly the figures.

”Go ahead. Anyway, I’m also using magnifying glass,” the 88-year-old Enrile said.

The defense panel asked that it be provided with a hard copy of the Ombudsman’s powerpoint presentation on Corona’s dollar accounts. (PNA) scs/jfm

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