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MANILA, Philippines - (UPDATE - 6:32 p.m.) Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Tuesday bared "significant deposits and withdrawals" in the purported dollar accounts of Chief Justice Renato Corona during the 2004 and 2007 elections, and in December 2011, the month he was impeached.
Taking the witness stand for the second day as a hostile witness for the defense, Morales said that, based on the report made available to her by the Anti-Money Laundering Council, Corona withdrew $769,681 on December 15, 2011, four days after he was impeached on December 11.
The amount of money put into and withdrawn from Corona's dollar accounts in BPI, PSBank and Allied Bank totaled $3,388,323.14 from December 12 to 20, 2011, Morales said.
She also noted six deposits totaling over $500,000 to Corona's BPI San Francisco del Monte account on May 3, 2007.
On May 14, 2004, two deposits worth $500,000 each were also made to Corona's accounts.
But asked on redirect by retired Justice Serafin Cuevas, Corona’s lead counsel, whether she had vetted the accuracy and credibility of the AMLC report, Carpio-Morales admitted this was beyond her means, particularly the details in the bank.
“Are the contents of that report correct and in accordance with law? I wouldn’t know,” Carpio-Morales said.
But, she added, “the presumption is that they will provide me the right information.”
The Ombudsman said she also looked into Corona's peso accounts but Morales said she did not bring the documents for these as the subpoena on her to testify covered only the dollar accounts.
Morales also denied Corona's statement that the Anti-Money Laundering Council on his dollar accounts were a "lantern of lies."
"These documents were delivered to me by the executive director of AMLC, Vicente Aquino," she said.
During the redirect, Carpio-Morales acknowledged that the AMLC report may have been “beyond my competence, yes, beyond my comprehension, no,” when asked by Cuevas if she understood the 17-page document given her admission that she was not well-versed in banking processes and jargon.
She also admitted that she sought the help of the Commission on Audit to interpret some details of the AMLC report and in preparing a PowerPoint presentation on Corona’s bank accounts that she showed the Senate on Monday.
“My office, with the assistance of the COA, I asked them to visualize this ... I was personally involved,” she said.
Earlier, defense lawyer Jose Roy III said that while he was not questioning the authenticity of the AMLC report, he doubted whether it showed the entire picture.
“I’m not sure … if what she (Carpio-Morales) presented is everything that AMLC reported. Secondly, this is obviously raw data. You’ve seen the documents. We cannot make heads or tails out of it. I’m sure when the Ombudsman received it, she didn’t know either,” he said.
Roy said they met with Corona on the AMLC report “for a good part of the day” and the Chief Justice remains optimistic on the progress of the trial on so far.
But asked whether the Ombudsman’s disclosure of the AMLC report was according to their plan, Roy said: “Did it go according to plan? Well, it went according to plan, but not ours.”