MANILA, Philippines – It was one of the most dramatic moments of the impeachment trial. Then Chief Justice Renato Corona signed a waiver on his bank documents, allowing government agencies to look into his bank accounts.
It turns out Corona soon revoked the waiver after he was removed from office on May 29, Bureau of Internal Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares told a press conference on Thursday, August 30, announcing tax evasion charges against Corona, his daughter and son in law.
Henares said the BIR discovered this after it asked the Banco De Oro for bank records of Corona "approximately one or two months ago."
"Their legal wrote us and said the lawyer of Chief Justice Corona said that CJ Corona is revoking the waiver. So we were questioning that because the waiver was executed by the Chief Justice and therefore the only one who can revoke it is the Chief Justice. That is our argument with Banco De Oro. However, Banco De Oro brought us to court, asking the court whether they can legally give us the certification," said Henares.
Henares added, "Based on my last information, it seems the Chief Justice was asked to comment and he confirmed that he is revoking the waiver he executed."
The BIR chief said the issue with Banco De Oro is now a subject of a case at a Regional Trial Court in Makati.
Corona's lawyer during the impeachment trial, Judd Roy, said he does not know about the issue.
"I don't know what he did. Just like his walk out, I was not informed of his actions regarding the waiver," said Roy.
Corona signed the waiver toward the end of his impeachment trial in May, saying it was a sign of transparency. He even challenged other government officials to follow suit.
Corona’s waiver sparked a public call for government officials to sign a waiver. The waiver was even one of the requirements asked of those vying to replace him as Chief Justice.
Initially, the waiver Corona signed was conditional, depending on whether his prosecutors and Senator Franklin Drilon would sign a similar waiver. He accused Drilon of aiding the prosecution.
On May 22, Corona said, "I will submit my waiver to authorities until all 189 have submitted waivers. If they don't, I will ask my lawyers to rest my defense since nothing has been proven against me .... I am no thief, I am no criminal, I have done no wrong. But dear senators, I am also no fool."
Later on, he decided to give the Senate an unconditional waiver.
“Hindi ko na po hihintayin yung waiver noong 189 (I will not wait for the waiver of the 189). I’m submitting this without any conditions whatsoever,” Corona said on May 25.
Corona was removed from office for failing to declare his bank accounts in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth. Twenty of 23 senators found him guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. – Rappler.com