Carla Corona ended up owning 90% of Basa-Guidote
MANILA, Philippines - The Corona defense team on Tuesday presented witnesses who testified on the transfer of shares of stock in Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI) from Basa family members to Chief Justice Renato Corona's daughter, Carla, to explain how the Coronas were able to purchase real properties using BGEI funds.
Carla became the major stockholder of the company of her mother’s relatives, the Basas, in 2003 after the Basas lost a libel case against Mrs. Cristina Corona.
Corona’s wife sold a BGEI property in Sampaloc to the city of Manila in 2001 for P34.7 million, which was later deposited in one of Corona's bank accounts.
Defense lawyer Judd Roy said Carla later entrusted the funds from the sale “to a custodian,” as agreed to by “family members.”
How Carla ended up controlling BGEI stemmed from a libel case filed by Cristina against her uncle, Jose Ma. Basa III, before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court.
Mr. Basa had placed advertisements in national newspapers contesting Cristina's role in BGEI. He issued public notices and subsequently filed an estafa case against Cristina.
In her testimony on Tuesday, Branch 216 Clerk of Court Lucita Cristi said a decision was rendered on September 5, 2001 ordering Jose and the other respondents to pay Cristina moral damages and attorney’s fees totaling P500,000.
The Bases appealed but it was junked on September 2, 2002. The trial court judge later issued a writ of execution on April 24, 2003.
Auction of BGEI property
Testifying for the defense, the court’s sheriff, Joseph Bisnar, said a public sale of the shares was conducted after the Basas failed to honor the writ of execution.
Bisnar said Carla, Cristina and their lawyers were the only ones who appeared during the auction. Total shares sold were 4,829 at a pegged price of P28,000.
This made Carla the major stockholder of the company, owning 90.87% of shares of stock.
Senator Franklin Drilon, however, questioned the authority given to Cristina for the sale of the BGEI lot to the city of Manila. He said it was not the “shareholders” who gave her the go-signal.
The property sale, it was noted, was also in 2001 or before Carla purchased the stocks.
The defense said, however, that Cristina then only held the receivables from the sale “in trust” for the company.
Should levy be imposed on properties of the dead?
The prosecution later questioned the witnesses, noting that a garnish cannot be imposed on Jose because he died on August 29, 2002. Private prosecutors also noted that Cristina himself knew of her uncle’s death, but she still filed a writ of execution on the libel case.
The prosecution also asked Bisnar, “did you not first ask that they pay the demand sought for in the decision?” The sheriff answered: “[Jose] was not there when I executed the decision. I did not know that he was already dead. The only one present then was the caretaker.”
Prosecutor Winston Ginez noted, however, that the writ was served in Sampaloc, the ancestral home of Cristina. Ginez said Jose’s address was on record to be in Libis.
Ginez asked, “Who told you that [Jose et al] was in Sampaloc?” Bisnar said it was Cristina’s lawyers and an official of BGEI.
The prosecutor said it was Cristina herself who told the court about the supposed address of the respondents.
Ginez later asked Bisnar if it was his first time to issue a levy on the stocks. Before he could answer, however, the defense questioned the rules from which the prosecution was basing their questions.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said, however, that the rules did not matter at that point because “the court is also interested if there was machination in the sale of shares of stock.”