Former Chief Justice Renato Corona of the Supreme Court (SC) wants the Ombudsman and the Sandiganbayan to junk his criminal and civil charges, citing what he saw as the OMB’s “unjustified desire to persecute rather than prosecute.”
Corona is facing 16 counts of perjury and ethical violations combined in relation to his allegedly misdeclared Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
In an SC petition given to the Sandiganbayan, Corona accused the OMB and state prosecutors of “grave abuse of discretion by maliciously acting as the accuser, investigator and the judge” against him.
He challenged the OMB’s charges, stating that they were baseless as there was no proof that he acquired the alleged bank deposits during his time at the SC from 2002 to 2010, when he was impeached.
Last April 10, Corona’s camp submitted a Motion for Judicial Determination of Probable Cause before the Sandiganbayan, claiming that the OMB violated his right to due process. The prosecution has yet to comment on the matter.
If the court resolves in favor of the defense, there will be no need for a trial.
It also furnished the anti-graft court’s Second and Third Divisions with a copy of its SC. Petition for Certiorari and Prohibition against the OMB and a motion for special raffle of said petition.
Corona and his wife Cristina want the High Court to make a permanent injuction on the OMB’s finding of probable cause, and to order the Sandiganbayan to dismiss all his pending cases because there was no credible or competent evidence to forfeit their assets and charge Corona criminally.
They described the field investigation office’s complaint to the OMB as a “mere scrap of paper” that was unverified and should never have been even considered by the OMB.
The documents which were the basis of the OMB’s charges were “illegally obtained” particularly details of his bank accounts, the petition read, citing confidentiality.
Corona also decried “no unbiased” individual took the witness stand but instead the OMB personally testified that he had $12 million spread in 82 accounts. REINA TOLENTINO