Badminton

PNoy: If Corona can’t explain wealth, then $10-M is ill-gotten

Rappler.com
President Aquino took another jab at Chief Justice Renato Corona who is being asked by the Office of the Ombudsman to explain some alleged US$10 million in his bank accounts

MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino took another jab at Chief Justice Renato Corona who is being asked by the Office of the Ombudsman to explain some alleged US$10 million in his bank accounts.

“The minute he doesn’t explain it, the presumption [that the funds are] ill-gotten remains. That is not my opinion, that is the law. He is the chief magistrate, he should be the first to [comply],” President Aquino said on Sunday, May 6, after he attended the commemoration of the Fall of Corregidor.

President Aquino was being asked if these dollar deposit accounts should be taken up at the impeachment trial against the chief justice. The trial resumes Monday, May 7.

Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth is one of the prosecution’s bases for seeking to convict Corona with betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

The defense team has questioned the authority of the Ombudsman to look into Corona’s dollar accounts, which were previously kept confidential as the defense cited the Secrecy of Foreign Currency Deposits at the trial in the Senate.  

The Ombudsman discovered Corona’s foreign-denominated bank accounts through the Anti-Money Laundering Council, citing the blanket authority that Corona gave when he signed a waiver at the back of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).

For his part, Aquino said he has been submitting his SALN since he started his political career, stressing that this requirement is not an option but a strict requirement of the Constitution.

He added that he understands that this document is part of public record.

“Will I disclose it publicly? The minute I submitted it, that becomes part of public records and it’s available,” he said.

President Aquino also said that the SALN of the Chief Justice is being questioned, not his.  

“I’m not hiding anything but…there is no one questioning the contents of my SALN. Why should mine be divulged ahead of the one being questioned?” he said.

He cited Article 11 of the Constitution on the accountability of public officers, which states that declarations of assets, liabilities, and net worth  “shall be disclosed to the public in manner provided by law.”

“The operative [phrase] for us here is ‘shall be disclosed.’ It’s not ‘may be disclosed.’ We have been directed by the Constitution that we swore to defend and uphold to disclose it,” he said. – Rappler.com