MANILA, Philippines – Opening his bank account will clear doubts about Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged betrayal of public trust, President Benigno Aquino III said Friday, February 10.
Aquino made this comment after the SC, in a special en banc session, stopped the release of details of Corona’s PSBank dollar account before the Senate impeachment court.
“Public servant ho tayo; may public trust na kasama doon… Maganda sana magboluntaryo na ‘yung nasasakdal, kung walang tinatago: ‘Bakit, buksan n’yo para makita n’yo, wala akong tinatago,’” the President said in an interview with reporters. (We are public servants; our position goes with public trust… It would be better if the accused would do it voluntarily, if he is not hiding anything: ‘Go on, open my bank account so you’ll see I’m not hiding anything.’)
In its petition on which the SC based its TRO, PSBank said releasing information about Corona’s dollar accounts would violate the Philippines’ stringent laws on the confidentiality of foreign currency deposits.
What’s ‘bothering’ PNoy
The SC based Thursday’s decision on these laws, SC spokesperson and court administrator Jose Midas Marquez said. Aquino said this bothers him.
“Mula nang umpisahan ang diskusyong ito, ang bumabanat sa isip ko: ‘Pag ikaw ay magnanakaw – hindi ko sinasabing ‘yung nasasakdal ay napatunayan nang nagnakaw – pero kung magnanakaw ka, nilagay mo sa isang foreign currency (deposit ang pera mo), puwede mo nang itago sa pag-iimbestiga,” Aquino said.
(Ever since we began these discussions, this is what’s been bothering me: If you’re a thief – and I’m not saying the accused has already been proven to be one – but if you’re a thief, and you placed your money in a foreign currency deposit, you can easily hide it from investigators.)
Initially, prosecutors portrayed Corona’s dollar accounts as key to bolster arguments on the Chief Justice’s alleged dishonesty with his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth. On Thursday, however, lead prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr said Corona’s dollar accounts are “not crucial” anymore for them. – Rappler.com