“Apparently, as it turns out, it doesn’t take much to catch a cheat and a crook. Even amateur temporary prosecutors and temporary judges can do it by accident — or maybe God’s will?”
by Ducky Paredes
“I think” said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, presiding officer in the on-going impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona. “they are having a hard time putting their questions across. There’s a reason for that. They are not used to a trial court. Because if they are, there should be no problem. That’s my impression.”
Enrile, was talking about the prosecution made up of young congressmen most of whom obviously have not had enough trial experience.
Senator Jinggoy Estrada, recalling the hell that his father Erap had to go through during his own impeachment trial in 2001, warned Renato Corona who defiantly decided to go through with the impeachment rather than take the easier way out of resigning: “Prepare to be embarrassed.”
Apparently, as it turns out, it doesn’t take much to catch a cheat and a crook.
Even amateur temporary prosecutors and temporary judges can do it by accident — or maybe God’s will?
What else could be the explanation for the discovery of someone smart and totally savvy who has been given such undeserved honor by his country, yet lives so greatly beyond his means, even as he fakes his Statements of Assets. Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) by simply not listing everything.
The SALN is what the country relies on to assure that our public servants are honest; yet, for our judiciary, our Supreme Court has ruled that its judges, justices and prosecutors submit these only to their own clerks of court who are duty-bound not to reveal these to anyone. What was the reason behind this resolution? That their enemies may not have any opportunity to have information that may be used to embarrass them? Bull shit!
The President, the Vice President and all the cabinet members file their SALNs and these are shown to the public. In fact, yearly, the newspapers come out with their listing of who are the wealthiest among them. Same ting with the Senate and the House!
I suggest that the rules should be reversed. Anyone who could be embarrassed by revealing his SALN ought to be barred (Anyway, he ought to know better and keep away) from appointment to the government. It seems to me that the Fernan Court that passed that resolution during the Marcos years was simply dancing to the prevailing public service tune of those times. That succeeding courts allowed this to continue to apply to them only shows that, like the Fernan Court, they also did not believe in total transparency.
Sure, living a life in a culture of transparency is tough to do; but, when one opts for public service, this has to be the requirement. After all, the public service should not be used to build one’s personal fortune, should it?
I end this portion with a quote from RTC Branch 13 Judge Meinardo Paredes (who I do not know or whether we are related): “If judges and justices are honest in their declarations on the SALNs, why should we be afraid? The SALNs can only be used against us if we don’t disclose the truth. It’s as simple as that.”
It sure is “as simple as that.”
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From Newsbreak, we have this tidbit which may explain why the buying spree of properties for the Coronas began when it did:
“1983 is the year the troubles of majority of the Basas—2 uncles and two aunts of Cristina—began. This was after the family matriarch, Rosario Guidote vda de Basa, died in December of that year.
“The battle for control of the family corporation, Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc., raged between 2 sides of the 5 Basa siblings.
“The majority, led by Jose Ma. Basa III, included his two sisters who are nuns, Sister Conception and Sister Flor, and Mario. The minority was composed of Cristina and her parents, Asuncion Basa and Vicente Roco, both of whom are now deceased.
“The 4 Basa siblings — Jose, Asuncion, Mario, and Sister Conception — have passed away without seeing a glimmer of any settlement. Sister Flor, the only surviving Basa sibling, is now 90 years old.
“The crown jewel of BGEI and the only property was a 1,000 sq-m lot in Manila with a commercial building that was leased to about 8 tenants.
“Cristina, various court documents show, claimed she was a stockholder, vice president and assistant corporate secretary of BGEI. She leased the building and collected rentals.
“The rest of the Basas disputed this, saying she was never authorized to take over these functions. They further claimed that Cristina did not account for any of the collections.
“The Basas sued her for estafa. Cristina sued her aunts and uncles for libel, including Sister Flor who, at the time, was in her early 80s.
“In March 2001, reportedly with the help of her husband, she sold the property to the city government of Manila for P34.7 million.
“At the time, the Manila City government, then under Mayor Jose ‘Lito’ Atienza, expropriated the land which they would use to relocate stallholders of the Sampaloc markets displaced by the MRT. (Renato Corona was working with President Arroyo at the time of the sale.)
“The Basas cried foul, saying they were not informed of the proposal to sell the land. The check for P34.7 million was reportedly paid to Cristina Corona ‘in trust for BGEI.’
“Till today, 9 years after the sale, the side of the Basa majority says that Cristina has not yet accounted for a single centavo of the multi-million peso revenue.”
It sure looks like a perfect fit, doesn’t it? Look at the timeline.
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hvp 01.2612Readers who missed a column can access www.duckyparedes.com/blogs. This is updated daily. Your reactions are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org