Only 3 Corona dollar accounts left?

Posted at 05/17/2012 9:58 AM | Updated as of 05/17/2012 1:05 PM

MANILA, Philippines (2nd UPDATE) - Chief Justice Renato Corona and his defense team will be meeting today to discuss the data presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Corona's alleged dollar accounts.

Defense panel spokesman Ramon Esguerra said they will compare data from Corona's own records with the report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).

He added the alleged 82 dollar accounts could be reduced to just three.

"Ang batayan kasi noong testimony ng ating butihin Ombudsman ay report galing sa AMLC. Report ng AMLC base rin sa isa pang report, ang daming report yun. 403 transactional reports batayan nila. Summary lang pinakita sa atin e, hindi yung mismong ugat ng bank transactions," he told radio dzMM.

"Ito siguro lumalabas yata 82 or 86 alleged bank accounts, baka bumaba ng 3," he added.

Esguerra said Corona is not backing down, now that the trial is nearing its end.

"Napakahirap pagduktong duktonging kung ano yung what we call the "lantern of bank transaction.' Sabi niya, tuloy natin yung laban. Kung mamatay ako, mamatay ako ng lumalaban," he said.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales earlier tesfied the AMLC report shows that Corona had $12 million in “fresh deposits” spread out in 82 accounts in 5 local banks from 2003-2011. Corona's defense team, however, said the AMLC report is fabricated.

House prosecutors earlier said 3 of the bank accounts mentioned by the Ombudsman match the account numbers testified to by Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) President Pascual Garcia in the trial.

"Nung ineksamin namin yung 17-page document from the Ombudsman, at meron ho dun tatlong account sa PSBank, napareho po yung account numbers na pinagusapan nung nagtestify ho yung PSBank official," said House prosecution panel spokesman Sonny Angara.

"So I don't know what you want to call that, kung may corroboration, meron talaga. I think at this point, mahirap na ideny o itanggi ni chief justice na meron siyang dollar account, because these are two independent sources who did not speak to each other."

Prosecution spokesman Miro Quimbo added that the Ombudsman's testimony is "directly related" to what the PSBank president told the impeachment court.

"So, what Congressman Sonny Angara is talking about is that the testimony of the Ombudsman as far as the PSBank accounts are concerned are a match and those are the various amounts that we have seen," he said.

Money market

Senator-judge Franklon Drilon corroborated the prosecution's finding, saying some dollar accounts admitted to be in existence by Garcia before the impeachment court match entries in the AMLC report.

"I limited my reading only to the account numbers already presented in the impeachment trial specifically the dollar account numbers of the Chief Justice in PSBank, which was admitted by PSBank to be existing except that the amounts were not revealed. So what we have shown earlier was...only one account number 373, which contains $769,000. That account number was presented as existing in the impeachment court by the testimony of PSBank President Garcia,” he said.

"I was able to point out to you and the impeachment court that this particular account, 5 accounts in fact, were admitted to be in existence by Garcia."

He said Corona’s dollar accounts may have been put in money market placements, which would account for the number of transactions flagged by the AMLC.

“If you have some funds in the bank, usually the bank will assign you an account manager. Say you place $5 million in a money market placement, a mother account is created. You sign documents to evidence the deposit and that becomes your main account, a number is designated and that is where your signature cards are found,” he told ANC’s Headstart.

He said the account manager can then ask the account holder if he can place some of the money in special deposit accounts so it would earn higher interest. If the client agrees, part of the deposit is put in a separate account, which will then return to the mother account once it earns.

“You do not even know what number that is, neither would you sign any signature card,” he said.

Corona will finally testify in his Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, May 22, more than 4 months after the historic trial started.

He is accused of failing to disclose several multimillion-peso bank accounts and real estate properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs).

He is also accused of bias for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo when the Supreme Court issued an order allowing her to seek medical treatment abroad.