MANILA, Philippines – Cristina Corona may have filed a libel case against her but Sister Flory Basa says she holds no grudge against her niece and even prays for her enlightenment.
The 90-year-old nun faced TV cameras to talk about the family feud now at the center of the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In an interview with ABS-CBN’s TV Patrol, Basa denied the statement of the Corona camp that Mrs Corona became almost the majority owner of the family corporation, Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc (BGEI).
“May lumalabas doon na parang hindi tama. Palagay niyo ‘yung sinabi na ang lupa na minana ni mama na binigay sa amin, na si Cristina yata nagsabi na ‘It all belongs to me.’ Sabi ko, eh bakit ganoon ang nangyari?” (There were things that came out in the impeachment trial that were not true. I think Cristina said that all the land belongs to her. I said, how did that happen?)
Basa is the sister of Asuncion Basa, Cristina’s mother. Sister Flory Basa is an original stockholder of BGEI.
The nun denied that there was a board meeting giving Cristina Corona power to be the administratrix of the company.
“Never because whatever I used to hear [from her] like, ‘My dad assigned me to be the administrator.’ That was it. So for me, what happened was, it was my mother who was the one administering everything.”
Basa added, “Nadidinig ko na mga ganyan na Cristina was not doing the right thing. Sabi ko, ‘Puwede ba, baka naman okay na lang, malalaki naman tayong lahat?’ Tapos sabi ko, ‘You try to appraise the property so each one gets her share or his share.’” (I was hearing that Cristina was not doing the right thing. I said, ‘Can we just settle this since we’re all grown up?)
The dispute over BGEI, however, was never resolved.
Corona’s lawyers have said that Mrs Corona was entrusted to be the administratrix of BGEI. Defense counsels also said the Corona couple never claimed that BGEI’s money was theirs.
The defense team insists the family feud is irrelevant to the impeachment trial, and must be treated as a separate case.
‘We never harassed Corona’
Basa also denied statements of the Chief Justice that her side of the family was harassing the Coronas.
“Sinasabi ni Corona that he is the one harassed, kailan naman namin siya as a family, when did we harass the Coronas? I never, never heard about that, never felt we were harassing somebody. What would my mother say about us, the Basas harassing somebody?” (Corona is saying that he is the one harassed but when did we as a family harass the Coronas?)
In his media blitz, Corona said Sister Flory Basa’s brother, Jose Maria Basa III, repeatedly filed cases against him even before he joined government. Corona added that Jose Maria Basa III tried to block his appointment to the Supreme Court and as Chief Justice in the Judicial and Bar Council.
‘Special prayer for Cristina’
Cristina filed a case of libel against Jose Maria Basa III, Sister Flory Basa and another aunt after they put up a notice published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer regarding the reported unaccounted rent income. The income was from a BGEI property in Manila.
Despite the lawsuit, Sister Flory Basa said she still treats Cristina as her relative.
“I do not want to be involved in this impeachment. Why? After all, Cristina is still family. She’s still my niece. I don’t want to get involved in that.”
Basa said she tried to reconcile with Cristina at one point, approaching her after a hearing on the libel case but was ignored.
The nun said she prays to Cristina’s parents for her “to see the light, to be enlightened by the Lord.”
“If you were alive, would you be approving? Parang kinakausap ko sila. Ang dami-dami kong pamangkin, lahat pinagdarasal ko pero I hope you do not mind, sabi ko, I’m praying a special prayer for Cristina so that she may be enlightened.” (It’s like I talk to them. I have so many nephews and nieces, I pray for all of them but I pray a special prayer for Cristina’s enlightenment.)
‘A CJ must do the right thing’
Basa’s niece, Ana Basa, has also spoken up about the family feud. She told the Inquirer that the Coronas harassed her parents, even pointing a gun at their caretaker. Corona denied the allegation.
The prosecution said it might ask Ana and Flory Basa to appear as rebuttal witnesses in the trial. Flory Basa said it will depend if her congregation will allow her to testify. She is based in the St Joseph Convent in Cavite.
“If [it’s] for the sake of the country, because truth must come out, and justice must come out. Now, of course, charity will always come in the middle,” said Basa. “If it happens that he does not resign and he will continue, we know what the future will be. If he has been doing these things to our little family, is it right that I will give him the opportunity to do it to the country?”
“We need somebody who will demonstrate, who will do the right thing, who is for me, somebody who will have — I cannot say selfish motives — have a real concern for the people.”
The family dispute was brought up in the impeachment trial, with Corona saying he got a loan of P11-M from the company that he used to pay for some of his properties. Corona declared this as a liability in his 2003 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
The Chief Justice also said that the P32.6-M he withdrew from the Philippine Savings Bank on the day he was impeached, Dec 12, 2011, was the money of BGEI.
Ana Basa, however, said her side of the family was never informed about the loan and the money deposited under Chief Justice Corona’s name. She said it should have been put under BGEI’s account.
The defense said it will address all the allegations against Corona once it presents its evidence and witnesses when the trial resumes on March 12. Mrs Corona is one of the witnesses for the defense. – Rappler.com
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