(Editor's intro: Raissa, foreign correspondent for South China Morning Post and Radio Netherlands, is an independent blogger.)
One of the things Chief Justice Renato Corona has to prove to the impeachment court is that he correctly filled up his SALNs (Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth) and whatever errors or omissions they contain are minor and not enough to get him kicked out of office.
One section of his SALN has highly intrigued me — the one on LIABILITIES where he is supposed to declare any loans, mortgages – in other words, utang.
In seven of his SALNs, he declared under LIABILITIES a “cash advance” of P11 million. The source of the cash advance? His “wife’s family corporation” – which he identified as Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc. in his SALNs for 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Thanks to this cash advance, CJ Corona became instantly richer by P11 million – money which (according to his lawyers) he used to buy property. By the way, they have yet to show the paper trail from the cash advance to any of the properties.
This is my question about the“cash advance”: How could Corona have received millions from a corporation where his wife did not own any shares and where most of the shareholders – who were all her relatives – were openly quarreling with her?
In fact they had sued each other in court. The Basas had sued Corona’s wife Cristina for estafa; while Cristina sued them back for libel. Cristina won her libel suit and to satisfy the award of damages to her, the court allowed the Basa-Guidote shares held by her losing relatives to be auctioned off to the highest bidder.
As it turned out, the highest and only bidder was none other than Cristina Corona’s daughter Carla. QC Sheriff Joseph Bisnar, who had presided over the September 30, 2003 auction, testified last Tuesday (May 8, 2012) that Corona’s daughter bought 4,839 shares of Basa-Guidote for P28,000 – equivalent to 90.87% of the company. Under corporation law, that means Carla Castillo practically owns Basa-Guidote.
But here’s the thing