By Jomar Canlas Senior Reporter
FORMER Supreme Court chief justice Renato Corona said he was being persecuted by the Aquino administration, led by Justice Secretary Leila de Lima and Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Jacinto-Henares.
Corona, who was impeached and subsequently removed from office last year, reacted after the Department of Justice recommended the filing of tax evasion raps against him before the Court of Tax Appeals (CTA).
Corona told The Manila Times that he is not expecting justice under the administration of President Benigno Aquino 3rd, who he said had him ousted from the high court due to Aquino’s personal hatred against him. Corona said he was impeached for fighting for the rights of the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the Cojuangco family.
The former chief magistrate said that there could never be any ounce of fairness under Aquino, who has sent his people to persecute him.
“What do you expect from this administration? From day one of my impeachment it is persecution and until now they are doing the same,” he said.
He pointed out that de Lima was part of the persecution team who even testified in a sham impeachment trial.
“What fairness could I have expected from the DOJ whose head, Secretary de Lima, testified against me during my sham impeachment trial? Was there ever any doubt about the outcome of this charade? My savings are the result of 45 years of diligent work in the private and public sectors,” he said.
He argued that he does not have any tax liability, and criticized the BIR for being remiss in its duties for failing to send an assessment notice to him as required under the Tax Code.
“ I do not owe any tax liability to the government. I have never in all my life ever received even a single notice of deficiency assessment from the BIR. The contrived claims of the BIR will fall flat on its face because they are without legal, factual and moral basis, and are just part of the continuing political harassment and persecution that they have been incessantly inflicting on me,” he added.
In a 65- page resolution, the department found enough evidence to indict Corona for the P150.68 -million tax evasion complaint filed by the BIR covering six taxable years.
Prosecutor General Claro Arellano approved the filing of the tax raps against Corona.
The panel of prosecutors who investigated the case are Sr. Asst. State Prosecutor Rosanne Elepano-Balauag, along with Prosecution Attorneys Mark Roland Estepa and Jayvee Laurence Bandong.
“Wherefore, premises considered, it is respectfully recommended that attached informations be Filed against respondent Renato C. Corona for violation of Section 254 and 255 of the National Internal Revenue Code of 1997, as amended, before the Court of Tax Appeals,” the document says.
The complaint alleged that Corona did not include in his statement of assets and liabilities his condominium unit at The Columns in Ayala Avenue which he bought for P3.6 million in 2004 and his property at Fort Bonifacio worth P9.16 million which he acquired in 2005.
The revenue agency claimed that for nine years Corona did not pay his taxes worth P120.5 million.
In a complaint filed before the DOJ, Henares said that Corona and his kin failed to file their income tax returns from 2003 to 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Tax charges of P150.68 million were filed against Corona, son-in-law Constantino Castillo 3rd, and his daughter Ma. Carla Beatriz Castillo.