(UPDATE) Chief Justice Renato Corona on Friday admitted that he has at least $2.4 million (P105,026,400 for at P43:$1 exchange) in his four dollar accounts.
Corona claimed that he earned this money due to his dollar deposits for over 35 years, since his family invested in foreign exchange.
“Ang pera namin ay lumago sa interes. Bakit hindi nagagalaw ang interes? Napakasimple po ng aming pamumuhay at mayroon naman akong current stream of income na nagagamit sa pang-araw-araw,” he said.
The Chief Justice said he did not declare his dollar deposits to his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth due to banking secrecy and foreign currency deposit units laws.
Corona also testified that his three peso accounts contain a total of P80 million which are all commingled funds that he does not solely own.
He pointed out that these accounts contain the expropriation proceeds of the sale of the lot owned by his wife’s company, Basa Guidote Enterprises Inc., the inheritance of his late mother, and some funds of his children.
“Mas malaki ang deposit, mas malaki ang interes,” Corona said, explaining why his children opted for commingle funds.
The chief justice also denied the allegations of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales that he owned $10-million worth of “transactional balance” and $12-million worth of “fresh deposits.”
“I never, at any time, had 10, 11 or 12 million dollars. Pinakamalaki na yung $2.4 million,” he said.
Corona hit Morales for releasing the report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council which he said is unauthenticated.
“Palagay ko po nagpagamit si Ombudsman sa Malacanang. Kasi naman po winagayway niya dito yung dokumentong allegedly from AMLC. Parang di naman po tama yun kasi hindi man lang authenticated,” he said.
Earlier, Corona submitted a confidentiality waiver--and dropped an earlier condition he set--which would allow the court look at his four dollar accounts.
At the same time, Corona apologized for his behavior in Tuesday's trial, while maintaining he did not "walk-out" but was really not feeling well.
"I am submitting this [waiver] without any condition," Corona told the court Friday as he returned to the witness stand. On Tuesday he dared all 188 impeachment complainants as well as Senator Franklin Drilon to also submit their confidentiality waivers.
His move to submit the waiver came after Corona's apology to the Senator-judges.
“Ako po ay nagpapakumbaba at humihingi ng paumanhin sa inyo. Hindi ko inaasahan na ganoon ang mangyayari,” Corona said.
Corona also denied that he planned the alleged "walkout" and insisted that he was just not feeling well after suffering from hypoglycemia.
“I was in a total state of confusion. Sa hilo ko po, ako ay naduduwal. Ayaw ko naman po maduwal sa harap ng camera,” he said.
Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile asked the chief justice if he’s now ready to face the court despite his condition.
Corona said although his doctors advised him to skip today’s trial, he still chose to return.
“Nasa puso ko po ang obligasyon ko sa bayan na magpaliwanag na hindi natapos noong Martes.
Pumunta rin po ako para magbigay galang sa Senado bilang institusyon ng ating pamahalaan,” he explained.
The chief justice said he has not finished reading the remaining two pages of his statement which deals with the alleged flip-flopping on the case of the Philippine Airlines vs. Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines, and the issuance of the temporary restraining order allegedly in favor of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
No more cross and direct examination
The prosecution and the defense panel both moved not to push with direct and cross examination, respectively.
Defense lead counsel Serafin Cuevas said that due to Corona's condition, they would no longer subject the Chief Justice to a direct examination.
Private prosecutor Mario Bautista said prosecution will also no longer cross-examine Corona but moved that his statements on Tuesday are "inadmissible in evidence."
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