MANILA - Former Chief Justice Renato Corona on Wednesday said he is not surprised by the filing of new charges by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales against him, noting that Morales testified in his Senate impeachment trial that led to his ouster.
In a statement, Corona reiterated his earlier defense in his impeachment trial that his peso and dollar deposits are the result of years and hard work.
The Ombudsman investigation revealed that Corona has unexplained wealth of at least P130,336,212.88.
"Whatever we have is the product of 45 years of hard, honest work. I have never been involved in any anomalous or illegal transaction in my life," he said.
He added: "This development, unfortunate as it is, is something we have been expecting all along. What fairness could we have expected from an Ombudsman who viciously prevaricated and testified against me as a malicious witness during my sham and multi-billion peso bribe-laden impeachment trial in 2012?"
Corona said the "merciless persecution" he is facing from the Ombudsman is a "replay" of the impeachment trial, which was allegedly funded using pork barrel and Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) funds.
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada earlier revealed he received additional funds after he voted to convict Corona in the impeachment trial, but said the money was not a bribe. Malacañang had said the DAP funds were also distributed to senators who voted to acquit Corona.
The former chief justice said Malacañang and its "attack dogs" have not been content with removing him from office.
"They have been filing all sorts of baseless and contrived cases against me and members of my family. I will fight this persecution to the very end, knowing that truth is on my side," he said.
Corona was appointed Supreme Court Associate Justice on April 2002, and then Chief Justice in 2010. He was removed by the Senate impeachment tribunal for failing to fully disclose his assets in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
The Bureau of Internal Revenue has also filed tax evasion charges worth P150.68 million against Corona, his daughter, Ma. Carla Beatriz C. Castillo, and son in law, Constantino T. Castillo III. The BIR said the charges against Corona total 12 tax violations including violation of Section 254 (attempting to evade or defeat taxes) and 255 (failing to file an income tax return) of the National Internal Revenue Code from 2003 to 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
In the latest case, the Ombudsman said Corona violated Republic Act No. 1379 and will face eight counts of perjury and eight counts of violation of Section 11 of RA No. 671 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials.