Friday, February 10, 2012

Supreme Court Covers Dollar Accounts of Chief Justice Corona

YESTERDAY, a local commercial bank (PS Bank) was granted by the Supreme Court a Temporary Restraining Order (8-5 majority Corona & Velasco abstaining, valid until lifted) to stop the Senate from enforcing subpoenas upon it that would've forced the bank to divulge foreign currency bank accounts of accused Chief Justice Renato Corona to the Prosecution of the Senate Impeachment Trial.   The bank's prayer was immediately heard by the Supreme Court and speedily granted, perhaps because it was solidly based on R.A. 6426 which covers such foreign currency deposits, in particular:
Section 8. Secrecy of foreign currency deposits. – All foreign currency deposits authorized under this Act, as amended by PD No. 1035, as well as foreign currency deposits authorized under PD No. 1034, are hereby declared as and considered of an absolutely confidential nature and, except upon the written permission of the depositor, in no instance shall foreign currency deposits be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office whether judicial or administrative or legislative, or any other entity whether public or private; Provided, however, That said foreign currency deposits shall be exempt from attachment, garnishment, or any other order or process of any court, legislative body, government agency or any administrative body whatsoever. (As amended by PD No. 1035, and further amended by PD No. 1246, prom. Nov. 21, 1977.)
Along with PSBank, the accused Chief Justice Renato Corona also filed with the High Court, an urgent motion for certiorari and prohibition against the Impeachment Complaint and Senate Impeachment Trial itself, for among other things, denying him Due Process. This was according to Serafin Cuevas in court yesterday, describing the nature of the suit filed by the Defense on behalf of the Accused earlier this week (Monday) with the Supreme Court.

Although the PSBank prayer was immediately granted protecting his dollar accounts, the Supreme Court has given the Parties ten days to comment on Corona's prayer to nullify the impeachment complaint and void the trial proceedings to date.

The Senate Impeachment Court proceeded with testimony and evidence yesterday on the PESO ACCOUNTS of the Accused Chief Justice, which are covered by R.A. 1405 with its significant exemption for cases of impeachment:
Sec. 2. 1 All deposits of whatever nature with banks or banking institutions in the Philippines including investments in bonds issued by the Government of the Philippines, its political subdivisions and its instrumentalities, are hereby considered as of an absolutely confidential nature and may not be examined, inquired or looked into by any person, government official, bureau or office, except upon written permission of the depositor, or in cases of impeachment, or upon order of a competent court in cases of bribery or dereliction of duty of public officials, or in cases where the money deposited or invested is the subject matter of the litigation.
At one important point, indeed, the Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile himself elicited from the Witness PSBank President confirmation of the existence of ten bank accounts owned by Renato Corona by asking ten times in a row, "Does account number so-and-so exist in your records? (Yes or No)" I do believe some of these accounts are subject of the Supreme Court's TRO covering foreign deposit accounts of the Chief Justice.

SOME PEOPLE ARE ASKING what in the world is the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court doing with five secret dollar bank accounts?  that he is now running to his own collegial buddies at Padre Faura to keep absolutely secret from the prying eyes of that rights-trampling crowd at the Senate Impeachment Trial?

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