Documents answer McKinley questions

Natashya Gutierrez

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Charina Corona made her father a trustee in 2007, a year before she bought the McKinley lot

MANILA, Philippines – The defense has repeatedly dismissed accusations that the McKinley Hill property is not actually owned by Chief Justice Renato Corona’s daughter Charina, but by the Corona couple themselves.

And it seems they have the documents to prove it.

On Tuesday, January 31, the defense submitted a list of witnesses and documents that they plan to present to the court. Aside from the roughly 25 testimonial evidence they will call, the list also includes hundreds of documentary evidence.

Among them are documents that are meant to prove that Charina – a physical therapist living in the US – is indeed the owner of the 203-sq-m lot in Taguig, and that her parents were simply playing the role of legal agents in helping her acquire it.

Legal owner

On Monday, January 30, prosecution witness and Megaworld Finance Director Giovanni Ng testified that all 27 official receipts pertaining to the purchase of the McKinley property bore the name of the Chief Justice and his spouse.

With this testimony, the prosecution aimed to prove that contrary to the title being in Charina’s name, the couple paid for the lot, own it, and did not declare it in their Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Networth (SALN).

The defense argued that Corona was assigned by Charina to represent her hence his name on the receipts, but according to the prosecution, it was only after the final payment was made in September 2008 when Corona requested Ma. Charina Corona’s name be written on the deed of absolute sale.

Private prosecutor Joseph Perez also told the court that Megaworld’s Buyer’s Information Sheet stated that Corona was the declared buyer.

Documents 36-39 under Article 2 of the list submitted by the defense disprove the prosecution’s claim.

The defense plans to submit the following documents to the court (as written on the list):

  1. Declaration of Trust stating Renato C. Corona and Cristina R. Corona as Trustees and acknowledgment that Ma. Charina R. Corona as Trustor, Beneficiary, and Legal Owner of the title to Lot 1, Blk. 16, Phase 2 of McKinley Hill Subdivision dated Feb. 15, 2007;
  2. Certification dated Jan. 19, 2012, issued by Perlita V. Ele, Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court, Quezon City, certifying that the Declaration of Trust dated Feb. 15, 2007 and Special Power of Attorney dated March 7, 2007 were duly entered in the Notarial Registry of Atty. Maynard P. Panela;
  3. Certified True Copy of the Notarial Registry Index of Atty. Maynard P. Panela, showing that the Declaration of Trust dated Feb. 15, 2007 and Special Power of Attorney dated March 7, 2007 were duly entered as Doc. Nos.  349 and 350, respectively; Page 71; Book 1; Series of 2007;
  4. Special Power of Attorney dated Sept. 15, 2008, Notarized by the Philippine Consul in San Francisco, California, U.S.A. executed in favor of Renato C. Corona and Cristina R. Corona to sign the deed of sale and documents pertaining to the purchase of Lot 1, Blk 16, Phase 2 of McKinley Hill Subdivision.

The documents above indicate that Charina was the legal owner as early as 2007, and that Corona and his wife Cristina were assigned special powers that same year, the year before the acquisition of the property.

The Special Power of Attorney (SPA) dated March 7, 2007 explains why the names of the Corona couple appear in the property’s original receipts and other McKinley-related documents.

Appearing as document 31 on the defense list, the 2007 SPA is said to have been “executed by Ma. Charina R. Corona in favor of Renato C. Corona with Cristina R. Corona” to allow the Corona couple to “enter into contract to sell with Megaworld Corporation and be named temporarily buyer/owner for ‘administrative case,’ among others.”

It is shown to have been recorded and entered accordingly into a Notarial Registry.

Another SPA was issued to the Corona couple by Charina to sign a deed of sale for her in 2008.

“Interestingly, [the prosecution] withheld the SPA,” defense counsel Ramon Esguerra told Rappler on Monday. “Why?” –

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Natashya Gutierrez

Natashya is President of Rappler. Among the pioneers of Rappler, she is an award-winning multimedia journalist and was also former editor-in-chief of Vice News Asia-Pacific. Gutierrez was named one of the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders for 2023.