Ombudsman Morales says Chief Justice keeps 82 bank accounts totalling US$12 million abroad
May 15, 2012 § Leave a comment
Yesterday’s Senate impeachment trial of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Renato Corona took a surprising twist when Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales presented alleged pieces of evidence indicating possible dollar accounts being maintained by Corona. Morales presented documents from the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) which shows 82 bank accounts in 5 banks. The amounts totalled US$ 12 million.
The Senate voted to see the powerpoint presentation by Morales. The vote was conducted rather intelligently because it did not show partisanship. It cannot be used by both camps to claim early victory because it did not clearly show the true partisan colors of the Senators-judges.
Morales testified that Corona’s records were obtained not by the Ombudsman but by the AMLC. AMLC maintains a solid credibility before the eyes of the People. This agency of government first appeared during the impeachment trial of Joseph Estrada where his domestic bank accounts were scrutinized. Now, it seems that even without a court-instigated order, the AMLC can now even pry open dollar accounts being maintained by government officials abroad.
Anyway, it also seemed like Lead Defense Counsel Cuevas was not in his element yesterday. Morales appeared feisty while Cuevas appeared subdued. Most of the Senators concluded that the prosecution scored on this one.
The Defense meanwhile said, that they will also be presenting five more “hostile” witnesses before Corona appears before the court. Such a behavior suggests that the Defense will be trying to win this on a technicality, a wrong move, I should say.
This trial has two dimensions: one, a legal one and two, a public one. The most important for them especially to their client is to regain his tattered image before the public. Corona suffers from a negative public perception. Even if he survives this trial thru a technicality, but loses in the bar of public opinion, Corona will forever be harassed and debilitated. A technicality will somewhat put Corona under siege. Corona must convince both the Senate and their publics of his innocence without resorting to a technicality, a very challenging thing to do.