30 March 2012

More Questions on CJ's Defense

Corona Defense Team
After watching the prosecution team mishandled their evidence in the impeachment trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, I thought that the defense panel would do better. Sadly, they did not. In fact they made it worse and added more confusion in the afternoon telenovela by introducing witnesses that only muddled the issue and put more questions on the proceedings.

During the two-week period, the defense has not given any clear counter-evidence or home-run testimony that could alter the course of the impeachment proceedings. For instance, they presented Demetrio Vicente, a relative of Corona who allegedly bought the Coronas’ property in Marikina. The strategy was to establish that the reason why Corona didn’t include the property in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN) is because the property had been acquired by Vicente more than 20 years ago to Vicente.

When the prosecutors asked Vicente why the title remains under the name of Corona, he replied that he could not afford the PhP 3,000.00 necessary to have the title transferred to his name. This is plausible, I will give him that, but definitely UNBELIEVABLE! He wants the public to believe that he could afford to buy a property worth half a million pesos but do not have the money to pay for the transfer of the land title to his name? Only an utter fool will take this explanation hook and sinker.

It cannot be denied that many who follow the trial still believes that the Marikina property is still owned by the Corona family and they are just trying to use Vicente and his questionable statements as a cover-up. The defense needs to come up with a better explanation for this than just say Vicente got bitten by a forgetful bug.

Other witnesses that the defense presented last week came from the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET). Their testimonies were supposed to show that Corona has enough money to afford to buy multi-million peso condominium units at Fort Bonifacio. According to their statements, Corona who only earns a little more than PhP 90,000.00 per month as Chief Justice, also receives allowances that would amount to more than PhP 3,000,000.00 for being part of the JBC and HRET.

However, on closer scrutiny the allowances mentioned were not supposed to be used for the purchase of personal properties and should only be used for official purposes only. Hence, for all intents and purposes, the allowances do not have a direct link to Corona’s purchase of an expensive condominium unit. If, and that’s a big if for the defense, Corona used these allowances to purchase the property, then he should be made accountable for the misuse of public funds.

For two weeks, there were no attempts to explain why the Chief Justice did not declare his dollar accounts on his SALN. Facts were already established and acknowledged by the defense panel that Corona has a dollar account with PSBank. The next question is: where is that amount in his SALN?