Friday, 20 January 2012 09:58
The prosecution panel of the House of Representatives on Wednesday evening said that based on the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona that were submitted to the Senate Impeachment Court supported Article 2 of Impeachment of the chief magistrate's unexplained wealth.
Marikina Rep. Romero Federico "Miro" Quimbo, one of the spokesmen of the prosecution team, in a press briefing, said the chief justice declared P18-million worth of assets in 2010 despite having acquired five condominium units, including one supposedly worth P14.5 million.
"I don’t think you can fit in five condominium properties here," he said.
The House prosecution said that based on the SALNs of Corona that were submitted to the Senate Impeachment Court as evidence, Corona declared assets of P13.9 million in 2002; and from 2003 to 2009 the chief magistrate's declared assets were "almost identical" at P14.59 million.
The prosecution team made the revelation after the Senate Impeachment Court compelled Supreme Court clerk of court Enriqueta Esguerra-Vidal to release Corona’s SALNs filed from 2002 to 2010 during his time at the High Tribunal.
Corona earlier admitted to acquiring a P14.5-million condominium unit at the posh Bellagio I Tower in Taguig City in December 2009.
Meanwhile, the House prosecution team called the turning over of Corona's SALNs to the Senate Impeachment Court "a big day for transparency."
"This is a very good development for the country. It’s a big day for transparency," said Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo "Sonny" Angara, one of three spokesmen of the prosecution panel.
He thanked the senator-judges "for helping to shed light on a topic when there was complete darkness."
Angara noted that "it’s been 22 years since the SALN of the Supreme Court justice has been made public" due to a resolution issued by then Supreme Court Chief Justice Marcelo Fernan in 1989.
Corona's SALNs were subpoenaed by the Senate Impeachment Court upon the request of the prosecution, which will present them as evidence to prove Article 2 of Impeachment against the Chief Justice pertaining to his unexplained assets.
"In our complaint we’ve alleged that there’s ill-gotten wealth and it (SALN) would help towards proving that," said Angara.
House Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo "Erin" Tanada III, another spokesman for the prosecution team, the documents will help them to pursue their case of amassing illegal wealth against the chief magistrate.
"Dito makilita natin 'yung totoo, kung ano talaga ang laman ng SALN at ito 'yung unang hakbang para malaman natin 'yung buong katotohanan sa usapin ng SALN o ari-arian ni Chief Justice Corona at kung siya ay nagpayaman sa puwesto," he said.
By Lilybeth G. Ison
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