Catholic schools urge CJ to reveal dollar accounts

by Ivy Jean Vibar,

Posted at Feb 13 2012 02:00 PM | Updated as of Feb 13 2012 10:00 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Catholic Educational Association of the Philippines (CEAP) has urged Chief Justice Renato Corona to set an example to others occupying high positions in the government by allowing or providing his written permission to open his foreign currency deposits “in order for the truth to come out.”

“The CEAP believes that CJ Corona’s voluntary assent to open his foreign currency deposit accounts can set the tone for authentic judicial reforms by letting the Impeachment Proceedings run its course and not insist on meeting the Legislative branches ‘head-on’ with this issue, lest it would stir conditions ripe for a Constitutional crisis in our country,” CEAP said.

CEAP also cited “moral integrity” and “propriety” as important reasons for Corona to disclose his accounts, because doing so, the organization said, would let Filipinos continue to have faith in government.

Last week, the Supreme Court (SC) issued a Temporary Restraining Order on the presentation of Corona’s dollar accounts at the impeachment court.

This morning, senator-judges held a caucus to discuss whether the SC has jurisdiction over the impeachment trial, as well as over his dollar accounts. The SC has deferred deciding on Corona’s petition for the SC to also issue a TRO over impeachment proceedings.

CEAP is a national association comprising 1,345 Catholic schools, colleges and universities. Among its board members are officials of schools such as Adamson Univeristy, Ateneo de Zamboanga,  De La Salle University, and St. Scholastica’s College, among others.

Department of Education Secretary Br. Armin Luistro FSC served as the treasurer of CEAP before his appointment to the Aquino cabinet.

Last week, an official of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) also called for Corona to allow the opening of his dollar accounts. According to Fr. Edu Gariguez of the CBCP’s National Secretariat for Social Action, the Chief Justice should allow the examination of his accounts to prove there’s nothing wrong.

“From the start, he said that his conscience is clear…so what’s in there that he is afraid of?” Gariguez was quoted in a CBCP News article.

Corona and his defense lawyers have said that they will explain and disclose information about the chief justice's bank accounts in due time. Karen Jimeno, a defense team spokesperson, said last week that owning a dollar account is not a crime, and that Corona's money in various banks are savings before he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002.

In January, the CBCP said in a press conference that it hopes the impeachment process is resolved soon because it is slowing down government services.

It also encouraged Filipinos to reflect on the impeachment process and make their own judgment.