45? 21? 6? The Corona property math

The prosecution and the defense cut down the list of 45 properties allegedly owned by Corona. Yet their tallies don't match.

ONLY FIVE. The defense panel counts only 5 properties belonging to Chief Justice Renato Corona. Photo by Junny Roy/Daily Tribune/Senate Pool

MANILA, Philippines – Scrap the headlines. Redo the count. The 45 properties are no more.

The controversial list of 45 properties allegedly owned by Chief Justice Renato Corona has been cut down.

On Day 33 of the impeachment trial, the prosecution and the defense went over the list of titles from the Land Registration Authority (LRA). This list was the basis of the initial claim of the prosecution that Corona has 45 properties. Prosecutors have since changed their count.

The two panels agreed on Wednesday, March 21, that of the 45 titles, 17 were cancelled and others belonged to namesakes of the Chief Justice and his family. These became part of the list because of a general name search done with the LRA’s new computer system.

Yet the defense and the prosecution’s counts still don’t match.

The prosecution stops its tally at 21 properties, which it included in its formal offer of evidence.

These 21 properties pertain to those owned by the Chief Justice and his wife, Cristina Corona, but also factor in the properties of their children which prosecutors believe actually belong to the Corona couple.

Here is the breakdown of the prosecution’s tally of 21 properties:

1.       Bellagio

2-4.    Three parking lots in the Bellagio

5.       Bonifacio Ridge

6.       McKinley (the defense says this belongs to daughter Charina Corona)

7-13.   Marikina lot, subdivided into 7 titles (the defense says this was sold)

14.      The Columns

15-16.  Xavierville, with 2 titles

17.       Cubao property (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

18.       Kalayaan property (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

19.       La Vista (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

20.       Burgundy

21.       Ayala Heights (the defense says this was sold)

The defense, though, does not stop at 21. Defense counsels have said that excluding the properties belonging to the Corona children (4 titles) and the Ayala Heights property (1 title) sold to a certain Rivera couple, the count is down to 16 titles.

The defense panel further reduces the list by subtracting the 7 titles of the Marikina lot. They said this already belongs to Corona’s second cousin, Demetrio Vicente, because it was sold in 1990 even if the titles are still under the Coronas’ name. With that, the list now stands at 9.

Removing the 3 parking lots, the defense cuts the list to 6 properties. Corona’s lawyers say that the Xavierville property has 2 titles so in actuality, the Chief Justice only owns 5 properties as he has been claiming all along.

This is how the defense’s list looks like as compared to the prosecution count:

1.         Bellagio

2-4.      Three parking lots in the Bellagio

5.         Bonifacio Ridge

6.         McKinley (the defense says this belongs to daughter Charina Corona)

7-13.   Marikina lot, subdivided into 7 titles (the defense says this was sold)

14.       The Columns

15-16.   Xavierville, with 2 titles

17.       Cubao property (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

18.       Kalayaan property (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

19.       La Vista (the defense says this belongs to the Castillo couple)

20.       Burgundy

21.       Ayala Heights (the defense says this was sold)

‘The issue here is….’

In the past 2 days, senator-judges took to the podium to berate LRA administrator Eulalio Diaz III and the prosecution for releasing the list. They said the list misled the public and destroyed Corona’s name. (Read: The problem with Eulalio Diaz

With all the manifestations, prosecutors and defense counsels said the real issue must not be lost on the impeachment court. The thing is they again clash on what that is.

For defense counsels, the testimony of Diaz showed that the 188 lawmakers haphazardly impeached their client, and that the prosecution was unprepared. 

 

Defense spokesperson Rico Quicho cited Chief Prosecutor Niel Tupas Jr’s request for the titles from the LRA.

Bakit hindi nila ginawa lahat iyan bago nila finile ang ‘verified’ complaint?” (Why didn’t they do all that before filing the ‘verified’ complaint?)

In contrast, the prosecution wants to focus the Senate and the public’s attention back to the articles of impeachment, particularly Article 2. This article accuses Corona of failing to disclose and accurately declare his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

Prosecution spokesperson Rep Romero “Miro” Quimbo stressed this in a press conference after the trial.

“I think we should not get lost here. What is important is that it only takes 1 property that is not declared in your SALN…that amounts to a violation. I hope we don’t lose focus of that also.”

Another spokesperson for the prosecution, Rep Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada III said the issue is not just about declaring the properties, but declaring them on time. 

“Let us not forget that we are not only trying him for 2010 but for 2002 up to 2010, and the properties that are listed there would cover the whole 8 years, 9 years of his service in the Supreme Court.”

'COMMENDING IGNORANCE.' Sen Miriam Defensor Santiago tells the LRA chief who prepared the list of 45 properties, "I commend your ignorance." Photo by Albert Calvelo/PRIB/Senate Pool

‘We corrected it many times’

During the trial, Sen Jinggoy Estrada said the list of 45 properties did a lot of damage.

Estrada told Tupas, “May I tell you to advise your spokespersons to rectify the error, take back the statement to the media because I think the damage has already been done. It already instilled in the minds of the people, the public, and even the court, that CJ Corona owns 45 [properties].”

Quicho and fellow defense spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III said they did not blame the media for reporting about the list because it came from a prosecution press conference.

The two joined Estrada’s call for the prosecution to correct the error.

“We believe that when the list was given to the prosecution, to Congressman Tupas, they should have studied this, analyzed it before they released it because we know that the good name of CJ Corona was tarnished because of their rush. They didn’t study it,” Quicho said in Filipino.

Quimbo, who was among those in the press conference on the 45 properties, gave this response, “We have corrected it many times that it’s not 45 but 21.”

“I think we’ve corrected it a long time ago, that the 45 properties came from our good faith reliance on the letter sent by the LRA, which is the principal office in terms of land titles,” added Quimbo. (Watch his statement in the press conference below.) 

Prosecution to include more properties?

In the press conference after the trial, the prosecution said it will discuss whether or not to pursue and include other possible properties of Corona outside Metro Manila.

The statement is based on the testimony of Diaz that the computer name search was limited to the National Capital Region.

Prosecution spokespersons Rep Juan Edgardo “Sonny” Angara and Rep Tañada said if necessary, the panel will include the supposed other properties of Corona in its rebuttal evidence or ask for a “leave of court” to be allowed to present additional evidence. Asking for a leave of court means seeking permission to be allowed to do what would normally not be permitted by the court.

“We will study all possibilities that are still open for the prosecution,” said Tañada. – Rappler.com

 

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.