Chief Justice Renato Corona goes beyond redeeming himself to become hero of bank secrecy reform!

Chief Justice Renato Corona more than redeemed himself today after the minor debacle he got himself into when he left the witness stand before he was formally discharged on his first appearance in his own impeachment trial last Tuesday, the 22nd of May. Coming across today as forthright and sincere, Corona delivered a brilliant television performance, winning the hearts of the viewing public with his honest laying-everything-including-my-soul-on-the-table testimony and the steely gaze he maintained (occasionally interrupted by poignant emotional displays) as he responded to questions fielded by the Senator-Judges. Senator-Judges Miriam Santiago and Jinggoy Estrada threw leading questions almost as if to say answer our questions and tell us why you think this whole trial had been a farce from the very beginning.

From eight articles of impeachment down to three midway through, the once mighty case is now whittled to just one debatable accusation at the eleventh hour of the impeachment trial of the Chief Justice. It was a 40-day show featuring the Incredible Shrinking Impeachment Complaint. In the course of the trial, 45 properties the prosecution team alleged Corona owned turned out to be just five, and USD10-12 million alleged by no less than Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales to be tucked away by Corona in secret accounts turned out to be no more than USD2.4 million.

So the one violation of the law Corona remains accused of — the remaining article alleging that Corona failed to declare all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) — remains in play albeit precariously debatable. Corona after all made it pretty clear in his testimony that he left out that USD2.4 million from his SALN by virtue of his interpretation of the Philippines’ bank secrecy law, specifically Republic Act 6426 which the prosecution team themselves along with “online reporters” Magtanggol de la Cruz and Carmela Fonbuena of may themselves have violated in the earliest days of the trial as they mounted their vilification campaign against the Chief Justice. The relevant section of RA 6426 reads…

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.)

[Photo courtesy]

Ironically, Corona himself may have marked the beginning of the end of the very law that had saved him during his ordeal. In the wake of his much-awaited personal appearance in court, Corona bestows an unexpected legacy to a circus long criticised for being an appalling waste of time and a mere product of the vanity and vindictiveness of a Philippine president: a precedent call to the government officials of the land to sign waivers opening their foreign currency bank accounts to public scrutiny. The call so resonated across the public that it could pave the way for legislation that may reform the country’s outdated bank secrecy laws.

Squarely in the cross-hairs of this call are the “188+1” lawmakers; the 188 Lower House representatives who hastily signed the sloppily-written articles of impeachment and one Senator, Franklin Drilon, who made no attempt throughout the trial to remain the objective Judge he was supposed to have stepped up to.

Who would have thought that Chief Justice Renato Corona might even come out of this a hero — the first top government official to voluntarily and unconditionally open his bank accounts to the public to precipitate long overdue transparency across the public service? So ironic that the man who President Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino III singled out as the biggest roadblock to making good on his Daang Matuwid “straight path” campaign promise would actually be the one who’d blaze a trail for it.

One thing consistent about every Corona appearance in court is that a high profile loser emerges every time. Last Tuesday it was Senator Franklin Drilon, singled out by Corona among the Senator Judges to include in a challenge he issued to 188 others to sign the bank disclosure waiver. Today it is no less than Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales wearing the dunce cap after coming across as a BS Aquino lackey. In a press conference hastily called by Morales shortly after Corona revealed some rather disturbing things about her character during his testimony, Morales stammered her way through her response to the inevitable question thrown at her: What was up with the USD10 million she claimed Corona squirreled away in secret accounts? She was either lying or dumb enough to have allowed herself to be grossly misled by her “researchers”. Perhaps she should have thought twice about calling that press conference.

What do they teach in Math classes in Philippine schools nowadays?

One thing’s for sure, the Senator-Judges will have to carefully calibrate their political radars to assess the public sentiment as they decide whether to acquit or convict. The thing with tele-impeachment trials is that it is all showbiz — and Corona put up a good show today. So good, that the usual suspects who, at the beginning of the trial months ago, gleefully highlighted the political aspect of this exercise as one that necessarily trumps its legal nature now wax rhetoric about its boring legalities. As modern-day philosopher Bart Simpson say: “Eat my shorts”. Most revealing, and something Senator-Judge Chiz Escudero made it a point to highlight, was how the prosecution seemed to have nothing further to quiz Corona on despite a long noisy call for him to show up in the trial in person. That fact in and by itself says it all.

Chief Justice Renato Corona may be a lawyer, but apparently he was well aware that he was surrounded by emos today.


Post Author: benign0

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63 Comments on "Chief Justice Renato Corona goes beyond redeeming himself to become hero of bank secrecy reform!"

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I thought CJ should have given Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s questions a more direct answer, he went off tangent in his answers.

But then again, the prosecution (and their allies) have shown the oh-so-common penchant of the pinoy: shooting themselves in the foot.

Tim Libunao
Article 11, Section 17 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution states that: A public officer or employee shall, upon assumption of office and as often thereafter as may be required by law, submit a declaration under oath of his assets, liabilities, and net worth. In the case of the President, the Vice-President, the Members of the Cabinet, the Congress, the Supreme Court, the Constitutional Commissions and other constitutional offices, and officers of the armed forces with general or flag rank, the declaration shall be disclosed to the public IN THE MANNER PROVIDED BY LAW. Now that the letters of law has… Read more »
sitting pretty



[…] Benign0 added that “Chief Justice Renato Corona may be a lawyer, but apparently he was well aware that he was surrounded by emos today.” […]


His walkout last tuesday shows he is unfit for the position chief justice, his arrogance and delaying tactic is enough for guilty verdict. Convict Corona!

Der Fuhrer
They threw everything at Chief Justice Corona… including the kitchen sink. They used hate-think, demonization and vilification through black propaganda. Repeated lies in mass media, fixed surveys, comments, text messages, social networking sites and vicious word of mouth gossip. Evidence was fabricated by the prosecution in their 45 properties revelation which turned out to be only 5. They did the same with the dollar accounts bloating it to 82. In truth it was just 4 accounts. We are now nearing the closure and judgement of the impeachment trial. What will be the verdict? I can only say this. How much… Read more »

I forgot to say that he is also a midnight appointee of Gloria Arroyo. This is the very reason why he should be guilty and the Philippines can move on from the past which is all about corruption.

Hyden Toro

It’s like a Knockout in a Main Event of a Boxing Match. Justice Corona, did what Manny Pacquiao do to his opponents. Give them a stunning blow to the Jaw, and they will be no more…
Noynoy Aquino and the rest of his cahoots, need to bare all their assets and money to us. Including their offshore Foreign Bank Accounts. To ignore this call, will give us suspicions, that you are hiding something. Cockroaches are afraid to go to the light, so are these people…

Der Fuhrer

Philippine Star columnist Carmen Pedrosa describes what happened. This is excellent reading for the yellow species. It should clear up their extreme Nutzi fanaticism for their great leader…


Such venom from these people. Do they have something to lose? Like those connected with HLI?


Senator Pimentel said that comingling of funds is not allowed and could make Corona in trouble. He must be saying sorry to Gloria Arroyo by now that he cannot be a lapdog to her anymore.

TO ALL PEOPLE THAT ARE REPLYING TO “fishball”: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level and then beat you with experience” – Mark Twain Kaya corrupt ang ating gobyerno at mga opisyal ay dahil tayong sambayanan ay corrupted din ang pag-iisip. Hindi naman maluluklok ang mga corrupt na opisyal kung di natin sila binoto. Makapangdadaya ba sila kung ni isang boto ay wala sila? Alalahanin natin, tayo ang nagluglok kay GMA nung 2001. Pareho rin ang attitude natin sa pagiging sarado ang isip, pagiging mapanghusga, vindicative at pagamit ng “hatred over reason” Hindi tayo… Read more »
Amazing at just how lack luster and unprofessional many of the government employee’s are along with the banking industry employee’s they seem to act the same and the response to Corona from the Prosecution leader was that signing a waiver of hidden funds is not even an option, what! And Senator Drillion boasts that he will not reveal his funds, he’s not on trial, I beg to differ, how can corrupt men find another corrupt man guilty? The final step to fixing corruption is changing these self-serving laws once and for all and the banks need to stop hiding also… Read more »
The EQualizer Post

Corona: What’s the price of reputation? $2.4 million Plus P80 million?