Corona's cousin is selling Marikina property

by Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 16 2012 07:44 PM | Updated as of Mar 17 2012 05:26 AM

Corona's cousin is selling Marikina property 1
MANILA, Philippines - Demetrio Vicente, the second cousin of the Chief Justice Renato Corona, said there should be no doubt that he is the owner of a 1,700-square-meter (sqm) property once owned by Corona's wife.

Vicente showed ABS-CBN his tax receipts that, he said, proves he is paying the yearly real estate fees for the 1,700-sqm. land in Marikina Heights.

Some of the tax receipts are still under the name of Cristina Corona while some are in Vicente's name. The billing he receives from the treasury of the local government indicates him as the land owner.

The tax receipts were subpoenaed by the Senate impeachment court to validate Vicente's claim of ownership.

Mrs. Corona inherited the property from her parents, which she later sold to Vicente in 1990. Vicente said he bought the property for P509, 985 as written in the duly notarized deed of sale between him and Cristina.
Vicente admitted the 7 certificates of land title are still under Cristina Corona's name. He said he did not have the money to make the transfer, and that he was not aware that this problem would crop up 22 years later.

"Malaki tiwala ko na hindi ako tataluhin. Kamag-anak ko sila eh (Coronas). Tsaka laki na pala ng penalty for not registering," he said.

He said the house on the Marikina property is his, and that he never became just a caretaker as insinuated by some of the Chief Justice's critics.

"Ako nagsasabi ng totoo, maniwala sila o hindi. Pumunta sila dito kung gusto nila mapatunayan," he said.

To prove further that he is not just a caretaker, he showed ABS-CBN the house he built after buying the lot. He said since the transaction in July of 1990, he never saw nor talked to the Coronas again.

"Di ko  nga sila nakakausap even thru telephone. Ngayon na lang after 22 years," he said.

In January of this year, he was contacted by Cristina Corona who asked for the copy of the deed of sale. Later, he said he was surprised that he was being called to testify in the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice.

Ex-bgy chief says property is Vicente's

Raul Taytayan, a former barangay captain for the past 18 years, also swears that Vicente and his wife, Ester, are indeed owners of the land and have been paying the annual real estate tax religiously.

"Ako po ang magpapatunay na sya (Demetrio Vicente) ang may-ari ng lupa. Hindi lang ako, marami pang ibang kaibigan na mag-aano ng bonsai," he said.

The ex-barangay chief said Vicente's failure to transfer the title to his name is not uncommon.

"Meron nga po kaming case na ang deed of sale is as early as 1966, pero hindi pa rin na-transfer sa may-ari hanggang ngayon."

Taytayan said he never saw any of the Coronas live on the property in the past 22 years since he became barangay chairman in 1989.
Bonsai artist

Vicente is into the hobby of crafting bonsai plants. He has about 2,000 pieces of bonsai inside the 1,700-square-meter property.

During the 70's and 80's, Vicente collected numerous awards for being the country's best in the art of bonsai.

"This is the ultimate in art, not painting," he said.

At 70 years old and having suffered two strokes, Vicente has retired from being a businessman, and only has his few apartments in Quezon City as means of living.

He and his wife still live on the property but plan to sell it since it is already too big for just the two of them. Their only daughter is working in the Middle East.

He said if he does find a buyer, he will finally have the property transferred to his name before selling it to the new owner.