MANILA, Philippines - A prosecutor in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona suspects the chief magistrate’s "unexplained wealth" may have come from his alleged political patron, former President and now Pampanga 2nd district Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares said: “The Ombudsman should then follow through with her investigation as for the sources of the funds, and another glaring question is did they come from Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo…”
In her testimony before the Senate impeachment court, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said her investigation, with the assistance of the Anti-Money Laundering Council, showed Corona had at least 82 dollar accounts with $10 million-$12 million in “transactional balances.”
In her investigation report submitted to the House of Representatives, Morales likewise stated Corona may have at least P677 million in unexplained wealth.
The AMLC only monitors transactions and could not go into the details of the bank accounts.
Arroyo's camp expressed readiness to be investigated, but asked that the Constitution be respected.
"It would appear that witch hunting and inquisition has become the currency of the realm under the Aquino regime. The Ombudsman, President Aquino's handpicked Torquemada, is welcome to probe all she wants in a vain crusade to look for alleged ill-gotten wealth. But we implore her to respect the Constitution, without which we cannot survive as a republic,” lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said.
Prosecution spokesman Lorenzo Tañada III wants a probe into the timing of the bank transactions and the promulgation of high court decisions that could have benefited the Arroyo administration.
Another spokesman, Rep. Sonny Angara, however, said the source of the money is for another forum, outside the impeachment court.
Meantime, the Arroyo camp is still waiting for an update from her doctors on the former President’s medical condition.
When asked about updates on her health, her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo said, "Let's just wait for what the doctors say. Soon, I hope."
When asked about government plans to have their own doctors check on the former leader's state of health, Mr. Arroyo said: “The VMMC doctors are government doctors. They were included in all the stages of the tests." -- with a report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News