CJ ‘withdraws’ P200-M after impeachment

AMLC records submitted to the Senate and obtained by Rappler show that Corona’s accounts had 83 total transactions between Dec 12, 2011 and Feb 9, 2012. Out of these, there were 18 “withdrawals,” “withdrawals/redemption,” “withdrawals-over-the-counter,” and “outward remittance.”

HOSTILE WITNESS: Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales presents Corona's dollar accounts (PHOTO BY EMIL SARMIENTO)

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona withdrew at least US$2.2-M from his various dollar accounts within 10 days since he was impeached by the House of Representatives on Dec 12, 2011, records submitted to the Senate court by Ombudsman Conchita Morales show.

Based on current exchange rates, this is equivalent to over P80-M. These withdrawals were made in the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank)-Katipunan branch and Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Investment Management Inc.

He also withdrew at least about P120-million from various peso accounts in PSBank- Katipunan and BPI-San Francisco Del Monte branches. These amounts are based on actual withdrawals and don’t include debit memos or pre-termination of accounts, whose funds may have been transferred to Corona’s other accounts.

The total amount he took out within 10 days of his impeachment is estimated at  P200-M.

Upon orders from the impeachment court, Morales submitted Corona’s bank transactions records coming from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) on Monday, May 14. Acting on 3 complaints against Corona that were filed with her office, Morales requested AMLC for Corona’s records. She said it was AMLC executive director Vicente Aquino himself who gave the records to her.

Corona branded Morales’s testimony as “malicious” and a “lantern of lies,” daring her to quit if he’s able to prove her wrong.

Banks are required to report to AMLC bank transactions involving at least P500,000. Using a waiver in signed by public officials in their Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN), the Ombudsman got around bank secrecy laws which forbid the disclosure of foreign currency deposits without the approval of the bank account holder.

In her testimony before the impeachment court Monday, Morales said that she discovered Corona’s dollar accounts by studying AMLC records with the assistance of Commission on Audit (COA) chair Grace Tan and COA Commissioner Heidi Mendoza.

She said they could not determine the ending balance because the bank transactions are circuitous. But based on “fresh deposits” alone, the AMLC records show Corona has at least US$12-million, Morales said. (Fresh deposits are money that never moved in a bank account.)

The AMLC records obtained by Rappler show that Corona’s accounts registered 83 total transactions between Dec 12, 2011, the day he was impeached, and Feb 9, 2012, in the middle of his impeachment trial.

Out of this number, Rappler counted 18 “withdrawals,”  “withdrawals/redemption,” “withdrawals-over-the-counter,” and “outward remittance.”

Of the 83 total transactions during this two-month period, there were 4 “deposit” activities involving P46-M. It’s also possible that these deposits were not fresh deposits but money that moved around Corona’s bank accounts.

The other activities involve various types of credit memos and debit memos, indicating deposits and withdrawals in these accounts.

The Ombudsman, who launched a panel to investigate Corona, was called to the witness stand by the defense panel to prove that the $10-M deposits don’t exist. The defense appeared surprised to learn before the court that the source of the Ombudsman’s information is the AMLC.

In April, the Ombudsman wrote Corona a letter to explain his assets, including the $10-M. The Chief Justice dismissed the information as “phoney” and argued that the Ombudsman doesn’t have jurisdiction over him. In response, Morales said the Ombudsman Act allowed her to investigate impeachable officials for the purposes of impeachment complaints.

It appeared that the defense counsels themselves were surprised with the revelations of the Ombudsman. Lead counsel Serafin Cuevas questioned the Ombudsman for failing to add in the letter that the source of her information was the AMLC.

12-Dec-12 Withdrawal   ₱12,988,951.36 PSBank-Katipunan
  Withdrawal   ₱7,397,566.36 PSBank-Katipunan
  Withdrawal $135,359.01   PSBank-Katipunan
  Withdrawal   ₱17,270,654.97 PSBank-Katipunan
15-Dec-11 Withdrawal $769,681.71   PSBank-Katipunan
  Withdrawal $343,192.62   PSBank-Katipunan
19-Dec-11 Withdrawals/
$687,433.57   BPI Investment Management Inc.
  ₱36,123,070.28 BPI Investment Management Inc.
22-Dec-11 Outward Remittance $350,000.00   PSBank
29-Dec-11 Withdrawal- Over the counter   ₱4,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
3-Jan-12 Withdrawal   ₱6,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
  Withdrawal- Over the counter   ₱6,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
4-Jan Withdrawal   ₱5,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
  Withdrawal – Over the counter   ₱5,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
10-Jan-12 Withdrawal – Over the counter   ₱5,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
11-Jan-12 Withdrawal – Over the counter   ₱5,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
12-Jan-12 Withdrawal – Over the counter   ₱5,000,000.00 BPI-SFDM
13-Jan-12 Withdrawal – Over the counter   ₱6,123,510.03 BPI-SFDM
TOTALS   $2,285,666.91 ₱120,903,753.00  


In her analysis of the transaction records, Morales also noted heavy activities during the 2004 elections. – Rappler.com

1-Apr-04 Credit Memo  USD 162,982.97 BPI-Acropolis
  Debit Memo  USD 390,000 BPI-Acropolis
  Deposit USD  221,000 BPI-Acropolis
  Credit Memo  USD 390,000.00 BPI-Acropolis
  Miscellaneous transfer USD  162,982.97 BPI-Acropolis
  Miscellaneous transfer USD  2,200,000.00 BPI-Ayala
2-Apr-04 Credit Memo USD  100,000 BPI-Acropolis
  Debit Memo  USD 100,000 BPI-Acropolis
  Debit Memo USD  100,000 BPI-Acropolis
6-May-04 Credit Memo USD 390,526 BPI-Acropolis
  Miscellaneous transfer  USD 390,526 BPI-Acropolis
7-May-04 Credit Memo USD 100,135 BPI-Acropolis
  Miscellaneous transfer  USD 100,135 BPI-Acropolis
11-May-04 Deposit USD 9,340 BPI-Acropolis
12-May-04 Debit Memo USD 500,000 BPI-Acropolis
14-May-04 Credit Memo USD 500,000 BPI-Acropolis
  Debit Memo USD 500,000 BPI-Acropolis
17-May-04 Buy Mutual Fund Investments/Shares USD 27,933,000.00 Philam Dollar Bond Fund, Inc.