Dismissal of forfeiture case vs Corona now final

Janvic Mateo - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The dismissal of the P130-million civil forfeiture case filed against the late chief justice Renato Corona and his wife Cristina is now final after the government opted not to appeal the Sandiganbayan decision last November.

In a four-page resolution, the anti-graft court’s Second Division said that the Office of the Ombudsman did not file a motion for reconsideration or appeal of its decision dated Nov. 3.

It granted the omnibus motion to issue a certificate of finality and lift the writ of preliminary attachment earlier issued against Corona’s properties.

“Considering the finality of judgment in the instant case, it has now become a ministerial duty of the Court to issue a Certificate of Finality and to cause its entry of the same to the Books of Judgments,” read the ruling penned by Associate Justice Arthur Malabaguio.

Associate Justices Oscar Herrera Jr. and Edgardo Caldona concurred.

The civil case stemmed from Corona’s alleged failure to declare several cash assets and properties in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

In its earlier ruling, the court said the prosecution failed to prove that the former chief justice’s assets were ill-gotten.

While he may have been “negligent” and “careless” in filing his SALNs, it noted that his heirs – his wife Cristina and their three children – were able to present sufficient documents to explain the sources of their family’s wealth.

The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, voted 20-3 to convict Corona of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution over violations of SALN rules.

Corona, who was removed from the SC because of that conviction, died of cardiac arrest on April 29, 2016.

While the criminal case filed before the Sandiganbayan was extinguished upon his death, the forfeiture case against him and his wife continued until it was dismissed last year.


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