MANILA, Philippines – Cristina R Corona, the wife of the Chief Justice, paid in cash P9.15-M for a condominium unit at the Spanish Bay Tower in Bonifacio Ridge in Taguig City.
This was disclosed by Aniceto V. Bisnar Jr, vice president of Ayala Land, during the impeachment trial on Monday, January 30. He presented 3 provisional receipts and deed of sale, in the name of Cristina Corona, as proof.
Unit 1901 is located on the 19th floor of the 20-level condominium tower called the Spanish Bay Tower located beside the sprawling Manila Golf property and the boundary of the posh Bonifacio Global City.
Notice of acceptance
During the cross-examination, Ramon Esguerra, lawyer for the defense, however pointed out that there was “no notice of acceptance” usually signed by the buyer, which Bisnar should have shown.
While the unit was sold and turned over in 2005, the title was given and received only on July 4, 2006, Esguerra said.
He told the court that it was still possible that the unit was “physically delivered” “sometime after” the delivery of the title.
Paid almost in full
The 113-square-meter unit was purchased on Oct 14, 2005, following the signing of a deed of absolute sale.
Bisnar said that the condominium unit was in fact paid “almost in full” as early as April 30, 2004. A check for P2.2 million was issued by Chief Justice Renato Corona and the balance of P6.9 million was paid after, issued this time by Cristina Corona, for a total of P9.1-M, Bisnar told the court.
The Chief Justice also paid for other “transaction costs” such as the Value Added Tax (more than P200,000) and documentary stamps (more than P900,000), according to Bisnar.
His wife Cristina was registered as the buyer, however, based on the deed of absolute sale.
This property was not included in the Chief Justice’s Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) for the years 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. (View copies of Corona’s SALNs)
Corona declared the property in his 2010 SALN. But in a “note” in that 2010 SALN, the Chief Justice wrote: “We sold 2 parcels of land in Q.C. [Quezon City] to purchase/pay the loans for condo units [including the Bonifacio Ridge property].”
At the time of the sale, Bisnar was head of commercial operations of Fort Bonifacio Devt Corp. and as such, was overseeing the management and planning of the real estate project.
Fort Bonifacio Devt Corp (FBDC) is a joint venture between Ayala Land and Evergreen Holdings. The mother company oversees the master planning of the posh Bonifacio Global City in Taguig.
Earlier Monday afternoon, Megaworld finance director Giovanni Ng took the witness stand to disclose information he knew about the Chief Justice’s 303.5-square-meter condo unit at the Bellagio I Tower and his daughter’s 203-square-meter lot in McKinley Hill. They were bought at P14.5-million and P6.1-million, respectively.
Megaworld and FBDC are the developers of two condominium units and a lot owned by the Corona couple and their daughter Charina, respectively. All three properties are located in the upscale Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City.
Ayala Land and Community Innovators, on the other hand, are the developers of the Bonifacio Ridge condominium unit.
The prosecution has claimed victory in the release of Corona’s SALNs and Income Tax Returns (ITRs). The ITRs clearly showed, they said, that the Chief Justice could not have been able to afford the properties he declared in his SALN. He listed a total of 5 properties with a combined purchase price of P45.6-million.
Aside from the two condominium units in Taguig, he declared 1) a house and lot in Quezon City, 2) a condominium in Quezon City, and 3) a condominium unit in Makati. (The SALNs were not clear but the properties presumably refer to the Corona couple’s lot in La Vista, a condo in One Burgundy Plaza in Katipunan Avenue, and another condo in The Columns in Makati.)
Based on his ITRs, the Chief Justice declared an annual income of P600,000 at most.
His wife Cristina started earning only in 2007 when she was appointed by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as chairman, president, CEO, and COO of Camp John Hay Management Corp. From 2007 to 2010, when she stepped down, records show she earned a total of P5.7 million.
The ITRs did not show that the Corona couple had other sources of income. Nevertheless, the defense panel shrugged off the documents the prosecution panel has been able to present. With a report from Carmela Fonbuena –Rappler.com
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