Corona has $2M, says civic group

Posted at 05/07/2012 9:14 PM | Updated as of 05/08/2012 7:43 AM
Harvey Keh a 'polluted' source, says defense lawyer Ramon Esguerra

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - One of the petitioners before the Office of the Ombudsman who sought a probe into Chief Justice Renato Corona’s bank accounts alleged he has documents to prove the chief magistrate has at least US$2 million in several accounts in seven banks.

Civil society group “Kaya Natin” convenor Harvey Keh showed ABS-CBN News purported bank statement summaries which show Corona’s alleged dollar accounts as well as euro accounts.

He said he got the documents from someone he does not know.

Keh said he has already submitted the documents to the office of Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, hoping that these can still be admitted as evidence in the ongoing impeachment trial.

One of the bank accounts show a beginning balance of $379,500.00 in January 2011. “The amount should have at least appeared in his [Corona's] 2010 statement of assets, liabilities and net worth,” Keh said.

He said the supposed dollar accounts were never disclosed in Corona’s Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth.

He noticed that “there were heavy withdrawals” from the accounts each amounting to $150,000, $250,000 and $300,000 in December 2011, when Corona was impeached by 188 members of the House of Representatives.

Keh also said he received “evidence” allegedly pertaining to a euro account of Corona.

He also obtained the names of some of the individuals who allegedly deposited money in Corona's bank accounts, but Keh chose not to name them.

Keh claimed one of the individuals is a local government official who has a pending case before the Supreme Court.

Another individual who allegedly deposited money in Corona's dollar account is close to a high-ranking government official.

Keh is one of the petitioners in three cases lodged against Corona before the Office of the Ombudsman.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier directed Corona to explain a total of $10 million deposited in several banks.

“This office finds that there is reasonable ground to proceed further with the conduct of an inquiry vis-à-vis the charges that you, during your incumbency as a public officer, accumulated wealth that is purportedly grossly disproportionate to your salary and other lawful income,” she said.

Sought for comment, defense lawyer Ramon Esguerra said the impeachment court should not accept Keh’s documents since these are only bank summaries.

“I’ve seen them, they’re just summaries of alleged bank documents," he said.

He also said Keh is a polluted source and counted him as one of Corona’s critics.

Keh said he is hoping that the banks named in his documents provide supporting details.

He said this development is another reason why Corona should explain his bank deposits, he said.