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(UPDATE 4 - 10:50 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona has $12 million in “fresh deposits” in various banks, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales said Monday as she testified at the magistrate’s impeachment trial.
This is aside from the $10 million Carpio-Morales said Corona had maintained in 82 accounts in five banks and where he had made deposits and withdrawals “on very significant dates,” including the 2004 and 2010 elections, and on December 11, 2011, the day he was impeached by the House of Representatives.
Carpio-Morales, who appeared as a hostile witness for the defense, said the information she had on Corona’s dollar accounts came from a 17-page report of the Anti-Money Laundering Council that was made available to her office in the course of investigating complaints filed before her over Corona’s alleged ill-gotten wealth.
The powerpoint presentation that the senators, unanimously voting, allowed her to make was solely meant to help her explain what she gathered in her investigation. It has not been accepted as evidence by the court. Late Monday night, Chief Justice Corona described the powerpoint presentation "a lantern of lies" that he said he will disprove as a hoax, and dared her to resign after he is done unravelling her testimony.
Asked by Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. if her computation of Corona’s deposits totaled $10 million, Carpio-Morales replied: “It’s even more I think.”
“I think our computation, which was arrived at with the assistance of the CPA (certified public accountant)-lawyer is that his fresh deposits, which means they never moved, they remained in that particular account, amounted to more than $12 million,” Carpio-Morales said.
Despite the objection of the defense, all 23 senators present allowed Carpio-Morales to make a Powerpoint presentation of Corona’s deposits.
Corona’s lead counsel, Serafin Cuevas, objected to the presentation, questioning Carpio-Morales’ competence to examine the AMLC report.
However Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile said the objection would be a proper subject when the defense undertakes the redirect on Carpio-Morales.
Morales’ PowerPoint presentation showed that Corona kept dollar accounts at BPI Acropolis, BPI Tandang Sora, BPI San Francisco del Monte, BPI Management Investment Corp., PSBank Cainta, PSBank Katipunan, Allied Bank Kamias, Deutsch Bank and Citibank.
The following are the alleged accounts of Corona in five different banks:
BPI-Acropolis - 8
BPI-Tandang Sora - 18
BPI-San Francsico del Monte - 34
BPI-Management Investment Corp. - 1
PS-Bank Cainta - 8
PS Bank-Katipunanan - 6
Allied Bank Corp-Kamias - 4
Deutsche Bank - 2
Citibank - 1
The presentation also showed that from April 2003, Corona withdrew and deposited amounts ranging from $10,000 to $500,000 on the same day, beginning April 2003.
"My impression is that there is one deposit account and he sliced it into several placement accounts. The accounts were coming in and out of the same deposit account in the same bank," Enrile noted.
"It was coming from one deposit account to various accounts," Morales confirmed.
Spokesmen for the prosecution called Carpio-Morales' testimony a "turning point" in the trial but hoped that her "extremely damaging" testimony would not make the public lose faith in the judiciary.