Thursday, 16 February 2012

Corona closes 3 accounts on day he was impeached By TJ Burgonio


Chief Justice Renato Corona closed three time deposit accounts with the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) on the same day House lawmakers filed an impeachment complaint against him in the Senate in December in a bid “to conceal certain amounts” in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), the prosecution has alleged.
This surfaced on Day 19 of Corona’s impeachment trial as PSBank president Pascual Garcia testified on the Chief Justice’s peso accounts in its branch on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City.
Garcia told the impeachment court that Corona had other accounts in the same branch after branch manager Annabelle Tiongson testified that Corona opened and closed five similar accounts with opening balances totaling P30 million, from 2007 to 2011.
“There’s evidence your honor that shows that three accounts were closed on the same date of Dec. 12, 2011. And this will show that this was in preparation because of the impeachment complaint that was filed,” private prosecutor Demetrio Custodio said in reply to Senator Loren Legarda, who asked the questions for Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III.
At the trial Thursday, private prosecutor Demetrio Custodio claimed that the Chief Justice closed at least three PSBank peso accounts, totaling P32.6 million, on December 12 last year.
These were Account No. 089-121023848, which was opened on June 29, 2011, with P17 million; Account No. 089-121019523, opened on Dec. 22, 2009, with P8.5 million; and Account No. 089-121021681, opened Sept. 1, 2010, with P7,090,099.45.
Only two of the said accounts were covered by the Senate subpoena.
When asked about the relevance of the closure of the accounts with Corona’s December 2010 SALN, Custodio said this has “no direct relevance.”
“We are only intending to show that there was an attempt to conceal certain amounts. If there will be a consideration of three amounts of the three accounts, they total about P36.2 million,” Custodio said.
Under questioning, Garcia said that Corona closed three bank accounts on Dec. 12, 2011, on the same day 188 lawmakers transmitted the impeachment complaint to the Senate for trial for culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption. He did not give details.
Garcia volunteered that Corona opened a peso time deposit account on June 29, 2011, with a balance of P17 million and closed it on Dec. 12, 2011.
Senator Sergio OsmeƱa III wondered if the day of the account’s termination was the same day the impeachment complaint was filed.
The House lead prosecutor, Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., confirmed this: “The House impeached the Chief Justice on December 12.”
In reply to Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Garcia admitted that Corona had two other peso time deposit accounts—one opened on Dec. 22, 2009, and another on Sept. 1, 2010, which were also closed on Dec. 12, 2011.
Garcia said he could not say if the accounts were preterminated.
“Because when we open an account let’s say it’s for 60 days, you have the account opening date and the maturity date. So when an account is terminated before the maturity date, then we normally would classify it as a preterminated account because it did not run its full term,” he said.
“It’s quite suspicious,” Estrada said. “These three accounts … they were all closed on the day that the Chief Justice was impeached. And according to Congressman Tupas, the Chief Justice was impeached on Dec. 12, 2011. And all of these three accounts were closed. I don’t want to entertain suspicions, or malice, but I really have suspicions.”

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