Corona’s ‘unrestricted’ allowances only P11-M

Are these, along with income, sufficient to purchase his properties?

MANILA, Philippines – Since he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002, Chief Justice Renato Corona received P21.6-M in salaries and allowances. The defense said this proves that Corona — now the subject of an impeachment trial — has the money to purchase luxury condominiums and keep multiple bank accounts.

There are specific allowances, however, which could be used only in the discharge of official functions.

Minus these, Corona’s assets based on his SC salaries and allowances would sum up to around P11-M only, based on our computation.

On March 13 and 14, the defense presented SC chief judicial staff officer Araceli Bayuga who submitted to the court a list of all the allowances, emoluments and salaries received by Corona since he was appointed associate justice in 2002 up until 2011, when he became chief justice.

We looked at the figures and computed how much would be available for work-related purposes. In our report ‘Can Corona use hefty allowances for personal use?’ we cited rules and conditions specified by the Department of Budget and Management governing the use of allowances.

The DBM said the representation and transportation allowances (RATA) and the expenditure and miscellaneous expenses (EME) are reimbursable.

Even as Bayuga said they do not categorize them as such, however, she said these should be liquidated by SC justices who have to sign a certification that says they used the allowances only in the discharge of official functions. 

Corona’s allowances

On March 14, Bayuga confirmed that aside from the RATA and EME, the Chief Justice also receives an SC Christmas allowance which is supposed to be used for the SC raffle and donation to charitable institutions — and not for personal use.

A counterpart of this is the Christmas allowance for the presidential electoral tribunal, which the Chief Justice heads.

These allowances amounted to P5.4-M. 

ALLOWANCES AND EMOLUMENTS (2002-2012)

Representation and Transportation allowance

P2,119,147.74

Extraordinary and Miscellaneous expense

P2,522,888.90

SC Christmas allowance

P780,000

TOTAL:

P5,422,037

Corona also received allowances as the ex-oficio chairman of the Judicial and Bar Council, which vets aspirants to the judiciary. From the JBC list, the President chooses his appointees. Corona has been the JBC chairman since 2010. As JBC chairman, he received P389,677 from 2010-2011.

The prosecution did not clarify from Bayuga, however, if expense allowances should also be liquidated like the RATA and EME.

We found an SC issuance in 2004, which mandates liquidation for expense allowances. If the principle behind this SC guideline were to be upheld, expense allowances could not be used for personal purposes.

He also received allowances as the chairman of the Presidential Electoral Tribunal. 

Three kinds of allowances he received were to be used for work-related activities only — the EME, the additional allowable expenses and expense allowances. Another set of allowances, the PET Christmas allowance, is to be used as donation to charitable institutions. 

ALLOWANCES FOR THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTORAL TRIBUNAL (2002-2012)

Extraordinary and Miscellaneous expense 

P1,867,733.33

Presidential electoral tribunal Christmas allowance

P840,000

Monthly expense allowance 

P1,532,501

TOTAL:

P4,240,234

He got another P1.6-M from the Senate electoral tribunal, where he was a member from February 2008 to April 2009.

From the P1.6-M, he could only use his P20,000-monthly allowance for personal purposes. He got another P3,359,807 from the House of Representatives electoral tribunal from 2007-2010, where he became a member and eventually chairman. The breakdown from the P3-M he got from the HRET was not available though. 

Allowances for personal use 

However, there are also allowances that need not necessarily be spent only in connection with the discharge of official functions. These include the special allowance for judges, additional cost of living allowance, year-end bonus, loyalty cash award, Christmas cash gifts, and fringe benefits.

ALLOWANCES FOR PERSONAL CONSUMPTION (2002-2011)

Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA)

P103, 366.67

Additional Compensation

P79,366.67

Monthly special allowance

P3,033,835.69

Additional cost of living allowance 

P280,350

Productivity incentive benefit

P16,000

Year-end bonus and cash gift

P576,219

Loyalty cash  P10,000
Fringe benefit (Emergency economic assistance) P895,671
Other fringe benefits P80,000
Cash gifts  P447,000

TOTAL:

P5,521,754

Corona’s allowances consisting of Personnel Economic Relief Allowance (PERA), additional compensation, monthly special allowance, bonuses and fringe benefits from 2002-2011 totaled P5,521,754.

All in all, the salaries and allowances amounted to P11,394,613.

SALARIES

2002

P353, 045

2003

P485,100

2004

P485,100

2005

P485,100

2006

P485,100

2007

P508, 248

2008

P672, 763

2009

P645, 653

2010

P650, 447

2011

P1, 141, 301

TOTAL

P5,872,859

This amount is what Corona could take home.

The defense said, however, that whether the allowances are reimbursable or not is not the issue here. The point is, Corona’s sources of funds are legitimate. – Rappler.com