February 1, 2012
Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano (ASC)
SUMMARY OF MAIN POINTS
1. ASC clarified that the prosecution cannot present evidence to prove ill-gotten wealth at this point. However, they can present evidence showing properties that were allegedly not included or misdeclared in the SALN as provided in Article 2.2 and 2.3 .
a. ASC asked the Prosecution: '...these questions are not to dispute the price (of the condo) but if the price reflected in the SALN is whether nonexistent or is wrong?'
2. ASC cited that it is unfair to a company like Megaworld if conclusions are made this early based on assumptions that the discounted price for the Bellagio condominium unit given to Corona was part of a deal to favor the company on its cases pending in the Supreme Court.
a. ASC asked Megaworld Marketing VP Hernandez if there were pending cases in the SC when the sale was made to Corona
ASC: Mr. President, let me agree with your previous statement with Sen. Marcos, Sen. Pia, and Sen. Drilon. I think this started when we made a ruling regarding Article 2.2, 2.3, and 2.4.
Malinaw na malinaw dito na hindi pwedeng magpasok ng ebidensya tungkol sa ill-gotten wealth bilang hiwalay na kaso. Kahapon inilabas ang written resolution. Ngunit maaaring ipakita ng prosekusyon ang kahit anong property na hindi isinama sa SALN under 2.2 and 2.3, o kung mali ang ipinasok sa presyo, description, o iba pang detalye. Ito po ang sinasabi ni Sen. Drilon.
But we cannot ignore that while there is a trial going on here, there is also a trial going on outside.
Kahapon, noong lumabas ang tungkol sa diskwento dahil sa tinanong ni Sen. Pimentel, nagkaroon ng hindi magandang mensahe ito sa lahat na parang nagkaroon ng kasunduan sa pagitan ng Megaworld at ni CJ Corona.
This is very unfair to both the respondent and to Megaworld, unless that's what the prosecution wants to prove.
My first question is to the witness. Would you know if there was a pending case between the Supreme Court when Renato Corona became a justice of the Supreme Court?
Noli Hernandez (NH): Yes, Your Honor. We actually lost two cases in the Supreme Court. I have here the details.
ASC: You have a case but you lost.
NH: Yes, Sir.
ASC: Just to ask you directly, itong reduction o discount ba ay may kinalaman sa kaso?
NH: Nothing whatsoever, Your honor.
ASC: Second question. Would you have offered the same price to any other buyer?
NH: I would have, Sir.
ASC: When did the negotiations for the price take place? Did you know it was the Chief Justice Corona when the offer was made?
NH: Sir, at the time, I did not know that he was CJ Corona.
ASC: So if I or anyone else came and said that because the building is damaged, I'm going to buy it for P14 million, you would sell it to me?
NH: Yes. Sir.
ASC: For the private prosecution or the gentleman from Cavite: Sir, did I get the statement right that you are asking this question not to dispute the price but if the price reflected in the SALN is whether nonexistent or is wrong?
Prosecution (P): Actually, Your Honor, for a backgrounder, we were permitted to present evidence insofar as Paragraph 2.2 and 2.3 are concerned. And under 2.3, it is expressly provided, it is also reported that some of the properties of the Chief Justice are not included in his declaration of his SALN, and is in violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices.
ASC: Just to make it short, just for the Bellagio property, ito po bang Number 5 na condo na P6.8 millon ang fair market value, 'yan po ba ang Bellagio?
P: Yes, Your Honor.
ASC: So ang ipinapakita lamang ninyo dito na P14 million ang selling price pero P6.8 million dito sa SALN tapos ang acquisition cost ay wala?
P: Wala po.
ASC: Then you're not going into whether there was indeed a deal between the Megaworld and the Chief Justice or whether it was ill-gotten?
P: Insofar as the issue of ill-gotten is concerned, I will admit that we are not presenting an evidence insofar as the ill-gotten wealth is concerned.
ASC: I think that has been made clear so we can move on from that already.
I just like to note here that Megaworld is a publicly listed property. Naghihirap ang ating Pangulo at ating mga economic team na magdala ng investments into our country so we have to be very careful when we make such accusations.
Let's make it very clear. Kung hindi, linawin din natin. Let's be fair and responsible here.
Wednesday, January 28