Hold departure orders issued vs Chavit, Corona

Posted at 04/25/2014 10:08 AM | Updated as of 04/25/2014 11:08 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) -- The Sandiganbayan Third Division has issued separate hold departure orders against former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis "Chavit" Singson and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In both orders, the anti-graft court directed the Bureau of Immigration to hold the departure from the Philippines of the accused ''which is necessary to preserve and maintain the effectiveness of its jurisdiction over the cases and the persons of the accused at all times amenable to its writs and processes."

Corona is facing charges of perjury and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Corona and his wife, Cristina, are facing 8 counts of perjury and 8 counts of violation of Republic Act 6713.

The Corona couple is accused of illegally amassing over P130 million worth of assets.

Corona, who became Supreme Court Chief Justice in 2010, was removed by the Senate impeachment tribunal in 2012 for failing to fully disclose his assets in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN).

A special panel of investigators determined that from 2001 to 2011, the Corona couple earned a total income of P30,369,120.13, of which P27,145,472.68 was earned by the former chief justice as an official at the Office of the President, a Justice of the Supreme Court, member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET), and member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET).

Mrs. Corona, on the other hand, earned P3,223,647.45 for the period 2007 to 2010, based on the Alpha List submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by the John Hay Development Corporation (JHDC) where she was employed.

Meanwhile, Singson is under trial for violation of Republic Act 3019 or the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.

The case against Singson is based on the petition filed by Save Ilocos Sur Alliance chairperson Estelita Cordero, who alleged that Singson and his successor, Deogracias Victor Savellano, during their respective incumbencies, released a total of P26,060,500 for an allegedly shady firm, Multi-Line Food Processing International, Inc. (MFPPI).

The Office of the Ombudsman earlier said both Singson and Savellano gave unwarranted benefits to the firm, which was not even qualified to receive financial aid from the local government.

Singson entered into 4 memoranda of agreement (MOAs) with MFPII dated 5 February 2001, 20 February 2001, 28 May 2001 and June 2001, for the release of financial assistance in the respective amounts of P9.18 million, P4 million, P3 million and P8 million to fund unspecified livelihood projects, for which checks were issued on 6 April 2001, 5 March 2001, 21 June 2001 and 24 July 2001, respectively.

Savellano, meanwhile, entered into a MOA with MFPII on 27 December 2001 for the grant of financial assistance worth P1,880,500 to fund ''livelihood production/payment of accounts payable,'' and for which a check was issued the following day.
The MOAs did not undergo the required inspection or audit, the Ombudsman said.

The Ombudsman also noted “MFPII cannot be considered a [non-government organization] as to warrant the grant of financial assistance from the government.” The Local Government Code of the Philippines does not allow disbursements to private interests.

MFPII appeared to be a private corporation organized for profit and not intended to advance the interest of a specific cause or sector, as shown by MFPII’s Articles of Incorporation. – report from Adrian Ayalin, ABS-CBN News