OMBUDSMAN REPORT

Did CJ amass ill-gotten wealth?

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CHIEF Justice Renato C. Corona and his wife, Cristina. RICHARD REYES

(Editor’s Note: Below are excerpts of a 20-page report by a team from the Office of the Ombudsman on the wealth of Chief Justice Renato Corona that it says “is not commensurate to his known income.” Ombudsman investigators placed Corona’s total “possible unexplained wealth” from 2001 to 2012 at P677 million.

The Chief Justice has denied amassing ill-gotten health.

The Ombudsman furnished Speaker Feliciano Belmonte with a copy of the report on May 11, hoping this could be used in initiating another impeachment complaint against Corona in December.)

The income received by Chief Justice Renato Corona from 2002 to 2011 as justice of the Supreme Court, member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal (SET) and member of the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal (HRET) may be summarized as follows:

Table 2: Corona’s income (2002-2011)

P21,636,781.45

Income including allowances and other benefits from  the Supreme Court and as member of the Judicial Bar Council from April 9, 2002 to Dec. 31, 2011 as testified to by Supreme Court Chief Judicial Officer Araceli Bayuga.

P1,696,333.38

Income from SET from Feb. 28, 2008 to April 20, 2009 as testified to by SET secretary Irene Guevarra.

P3,359,807.85

Income from HRET from Jan. 2, 2007 to Feb. 27, 2008 and from April 30, 2009 to November 2009 as testified to by Girlie Salarda.

P210,000 (January-June 2001); P242,550 (July-Dec. 2001)

Income from the Office of the President for 2001.

Total: P27,145,472.68

It must be noted, however, that at least a fraction of the amount received by Corona from the Supreme Court pertain to allowances and expenses which must be liquidated with the government.

Meanwhile, the income earned by Cristina R. Corona per the alpha list submitted by John Hay Development Corp. (JHDC) with the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) is as follows:

Table 3: Cristina’s income at JHDC

2007:P623,157.30

2008:P1,024,303.00

2009:P1,106,201.15

2010:P469,986.00

Total:P3,223,647.45

Thus, the combined income of spouses Corona may be summarized as follows:

Table 4: Combined income of spouses Corona

P27,145,472.68

Income of Renato Corona:

P3,223,647.45

Income of wife Cristina Corona:

Total: P30,369,120.13

Spouses Corona received purely compensation income. As declared by the Chief Justice in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) and per records with the BIR, the Department of Trade and Industry, and the Securities and Exchange Commission, he has no connection with any business entities.

Notwithstanding, Corona consistently declared in his SALNs that his wife is connected with Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc.

Net worth based on SALN

The table below shows the increase/decrease in Corona’s net worth based on his SALN from 2001 to 2010:

Table 5: Increase/decrease in Corona’s net worth

Year Assets            Liabilities       Net worth   Increase/decrease of net worth

2001 P14,968,000       P1,000,000 P13,968,000

2002 P14,968,000       0           P14,968,000       P1,000,000

2003 P18,359,080 P11,000,000 P7,359,080  (7,608,920)

2004  P18,359,080 P11,000,000 P7,359,080  0

2005  P18,359,080 P10,000,000 P8,359,080  P1,000,000

2006: P17,559,080 P8,000,000  P9,559,080  P1,200,000

2007: P17,559,080 6,500,000   P11,059,080 P1,499,920

2008 P17,559,080 P5,000,000  P12,559,080 P1,500,000

2009  P17,559,080 P3,000,000  P14,559,080 P2,000,000

2010  P22,938,980 0     P22,938,980 P8,379,900

Bank accounts

With respect to the bank accounts under the name of Corona, the following information was gathered through testimonies presented during the impeachment trial.

Table 6: PSBank accounts

PSBank Katipunan branch

Account number Acount type Opening date   Opening balance   Closing date

089121017358      PTD*  Jan. 26, 2009     P2,100,000.00     Apr. 16, 2009

089121019593      PTD   Dec. 22, 2009     P8,500,000.00     Dec. 12, 2011

089121020122      PTD   Mar. 4, 2010      P3,700,000.00     Apr. 23, 2010

089121021681      PTD   Sep. 1, 2010      P7,090,099.45     Dec. 12, 2011

089121011957      PTD   May 16, 2007      P2,000,000.00     Oct. 2, 2008

089121023848      PTD   June 29, 2011     P17,000,000.00    Dec. 12, 2011

089121021444      PTD   July 23, 2010     P7,370,438.65     Sept. 1, 2010

PSBank account number 089121017358 was opened on Jan. 26, 2009, with an opening balance of P2,100,000. The account was closed on April 16, 2009. The account had zero balance by the end of 2009.

PSBank account number 089121019593 was opened on Dec. 22, 2009, with an opening balance of P8,500,000. Its 2009 yearend balance was P8,500,000. Its 2010 yearend balance was P12,580,316.56. This account was closed on Dec. 12, 2011.

PSBank account number 089121021681 was opened on Sept. 1, 2010, with an opening balance of P7,090,099.45. The 2010 yearend balance was P7,148,238.83. This account was closed on Dec. 12, 2011.

PSBank account number 089121011957 was opened on May 16, 2007, with an opening balance of P2,000,000. This account was closed on Oct. 2, 2008.

PSBank account number 089121020122 was opened on March 4, 2010, with an opening balance of P3,700,000. This account was closed on April 23, 2010.

PSBank account number 089121021444 was opened on July 23, 2010, with an opening balance of P7,370,438.65. The same was closed on Sept. 1, 2010.

PSBank account number 089121023848 was opened on March 4, 2010 with an opening balance of P3,700,000. The account was closed on April 23, 2010.

In the same light, Corona maintained Express Checking Account No. 1445-8030-61 with BPI-Ayala Avenue Branch since 2005. As of Dec. 31, 2010, this account had a yearend balance of P12,024,067.70.

The deposits in BPI and PSBank are comparatively bigger than what he declared in his SALNs as cash. Table 7 shows the discrepancy in Corona’s bank accounts.

Table 7: Discrepancy in  bank accounts

Year  Total yearend  balance  Amount declared in SALN Amount of discrepancy

2007  P5,018,255.26

(PSBank account

089121011957)     P2,500,000.00     P2,518,255.26

2009  P8,500,000.00

(PSBank account

089121019593)    P2,500,000.00     P6,000,000.00

2010  P19,728,555.39

(Total of PSBank

accounts 089121019593

and 089121021681) + P12,024,067.70 in BPI

checking account 1445803061   P3,500,000.00     P28,252,623.09

Total             P36,770,878.35

In relation to the bank accounts of Corona, this office sought the assistance of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC). Per reply-letter dated March 7, 2012 and per subsequent discussion with AMLC officials, they required further information and supporting documents showing the council any underlying unlawful activity by Corona to warrant the filing of an application for bank inquiry with a regional trial court pursuant to Sec. 11 of Republic Act No. 9160 (Anti-Money Laundering Act of 2001).

However, based on information obtained by the Honorable Ombudsman, it appears that there are several dollar and peso bank transactions in the name of Corona. The aggregate value of the dollar-bank transactions dated April 14, 2003 to Dec. 22, 2011 amounted to more or less $10 million (around P420 million based on the current prevailing exchange rate).

The aggregate value of the peso-bank transactions dated April 16, 2003 to Feb. 9, 2012 amounted to more or less P242 million. Thus, the total possible unexplained wealth of Corona for the period of 2001-2012 may be summarized as follows:

Table 8: Summary of possible unexplained wealth (2001-2012)

Details                 Amount

Net increase in net worth (See Table 5.) P8,970,980.00

Add: Discrepancy in bank deposit (See Table 7.) P36,770,878.35

Add: Dollar-bank transactions

dated April 14, 2003 to Dec. 22, 2011           $10,000,000.00

or P420,000,000.00

Add: Peso bank transactions

dated April 16, 2003 to Feb. 9, 2012            P242,000,000.00

Less: Combined income

of spouses Corona (See Table 4.)          P30,369,120.13

Total possible unexplained wealth         P677,372,738.22

Real properties

In his SALN for 2010, Corona declared and described the following real properties:

Table 9: Real properties

Kind  Location    Year

acquired    Mode

of acquisition    Assessed

value             Current fair

market value

House & lot       QC    1970  Donation    P337,820    P7,138,000

Condo 1     QC          1997  Installment 276,320     921,000

Condo 2     Makati City 2003  Installment 726,000     1,210,000

Condo 3     Taguig City       2004  Installment 1,421,990   2,369,980

Condo 4     Taguig City       2010  Installment P3,496,320 P6,800,000

Corona further indicated in the SALN that they sold two parcels of land in Quezon City to purchase/pay the loans for condominium units 4 and 5. It appears that the two parcels of land refer to the following properties last declared in his 2009 SALN which were respectively sold to spouses Rodel V. Rivera and Amelia E. Rivera for P8 million and spouses Constantino T. Castillo III and Ma. Carla C. Castillo for P18 million.

Table 10: Sold real properties

Kind  Location    Year

acquired    Mode of

acquisition       Assessed

value       Current fair

market value

Land Quezon City 1992  Installment P172,500    P3,000,000

Land Quezon City 2003  Purchase    P450,000    P3,000,000

In relation thereto, the Land Registration Authority revealed the following properties under the names of spouses Corona which were acquired during the period 2001–2010.

Condominium Unit No. 38B, 38th Floor, Bellagio I in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City. It was acquired for P14,510,225 sometime in 2009 and covered by condominium certificate of title (CCT) No. 164-2010000062 to 65 consisting of 303.5 square meters and with three parking lots at 12.50 sq m each. This property may be the one referred to as Condominium No. 4 in Corona’s 2010 SALN;

Condominium Unit No. 1902, 19th Floor, Spanish Bay Tower in Bonifacio Ridge, Taguig City. It was acquired for P9,159,940 in 2005 and covered by CCT No. 5582 containing an area of 113.02 sq m and with one parking slot. This property may be the one referred to as Condominium No. 3 in Corona’s 2010 SALN;

Condominium Unit No. 31-B, Tower I, The Columns on Ayala Avenue in Bel-Air, Makati City. It was acquired for P3,588,931.82 in 2004 with an area of 48 sq m and with one parking slot. This property may be the one referred to as Condominium No. 2 in  Corona’s 2010 SALN;

Condominium Unit No. 21-D, One Burgundy Plaza at No. 307 Loyola Heights on Katipunan Avenue in Quezon City. It was acquired for P2,758,800 in 2003 with an area of 62.70 sq m. This property may be the one referred to as Condominium No. 1 in his 2010 SALN although he indicated therein that the same was acquired in 1997; and

A parcel of land at Block 10, Lot 28 on Maranaw Street in La Vista, Quezon City. It was acquired for P11 million in 2003 and covered by transfer certificate of title No. RT-96031 containing an area of 1,200 sq m. It was subsequently sold to spouses Constantino T. Castillo III and Ma. Carla C. Castillo for P18 million in 2010. Notably, Corona declared in his 2003 SALN a liability amounting to P11 million, representing a cash advance from Basa-Guidote.

As can be noted, Corona did not indicate the acquisition cost of the foregoing properties in his SALNs. Using the acquisition cost in the computation of his assets acquired during the period 2001-2010, the same may be shown as follows:

Table 11: Condominium properties

with respective acquisition costs

Kind Location    Year acquired     Acquisition cost

Condominium 1     Quezon City 2003 P2,758,800.00

Condominium 2     Makati City 2004 P3,588,931,82

Condominium 3     Taguig City 2005  P 9,159,940.00

Condominium 4     Taguig city        2009 P14,510,225.00

Total                   P30,017,896.82

Analyzing the accumulated wealth of Corona for the period 2001-2010 by using the acquisition value of the acquired real assets and the bank transactions in comparison to the supposed income earned and known income from 2001 to 2011, it is apparent that he acquired wealth that is not commensurate to his known income.

It is also worthy to mention that the daily cost of living commensurate to the social stature of the Corona family as well as the various travels abroad of the spouses have not yet been taken into account. Thus, if we are to include the same, it would significantly increase the total possible unexplained wealth.

Further, although there are numerous properties registered under the names of Corona’s children, particularly Ma. Charina and Ma. Carla, these were not provisionally taken into account as forming part of the assets of the spouses considering that  Ma. Charina is reportedly a physical therapist in the United States and that Ma. Carla’s husband is a physician.

Despite the opportunity given to Corona by the Honorable Ombudsman to explain the allegations and information with respect to his alleged bank accounts and transactions, Corona failed to submit any written answer.

The undersigned investigators respectfully submit that the foregoing findings may involve a violation of Republic Act No. 9160 as amended by RA 9194 (The Anti-Money Laundering Act). In addition, the acquisition of wealth by Corona appears to be grossly disproportionate to his known income as a public officer.

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