May 28, 2012 · Posted in: General
LEAD PROSECUTOR NEIL TUPAS opened his oral arguments for the conviction of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona with the argument that Corona himself has admitted to not declaring all his assets in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required by law.
Tupas said that in his testimony last Tuesday, Corona admitted that he owned P80 million in three bank accounts and another $2.4 million in four dollar accounts. Furthermore, Tupas said Corona had admitted that he had not declared these accounts in his 2010 SALN, arguing that the peso accounts were not solely his, and that the dollar accounts were covered by an absolute veil of secrecy due to the foreign currency deposits act.
“Gaano man karami ang bank accounts, hindi na yan ang pinaguusapan ngayon,” Tupas said. “Ang tanong, nasa SALN ba nya ang mga ito?”
“Did the respondent declare the assets as required by the Constitution and law? He did not,” Tupas said.
Tupas argued that the law requires all public officials to disclose all their assets and net worth, and the law “makes no distinction between pesos and dollars.”
“The secrecy law applies to banking institutions, the prohibition is addressed to the banks and not to depositors,” Tupas said. “It penalizes bank employees who disclose, but allows depositors themselves to waive this protection.”
“To adopt the Chief Justice’s interpretation would be to encourage dishonesty in government.” he said, adding that this would lead to government officials acquiring wealth and depositing these “in foreign currency accounts.”
“We go back to the question that we asked at the beginning of the proceedings, by what standards should Corona be judged? We answer, by the highest standards.”