The money deposited in three deposit accounts under the name of Chief Justice Renato Corona belongs to Basa-Guidote Enterprise (BGE) Inc., lawyers of the impeached chief magistrate told reporters at a briefing Thursday.
Basa-Guidote Enterprise is a company owned by the family of Cristina Corona, the chief justice’s wife.
However, Corona’s lawyers did not explain why the money was deposited in PSBank accounts under the chief justice’s name. "Ipapaliwanag namin sa tamang panahon," said lawyer and spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III.
The Corona family's decision to withdraw the money from the three PSBank accounts was related to his impeachment, Salvador noted.
Anticipating that his money and properties would be scrutinized by the impeachment court, Corona closed the accounts on Dec. 12, 2011— the day 188 members of the House of Representatives impeached the chief justice.
"Ang tingin ko, ang dahilan dito, considering the situation, iisipin ng tao baka personal na pera niya iyan. Pero ang intention dun ay protektahan naman ang pera na 'yun na sa Guidote," Salvador told reporters. Two accounts under subpoena
The first of two accounts closed on Dec.12, 2011 was No. 089-121019523, which was opened on Dec. 22, 2009 with an opening balance of P8.5 million.
The second account was opened on Sept. 1, 2010 with an opening balance of P7,090,099.45.
These accounts, along with three other time deposit accounts, were covered by a Senate subpoena.
PSBank president Pascual Garcia III on Thursday again took the witness stand and spoke of a third account that was not covered by the subpoena — but was also closed on Dec. 12. This account had an opening balance of P17 million, Garcia said.
The Corona camp cannot divulge further details of the three accounts because doing so may touch on the merits of the impeachment case, defense lawyer and spokesperson Karen Jimeno said in the same briefing.
"Mahirap muna mag-comment ngayon kasi this goes to the merits of the case. Ang puwede niyo i-take into account is that Mrs. Corona ay halos sole owner of BGE at may ongoing kaso pa dito kaya mahirap pag-usapan," Jimeno said.
The defense lawyers refused to talk more about the case involving BGE, saying it is currently pending with a regional trial court, other than hinting that the case had to do with its ownership.
"Ang Basa-Guidote naman, although kay Mrs. Corona iyan, may issues pa involving [her] family,” said Salvador. — VS,