MANILA, Philippines – The testimony of Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares raises questions on the wife of Chief Justice Renato Corona and her taxes. On day 6 of the impeachment trial, Henares said Cristina Corona only registered as a taxpayer in 2003 when she bought a property in La Vista subdivision in Quezon City.
In an interview, Rappler Editor-at-Large Marites Dañguilan Vitug said this was a significant revelation because before 2003, Mrs Corona claimed to be vice president of her family corporation, the Basa-Guidote Enterprises Inc (BGEI). She was also administrator of the estate of the Basa-Guidote Enterprises.
Vitug has been researching on the Coronas’ properties for the upcoming sequel to her book Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court.
“She was collecting rentals from their property in Manila from their 8 tenants in that building and she sold the property of the Basa-Guidote Enterprises in 2001 so it’s very stunning to know that she only became a taxpayer in 2003.”
Vitug’s research shows the crown jewel of BGEI was a 1,000 sq-m lot in Manila with a commercial building. In 2001, Mrs. Corona sold the property to the city government of Manila for P34.7 million reportedly with the help of her husband.
In 2007, then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo appointed Mrs Corona as chairman, president, CEO and COO of the John Hay Management Corp. Taxes were withheld from her. (For more on the Corona couple’s income and properties, read this.)
“I think the question we’re all asking is how can Chief Justice Renato Corona and Mrs Corona afford the properties that they have declared in their SALN. Having learned [on Wednesday, January 25] that the annual income of Chief Justice Corona is only about P600,000 plus, that’s based on his fixed salary and not counting allowances,” said Vitug.
“But still it’s quite low and it has been established that there has been no other source of income for Chief Justice Corona. We also found out that Mrs. Corona has no declared income in 2003. In the next week or the next few days, we’ll see how to make sense of this.”
The defense team said it was not surprised by the testimony of Henares, and plans to cross-examine her when the trial resumes on Thursday, January 26, at 2pm. – Rappler.com