Congressmen declared dollars in SALNs

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 28 2012 11:57 PM | Updated as of May 29 2012 07:57 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Congressmen-prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday admitted having their own dollar accounts—except that these are declared in their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

The prosecution accuses Corona of misdeclarations in his SALN because he failed to declare his dollar deposits and other assets.

Chief prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas said, "Ako, personally, meron akong dolyar pero maliit lang. Nakadeclare. Kasi ang ginagawa ko sa sarili ko, ginagawa ko yung dollar kino-convert ko sa pesos at ang declaration ko is pesos."

Deputy lead prosecutor Rodolfo Fariñas said he also has dollar accounts, taking a swipe at Corona who said he didn't declare some of his money because some are commingled funds and others are protected by the Foreign Currency Deposit Act.

"Of course, naka-declare lahat noong akin. Malaki dahil commingled eh. Ang dami-dami namin humahawak noon kaya malaki-laki dahil commingled. Iyung akin, commingled pero naka declare. Iyung iba peso. May dollar ako. Siguro sa ngayon nasa $6,000 na," he said.

"I don't maintain dollars because very unstable. Before nasa 56. Ngayon nasa 45. And as they say it's going down. And as a public official, you have to learn to love your own currency. Oo, we only buy when we go out and everything. But I don’t maintain. Mababa pa. It's declared as peso, kasi cash. You convert it," he explained.

House Speaker Sonny Belmonte also said the value of dollar assets should be declared in the SALN. "The value, yes. Saka isa pa, I don't think there is any requirement na sasabihin mo PNB Branch 1 or anything like that. "Iyung sinasabi mo lang na eto iyung dollars ko. Hindi mo sinasabing, nandito ito sa bangkong ito. But you have to declare that. You have to at least be open. “

Belmonte said Corona cannot just dismiss the non-declaration as an honest mistake.

"Alam mo, when you have taken the policy from day one that you entered the government of witholding from your SALN certain assets. Like for instance, the foreign exchange which virtually from even before he entered the government, he was already accumulating them. Hindi po mistake of judgment iyun. That is your call. Iyun talaga ang desisyon na ginawa mo," he said.