Ombudsman affirms charges vs Corona couple
Rosalinda L. Orosa (The Philippine Star) - March 27, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Office of the Ombudsman stood pat on its decision to file a P130.3-million ill-gotten wealth case against former chief justice Renato Corona and his wife Cristina before the Sandiganbayan.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales junked the Corona couple’s appeal for a reversal of the anti-graft agency’s Jan. 28, 2014 resolution that found probable cause to indict them for perjury and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

In a 15-page joint order released yesterday, Morales dismissed the motion for reconsideration filed by Corona and his wife, and affirmed the findings of a special panel of investigators that the couple should be slapped with a forfeiture case for alleged unexplained wealth and failure to declare it in their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

She directed the immediate filing of a petition for forfeiture with the Sandiganbayan along with eight counts of perjury and eight counts of violation of RA 6713.

A special panel of investigators determined that from 2001 to 2011, the spouses earned a total income of P30,369,120.13, of which P27,145,472.68 was earned by Corona as an official at the Office of the President, Supreme Court justice and as member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.

Cristina earned P3,223,647.45 from 2007 to 2010, based on the Alpha List submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by the John Hay Development Corp., where Mrs. Corona was employed.

Investigation also showed that from 2002 to 2010, Corona’s cash deposits ballooned from P1,337,072.28 to P137,937,207.88.

By 2010 the cumulative discrepancy between his SALN and his actual cash deposits amounted to P134,437,207.88.

Corona also failed to include various peso and dollar bank accounts in his 2003 to 2010 SALNs, a condominium unit at The Columns, Makati City in his 2004 to 2009 SALNs, and a condominium unit at Spanish Bay Tower in Taguig City in his 2005 to 2009 SALNs.

The former chief justice was found to have only declared P6.8 million as the acquisition cost of a condominium unit in Bellagio I in Taguig City in his SALN for 2010, when the true acquisition cost is P14,510,000, the probe panel added.

In his SALNs from 2003 to 2009, Corona also undervalued the property at La Vista in Quezon City by P8 million.

The ombudsman also cited Land Registration Authority (LRA) records on several properties owned by the Corona spouses in Quezon City, Makati City and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, which were found to be significantly undervalued by P17,297,145. – Michael Punongbayan, Edu Punay, Janvic Mateo

ALPHA LIST BELLAGIO I BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE CITY CODE OF CONDUCT AND ETHICAL STANDARDS CORONA CRISTINA EDU PUNAY JANVIC MATEO QUEZON CITY TAGUIG CITY
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