The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona admitted before the impeachment court on Friday that he withdrew millions of funds deposited in banks after he was impeached by the House of Representatives on December 12, saying he had received a tip that authorities would move to freeze his accounts.
On questioning by Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Corona said "friends" from Malacanang called him and up and told him that his accounts would be frozen. "I will tell you the truth,” Corona told Pangilinan, speaking mostly in Filipino. "I still have friends working in Malacanang. Some of them called to warn me that my accounts will be frozen.”
Corona said he wanted to protect what was his and what he earned throughout his career. Earlier witness testimonies revealed that Corona closed three of his peso accounts on the month he was impeached on December 2011.
Records submitted by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales also showed that Corona allegedly withdrew dollars from his accounts days after he was impeached. On questioning by Senator Franklin Drilon, Corona also admitted that he did not declare the $2.4 million and P80.7 million in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).
"You just mentioned that you have $2.4 million and P80.7 million. Apparently none of these were reflected in your SALNs. Is that correct?" Drilon said. "Yes sir, I already explained that last Tuesday and the reason is that I believe the dollar deposits need not be reported in SALN because of RA 6426. Yung peso naman po, hindi ko ni-report yun dahil co-mingled funds yun sa pangangasiwa ko lang yun," Corona said.
Corona said he started depositing in dollars between 1972 and 1973. "Kung tinatago ko yun bakit ko ilalagay sa pangalan ko?" Corona said.
But Pangilinan threw back the question to Corona: "If earned legitimately, why not declare?" When asked what his actual net worth was, Corona replied: "Yan po ang actual, accurate figures. It's a matter of adding them up po. Kung gusto niyo isama ang dollar at isama ang pesos kahit hindi amin..."