MANILA, Philippines – Before he went to face senator-judges in the afternoon of Monday, January 16, Chief Justice Renato Corona refuted before a crowd of supporters in the Supreme Court accusations that he owned 45 properties.
He said he and his kin own only the following:
1. A 48-square-meter property (he did not mention where, but according to the title he mentioned, CCT No.85716, the property is located in Makati). Rappler reported that Corona owns a P3.5-million condominium in Makati.
2. Two properties in Taguig
3. A property in Quezon City listed under Mrs Corona. The chief justice said his wife inherited it from her parents and that it was divided among her and seven other siblings.
4. Another property in Quezon City that belongs to the parents of his son-in-law, Constantino Castillo III.
5. A 62-square-meter condominium in Quezon City that he gave to his son, Francis.
6. A property in Quezon City where he is currently residing. He said he inherited it from his parents.
Corona said three of the titles listed in Taguig are not properties at all, but are parking slots. Corona said the properties they have in Taguig were bought using hard-earned money. The head magistrate has two condominium units in Fort Bonifacio, one of which is a 303.5-square-meter condo unit at Bellagio, which costs P14-million.
He added that another three properties had already been sold, one of which is a house in the posh subdivision La Vista. Rappler reported that Corona sold his La Vista home to his daughter and son-in-law, Carla and Constantino Castillo III in 2010.
Another property was a 1,750-square-meter property in Marikina, inherited by his wife Cristina. The property was subdivided into 7 lots of 250 square meters. He said the Land Registration Authority knew that this property was sold in 1988.
Two properties belonged to the parents of his son-in-law; another one is owned by his grandparents, both already deceased. Another property used to belong to his son-in-law, but it was later sold to a certain Myrla Nelad-Bajar and Beneroso Bajar.
Corona said other land titles were duplicated and included those that belonged to the developer of his properties in Taguig.
He added that another two properties were listed under the names Rosenda Castillo and Erlinda Castillo, both of whom he does not personally know.
Another title belonged to the National Housing Authority, while another was listed under the name of former Quezon City Mayor Ismael Mathay Jr.
“Do I look like him Ismael Mathay Jr.?” Corona quipped.
Corona said he also remains unfazed by the reports that have come out against him in newspapers, television and news sites. He said that his critics tried to bring him down by raising questions about his doctorate degree granted by the University of Sto Tomas and by trying to pin him down on alleged irregularities pointed out by the World Bank.
Both are not part of the impeachment complaint filed against him.
Corona added that various forces — a “former vice-presidential candidate in 2010 who lost” and a person “eyeing the chief justice post” are behind the campaign to have him removed from his post.
President Benigno Aquino III, meanwhile, when asked by Palace reporters if he recommends Corona taking a leave of absence, replied in Filipino, “He’s not asking for my advice anyway. I had made several requests in the past about the management of the Supreme Court to no avail. As a free Filipino, he is free to decide on what he wants to do with his life and his position.”
Earlier in the day, he said the charges being leveled against Corona are solid. He added that he expects the Senate to look at the charges and to decide based on presented evidence.
The President said the business of government continues even as the impeachment trial resumes on Tuesday, January 17. He is expecting visits from Singapore Foreign Minister George Yeo, American Sen John McCain, and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. – Rappler.com