Corona had P19.7M by end-2010: bank records

By David Dizon, ABS-CBNnews.com

Posted at Feb 08 2012 08:45 PM | Updated as of Feb 09 2012 06:04 PM

Corona's SALN (end-2010): P3.5M cash/investments

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Chief Justice Renato Corona had a total bank balance of P19,728,555.39 from 2 bank accounts in Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) as of end-December 2010, records from the bank showed Wednesday.

Corona PSBank
Accounts
2007 2008 2009 2010
089-121011957 5,018,255.2 0 0 0
089-121021681 0 0 0 7,148,238.83
089-121020122 0 0 0 0
089-121019593 0 0 8,500,000 12,580,316.56
089-121017358 0 0 0 0
Total
Bank Balances
5,018,255.26 0 8,500,000 19,728,555.39
Cash and
Investments in
SALN
2,500,000 2,500,000 2,500,000 3,500,000


The bank balance is much higher than the P3.5 million cash and investments he declared in his statement of assets, liabilities and networth (SALN) for 2010.

During Wednesday's hearing, PSBank president Pascual Garcia brought certifications of 5 of Corona's accounts.

According to the bank records, Corona had a total bank balance of P5,018,255.26 for one account (089-121011957) as of December 31, 2007.

This is higher than the P2.5 million cash and investments he declared in his SALN for that year.

Corona later closed the account in 2008.

A second bank account (089-121020122) was opened in 2009 but had zero balance by the end of that year and in the following year.

A third account (089-121019593) was opened in 2009 and had a balance of P8.5 million by December 31, 2009.

The balance is also higher than the P2.5 million cash and investments Corona declared in his SALN for that year.

The bank balance for the same account then rose to P12,580,316.56 by December 31, 2010.

A fourth bank account with account number 089-121021681 had a balance of P7,148,238.83 by December 31, 2010. The account was opened only that year.

The total of the bank balances for the 2 accounts is P19,728,555.39.

This is higher than the P3.5 million cash and investments Corona declared in his SALN for end-2010.

The fifth account (089-121017358) was opened in December 2009 but was closed the same month before December 31 of the same year.

All the figures were presented by Garcia during the prosecution’s direct examination. The defense has yet to cross-examine the witness.

The figures do not include the balances of Corona's dollar deposits in the bank. Garcia said he did not bring records of Corona's dollar accounts since it will violate Republic Act 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act of the Philippines.

During the hearing, Senate President and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile allowed Garcia to present Corona's bank records in the absence of a temporary restraining order (TRO) from the Supreme Court.

PSBank had previously asked the Court to issue a TRO against the Senate impeachment court from implementing the subpoena for Corona's bank accounts.

The Senate majority also junked a motion for reconsideration on the impeachment body's decision to subpoena Corona's bank records.

Corona, through his defense team, has asked the Supreme Court to stop the impeachment proceedings at the Senate, saying the latter is being forced to rule on a faulty complaint.

'Pattern of inaccuracies'

Prosecution spokesman Marikina Rep. Romero "Miro" Quimbo said alleged discrepancies in Corona's SALN and the amounts in his bank accounts show another pattern of inaccuracies.

"It's clear now, he concealed P16 million just in the year 2010, just with 2 accounts.  What more for the other bank accounts that remain hidden somewhere?" he asked.

He noted that neither PSBank nor Corona have denied that the accounts are in Corona’s name.

He also said Corona’s petition invoking the protection of the foreign currency deposits act (FCDA) is already a direct admission of ownership.

Quimbo advised PSBank that they cannot be held liable for possible violations if they testify since they are covered by a lawful order of the court.

Rep. Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara, another spokesman for the prosecution team, said more information will come out once the Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) account is opened. The BPI account of Corona was used to pay off the purchase of the Taguig properties.

Tañada added that if the Senate doesn’t take a stand on the FCDA, then what all government officials will do in the future is open dollar accounts to invoke the protection of the law.

Corona's defense team, in a press statement, said they can explain the alleged discrepancies.

"We knew about those bank deposits and we can explain the difference in due time, when it's our turn to present the evidence," according to a statetement issued in the name of Corona spokespersons Atty. Tranquil Salvador, Atty. Karen Jimeno, and Atty Rico Quicho.

Salvador also said the prosecutors should prove that they legally acquired information about the bank accounts. "Kayo nakita ninyo na questionable po iyung source eh, ni hindi nga nila masabi kung sino ang nagbigay sa kanila at kung papaano nakarating sa kanila."  - with reports from RG Cruz and Chiara Zambrano, ABS-CBN News