MANILA, Philippines. — If the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) report on Chief Justice Renato Corona’s dollar accounts and transactions is verified, then it’s game over for him in his impeachment trial, analysts declared.
Reacting to the testimony of Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, Ateneo de Manila University (AdMU) School of Government Dean Tony La Viña said that if it is proven that the AMLC report is true, then the chief justice is finished.
“If the AMLC report is verified, I would think it is all over but the formalities. Of course, this can be dragged on by questioning [the] authenticity of documents but is disservice to public if purpose is delaying inevitable,” he said on social media network Twitter.
ANC analyst and veteran journalist Teddy Locsin Jr. also believes that Morales’ testimony, if proven correct, means the end for Corona.
“It isn’t even a bombshell but a careful reconstruction that seals CJ’s coffin,” he said on Twitter.
“Corona must explain; he cannot, unless Morales lent herself to wholesale fraud, which I do not believe,” he said. “I believe she (Morales) has done it already. I hope no one credits [the] prosecution.”
“Non-disclosure [is] perfectly legal and proper, it is the gigantic sum that is horrifying,” he added.
Locsin, a former Makati congressman, said that if Corona does not have an explanation for his multi-million dollar transactions, he should be removed from office.
“If Corona [is] guilty even of [an] uncharged crime like this, he should be removed. Too much,” Locsin said.
‘At least $10M in 82 dollar accounts’
Carpio-Morales testified that Corona allegedly had at least $10 million in transactional balances in 82 US dollar accounts in 5 banks from 2003 to 2011.
Gasps and stunned silence met the testimony of Morales, who has launched a fact-finding investigation into Corona’s alleged dollar accounts.
The Ombudsman said “significant deposits and withdrawals” on the dollar accounts were made during the 2004 and 2007 elections, as well as the week Corona was impeached in December last year.
Morales said on December 12, 2011, the day he was impeached, Corona pre-terminated a US dollar time deposit account amounting to $418,193.32.
“This amount was added to a BPI [Bank of Philippine Islands] account and from this, $417,000 was deducted from this account and transferred to a regular account,” she said.
Prosecutors said Morales’ testimony seriously damaged the case of the defence, with House lead prosecutor Rep. Niel Tupas saying the inflows and outflows in Corona’s dollar accounts indicate “professional money laundering.”