Dollar accounts exist, but leaked records ‘fake’

Carmela Fonbuena

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Bank records were supposedly leaked to the prosecution panel by a "small lady"

MANILA, Philippines – The bank records of Chief Justice Renato Corona leaked to the prosecution panel are “not facsimiles of the documents we have,” PSBank president Pascual Garcia III told the Senate impeachment court on Thursday, February 9.

But the 10 bank accounts enumerated in the same request for subpoena exist in their records, Garcia confirmed, as Presiding Officer and Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile enumerated the numbers attached to each of the 10 accounts.

RELUCTANT WITNESS. PSBank President Pascual Garcia III

When asked to study photocopies of alleged bank statements that the prosecution attached to their subpoena, Garcia said that these records did not come from the bank. “If we will compare the original, it does not appear to be a photocopy of the original,” Garcia explained.

There are “material differences” between the original copies and the ones leaked to the prosecution, he added. “For the peso accounts, our original documents had differences,” he added.

In the leaked bank documents that reached the prosecution, one apparently showed a “US$700 k” deposit in Corona’s account in 2008. It’s not clear from Garcia’s testimony if the “material differences” he was referring to also involved the dollar accounts since he refused to talk about dollar deposits, invoking the law.

The bank records were supposedly given by an anonymous source—now known as the “small lady”—to prosecutor Reynaldo Umali.


Garcia’s refusal to discuss the dollar accounts earned the ire of some senators.

Enrile suggested that the leak could only have come from PSBank Katipunan Branch. Garcia replied, “I honestly believe it did not.”

On Wednesday, Garcia presented documents for 5 of the 10 accounts that the prosecution panel enumerated in its request. Suggesting that the other 5 are dollar accounts, he said he did not bring the other 5.

Based on Garcia’s testimony on Wednesday, it appeared that the Chief Justice had at least a P19-M balance in at least two accounts by the end of 2010. In his SALN, the Chief Justice declared only P3.5-M worth of “cash and investments.”

Before the hearing was suspended, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada insisted that Garcia show the court copies of Corona’s dollar accounts. Garcia has so far been firm in refusing the court’s order. –

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