Ombudsman gives court CJ’s ‘705 transactions’

Rappler.com
(UPDATED) Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales submits to the impeachment court a 17-page report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council containing the Chief Justice's alleged peso and dollar accounts

ON THE STAND. Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales takes her oath as witness in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, May 14, 2012. Photo by Ayee Macaraig.

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Monday, May 14, submitted to the impeachment court a 17-page report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) containing Chief Justice Renato Corona’s alleged peso and dollar accounts.

Morales testified on Day 37 of the Coronal trial, where she said she sought the assistance of the AMLC in probing allegations of unexplained wealth against the Chief Justice.

Morales said the AMLC report contained 17 pages. Bautista quickly looked over the documents and told the court he saw “705 transactions or entries” in the said documents, which contain the name of the account holder, the account number, transaction dates, codes, the currency denomination, and the name of the banks.

Under cross-examination by private prosecutor Mario Bautista, Morales submitted to the court the AMLC report given to her, which prompted her April 20, 2012 letter to Corona asking him to explain his alleged deposits.

She earlier told the court that her findings were “adverse” to Corona.

All 23 senators were present.

While it was the defense panel that requested the court to issue her a subpoena, lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas never asked her – in his direct examination – to show her findings. Instead, Cuevas questioned the legality of her probe and her decision to seek the assistance of AMLC in the absence of any court proceedings against Corona.

But Enrile told him that the Constitution mandates the Ombudsman to seek the help of any government agency so she could exercise her investigative powers.

Morales disagreed with Cuevas’s attempt to make her a “hostile witness,” saying that as the Ombudsman “I have to discharge my mandate” to look into asset disclosures of public officials and what they own.

“I have to discharge my mandate. That’s a constitutional mandate,” Morales told the impeachment court.

Presiding Officer Sen Juan Ponce Enrile ruled, however, that Morales should be considered a “hostile witness.”

Morales confirmed earlier reports that she wrote Corona on April 20, 2012 as part of a case “build-up…a fact-finding investigation” on Corona, following a complaint filed by at least 4 people led by Akbayan Rep Walden Bello.

Morales said she sought the assistance of the AMLC to provide her office data in relation to the unexplained wealth charges levelled against Corona by the complainants.

The Ombudsman then “requested” Corona to respond to the allegations within 72 hours. In particular, Corona’s alleged “several accounts in the Philippine Savings Bank and several others in your name…the aggregate value of which amount to at least US$10-M.”

Earlier, the defense panel told the court they preferred to present other witnesses first. But Morales asked the court that she be allowed to testify ahead of the rest. The court obliged.

As of posting, the court took a break to allow time for the photocopying of the AMLC report to be distributed to the senators, prosecutors and defense lawyers.  – Rappler.com

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