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Archive for May, 2012

Sapa-AFP | 27 May, 2012 15:31

The bodies of children whom anti-government protesters say were killed by government security forces lie on the ground in Huola, near Homs May 26, 2012. A Syrian artillery barrage killed more than 90 people, including dozens of children, in the worst violence since the start of a U.N. peace plan to staunch the flow of blood from Syria’s uprising, activists said on Saturday. The bloodied bodies of children, some with their skulls split open, were shown in footage posted to YouTube purporting to show the victims of the shelling in the central town of Houla on Friday. The sound of wailing filled the room.

“In total, 13 004 people were killed,” Abdel Rahman said, adding that 9 183 of them were civilians.

Another 3 072 were regime troops and 749 were army defectors, he added, noting that civilians who had taken up arms during the increasingly militarised revolt were being counted under the category of “civilians.”

The violence has been relentless despite an April 12 ceasefire brokered by UN-Arab League peace envoy Kofi Annan.

“Since the ceasefire came into effect, 1 881 people have been killed,” said Abdel Rahman, referring to clashes between rebels and regime troops, repression by government forces and bomb attacks.

The Observatory’s latest figures were published a day after at least 92 people, a third of them children, were killed in Houla, a town in the flashpoint central province of Homs.

Abdel Rahman said the international community had to “react” to the burgeoning violence and said the UN observer mission deployed under Annan’s peace plan had arrived too late at Houla despite being warned of the violence.

“Why didn’t the UN observers go to the site as soon as the attack was announced?” he asked. “If the world does not react after the Houla massacre, that would be a catastrophe.”

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Without God,I Am Nobody. Without God,I Am Nothing.

 

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Elephant Rope

As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.

He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them. As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”

The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.

Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?

Failure is part of learning; we should never give up the struggle in life.

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Kahapon po, naging saksi tayo sa isang napakagandang patunay na umiiral ang ganap na demokrasya sa atin pong bansa. Dalawampung senador ang bumoto upang matanggal bilang Punong Mahistrado ng Korte Suprema si Ginoong Renato C. Corona.
Mulat tayo sa kung saan nag-ugat ang lahat nang ito. Sa matagal na panahon, namayani ang agam-agam na ang piring ng Hustisya ay nakatanggal para sa mayayaman at makapangyarihan. Di po ba nakita nating may basehan ang agam-agam na ito, di lang po dito sa atin. Pati na ang World Bank– isang dayuhang institusyon– ay nagkuwestyon dahil miski ang aid na galing sa kanila ay hindi napunta sa dapat nitong patunguhan.
Nangarap tayong baguhin ito. Naghangad tayo ng isang sistemang pangkatarungan na may malinaw at tunay na kahulugan ng tama at mali. Naghangad tayong ibalanse ang timbangan: kung saan ang inosente ay papasok sa hukuman nang panatag ang loob na siya’y mapapawalang-sala, at kung ikaw naman ay maysala, maghanda ka na dahil tiyak na mananagot ka.
Marapat pong balikan ang konteksto ng impeachment ni Ginoong Corona. Alam na po natin ang malalim na pinagsamahan nila ni Ginang Arroyo. Simula pa lang kinuwestyon na natin ang kanyang midnight appointment dahil sa pananaw na labag ito sa Saligang Batas.
Sa kabila nito, noong nagkita kami ang tanging hiniling ko sa kanya, iparehas sana niya ang laban. Ang sagot pa nga niya sa akin, huwag daw akong mag-alala, dahil lahat ng magiging desisyon ay aayon sa batas. Sa paglaon po, naging malinaw sa atin na imbis na siya mismong dapat nagbibigay-linaw sa batas, ang siyang nagpapalabo nito.
EO 1 pa lang, hinarang na agad. Nakita naman po ninyo ang mga nadiskubre nating kalokohan pag-upo pa lamang sa puwesto; hanggang ngayon, pinagdudusahan ito ng mga Pilipino.
Ang iniuutos sa atin, lahat ng administrasyon isali. Kailan pa po tayo matatapos ang pagsusuri kung ganoon, at kailan tayo makakakilos?  Kaya nga’t sistematiko ang ninais nating tugon sa mga problemang ito, upang matigil na ang pagkasangkapan sa mga butas sa batas, at iwasan ang paglala ng mga sugat sa sistema. Pero pinigilan nila tayo. Imbes na makiisa, itinali pa ang mga kamay ng mga naghahangad na gumawa ng tama. Parang siniguradong hindi na matatapos ang gusto nating ilatag na reporma.
Pati po EO 2 na sana’y umayos ng situwasyon ukol sa mga midnight appointee, nilagyan ng status quo ante order. Pag-aaralan daw nila, pero natapos na ang term ng isa sa mga kapwa niya midnight appointee, walang nangyari.
Nilunok po natin lahat nang ito, dahil hindi natin pakay makipag-away; solusyon ang ating hinahanap. Ngunit mali nga po sigurong umasa kami ng patas na laban mula kay Ginoong Corona.
Hindi nagtagal, napatunayan na nga ang mga agam-agam: pagdating kay Ginang Arroyo, handa si Ginoong Corona na ikiling ang timbangan ng hustisya. Naglabas ng isang Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) ang Korte Suprema; muntik nang magtagumpay si Ginoong Corona na bigyan ng pagkakataon si Ginang Arroyo na hindi harapin ang mga alegasyon tungkol sa electoral fraud noong 2007.
Mantakin po ninyo: Mula sa Las Vegas, bumalik pa dito sa bansa si Ginoong Corona para lamang pangunahan ang paglalabas ng TRO. Pinaaga nang Biyernes ang dapat Martes na en banc session. Walang oral argument, hindi nabigyan ng sampung araw ang bawat panig para magpaliwanag. Siguro kung nasunod ito, baka natiyak kung totoong maysakit nga si Ginang Arroyo. Nagbigay ng mga kundisyon ang Korte Suprema, ngunit kahit hindi ito nasunod ng mga Arroyo, ipinatuloy pa rin ni Ginoong Corona ang paghahain ng TRO.
Obligasyon ng Ehekutibo na imbestigahan at sampahan ng kaukulang kaso si Ginang Arroyo. Subalit pinahirap, kundi man ginawang imposible ang pagsasampa natin ng kaso bago maubos ang taning ng prescriptive period.
Kung natuloy silang umalis, ang malamang na ginawa nila ay nagbakasyon lang habang maubos ang prescriptive period ng kasong isinampa sa kanila, at babalik sa panahon kung kailan hindi na sila puwedeng sampahan ng kaso. Mukhang hanggang nasa puwesto si Ginoong Corona—gaano man kalakas ang kaso, gaano man katibay ang ebidensya—ay hindi masasakdal ang kanyang padrino. Ito na nga po ang huli at sukdulan.
Naharap po tayo sa sangandaan: hahayaan ba nating manatili ang ganitong sistema kung saan nadadaan sa palusot ang katarungan, at naeengganyong ang mga kawatan na ituloy ang baluktot na pamamaraan, lalo na kung may-kapit sila sa kapangyarihan?
Halos buong bayan po ay sumubaybay sa paglilitis ni Ginoong Corona, at maliwanag na sa atin ang matibay na basehan ng impeachment. Muli, walang personalan sa laban na ito.
Sariling mga pasya po ni Ginoong Corona ang nagbunsod sa paglilitis na ito. Siya ang pumiling hindi magdeklara ng katotohanan sa kanyang SALN. Siya ang gumamit ng kanyang pamilya para magpalusot sa kanyang salapi at ari-arian. Siya mismo ang nagkaladkad ng pangalan ng kanyang mga mahal sa buhay upang pagtakpan ang sariling mga kasalanan. Batid nating lahat: Si Ginoong Corona ang kumatawan sa maruming bahagi ng hudikatura.
Ang pinakamalaking handog ng paglilitis na ito: Muli po nating napatunayan na posible palang makamit ang pagbabago. Posible palang magkaroon ng justice, at hindi puro just-tiis ang litanya sa ating bansa.
Napatunayan nating mangingibabaw ang katotohanan, laban sa pagkukubli; mananaig ang tapat, laban sa tiwali; at magtatagumpay ang tama, laban sa mali. Higit sa lahat, napatunayan nating hindi pala ako mag-isa sa pagpasan ng adhikaing maisaayos ang ating sistema.
Nagpapasalamat po tayo sa buong Senate impeachment court, lalo na po kay Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile: kung ang bawat mahistrado po ay sing-talas ninyong mag-isip, at gaya ninyo ay walang kinikilingan, siguro po ay hindi na natin dinaanan ang kabanatang ito.
Sa ating prosecution team, sa pangunguna ni Congressman Niel Tupas, na hindi natinag sa kabila ng pagmamaliit at paninindak, nagpapasalamat din ako. Kay Congressman Rudy Farinas na nilinaw ang pilit pinalalabo ng depensa, salamat din. Sa mga private prosecutor na itinaya ang kanilang kabuhayan, at nilabanan ang pinakamataas na mahistrado, nagpapasalamat ako. Kay Speaker Sonny Belmonte, na minabuting tumindig bilang tinig at pinuno ng institusyong nagpadala ng Articles of Impeachment sa Senado, salamat din po.
Pati rin po sa defense panel ni Ginoong Corona, nagpapasalamat din ako. Sadya man o hindi, nakiambag kayo sa paglabas ng katotohanan.
Nagpapasalamat po ako sa taumbayan; kayo pa rin po ang aming lakas, at habang patuloy ninyong ipinamamalas ang suporta sa ating agenda ng mabuting pamamahala, hindi po tayo mabibigo. Gaya ng pagtatanggal ng balakid na nakaharang sa ating tuwid na daan, kinailangan nating magtulong-tulong at mag-ambagan upang idiin ang nag-iisa nating mensahe: Sino ka man, gaano man kataas ang iyong katungkulan, kung nagkasala ka sa taumbayan, mananagot ka.
Ngayong matagumpay nating nabunot ang isang tinik sa pinakamataas na puwesto ng ating hudikatura, tapos na po ba ang laban? Kung totoo po ang paratang na pinersonal natin si Ginoong Corona, masasabing tapos na nga.
Pero hindi po natin siya pinersonal; ang hangad natin ay ayusin ang sistema, kaya’t hanggang mayroon pa ring mga nakaambang tanggalin ang piring ng katarungan, tuloy pa rin ang laban.
Pagtutuonan po natin ng pansin ang paghahanap ng may integridad, may sariling pasya, mahusay, at tapat na magtitimon sa hudikatura. Mayroon po tayong siyamnapung araw para pag-aralan ito; hindi po natin mamadaliin ang pagpili, dahil ayaw nating magkamali at bumalik na naman sa dating situwasyon.
Sa mga minamahal kong kababayan: muli, maraming salamat sa inyong pagtutok at pagsuporta sa ating agenda ng reporma. Nakita po natin: kung walang katarungang umiiral, hindi matatapos ang sigalot.
Kinailangan nating pagdaanan ang prosesong ito, subalit ito ang unang hakbang para matiyak na ang mga naghahari-harian, na para bang sila ang batas, ay mananagot din. Patas po ang laban; ang hangad natin ay puwedeng magkatotoo, basta’t handa tayong tumaya, maninindigan, at ipaglaban ang tama.
Nakikita po ninyo kung paano tayo nananatiling tapat sa mandatong kaloob ninyo: Pinapatatag po natin ang sistema; ipinakikitang tunay na nakapiring ang Hustisya. Nagbubunsad na ito ng isang lipunang kung ano ang ipinunla ay siyang aanihin: Ang mabuti ay magbubunga ng mabuti, at ang kasalanan ay tiyak na pananagutan.
Muli, maraming salamat, at mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino.

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A city on a hill cannot be hidden -Matthew 5:14

In Mat 5:14-16, Jesus says,  “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. {15} “Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. {16} “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”

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China has expressed concern about remarks made by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who said that Beijing’s claim in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) exceeded what was permitted by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).

In a report posted Monday on its website, the Chinese Embassy in Makati City quoted Hong Lei, spokesperson of the Chinese foreign ministry, as saying that China had raised concerns about Clinton’s opinion when other countries had chosen to adopt a hands-off policy on the issue.

“On the issue of the South China Sea, nonclaimant (Association of South East Asian Nations) countries and countries outside the region have adopted a position of not getting involved in territorial disputes,” Hong said.

“On this important prerequisite and foundation, the Chinese side has consistently committed to safeguarding peace and stability in the South China Sea, region by means, such as negotiating and signing with Asean countries the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea in parallel with our efforts to pursue dispute settlement through negotiations with countries directly concerned,” she said.

Two Democratic senators—John Kerry and Barbara Boxer—also criticized China’s claim in  the West Philippine Sea at last week’s hearing of the US Senate committee on foreign relations.

Illegal claims

Kerry, the panel chair, said “China and other countries are staking out illegal claims to the South China Sea and elsewhere.”

Boxer produced a map that  showed that China’s claims exceeded far beyond its 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone provided for in Unclos and amounted to a “significant territorial grab that comes very close to the land borders of countries in the region.”

China, which is among the 160-plus nations that are party to Unclos that was concluded in 1982 and has been in force since 1994, has made expansive claims in the West Philippine Sea based mainly on ancient maps.

A map that China submitted to the UN in 2009 virtually claimed the entire West Philippine Sea. However, it failed to clarify the exact extent of its claims that overlap those of Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei Darussalam and the Philippines.

According to the Chinese embassy, Hong also expressed concern about Manila’s supposed attempts to involve third parties in its conflict with Beijing over the Panatag (Scarborough)  Shoal also Bajo de Masinloc  to the Philippines and Huangyan Island to China.

“Attempts by the Philippine side to draw a third party into interfering or intervening through whatever means in Huangyan Island will surely escalate the situation and meet with firm opposition from the Chinese side,” Hong said.

Provocative actions

She also claimed that “the Philippine side has taken some provocative actions recently in the Huangyan Island waters, and the Chinese side has correspondingly strengthened management and control measures.”

“It was learned that the Huangyan Island waters is now stable on the whole. About 20 Chinese fishing boats are working in that area and the number is basically the same with that in the same period of previous years. The so-called around 100 boats are mostly one-person dinghies from the fishing boats,” she said.

Hong pointed out the operations of these fishing boats are  in line with related Chinese laws and China’s fishing moratorium.

“China’s public service ships are exercising strict supervision over these fishing boats to prevent any law-breaching operation,” she said.

Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario expressed confidence that the Philippines could settle the Panatag Shoal dispute with China, as well as other West Philippine Sea-related issues, citing what he called the Department of Foreign Affairs’ comprehensive “overall plan.”

Del Rosario pointed out that the Chinese were “in violation of the Asean Declaration on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea when they are preventing us from enforcing our laws in our EEZ.”

According to the DFA head, they had “broken up the overall plan into diplomatic or political, legal and defense tracks.”

Political track

For the political track, he said the country would continue to push for the transformation of the West Philippine Sea into a zone of peace, freedom, friendship and cooperation, where Manila would observe a rules-based approach to all disputes in accordance with Unclos.

For the legal track, the DFA plans to continue coordinating with other government agencies concerned as it resorts to a dispute settlement mechanism under Unclos.

For the defense track, Del Rosario said the foreign office had committed to help improve national defense by building a minimum credible defense posture to protect the country’s territorial integrity.

 Aside from the United States, at least three other countries—Japan, South Korea and Australia—were also helping the Philippines establish that defense posture.

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May 29, 2012. After 44 days trial the accuse Chief Justice Renato Corona was found Guilty under Article II of Philippine Constitution. the vote of Senator judge are 20 for Guilty, 3 for not guilty and 0 for abstain

Voting 20-3, the Senate sitting as the impeachment court convicted Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Philippine Constitution.
The court ruled that Corona was guilty of Article II of the impeachment complaint: the chief magistrate did not fully disclose his assets in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).

“The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Renato C. Corona, chief justice of the Supreme Court, upon three articles of impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives, by a guilty vote of 20 senators representing at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, has found him guilty of the charge under Article II of the said articles of impeachment,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, presiding officer of the impeachment court, declared on the last day of the trial.

“Now therefore, be it adjudged that Renato C. Corona is hereby convicted of the charge against him in Article II of the articles of impeachment,” Enrile declared, expressing the majority verdict of the 23-man Senate.

The following senators voted to convict Corona:

  1. Edgardo Angara
  2. Alan Peter Cayetano
  3. Pia Cayetano
  4. Franklin Drilon
  5. Francis Escudero
  6. Jinggoy Estrada
  7. Teofisto Guingona III
  8. Gregorio Honasan II
  9. Panfilo Lacson
  10. Lito Lapid
  11. Loren Legarda
  12. Sergio Osmeña III
  13. Francis Pangilinan
  14. Aqulino “Koko” Pimentel III
  15. Ralph Recto
  16. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr.
  17. Vicente Sotto III
  18. Antonio Trillanes IV
  19. Manuel Villar
  20. Juan Ponce Enrile
Meanwhile, the following lawmakers voted to acquit the chief justice:
  1. Joker Arroyo
  2. Miriam Defensor-Santiago
  3. Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
Most of the senators cited Corona’s admission that he has $2.4 million and P80 million that he did not declare in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth as their main reason for finding him guilty for an impeachable offense.

Enrile did not specify the penalty for Corona, but Marcos told reporters after the trial, “Maliwanag sa aming lahat na it will be removal from office.”

The impeachment court has formally closed the case.

According to the Constitution, “judgment in cases of impeachment shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office under the Republic of the Philippines.”
The verdict came at the end of a grueling five-month trial that fixated the nation, with scenes of dramatic flare-ups and surprising revelations spicing up weekday television viewing and Internet livestreaming for media watchers.
Corona’s conviction is likely to be seen as a triumph for President Benigno Aquino III, who has never fully recognized Corona’s appointment as chief justice by then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo a few weeks before she stepped down in 2010.
According to a Reuters report, the ruling is likely to be welcomed by investors who felt the long trial was distracting the government from addressing policy matters just when the country is seeing a resurgence of interest in its long-underperforming economy.
“The effect is clear, it will be a boost to the anti-corruption campaign of the president, it will also be a big boost to his support base,” Ramon Casiple, executive director of the Institute for Political and Electoral Reforms in Manila, told Reuters.
Aquino’s allies at the lower house impeached Corona in December last year by virtue of Section 3 (1), Article XI in the 1987 Constitution, which provides that the House of Representatives shall have the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment. A total of 188 legislators signed the articles of impeachment against Corona.
The case was immediately transmitted to the Senate, which has the sole power to try and decide all cases of impeachment under Section 3 (6) of the Constitution. A two-thirds vote from the Senate, in this case 16 out of its 23 members, is needed to convict any impeachable official.
The senator-judges
The defense panel had earlier asked Drilon and Angara to inhibit from the trial, citing bias and alleged conflict of interest, but both senators refused to heed the request.
Drilon, Pangilinan, Recto, and Guingona are members of the administration’s Liberal Party, which is headed by Aquino.
Osmeña and Escudero, although independent, are also known supporters of the administration. On the other hand, Trillanes owes his freedom to the President for granting him amnesty and obtained his freedom from years of detention.
Escudero, Legarda, Pimentel, Trillanes, Cayetano, and Honasan are expected to seek re-
election next year, when their terms expire.

The terms of Angara, Arroyo, Lacson, Pangilinan, and Villar are also expiring next year, but they cannot seek reelection as they are already on their second terms.

The impeachment complaint
The House of Representatives impeached Corona last December 12 for alleged graft and corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, and betrayal of public trust.
The Articles of Impeachment were transmitted the following day to the Senate, which convened as an impeachment court on December 14.
The impeachment trial began last January 16, when the Senate began hearing evidence on
the following Articles of Impeachment:
Article I: Partiality of Corona to Mrs. Arroyo in Supreme Court decisions
Article II: Non-disclosure of properties in Corona’s SALN
Article III: Lack of probity, integrity, and independence in the FASAP vs. PAL case
Article IV: Irregularities in the issuance of the status quo ante order on the impeachment proceedings of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez
Article V: Gerrymandering in the creation of 16 new cities and the declaration of Dinagat Island as a province)
Article VI: Improper investigation of Associate Justice Mariano del Castillo’s plagiarism case
Article VII: Irregularities in the issuance of a temporary restraining order for Mrs. Arroyo during her attempt to leave the country last November
Article VIII: Failure and refusal to account for the Judiciary Development Fund and Special Allowance for the Judiciary
However, the prosecution team later decided to rest its case and drop Articles I, IV, V, VI, and VIII.
According to the Senate impeachment rules, the senators shall vote on each of the Articles of Impeachment. If the vote of two-thirds of all the members is sustained on any of the articles, then the accused shall be convicted.
Corona’s properties: From 45 to 21 to five
Much of the trial revolved around Article II, which accuses Corona of failing to publicly and properly disclose the extent of his assets in his SALN.
The prosecutors asked the Senate to subpoena members of the Corona family in connection with 45 pieces of real estate in the cities of Makati, Parañaque, Marikina, Taguig, and in Quezon City.
However, the prosecution team later denied claiming that Corona owned 45 properties, saying the figure was merely based on a list provided by the Land Registration Authority.
In the formal offer of evidence, the prosecution accused Corona of owning 21 properties, and said many of these are not declared in his SALN.
But the defense team and Corona maintained that he only owns five properties, and all are declared in his SALN. His lawyers also presented witnesses to prove that the other 15 properties have been sold or are actually owned by other people.
The ‘small lady’ and Corona’s bank accounts
The prosecution team also asked the Senate to subpoena documentary evidence in connection with Corona’s alleged undeclared dollar accounts.
They made the request after Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, one of the prosecutors, claimed that a “small lady” handed over records from the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) that supposedly showed Corona having $700,000 in deposits.
However, the manager of PSBank-Katipunan said the records were fake and did not come from them. She also revealed that Quezon City Rep. Jorge Banal, a member of the prosecution’s secretariat, had asked for her help in authenticating the same documents.
The controversy prompted PSBank to seek the help of the high court in preventing the Senate from examining the dollar accounts, citing Republic Act 6426 or the Foreign Currency Deposit Act. The SC issued a temporary restraining order that the Senate voted to follow, putting a lid on Corona’s dollar records.
Ombudsman’s testimony
When the trial resumed this month after the congressional recess, the issue on the dollar accounts was revived when Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales asked the chief justice to respond to complaints from civil society groups and explain how he managed to accumulate millions of dollars despite his modest government salary.
Saying the move was part of a well-orchestrated plan to discredit Corona, defense lawyers asked the Senate to summon Morales to the witness stand. The move appears to have backfired, with Morales presenting a report from the Anti-Money Laundering Council that showed at least $10 million in transactional balances in 82 dollar accounts of Corona.
Last week, Corona branded the Ombudsman a liar when he finally took the witness stand, but he did admit having four dollar accounts containing around $2.4 million. He said the money came from dollar investments that grew over the years, and explained that he did not declare the cash in his SALN because it is covered by the secrecy clause in the Foreign Currency Deposit Act.
Corona also admitted that he has P80 million in three peso accounts, which he also did not declare because they were commingled funds from his mother and his children.
Copies of Corona’s SALNs from 2003 to 2011 showed that he only declared between P2.5 million to P3.5 million in cash assets.
summary of the evidence presented during the impeachment trial
————————————————————————————————–

Contract to buy and sell between the Corona couple and Bonifacio West Devt. Corp. and Megaworld dated Sept. 18, 2008 and notarized Oct. 16, 2008

Three official receipts from Megaworld proving payments from the Corona couple

Certification Authorizing Registration (CAR) issued by the BIR to the Corona couple on Dec. 17, 2009

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona asserted that inaccuracies in the SALN may constitute perjury, but it is not an impeachable offense or a high crime

SC chief judicial officer Araceli Bayuga

Senate Electoral Tribunal secretary Irene Guevarra,

House of Representatives Electoral Tribunal secretary Girlie Salarda

They testified about the salaries and other remuneration Corona received from 2002 to 2011. The defense sought to establish Corona’s capacity to buy properties through the more than P26 million he has earned as SC Justice so far.

CHARGE

Bonfiacio Ridge Condo

Corona did not declare in his SALNs from 2005 to 2009 a condo unit in the Bonifacio Ridge, Taguig acquired in 2005. He also did not disclose the acquisition cost and the true current fair market value of the property, and the funds used to buy it.

Prosecution Evidence

SALNs from 2005 to 2009

CCT of the condo unit

Deed of absolute sale between Fort Bonifacio Devt. Corp. and Corona’s wife Cristina notarized Oct. 14, 2005

CAR dated Nov. 16, 2005

Checks and official receipts from the Fort Bonifacio Development Corp. indicating payments from the Corona couple

Buyer’s Information Sheet (BIS) accomplished by the Corona couple on Jan. 23, 2005

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona said he did not include the acquisition cost in his SALN because this is publicly available at the Register of Deeds. He did not use the current fair market value because he personally did not know its selling price; he used the fair market value instead because it is more reliable

Noel Kintanar of the Bonifacio Development Corporation testified that the condominium unit was only “conditionally” transferred to the Coronas in January 2006 due to prolonged renovations caused by typhoons.

The defense team explained that the unit was only reflected in Corona’s 2010 SALN because no accountant assisted him in preparing the document in previous years.

CHARGE

Burgundy Plaza Condo

Corona did not declare in his SALN a parking space worth P450,000 and a P2.5-M condo unit at the One Burgundy Plaza, Katipunan Avenue, Loyola Heights, Quezon City acquired in 1997. He also did not declare the true current fair market value of the property after 2002 and the funds used to buy the property.

Prosecution Evidence

SALNs from 1997 to 2002

Reservation application made by the Corona couple dated July 15, 1997

Contract to sell dated July 15, 1997

28 official receipts showing payment from the Corona couple

CCT in the name of the Corona couple

Deed of absolute sale between Burgundy Realty Corp. and the Corona couple dated Oct. 8, 2003

Acknowledgment of unit completion and acceptance dated Nov. 10, 2000 signed by Cristina on Dec. 8, 2003

CAR issued by the BIR to the Corona couple on Dec. 8, 2003

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona said he did not use the current fair market value because he personally did not know the selling price of the property; he used the fair market value instead because it is more reliable

CHARGE

The Columns Condo

Corona did not declare in his SALNs a P3.6-M condo unit at The Columns in Ayala Avenue which his wife acquired in 2004 for P3.6 M. He also did not declare the acquisition cost of the property in his 2010 SALN and the true current fair market value of the property, and the funds used to buy it.

Prosecution Evidence

SALNs from 2005 to 2009

CCT in the name of Cristina Corona

Deed of absolute sale between Community Innovations Inc. and Mrs. Corona on Oct. 1, 2004

Contract to sell between Community Innovations Inc. and Mrs. Corona on Jan. 20, 2004

Six official receipts from Community Innovations, Inc. indicating payments for the property from 2003 to 2004

Letter from Community Innovations informing Mrs. Corona that if she fails to accept the unit, it will still be deemed delivered on June 7, 2008

CAR issued by the BIR to Mrs. Corona

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona said he did not include the acquisition cost in his SALN because this is publicly available at the Register of Deeds. He did not use the current fair market value because he personally did not know its selling price; he used the fair market value instead because it is more reliable

Alveo Land customer relations head Carmina Cruz testified that the Corona couple only accepted the condominium unit in 2010 due to some defects to the property.

The Columns property manager Benz Lim also testified that the Corona couple did not formally accept the unit until 2010.

CHARGE

Property at BGC, Taguig

Corona concealed ownership of a parcel of land at the Bonifacio Global City, Taguig bought for P9.2 M under the name of his daughter Charina.

Prosecution Evidence

Transfer Certificate of Title (TCT) in the name of Charina Corona

CAR issued by the BIR to Mrs. Cristina Corona

Defense Evidence

CHARGE

Properties in Marikina

Corona and his wife are still the owners of seven parcels of land in Brgy. Marikina Heights, Bayanbayan, Marikina, which were not declared in Corona’s SALNs.

Prosecution Evidence

SALNs from 2002 to 2010

Seven TCTs in the name of the Corona couple

Defense Evidence

Witness Demetrio Vicente claimed he owns these parcels of land. He presented deeds of sale to support his claim, but said the land titles have not been transferred to his name due to lack of funds.

CHARGE

Properties in Diliman, QC

Corona and his wife are the owners of two parcels of land with an area of 631.6 sq. m and 513.8 sq. m in Diliman, Quezon City

Prosecution Evidence

Two TCTs in the name of the Corona couple

Defense Evidence

CHARGE

Property in La Vista, QC

Corona and his wife are the real owners of a 1,200-square meter parcel of land in La Vista, Quezon City acquired in 2003 for P11-M but supposedly sold to their daughter Carla for P18 M. They also did not have the financial capacity to acquire the property based on their income for that year. Corona also undervalued the property at P3 M in his 2004 SALN.

Prosecution Evidence

TCT and deed of absolute sale between Victor Bocaling and Cristina Corona dated Sept. 5, 2003

Supreme Court alpha list submitted to BIR indicating Corona’s income, which allegedly was insufficient to pay for the property

BIR records showing Cristina was a one-time taxpayer who had no other source of income during that time

Deed of absolute sale between Cristina and daughter Carla

TCT in the name of Carla married to Constantino Castillo III

Certification that the BIR has no records of Carla and Constantino’s ITRs except for 2008 and 2009, which showed no recorded source of income for the previous years

CAR issued by BIR to Carla for the acquisition of the P18-million property

Defense Evidence

Quezon City acting register of deeds Carlo Alcantara testified on the sale of this property to Corona’s daughter, Carla, in October 2010.

CHARGE

Property along Kalayaan Ave, QC

Corona is the real owner of a P15-M parcel of land and building located along Kalayaan Ave., Diliman, Quezon City, which is under the name of his daughter Carla and her husband Constantino Castillo III

Prosecution Evidence

Deed of absolute sale between Myrla Melad Bajar and Constantino Castillo III

BIR testimony that the Castillo couple has no financial capacity to buy the property

TCT in the name of Castillo

Defense Evidence

Quezon City acting register of deeds Carlo Alcantara testified on the sale of this property to Corona’s daughter, Carla, in March 2009.

CHARGE

Property in Cubao, QC

Corona is the real owner of a 350-sq. m property in Project 3, Cubao, Quezon City worth P10.5 M which is also in the name of the Castillo couple

Prosecution Evidence

Deed of absolute sale between Daniel Encina and Castillo

CAR for the property

TCT in the name of Castillo

Defense Evidence

Quezon City acting register of deeds Carlo Alcantara testified on the sale of this property to Corona’s daughter, Carla, in December 2003.

CHARGE

Property at Ayala Heights, QC

Corona did not declare in his SALN from 2002 to 2010 a 460-sq. m parcel of land in Ayala Heights Balara, Quezon City which he and his wife sold to spouses Rhodel and Amelia Rivera for P8 million

Prosecution Evidence

Deed of absolute sale between the Corona couple and the Rivera couple

CAR issued by the BIR on March 12, 2010 for the sale of the land to the Rivera couple

Defense Evidence

Quezon City acting register of deeds Carlo Alcantara presented the transfer certificate of title of this property to Amelia and Rhodel Rivera in March 2010.

CHARGE

Property at McKinley Hill, Taguig

Corona is the real owner of a property (Lot 1, Block 16) at the McKinley Hill project in 2008 which is under the name of his daughter Charina.

Prosecution Evidence

Deed of absolute sale dated Oct. 21, 2008 between Megaworld Corporation and Charina, who is represented by Corona as attorney-in-fact

Request for reservation and offer to purchase dated May 9, 2006 to Mrs. Corona

27 official receipts from Megaworld Corporation indicating payment from the Corona couple for the property

Deed of assignment dated Oct. 3, 2008 between the Corona couple and Charina

BIS accomplished by Corona

CAR for the property

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona maintained that the property is owned by his daughter, Charina, who is a US-based physical therapist

Land Registration Authority administrator Eulalio Diaz said the number of Corona’s alleged properties is only 21 and not 45, as originally publicized by the prosecution team using a list drawn from a computerized search of Corona-related properties provided by the LRA.

CHARGE

BGEI Loan of Corona

Cristina was never a shareholder in Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc. (BGEI). The company’s certificate of registration was revoked in May 26, 2003 for failure to submit reportorial requirements.

Prosecution Evidence

BGEI’s Articles of Incorporation

Certified true copy of BGEI’s Certificate of Registration

BGEI’s General Information Sheets in 1961, 1971, 1989, and 1990

Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) orders dated Apr. 22, 2003 and Mar. 29, 2000, on the submission of reportorial requirements

SEC’s show-cause letters to BGEI

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Corona said the feud in his wife’s family started when his uncle-in-law Jose Maria Basa III, who is now deceased, took possession of a disputed Quezon City property. Corona said the BGEI selling price of P28,000 was low because “no one else wanted to sink in their money in such an uncertain corporation.”

QC-RTC Branch 216 clerk of court Lucita Masangkay-Cristi testified that Mrs. Corona won two libel cases she filed against her uncle, Jose Maria Basa, in 2001. The victory is said to have paved the way for Mrs. Corona to gain control of BGEI.

Court sheriff Joseph Bisnar testified that Corona’s daughter, Carina, bought 90.87% of BGEI shares for P28,000 in September 2003.

CHARGE

Shares at Palms Country Club

Corona did not disclose in his SALN shares of stock in the Palms Country Club, Inc. worth P700,000 that he and his wife had acquired from Filinvest Alabang, Inc.

Prosecution Evidence

Deed of sale of common share between Filinvest Alabang and the Corona couple

Certificate of stock to the Palms Country Club issued to Filinvest Alabang

Certificate of stock to the Palms Country Club issued to the Corona couple

Contract to sell between Filinvest Alabang and the Corona couple

Defense Evidence

CHARGE

PSBank Accounts

Corona did not disclose in his SALNs millions of pesos he owned and maintained under several Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) accounts:
– Acct. No. 089-12101195-7 containing P5,018,255.26 as of Dec. 31,2007
– Acct. No. 089-12101959-3 containing P8.5 M as of Dec. 31,2009 and P12,580,316.56 as of Dec. 31, 2010
– Acct. No. 089-12102168-1 containing P7,148,238.83 as of Dec. 31,2010

Prosecution Evidence

Customer Identification and Specimen Signature Card dated May 16, 2007 under the name Renato Coronado Corona

Bank Certification issued by PSBank dated Feb. 7, 2012

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona testified that he only had four dollar accounts as of December 2012, and the other accounts presented by Morales are already closed.

Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, a hostile witness, testified that Corona had at least $10 million in transactional balances in 82 accounts in five banks from April 2003 to February 2012, based on records obtained from the Anti-Money Laundering Council.

The Ombudsman observed “circuitous fund movements” and “significant transactions” during the 2004 and 2007 polls.

CHARGE

PSBank Time Deposit Accounts

Corona did not declare millions of pesos in six other PSBank time deposit accounts, three of which he closed on the day he was impeached:
– Acct. No. 089-12101195-7 (opened on May 16, 2007 with a balance of P2 M, closed on Oct. 2, 2008)
– Acct. No. 089-12101735-8 (opened on Jan. 26,2009 with a balance of P2.1 M, closed on April 16, 2009)
– Acct. No. 089-12101959-3 (opened on Dec. 22, 2009 with a balance of P8.5 M, closed on Dec. 12, 2011)
– Acct. No. 089-12102012-2 (opened on Mar. 4, 2010 with a balance of P3.7 M, closed on Apr. 23, 2010)
– Acct. No. 089-12102144-4 (opened on July 23,2010 with a balance of P7,370,438.65; closed on Sept. 1, 2011)
– Acct. No. 089-12102168-1 (opened on Sept. 1, 2010 with a balance of P7,090,099.45; closed on Dec. 12, 2011)
– Acct. No. 089-12102384-8 (opened on June 29, 2011 with a balance of P17 M, closed on Dec. 12, 2011)

Prosecution Evidence

Bank Certifications issued by PS Bank dated Feb. 10, 2012 and Feb. 14, 2012

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona testified that he only has three peso accounts which are not declared in his SALNs because these contain commingled funds from BGEI and from his mother. Some of his other accounts are now under the name of his daughter, Carla and her husband, Francis.

Rep. Risa Hontiveros, former representative

Harvey Keh, civil society leader

Emmanuel Tiu Santos, lawyer

Through these hostile witnesses the defense team sought to prove that the persons who filed the complaints on which the Ombudsman based her probe on Corona’s dollar accounts had no personal knowledge on these bank transactions, and that there is a “well-planned and orchestrated effort” to discredit Corona.

CHARGE

BPI Accounts

Corona owned Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI) Ayala Branch Checking Acct. No. 1445-8030-61 containing unreported bank deposits. The outstanding balances of this account per year are:
– as of Dec. 31, 2005: P149,767.36
– as of Dec. 31, 2006: P153,395.12
– as of Dec. 31, 2007: P5,069,711.18
– as of Dec. 31, 2008: P1,525,872.87
– as of Dec. 31, 2009: P678,501.83
– as of Dec. 31, 2010: P12,024,067.70

Prosecution Evidence

Bank statements issued by BPI Ayala branch

Corona’s signature card for BPI Account

Defense Evidence

Chief Justice Renato Corona said the squabble over BGEI deterred his family from acquiring properties. Instead, they have been investing in foreign exchange since the late 1960s. The money was placed in time deposits that were transferred to new accounts every time they matured to get higher interest.

He did not declare the dollar accounts in his SALNs because he believes that foreign currency deposits are confidential under Republic Act 6426.

Note: The defense panel has yet to finish presenting its evidence on Article II

Article III
Culpable violation of the Constitution in the FASAP case

CHARGE

FASAP vs PAL case

Corona allowed the Supreme Court to act on mere letters of a lawyer of Philippine Airlines, resulting in the flip-flopping of decisions on the FASAP vs. PAL case

Prosecution Evidence

SC decision on PAL labor row in favor of FASAP

Decision of the SC’s third division denying PAL’s motion for reconsideration

FASAP letter to the SC dated Nov. 24, 2009 expressing concern over its case

SC third division resolution requiring FASAP to furnish a copy of its letter to PAL

SC second division resolution denying PAL’s second motion for reconsideration with finality

Mendoza’s letters to the SC Clerk of Court dated Sept. 13, 16, 20, and 22, 2011 inquiring about the high court’s action on PAL’s second motion of reconsideration on the FASAP case

SC clerk of court’s letter to the impeachment court authenticating Mendoza’s letters

Motion to vacate the resolution in favor of FASAP filed by PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza, which cited supposed violations of the Constitution and SC’s internal rules of court

Internal rules of court of the SC

SC en banc resolution on Oct. 4, 2011, with Corona’s participation, recalling the denial of PAL’s second motion for reconsideration

SC en banc resolution on Oct. 18, 2011 that showed Corona again inhibiting from the FASAP case

Defense Evidence

Note: The defense panel has yet to present its evidence on Article III

Article VII
Betrayal of public trust in granting a TRO in favor of Arroyo couple

CHARGE

TRO against DOJ for Arroyo couple

Corona rushed the issuance of a temporary restraining order (TRO) against the Department of Justice on Nov. 15, 2011 to give the Arroyo couple an opportunity to leave the country and escape prosecution for pending cases. He also promulgated a version of the SC en banc resolution that was contrary to the manner of voting of the justices.

Prosecution Evidence

Arroyos’ petition for a TRO against the DOJ’s implementation of a watch list order against her

Notices of SC en banc resolutions dated Nov. 15 and 22, 2011 granting Mrs. Arroyo’s petition for a TRO

SC resolution on the TRO against DOJ dated Nov. 15, 2011

Special Power of Attorney from the Arroyo couple

Receipt showing payment of cash bond

Portion of logbook showing date and time of release of SC Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno’s dissenting opinion

Dissenting opinions of SC Justices Sereno and Antonio Carpio

SC Justice Velasco’s separate opinion

SC Justice Abad’s concurring opinion

Corona’s appointment letters as SC Associate Justice and Chief Justice signed by then-President Arroyo

Supplemental Petition in the case of Arroyo vs. de Lima

CHARGE

Misleading TRO effectivity

Corona, through SC spokesman Midas Marquez, distorted the effectivity of the TRO by misleading the public into believing that the TRO was effective when it was not because Mrs. Arroyo had failed to comply with the conditions stated in the ruling before her attempted departure.

Prosecution Evidence

1. Marquez’ press briefing on Nov. 15, 2011 where he announced the SC decision on Mrs. Arroyo’s petition for TRO

2. Arroyo lawyer Ferdinand Topacio’s statement on the preparation of cash bond on Nov. 15, 2011

3. Mrs. Arroyo’s representative about to process the payment of the cash bond to SC

4. Mrs. Arroyo arrival at the airport on Nov. 15, 2011

5. Police officials’ briefing on Mrs. Arroyo’s arrest

6. Marquez interview on ANC’s Headstart aired on Nov. 16, 2011 where he supposedly said that the TRO issued in favor of Mrs. Arroyo is in full force and effect

7. Marquez’ press briefing on Nov. 21, 2011 where he reacted to allegations that he made untruthful statements regarding the TRO issued in favor of Mrs. Arroyo

Defense Evidence

—————————————————————————————————

Drama in the courtroom
For most viewers, however, the trial will be remembered for its dramatic scenes. And no doubt, many of them will feature Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago, whose tirades often livened up the boring proceedings.
There was Harvey Keh of the Kaya Natin! Movement, whom she admonished for giving Enrile an envelope containing Corona’s alleged bank records from unverified and anonymous sources.
Santiago also had a run-in with Vitaliano Aguirre II, a former private prosecutor, who covered his ears in full view of the public while the senator was speaking at the trial.
And then there was the side show involving the long-running conflict between Corona’s wife Cristina and her relatives on the Basa side. The family feud came to public attention after the chief justice declared an P11-million loan from the Basa Guidote Enterprises Inc in his SALN.
Last week, the Corona family was seen on live television reconciling with the Basa in a tearful display of hugs and kisses.
But the most controversial scene in the trial was the surprising sight of Corona abruptly rising from the witness stand and walking out of the Senate session hall without the court’s permission after delivering his three-hour testimony last week.
Corona’s lawyers attributed the hasty departure to a bout of hypoglycemia, and the chief justice was brought to the Medical City after his appearance at the Senate.
Three days later, Corona returned and apologized to the Senate, and the defense team rested its case.
With a report from Reuters/RSJ/YA/KG/VS, GMA News
————————————————————————————————
THE 1987 CONSTITUTION
OF THE
REPUBLIC OF THE PHILIPPINES


 

ARTICLE II

DECLARATION OF PRINCIPLES AND STATE POLICIES

PRINCIPLES
Section 1. The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

Section 3. Civilian authority is, at all times, supreme over the military. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is the protector of the people and the State. Its goal is to secure the sovereignty of the State and the integrity of the national territory.

Section 4. The prime duty of the Government is to serve and protect the people. The Government may call upon the people to defend the State and, in the fulfillment thereof, all citizens may be required, under conditions provided by law, to render personal, military or civil service.

Section 5. The maintenance of peace and order, the protection of life, liberty, and property, and promotion of the general welfare are essential for the enjoyment by all the people of the blessings of democracy.

Section 6. The separation of Church and State shall be inviolable. 

STATE POLICIES

Section 7. The State shall pursue an independent foreign policy. In its relations with other states, the paramount consideration shall be national sovereignty, territorial integrity, national interest, and the right to self-determination.

Section 8. The Philippines, consistent with the national interest, adopts and pursues a policy of freedom from nuclear weapons in its territory.

Section 9. The State shall promote a just and dynamic social order that will ensure the prosperity and independence of the nation and free the people from poverty through policies that provide adequate social services, promote full employment, a rising standard of living, and an improved quality of life for all.

Section 10. The State shall promote social justice in all phases of national development.

Section 11. The State values the dignity of every human person and guarantees full respect for human rights.

Section 12. The State recognizes the sanctity of family life and shall protect and strengthen the family as a basic autonomous social institution. It shall equally protect the life of the mother and the life of the unborn from conception. The natural and primary right and duty of parents in the rearing of the youth for civic efficiency and the development of moral character shall receive the support of the Government.

Section 13. The State recognizes the vital role of the youth in nation-building and shall promote and protect their physical, moral, spiritual, intellectual, and social well-being. It shall inculcate in the youth patriotism and nationalism, and encourage their involvement in public and civic affairs.

Section 14. The State recognizes the role of women in nation-building, and shall ensure the fundamental equality before the law of women and men.

Section 15. The State shall protect and promote the right to health of the people and instill health consciousness among them.

Section 16. The State shall protect and advance the right of the people to a balanced and healthful ecology in accord with the rhythm and harmony of nature.

Section 17. The State shall give priority to education, science and technology, arts, culture, and sports to foster patriotism and nationalism, accelerate social progress, and promote total human liberation and development.

Section 18. The State affirms labor as a primary social economic force. It shall protect the rights of workers and promote their welfare.

Section 19. The State shall develop a self-reliant and independent national economy effectively controlled by Filipinos.

Section 20. The State recognizes the indispensable role of the private sector, encourages private enterprise, and provides incentives to needed investments.

Section 21. The State shall promote comprehensive rural development and agrarian reform.

Section 22. The State recognizes and promotes the rights of indigenous cultural communities within the framework of national unity and development.

Section 23. The State shall encourage non-governmental, community-based, or sectoral organizations that promote the welfare of the nation.

Section 24. The State recognizes the vital role of communication and information in nation-building.

Section 25. The State shall ensure the autonomy of local governments.

Section 26. The State shall guarantee equal access to opportunities for public service and prohibit political dynasties as may be defined by law.


Section 27. The State shall maintain honesty and integrity in the public service and take positive and effective measures against graft and corruption.

Section 28. Subject to reasonable conditions prescribed by law, the State adopts and implements a policy of full public disclosure of all its transactions involving public interest.


 

 

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