Chief Justice insists he did not change his story
MANILA, Philippines (3rd UPDATE) - Chief Justice Renato Corona is standing by a recent statement he issued pointing out that he and his wife did not own any property in the United States.
Corona pointed out that he did not change any story when he subsequently said her daughter brought a property there. The chief magistrate stressed he merely answered a question posed by reporters.
“The question to me was whether I or my wife owned any property in the US. We do not,” Corona said in a text message sent to reporters.
A blogger has written about information that Corona's youngest daughter, Maria Charina, a physical therapist, bought a property in California 22 days before buying the 203-square meter P6.2 million Mc Kinley property in 2008.
“What my daughter owns is hers, not mine nor my wife’s. So, what story did I supposedly change?” Corona asked.
In a chance interview with Corona's wife, Cristina, at the sidelines of the Supreme Court weekday noontime mass for the Chief Justice, she also said:"If my daughter bought property, that is hers, hindi sa amin."
Corona denied on Sunday that he owned real estate property in the US in response to blogger Raissa Robles' blog entry linking the Coronas to two properties in the US.
In a statement, Corona said: “The addresses cited by Raissa Robles were the apartments rented by my two daughters, both licensed physical therapists in the United States, at various times over the past 14 years. These were, therefore, temporary mailing addresses at those various times... We do not own any property in the US."
On Monday, a newspaper bannered the story on the Chief Magistrate's supposed changing of his story on the California property when he said, via text message to reporters, that his daughter acquired the property “dirt cheap at the height of the mortgage foreclosures in the US.”
The chief magistrate pointed out that daughter Charina bought the property on installment basis with a 30-year to pay term. Charina put a 10-precent down payment to acquire the property, he stressed.
In her blog, Raissa Robles said “can a physical therapist raising two children and drawing salary from a hospital afford a pricey condo on top of a three-bedroom house in Roseville, California almost at the same time?”
Still undecided on dollar accounts
Meantime, defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador said it was unfair for Robles to insinuate that the property Charina bought in the US was not hers but Chief Justice Corona's.
Salvador reiterated that Charina had the means to buy the property in the US, even though it was bought 22 days before she purchased the McKinley Hills property in Taguig.
Although Salvador admitted he doesn't know the details of the purchase, such as the Interspousal Grant Deed which Carlos Salgado -- Charina's husband --- signed, which proved that Carlos waived all his rights to the property, he said this is not connected to the impeachment case.
He said the prosecution has rested its case, and if they want to discuss the issue in the impeachment court, then they have to amend the articles of impeachment.
As of now, the defense team still hasn't decided whether or not the dollar accounts should be opened voluntarily in court since the accounts are covered by a TRO issued by the SC. -- with a report from Jing Castañeda, ABS-CBN News