March 13, 2012 · Posted in: General
A COUSIN of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona who says he purchased seven parcels of land from the Coronas in 1990 says he will only put the properties under his name when he can already afford to pay the transfer tax and fines.
Demetrio Vicente had told the impeachment court that he bought the land, which has a land area of 1,700 square meters, for P506 thousand from Cristina Corona, wife of Renato Corona in 1990. However, Vicente was questioned by prosecutors and several Senator-Judges on why he never had the property title transferred under his name for the last twenty years.
Vicente repeatedly said that he could not afford to pay the transfer tax for the property, since he was in the process of constructing a house.
Vicente also claimed he paid real estate taxes for the property for the same number of years, even though the receipt for the real estate taxes was under the name of Cristina Corona.
Asked by Senator-Judge Jinggoy Estrada if he still intended to transfer the title under his name, Vicente said: “Pag nagkaroon po ako ng pera.”
Estrada pointed out that prosecutor Jose Justiniano computed the transfer tax for the property to amount to only P2,597.
Vicente however said that that was no longer accurate since he would have to pay some fines as well. Vicente said transferring the title to his name would now cost him around P200,000.
Senator-Judge Ralph Recto for his part said that if the Coronas had sold the property to Vicente in 1990, then why was the property still listed in Corona’s first statement of assets liabilities, and net worth when he first joined the government in 1992.
Defense counsel Serafin Cuevas said this was probably because the property was not yet listed in the records of the City Assessors Office under the name of Vicente, but under the name of the Coronas.
If that was the case, Recto said, then why was the property no longer listed in Corona’s SALN for 1993.
“That is why I support the call of the Senate President na ang makakasagot lang ng mga tanong na ito ay ang Chief Justice lamang,” Recto said.
To prosecution lawyers, Recto asked if the prosecution was trying to establish that the sale of the property was just a “simulated sale.”
“The purpose is to show na hindi totoo ang bentahan,” said prosecutor Jose Justiniano.
However Recto pointed out that it would be difficult to fake documents such as real property tax receipts.
“Mahirap sabihin na hindi totoo yan,” Recto said.