Sandiganbayan issues freeze order on Corona assets

Posted at 05/15/2014 8:56 AM | Updated as of 05/15/2014 10:32 AM

MANILA (UPDATE) -- The Sandiganbayan Second Division has issued a freeze order on the assets of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona and his wife, Cristina.

The freeze order covers P130,587,012.75 worth of the couple's assets.

The issuance of the freeze order is in connection with the forfeiture case filed against the former chief justice and his wife Cristina, who is also the former president and chairperson of John Hay Development Corporation (JHDC), last March 27 by the Office of the Ombudsman.

The Coronas are accused of abusing their public positions to amass ill-gotten wealth.

The Office of the Ombudsman charged Corona with eight counts of perjury and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees for allegedly misdeclaring his wealth.

"Considering that adequate bases exist which satisfy the requirements set forth under Rule 57 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, the Court hereby resolves to grant the prayer in said Petition of the issuance of a Write of Preliminary Attachment," the anti-graft court said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales said graft investigators traced peso and dollar deposits of the couple held in different banks as well as real estate properties in Quezon City and Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

The Ombudsman said the combined declared assets of the Corona couple was only P30.37 million while their estimated total net worth was P160.96 million.

Based on the writ of preliminary attachment, also to be covered by the freeze order are any asset found held by the Coronas' "dummies, trustees, assignees, nominees, transferees and successors-in-interest."

The freeze order was made in case the Sandiganbayan rules in favor of the government and orders full return of the alleged ill-gotten wealth of the respondents.

The alleged misdeclaration of his wealth also caused then chief justice Corona to be impeached and removed from his post in 2012.