MANILA, Philippines – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Tuesday finally gave her opinion to Chief Justice Renato Corona’s statement that her testimony at the Senate impeachment trial was a “lantern of lies.”
“If indeed, he made those charges what I can say is that they are just other lanterns of lies. He says these are lanterns of lies. These are lanterns of lies as far as his statements are concerned because these documents were delivered to me by the executive director of the [Anti-Money Laundering Council],” she said.
Morales said she has blanket authority to investigate Corona and his family after he signed a waiver in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, allowing her office to seek help from other government agencies to check the veracity of his SALNs. She said an Ombudsman panel had subpoenaed copies of Corona's SALNs, but the Supreme Court has yet to comply.
Lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas first moved to strike out the question about Corona’s statement against Morales, saying there is no evidence that the Chief Justice issued it against the Ombudsman.
“No basis, your honor. There is no evidence on record showing that kind of statement from the part of the Chief Justice. If there is, then he who alleges that there was should take the stand and be cross-examined to determine the accuracy and the veracity of the statement,” he said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, however, allowed Morales to answer the question.
Corona earlier issued a text message daring the Ombudsman to resign if her statements are proven wrong during the trial.
In a statement, Corona said: “The initial testimony of the Honorable Ombudsman is quite unfortunate, if not very malicious. I don't know how she came up with her own mathematical equation.”
He described Carpio Morales’ presentation a “hodgepodge,” convoluting the amounts in his dollar accounts as well as the minds of the public.
“The number of accounts alone is at best ridiculous. Her PowerPoint diagram is a lantern of lies which only messed up her presentation, contrary to what some believe now as damning evidence,” Corona said.
He said Carpio Morales does not know what she is talking about, as shown by her “chaotic” accounting.
“Either she does not know what she is talking about, or is purposely misleading the Impeachment Court and the public. Is she even privy to how the [Anti-Money Laundering Council] arrived at the bloated numbers?” he asked.
He added, “We will debunk all her bloated numbers. And once she is proven wrong, I urge her to immediately resign from her post for allowing herself to be used by this Administration and making a laughingstock of ‘government auditing.’"
ANC Chief Justice on Trial, May 15, 2012