MANILA, Philippines - After the televised family reconciliation moment last Friday between the Basas and the Coronas, the Basa family issued a statement before leaving for the US saying the truth in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona must come out.
In a joint statement, Ana, Eric, Carmen, Isabelle and Francesca, cousins of the chief justice's wife, Mrs. Cristina Corona, said that although they are "very happy" that peace between their families is "becoming a reality," there are still major differences that must be resolved between the Basas and the Coronas.
"We are very happy that our pursuit of peace within our family is finally becoming a reality," they said. "This will be a long journey of healing and reconciliation. It will take time and no doubt it will be a painful process for all involved in light of the 30 years of misunderstanding and recrimination preceding it."
"There are still fundamental differences that have to be addressed, including the damaging statements and accusations against our family, the probate of our Lola Charing (Rosario Basa), court convictions, BGEI [Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc.] stock and financial issues, and, most especially, clearing the tarnished good name of our father, Jose Ma. Basa III. The truth must come out," the Basas said.
The Basa family members also said they believe senator-judges will be issuing their verdict on the chief justice based on the evidence presented in court and not on the status of the family ties between the Basas and the Coronas.
"We want to move forward. We are one with the Filipino people in the country’s search for peace and justice. And we fully support efforts in the search for the truth. The outcome of the impeachment trial is now in the hands of the Senator-Judges," they said.
"Ultimately, the determination as to whether or not Chief Justice Renato Corona is fit to remain in office must be made based on the evidence presented in court and what is best for the country and the good of the Filipino people."
With the help of a relative and a mutual friend, Mrs. Corona on Friday approached her cousins who were just a few seats away from her at the Senate session hall and hugged and kissed them, and many of them ended up crying.
Mrs. Corona also brought them to the chief justice, who was still sitting on the witness stand, and they likewise kissed, hugged and cried.
Cecilia Basa, wife of Mario Basa, who was also at the Senate, reportedly told a relative that they were misled by the Coronas last Friday.
'Spoiled brat Jose'
In his opening statement before the impeachment court last Tuesday, the chief justice called the late Basa patriarch, Jose, an unemployed "spoiled brat," who kept Cristina's mother out of a P2.5 billion property inheritance.
"Si Jose Basa hindi inapi, siya ang nang api. Si Mr. Basa, wala naman po siyang trabaho eh. Buong buhay naman niya spoiled brat po eh, anak mayaman. Tuwing may kailangan takbo kay mama, kay Nanay Charing hihingi ng pera. Pag walang pera ‘yung matanda, sige benta, benta kaliwa’t kanan," he said.
His statement prompted the Basas to hold a press conference the next day, saying they were hurt by his false and unkind remarks.
“The name of our good father is being dragged into these proceedings. He’s not here to defend himself. What he said was untrue, unkind and shows his true character,” said Ana Basa last Wednesday.
The Basas and the Coronas are feuding over ownership of Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI), which sold a P34.7 million lot in Sampaloc to the Manila city government in 2001. A libel case which Mrs. Corona won against Jose Basa led to the Coronas getting control of BGEI, allowing them to sell the Manila property, and Corona's daughter ending up owning BGEI.
The family feud became an issue in the impeachment trial after the chief justice's Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) showed an P11 million cash advance which, his lawyers said, came from BGEI. The money was used to by Mr. and Mrs. Corona to buy a real property.
Last Friday, the chief justice admitted to having 80 million in commingled peso deposits which he did not fully declare in his SALNs. Corona only declared between P2.5 million to P3.5 million in investments and cash in bank from 2002 to 2010.
Corona said he did not declared all his peso deposits since these include the money of his late mother, his children, son-in-law, and the BGEI lot sale proceeds.
He also said the Foreign Currency Deposit Act provides absolute confidentiality of dollar deposits, which is why he also did not declare supposed US$2.4 million in his SALNs.
Sixteen votes are needed to convict the chief justice, which would mean he would have to step down from office. Corona needs only 8 votes to block a conviction.
Senator-judges are expected to render their verdict on Tuesday after the closing oral arguments on Monday afternoon.