Corona told Palace reporter Mia Gonzalez his dad was a BIR official
SC spokesman, however, said Corona’s parents had money
(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)
Chief Justice Renato Corona could afford to own luxury properties like the Bellagio penthouse because he was a man “not of ordinary means”, Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said.
In one interview Marquez gave to ABS-CBN’ Umagang Kay Ganda last December, Marquez said:
Dapat nating isipin, hindi sa pagmamayabang, ang ating Punong Mahistrado buong buhay niya sa Ateneo nag-aaral yan. Hindi naman mura magpaaral sa Ateneo. Pagkatapos ng kanyang pag-aabogasya, nag-master’s pa yan sa Harvard, sa Boston. Aba e, hindi rin mura yun. Siguro naman, capable bumili ng condominium unit ang ating Punong Mahistrado. May kaya. Hindi ko sinasabing milyonaryo o bilyonaryo pero may kaya naman.
I’ve always wondered why the camp of the Chief Justice, including Marquez, was quite sketchy with details about the pomp and circumstance of Corona’s parents. His biographical profile on the Supreme Court website merely states his father was a lawyer.
Early this year, I had the occasion to do a feature on Corona for the South China Morning Post (HK). Among those I interviewed was Marites Dañguilan Vitug who had written the book Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court.
She gave me a transcript of one of the primary sources she had used for her book. It was a lengthy interview conducted by a reporter for Newsbreak magazine with Corona in 2002, soon after he was appointed Associate Justice of the Supreme Court by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Marites allowed me to publish this wide-ranging interview on my blog but said I could not disclose the reporter‘s name. I am sure, though, that CJ Corona knows who the reporter is.
I am publishing the raw transcript of the interview in full because it shows CJ Corona at his most candid, and excited moment. It also shows his character.
And it sheds light on the following assertion made by his supporters, lawyers and himself that have a bearing on his ongoing impeachment trial.
The reporter who interviewed CJ Corona at length and who made this raw transcript from her taped interview is Romina Gonzalez. She is better known in the industry under her byline Mia Gonzalez.
She has since lost the tape but the transcript is intact.
I have just talked to Mia to ask her permission to identify her by name, and she agreed.
Mia, who now writes for Business Mirror newspaper, has been covering Malacanang Palace (and four of its occupants) since 1994 to this day. She told me she interviewed Corona when he was still the spokesman of then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and when he was the Deputy Executive Secretary to President Fidel Ramos.
Mia has that rare distinction of being the only Filipino journalist ever to be nearly arrested by the police for the alleged crime of libel, right inside the presidential palace grounds. You can read about that here.
The libel suit was filed by one of the Palace occupants named Jose Miguel Arroyo. He has since dropped it.