As expected, Chief Justice Renato Corona addressed the key issues against him in relation to his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN). In so doing, he confirmed some key facts thus far unearthed by the prosecutors.
He also tried to obfuscate the issue against him by enlarging the context, squarely placing the impeachment within the context of his larger counter-charges against President Aquino. First, he accused the latter of persecution and vengeance because of the SC decision on the Hacienda Luisita case. Second, he accused the Left, particularly the Presidential Adviser on Political Affairs Secretary Ronald Llamas, of virtually taking over the administration. Third, he accused the administration, through the prosecution, the other members of the Basa-Guidote clan, surveys, and some media people, of undertaking a campaign of lies and deception against him.
Among the key facts he confirmed are: 1) his ownership of several properties and presence of peso and dollar bank accounts (including the AMLC report); and 2) that he did not enter these into his SALN. However, he based his own defense on two points: 1) that the assets mentioned are small compared to the accusations; and 2) that there are valid reasons why he did not put them in his SALN, specifically because some of these are not his but that of others in his family, including the BGEI company. He also cited the absolute nature of dollar accounts that includes no obligation to put these in his SALN. In brief, he says he is innocent of all charges. He also asserted his fitness for the office and that this is not a basis for impeachment.
As a dramatic gesture, he signed a waiver for the opening of his bank accounts and other records of his assets. He thus threw the gauntlet to his detractors.
We now have his can of worms. Is this a fearless last stand or is there a political scenario building behind our backs?