Our Plaza Miranda Exclusive –
By Raïssa Robles
Chief Justice Renato Corona listed the Marikina property as an “Asset” in his 1992 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) two years after his wife Cristina sold it to his cousin.
This point – raised by Senator Judge Ralph Recto – was probably the most interesting revelation in the four hour-long testimony on March 12 of CJ Corona’s buyer-cousin, Demetrio Vicente.
Defense out to prove genuine sale
Vicente’s direct testimony for the defense was devoted to proving that Cristina Corona really sold her Marikina property and therefore CJ Corona was justified in no longer reporting it in his SALNs when he became a member of the Supreme Court in 2002.
This was even though the country’s land records – maintained by the Registry of Deeds – still lists Mrs Corona to this day as the owner of seven parcels of land in Marikina totaling 1,700 square meters.
Last January 12 before the start of the impeachment trial, the prosecution had listed the Marikina properties as among CJ Corona’s “undeclared wealth”. House prosecution lawyer Jose Justiniano, who grilled Vicente, insisted that the sale between Vicente and Mrs Corona was merely “simulated”.
Note that the prosecution was then unaware that Mrs Corona had also served as an “Attorney-in-fact” in the sale of the adjacent Marikina lot owned by her sister Miriam Roco.
Vicente’s direct testimony was intended to destroy the argument of the prosecution and show that the sale of Cristina’s Marikina lot was a done deal even though Vicente had never transferred the property to his name.
Vicente vehemently denied during his testimony he was a “dummy”.
While Vicente looked and sounded credible as a witness, other points surfaced during the cross-examination by the prosecution and the Senator-judges, as well as during the redirect examination by the defense that made the Marikina transaction questionable.
For instance, Vicente said during his cross-examination by the prosecution that CJ Corona himself had stood as a “witness” during the July 26, 1990 signing of the Deed of Absolute Sale between him and Mrs Corona. And although both buyer and seller lived in Quezon City, the Deed was notarized all the way in Makati City by a certain Maria Beatriz Mantoya.
Vicente reveals during defense’ redirect there was actually a back-to-back sale
Vicente also revealed for the first time that a second Deed of Absolute Sale was notarized that same day. It was for the sale of 1,700 square meters of property owned by Cristina’s sister, Miriam.
Vicente claimed Cristina had a “Power-of-Attorney” from Miriam to sell the latter’s similarly-sized lot.
Thus, in all, Vicente said he had bought 3,400 square meters from both sisters.
But prosecution cast doubts on sale
The prosecution, however, cast doubts on the authenticity of that Deed of Absolute Sale between Cristina Corona and Vicente for here seven parcels of land. It obtained a document from the Makati Regional Trial Court saying:
This is to certify that in accordance with the records of this office, a certain Maria Beatriz S. Mantoya has never been commissioned by this court as notary public for and in the city of Makati.
In other words, Mantoya was a fake notary public when she notarized the Deed of Absolute Sale, thus rendering the document invalid as a public document but valid as a private contract between two parties.
Did CJ Corona and the defense lawyers know that Mantoya was not a genuine notary public when she notarized the Deed of Sale?
Four members of Our Cyber-Plaza Miranda – the ever growing community of commenters to this site – swiftly sent me vital leads that enabled me to get some of the answers.
Because of them, I was able to establish that:
The notary public is known to two of the defense lawyers – Eduardo de los Angeles and Tranquil Salvador – because Beatriz “Beth” Mantoya once worked in the same law firm as them – in Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles law office.
Unfortunately, Atty. Salvador was “at mass” when I phoned him yesterday.
A commenter who goes by the handle “Sam” had pointed me to this fact. As well as to the fact that Beth Mantoya also worked at SGV around the same time as Corona did and she studied law at the Ateneo de Manila University around the same time that Corona taught there.
I have not been able to firmly establish though whether CJ Corona and Beth Mantoya were colleagues at SGV and whether Corona was Mantoya’s law professor.
Here is what Sam found in the law firm website: :
MARIA BEATRIZ S. MANTOYA, born 1961; admitted to the Bar 1987; Education: St. Paul College of Manila (B.S. Commerce, Accounting, Cum Laude, 1981), Ateneo de Manila University (LL.B.,1986); Certified Public Accountant (1982); Associations: Philippine Institute of Certified Public Accountants; Philippine Association of Hong Kong; Government Position: Confidential Attorney, Court of Appeals (1987-1988).
Another Plaza Miranda commenter gave me the lead where to look for Mantoya. I have to apologize though, because I can’t seem to find the original comment or e-mail that was sent to me. So I would like to ask the commenter to please post again to tell me who you are so I can acknowledge you.
The commenter had provided me with a link to this website:
Phoning the number that was posted, I confirmed that Beth Mantoya was now Beth Nejbo. The website was that of her company in Hong Kong but I was told she also lives in Sweden with her husband.
Last Thursday March 15, I e-mailed Atty Beth Mantoya-Nejbo to ask for a clarification on her role in notarizing the Deed of Sale. I have not received any reply to this day.
However, another highly knowledgeable source had this to say about Beth Mantoya-Nejbo:
She joined the firm (Romulo Mabanta Buenaventura Sayoc & De Los Angeles) as an accountant,not as a lawyer, in May 1991. She was hired as an accountant. Before that she was a tax attorney at SGV from March 1988 to April 1991.
When I asked whether notarizing documents was among her functions at Romulo Mabanta, he replied:
No, that was not one of her functions. It was not relevant if she was or was not a notary public because she joined as an accountant.
What the source said confirms that both Beth Mantoya and CJ Corona previously worked in the same section at SGV. She was a “tax attorney” while CJ Corona was “a senior officer of the Tax and Corporate Counseling Group of the Tax Division of Sycip Gorres and Velayo (SGV & Co),” according to his bio-data.
Recently, Cristina Corona allegedly told reporters in a text message something about Beth Mantoya:
She used to notarize documents in SGV. When she resigned from SGV, she joined Romulo Mabanta law office, which assigned her to Hong Kong for many years. She has since married a foreigner and last we heard she is now living in Switzerland with her husband.
I was, however, told by her office in Hong Kong that her other home was Sweden.
A Simple Mind says
I might have missed out on something and please correct me if I am wrong.
In today’s (3.20.12) proceeding, the defense is claiming that the reason why the Chief Justice only declared the Columns Condo in 2010 is because they took full custody of it only in 2009. This is why the defense presented the list of unit owners thru the Columns Building Manager. Based on the master list of unit owners, the Coronas were listed as unit owners as of August 12, 2009. The other facts as to date of full payment or in whose name the CCT is and others are not relevant and do not establish ownership, as per the defense
Now, I would want the defense to explain this. If the Coronas took full custody of the condo and are listed already as unit owners as of August 12, 2009, then why does this condo unit not appearing in the 2009 SALN of the Chief Justic and started to appear only in 2010. Note that the 2009 SALN is as of December 31, 2009, but being filed the next year, in this case in 2010.
Since the cut-off date of the 2009 SALN is December 31, 2009, clearly the Columns Condo should have been included. But why was it not.
Were the TCTs assigned to the lots of Miriam still under Miriam’s name? Or under Mr. Vicente.?
Prosecution has a point that the Capital Gains tax and DST were paid which are higher compared to transfer tax. On the other hand, the transfer tax of .50% of the consideration was not paid.
my theory: Miriam lots were actually sold to Mr. Vicente and was requested to act as buyer on Cristina’s lots in exchange for the use of the area for his bonsai hobby.
Pls check if the house was constructed in Miriam’s lot.
Mr Vicente said he never transferred any of the 3,413 sq meters to his name.
Ramon Andrada says
Much related to the above subject: sometimes ago, OPMD under the Civil Service Commission came up with a document entitled: FAQ – Guide to SALN Information Requirement. I refer the reader to page 5 of 7, item 10 of the said document:
Question: I owned a residential lot. The title is under my name. Since the lot is under mortgage, I sold it to my brother who assumed payment of the mortgage payables. We signed a Deed of Sale. Despite my brother assuming the payment of mortgage, the title of the lot has not been transferred to him. Do I declare it?
Answer: Yes. Following the rule that the registration is the operative act of of declaration, the lot must still be declared under your name until such time that the title is transferred to your brother.
In view of the foregoing, the Marikina properties must still be declared by CJ on his SALN until such time the title is transferred to the new owner. This may explain why there are tax payment receipts still under the name of the Coronas.
Impeachable offense, who determines?
The power lies ONLY in the Legislature
And they better make it sure
For the House of Representatives alleges
And the Senate either convicts or acquits.
Why the hell are the senators asking the defense panel what an impeachable offense means?
Please note that in this setup:
It is easy to propose an impeachable offense (1/3 of the HOR).
But it is hard to convict an impeachable officer (2/3 of the Senate).
There are inherent checks and balances.
This is the nature of a NON-JUDICIAL, POLITICAL question reposed in the Legislative branch of government:
“What is an impeachable offense?”
johnny lin says
Corona is either the luckiest or unluckiest guy
Earlier our friend justice baycas posted his WINdfall, could not find his link
Here is my version, add your own.
1 million lottery from PSB
Midnite CJ appoinment from GMA
$1.3M PSB manna from heaven
21 M pesos SC allowance
26 M pesos profit from his own low income children
Flooded Megaworld Bellagio penthouse giving him 50% discount
Warehouse used Columns Condo prompting him not to report in SALN
Marikina lots not transferred by his cousin leaving his name in registry of deeds
32M peso PSB withdrawal he gave to BGEI
Solo Victim of PNoy one man rule dream
Carless Chief Justice
He he he
Guy With A Blog says
They may be two sides of the same coin, my friend. :)
johnny lin says
His marquee is Cheat Justice, the Magician
Hey Johnny, you what they say: “Talo nang buenas ang sinuswerte”. hehehe
correction …”you know what they say”….sorry
johnny lin says
Marami pa bang sakla sa sampaloc
@ johnny lin,
Napakasuwerte talaga ni thief justice nato corona dahil kahit na yong unlucky streak niya sa flooded megaworld bellagio penthouse ay nabigyan pa nang 50% discount…
Column Condo na ginawang warehouse ay Discounted din…
Marikina lots not transfered by his cousin eh suwerte pa rin dahil sa kanila pa rin kong sakali or kanila naman talaga… ha ha ha ha….
Pero dahil sa tambak tambak na Suwerte at nadagdagan nang kasinungalingan/pandarambong/pang aabuso/pagkaganid, nawala lahat at naging Napakalaking Kahihiyan. Sayang na thief justice nato corona. Nagpaka TUTA kasi sa fake president noon ay higit sa lahat nag MUKHANGPERA thief justice nato corona….
BAKIT KAILANGANG BILHIN NG ANAK ANG MGA PAG-AARI NG KANILANG MAGULANG? HINDI ITO NORMAL. AY PAG-AARI NG MAGULANG AY PINAMAMANA SA MGA ANAK AT HINDI PINAGBIBILI. NAPAKADAMOT NAMAN NG MGA MAGULANG NA ITO? SAKIM.
mhylle cabahug says
me normal pa ba sa mga transaction ni CJ (as in Cheat Justice) habang tumatagal nga sa halip na mapatunayan nyang mali ang paratang sa kanya…lalo lang sya nabubuking hehehe
For My Angel AJ says
Mas mahal kc ang tax pag inheritance Mesa bumili
For My Angel AJ says
Mas mahal kc ang tax pag inheritance kesa binili.
Alam mo naman si TJ, basta may butas, lulusot.
Ganyan kasakim sina thief justice nato corona @ cristina corona at siyempre dapat lang daw na ibenta nila ito sa mga anak (kunwari) para hindi mahalata na galing mga ito sa NAKAW.
Ang tanong, Kaya ba nang mga anak nina thief justice nato corona bayaran ang mga mamahalin condo unit na ito? Palagay ko hindi nila kayang bilhin.
At sa ginawa ni thief justice nato corona na ipagbili ang condo unit sa mga anak gayong hindi nila kayang bumili ay inilagay nila sa kahihiyan ang mga anak, KARMA na ito sa mga kawalanghiyaan ginawa ni thief justice nato corona….
The Civil Service Commission (CSC) had an old SALN form (1994) similar to what Corona used. The old form is here:
The accompanying instructions document is here:
The Memorandum Circular on the Review and Compliance Procedure in the filing and submission of the SALN (2006) is here:
The CSC revised the old SALN form in 2008 but was to be used in 2009 for SALN ending December 31, 2008. The Memorandum Circular (April 2008) is here:
For this new campaign for the SALN as an anti-corruption tool an instruction manual for the SALN was beautifully made under the auspices of:
For whatever its worth in this Corona impeachment process, here it is:
Please take note of “an important information to remember” on the “acquisition cost”:
Incidentally, the 2012 version of the Revised SALN form is temporarily shelved for review.
Here it is:
The guidelines to the 2012 SALN form:
e.a. pascual says
it’s out of the bag now: “i think its wrong to say that we should have a higher standard because he (corona) is the head of the judiciary” said defense lawyer tranquil salvador. (page 8, inquirer, mar 20 2012). so corona can have all those perks, allowances, u.s.t . summa cum laude, court employees wearing red. benediction from arch. cruz etc because he is the head of the judiciary. but heaven forbid that he be held to a higher standard just because he is the judiciary head. what a farce.
Guy With A Blog says
A farce indeed. No wonder I’ve never felt any tranquility whenever I see this “Tranquil” lawyer speaking. If we can’t expect a higher level of counduct from someone purporting to be the highest magistrate of the country, what else is there to hope and aspire to?
Let’s settle on mediocrity. Let’s, to use the oft ridiculed and ill sounding phrase, geeve chanss to adhers. Let’s set the bar low. That is his message.
What a waste of airspace.
Guy, I cannot agree with you more. Of course the Chief Justice is held to the highest of standards. Even if he were a mere lawyer, he is already held to a higher standard. Do you know that lawyers if commit adultery, they can be disbarred? I don’t see that in any other profession (except maybe for priesthood), but lawyers cannot claim “unequal treatment” because those are the standards of the profession. Moreso judges and justices of the Supreme Court.
Guy With A Blog says
Hear, hear, Maria. By virtue of being “mere” lawyers, you are expected to know the law inside out and, of course, to uphold it. And the position of Chief Justice means all the lawyers in the country look up to you to be the guiding light and the moving force. Wag na natin bigyan ng titutlo pala ang Chief Justice kung ganoon naman pala, let’s just call him “Just Another Judge/Lawyer”.
At dapat tanggalin na ang mga bonuses and allowances, total, he is just like any other lawyer, right, Tranquil? Eh, di walang special treatment. O, baka sabihin ni Tranquil ibang usapan pag dating sa sweldo at pera. Careful, baka may mag duda sa pag pro bono niyo. (I’ve been rolling my eyes since this trial began. If eye rolls were currency, I’d be what Sharon just claimed to Helen Gamboa: a billionaire!)
The CJ cannot have his cake and eat it too. His title alone confers many privileges and perks. Case in point, the plate number. He is entitled to Plate number 5 and as such, exempt from many rules and regulations we ordinary car drivers are required to follow. He is given many allowances and emoluments which we shrug off as part of the perks of the job and yet we cannot demand from him a higher standard by virtue of his position?
With great power comes great responsibility.
One more thing, the Justices are so protective of their image. They are quick to condemn people who criticize them. I agree that the Judiciary deserves the utmost respect but they have to show us that they deserve the respect in the first place. If they want to be shielded from criticism, they have to hold themselves to a higher standard.
That’s right & correct Maria, And if l were thief justice nato corona l will not stay any minutes in the supreme court…dahil napakalakas na nang amoy/baho mo thief justice nato corona, Nakakahiya @ Nakakadiri kana diyan…ALIS NA, NOW NA….
Spectral and ink composition ink aging methods are two mechanisms for the purpose of indicating the approximate age of an ink that has been deposited on a writing surface. The first mechanism relates to detecting color shifts of pH sensitive compounds in the ink as the result of the evaporation of certain acidic or basic chemicals thereof. The second mechanism relates to the oxidation of compounds in the ink. Spectroscopically generated curves are plotted as the ratio of reactants to products, versus time. The spectral characteristics of the ink are determined in units of percent reflectance of the active compounds in the ink so that the age of the ink can be computed by reference to known reaction rates. A plurality of dyes having differing reaction rates may be added to the ink to enable precise measurements to be made over different time intervals.
The aging of ink is an important factor in the forensic examination of documents. The ability to accurately time date writings and signatures deposited on a document, or set of documents, can help determine the authenticity of the document or documents and detect fraud, such as, for example, where a document contains several time dated entries which indicate a long span of time, but the writer falsified the document by making the entries all at one time or at a fewer number of sittings than indicated by the dates written on the document, or when when chronological entries are required in a document but blank spaces are left for insertion of an entry to reflect a prior date, such as a Notarial Book.
Galling ng explanation mo! Puede kayang ma analyze ang pang tatak ng 2010 saln na ginamit ng supreme court? Feeling ko, binago ang 2010saln para ilagay ang bellagio at columns condo…ms. Raissa, puede kaya?
Elena Lemi says
You need the original to do it.