MANILA, Philippines (Feb 14, 2012) - Complying with a subpoena to present Chief Justice Renato Corona's initial bank deposits, a branch manager of the Philippine Savings Bank (PSBank) revealed yesterday at the impeachment court that Corona opened five time deposit accounts containing millions of pesos in May 2007, twice in 2009, and twice in 2010,
PSBank Katipunan branch manager Annabelle Tiongson said Corona opened his first time deposit account on May 16, 2007 under account numbers 089121011957 with an opening balance of P2,000,000.
Tiongson said Corona opened his second time deposit account on Jan. 26, 2009 under account number 0891210017358 with an opening balance of P2,100,000; his third time deposit under account number 089121019593 had an opening balance of P8,500,000.
She said the fourth time deposit account – with an opening balance of P3,700,000 – was opened in March 2010 under account number 089121020122. The fifth time deposit account, opened on Sept. 1, 2010, had an opening balance of P7,090,099.45 under account number 089121021681.
Tiongson also described yesterday as “fake” the documents attached by the prosecution in its request for subpoena on the chief magistrate’s bank records.
On questioning by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Tiongson – testifying for the prosecution – at first claimed that the documents on Corona’s foreign currency deposit accounts earlier leaked to the prosecution panel were exact copies of the documents in the bank’s possession.
But after conferring with her lawyer, Tiongson clarified that the documents leaked to the prosecution panel were fake. She stressed the leaked documents did not come from their branch.
“I do not know, your honor. I can say that it did not come from our office. I haven’t seen those documents that the prosecution has,” Tiongson told the impeachment court.
Tiongson explained that bank deposit documents are secured in the vaults and that only two persons have the access and capability to open the vaults where bank deposit documents are kept.
She said that important bank documents are not supposed to be exposed to anyone, that is why they are placed in a vault which can only be opened or retrieved by two persons.
“The original signature cards are also sent to the head office. It’s for the scanning of the signature for our system… The signature cards that were sent to the head office stay in head office. The original copies of the signature card are sent to the head office, to the department head. I didn’t really know their practice, their procedure in the head office,” Tiongson said.
“Yes, sir,” Tiongson said when asked by Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile to categorically state if the documents were fake. “They are not replica of genuine documents of our bank. They are not the same.”
This prompted Enrile to order the prosecution panel led by Congressman Neil Tupas to explain why they attached a fake document.
“We are all lawyers here. We have ethical standards to observe here,” Enrile said.
It turned out, however, that Tiongson was comparing the document presented by the prosecution, which covers a dollar account, with a document on a peso account.
Tupas, for his part, explained that Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali was the one who gave the documents to him.
He said after a meeting among prosecutors, the prosecution panel decided to attach the documents to their request for subpoena.
“Last Feb. 2, 7 p.m., the prosecution met in the Midas Hotel in Roxas Blvd. Umali, (Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio) Abaya, some of the spokespersons, (Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo) Angara, (Marikina Rep. Romero) Miro Quimbo. We meet regularly on Thursday and after the trial. Congressman Umali approached me inside the Midas Hotel and he gave this brown envelope and opened it… I examined the documents. It turned out to be the customer identification specimen cards,” Tupas said.
“The only explanation that I can make is how I got the document. We called our lawyer after the meeting. We decided to attach it to our request for subpoena. We didn’t have the account number. We only have the P1-million raffle he (Corona) won and that he had the account in PSBank Katipunan branch. We need specificity. We attached it to our request for subpoena,” Tupas said.
Enrile gave the prosecution panel 24 hours to explain why they should not be sanctioned by the impeachment court for attaching a fake document to their request for subpoena.
Tiongson said she presented herself before the impeachment court after receiving a subpoena issued by presiding officer Enrile.
She said the documents pertaining to Corona’s five peso time deposit accounts were system generated by the bank’s IT department based in the bank’s head office. (From Philstar.com)