Tag Archives: The Philippines

Philippine Chief Justice Removed

A belated post on the Philippine Chief Justice who was removed from office on May 29, 2012. As I noted here, he was impeached for not declaring $2.8 million held in foreign currency. Note that the amount seems to have declined from $28 million to $4.2 million. This New York Times article noted some of the complex politics behind the case (see here):

The case has been politically delicate from the start and is tied up with a feud between the Aquinos and Mrs. Arroyo, who is a member of the House of Representatives but did not support the impeachment. Mr. Corona was Mrs. Arroyo’s chief of staff before she appointed him to the Supreme Court in 2002. She named him chief justice just days after Mr. Aquino won the presidency. Mr. Aquino and his supporters argue the move was meant to squelch efforts to build corruption cases against Mrs. Arroyo and those in her administration.

Mr. Corona faced no criminal or civil charges, though cases could still be filed against him, and he is barred from ever holding public office. Although Mr. Corona faced an impeachment charge of making decisions that were biased in favor of Mrs. Arroyo and her supporters, the Senate never voted on it because after a conviction was obtained on the first charge, which involved hiding assets — the $2.4 million as well as 80 million pesos, worth about $1.8 million, that he had in bank accounts — the trial ended. The Senate then voted, 20 to 3, to remove Mr. Corona from office.

Mr. Corona’s supporters say that Mr. Aquino is trying to consolidate power by attacking the judiciary. The chief justice has also accused the president of favoring the impeachment in retaliation for court rulings that ordered the breakup of an Aquino family plantation, an accusation the president has denied.

I’m seriously behind in reading my newsfeed and posting articles here for posterity (I see this blog as a form of data collection)–I’ve articles starred for reading/posting from back in April!


How does a Chief Justice come by $28 million?

This journalist in Malaya suggests that it was a gift from former President Gloria Arroyo:

He has to convince the senator-judges that the money came from somewhere not illegal but neither is it earned.

Is there such kind of money? Maybe there is! In fact, we have long heard two peers of the Chief Justice, one was then Head Magistrate, the other a retired associate justice from the province of Batangas, saying that he was keeping some money for President Arroyo.

Article link: Whose dollars are those?


Former Philippines Chief Justice pockets $28.7 million over 8 years

Wow, prosecutors in the trial of Renato C. Corona, former Chief Justice of the Philippine Supreme Court, have presented evidence indicating that $28.7 million was deposited into 82 accounts maintained by Corona while he was on the court (he become Chief Justice in 2010).  Incredible.  Here’s the New York Times:

Prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Renato C. Corona, the chief justice of the Philippines, presented evidence on Monday that he had deposited $28.7 million into various bank accounts.

According to financial documents presented by the prosecution, Mr. Corona maintains 82 dollar-denominated accounts in five banks in the Philippines.

From April 2003 to December 2011, incoming transactions in the chief justice’s accounts, including deposits and bank transfers, totaled $28,740,497.93, the documents showed. This was when Mr. Corona was earning less than $935 per month as a Supreme Court justice.

I find it very odd that The Philippines has very strict privacy laws relating to bank accounts in foreign currencies.  What’s the rationale for that?

Prosecutors rested their case on Feb. 28, but were unable to access Mr. Corona’s dollar accounts because of strict Philippine secrecy laws regarding bank deposits in foreign currencies.

The account information was permitted to be entered as evidence on Monday because of a provision in the secrecy laws that grants the Anti-Money Laundering Council, a semiautonomous Philippine government agency, access to bank records related to suspicious accounts.

Renato C. Corana was former President Arroyo’s chief of staff before he was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2002.

Certainly the National Police Chief does well for himself, but I wonder if the Indonesian Chief Justice commands anywhere near this amount?

Link to the article: Prosecutors Say Philippine Chief Justice Had $28 Million.