Corona Camp Hits Ombudsman's Order

MANILA, Philippines - The camp of Chief Justice Renato Corona criticized Sunday the Office of the Ombudsman for issuing an order directing the SC chief to explain his alleged ownership of US$10-million in bank accounts just a week before the Senate impeachment court is set to resume his impeachment trial.

Ramon Esguerra, one of the lawyers of Chief Justice Corona, said it is apparent that the new round of accusations being hurled against their client is in anticipation of a possible acquittal of the chief magistrate who stands accused of betraying public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

Acting on the complaints filed before her office, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales has ordered Corona to explain within 72 hours how he acquired several peso and dollar accounts which are purported to be ''disproportionate'' to his salary.

Corona has denied he owned a $10-million and that bank account ever existed. The ruling he said, was also part of a black propaganda and mind-conditioning in preparation for the resumption of Congress sessions.

But the Palace said that it does not consider the investigation by the Ombudsman into the bank accounts of Corona as ''overkill'' even though he is already facing an impeachment trial at the Senate.

Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the investigation against Corona is initiated by an independent constitutional body based on a complaint filed by some individuals.

Lacierda instead appealed anew to Corona to explain his alleged huge wealth, insisting the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is doing her job. ''There is a process by which the Ombudsman undertook the investigation. There was a complaint filed by several individuals regarding Chief Justice Corona before the Office at the Ombudsman and it is incumbent upon the Ombudsman to perform her mandate of investigating.'' (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)

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