Sandigan to try disgraced Chief Justice for misdeclaring SALN
The Sandiganbayan has found probable cause to try former Chief Justice Renato Corona for the crime of perjury and violation of the code of ethical standards over the alleged misdeclaration of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) from 2003 to 2010.
Corona was impeached by Congress in 2011 for false declarations of wealth in his SALN.
He is also facing a P130-million forfeiture case before the Sandiganbayan.
A well-placed source told The Manila Times that the anti-graft court has already voted 4-1 for the denial of his motion for judicial determination of probable cause.
The source said Sandiganbayan Presiding Justice Amparo Cabotaje-Tang penned the ruling, which was concurred in by Associate Justices Jose Hernandez, Alex Quiroz and Ma. Theresa Dolores Gomez-Estoesta.
Only Associate Justice Samuel Martires dissented from the majority ruling, the source added.
The source said the court found the amendments to the charge sought by the prosecution as merely formal.
With the court’s finding of probable cause, the case will proceed to trial.
Corona, who posted bail last year, will be arraigned in October.
The Office of the Ombudsman indicted Corona for allegedly misdeclaring his true net worth by not including pieces of property and several bank accounts as well as undervaluing a number of real-estate assets in his SALN.
The Ombudsman’s investigators said from 2001 to 2011, the Chief Justice and his wife, Cristina, earned P30.4 million, of which P27.1 million was earned by Corona as an official at the Office of the President, a Supreme Court justice, member of the Senate Electoral Tribunal and the House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal.
His wife, Cristina, meanwhile, earned P3.2 million from 2007 to 2010, based on records submitted to the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) by the John Hay Development Corp. (JHDC) where she worked.
Case records also showed that from 2002 to 2010, Corona’s cash deposits increased from P1.34 million to P137.9 million.
By 2010, the cumulative discrepancy between Corona’s SALN declaration and his actual cash deposits amounted to P134.4 million.
The resolution also cited records of the Land Registration Authority (LRA) showing that the Coronas owned several pieces of property in Quezon City, Makati City and Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City, which were undervalued by P17.3 million.