CJ signs waiver but with a catch

Posted at 05/22/12 05:15 PM
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MANILA, Philippines – (UPDATE) Chief Justice Renato Corona on Tuesday signed a waiver opening all his banks accounts to the scrutiny of the impeachment court but with a caveat: that all 188 impeachment complainants and Sen. Franklin Drilon sign a similar waiver.

The waiver, according to Corona, allows all banks to “release all information about dollar and peso accounts in my name specifically the number of the accounts and opening and closing balances.”

“I, Renato C. Corona, hereby waive my right to confidentiality on bank deposits under Republic Act 1405 and authorize all banking institutions to disclose to the public any and all bank documents in all peso and foreign currency accounts under my name,” he said.

“I hereby authorize the BIR, AMLC, the SEC and the LRA to disclose to the public any and all information that may show my assets, liabilities, net worth and business interests and financial connections to include those of my spouse,” he added.

“I am also authorizing the SC clerk of court with the permission of the SC en banc to immediately release to the public my SALNs for 2002-2011.”

He then distributed blank copies of the waiver he signed and challenged the 188 impeachment complainants and Sen. Franklin Drilon to sign it.

“This proceeding has divided the nation….We, you and me, are all on trial here. Let us all stop the posturing and show the Filipino nation what we are made of. This is no trick or manipulation,” he said.

He said that while the impeachment complainants could decline, this would only prove that there is no legal obligation or duty to disclose his dollar deposits.

“If any of you should choose to decline, I regret that there is no point in my waiver because it will only allow the completion for the persecution I have suffered. I am no thief. I am no criminal. I have done no wrong. But honorable senators, I am also no fool. I pray that these gentlemen will accept my invitation,” he added.

“Otherwise I stand by my actions as being completely founded on the law itself. Isusumite ko po ang aking waiver sa kinauukulan kapag kumpleto na ang 189 waivers. Kuing hindi sila papayag sa hamong ito, bibgyan ko po nang direktiba ang aking defense penal na i-rest na ang aking defense tutal wala naman silang napatunayang paratang sa akin,” he added.

In his statement, Corona said he has only 4 dollar accounts instead of the 82 accounts alleged by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.

In his PowerPoint presentation, Corona said the 82 accounts included in the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report were mostly time deposits that were closed down through the years.

He denied that he had $10 million-$12 million in his accounts but did not say how much he had.

“Ombudsman Morales accused me of having $10 million-$12 million in 82 bank accounts. That is a malicious lie and I will be using the Ombudsman’s own diagram which you will see on the screen to expose the malicious lies she unleashed which was intended for no other reason than to destroy my reputation,” he said.

He said a careful analysis of the AMLC report would show that many of these accounts were already closed and the funds transferred to settlement accounts.

“These bank accounts represented time deposits or investments. Each time a time deposit would mature and roll over, a new account will be created or consolidated to make a new placement to earn higher interest. These funds would then be transferred from one account to another to earn more interest,” he said.

“I don’t have 82 accounts. I do not have 82 dollar accounts as charged by the Ombudsman. The AMLC report will show that there are 4 accounts as of December 2011,” he said.

He said the remaining accounts are:

BPI SFDM – 3244108104

Allied Bank 1582002676

PSBank -0141024292

PSBank - 0131002826

In his testimony, Corona asked the Ombudsman if she could still sleep at night.

He also said he had been saving dollars for decades since he started working in 1968. He said his investments grew after the foreign currency rates grew.

Corona denied that he stole anything from the government.

He said he had nothing to hide especially since all the accounts were in his name.  “If I was hiding anything, I would not put it under my name,” he said.

He also invoked Republic Act 4262 or the Foreign Currency Deposits Act for not declaring his dollar deposits in his SALNs.

“Ang pagkaaintindi po at pagbasa ng batas ay di kailangan ideklara ang dollar accounts sa SALN dahil sa confidentiality. This is an absolute rule,” he said.

He also said he did not declare his peso accounts because these are co-mingled funds with the money from the Basa Guidote property expropriation plus funds from his children.

Corona said he had “good and valid reasons” why he need not sign a waiver to his accounts.

“There are good and valid reasons why I have no duty to execute the waiver which some people have been asking me to execute because I am guided by the letter of RA 6246 full and absolute confidentiality,” he said.

“I have never declared these in my SALNs because there is no legal duty to do so,” he added.

He then signed a waiver opening his accounts to the impeachment court.

ANC Chief Justice on Trial, May 22, 2012