By Raïssa Robles
It is therefore understandable that someone like Charina Corona, who has lived for nearly a decade in the United States, would want a unit here.
In fact she holds the title to one of the units. How Charina came to hold the title is quite interesting.
Charina gave CJ Corona an SPA to purchase McKinley
I’m going to be basing my observations on the actual testimonies given so far in the impeachment trial of Charina’s father, Chief Justice Renato Corona.
First, to prove that Charina owned McKinley, defense lawyers presented Atty. Perlita V. Ele, the Clerk of Court of the Regional Trial Court of Quezon City on March 21,2012. Ele bared for the first time that on March 16, 2007, Charina had executed a Special Power of Attorney (SPA) and Declaration of Trust to her parents, Renato and Cristina to transact on her behalf.
Here is a portion of her testimony:
Defense lawyer Dennis Manalo: Your Honor, it is our theory that the property is in the name of Ma. Charina Corona and that the Chief Justice made the payments in trust for Ma. Charina Corona by virtue of the special power of attorney executed in his favor by the principal.
Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile: All right, proceed. What year is that Notarial Register?
Ele: 2007, Sir.
Ele: Yes, Sir.
Enrile: The date of the inscription of the document.
Ele: What do you mean, Sir, date? The Declaration of Trust, March 16, 2007. The Special Power of Attorney, March 16, 2007.
Enrile: Both March 16.
Ele: Yes, Your Honor.
Enrile: All right.
But the SPA came after downpayments
However, previous to Ele’s testimony, a witness for the prosecution earlier testified that Charina’s parents had started paying for the McKinley property nearly a year before Charina had signed the SPA and the Declaration of Trust.
Giovanni Ng of Megaworld testified on January 30, 2012 that the “request for reservation and an offer to purchase” a McKinley lot came from Charina’s mother, Cristina.
Ng also said the buyer information sheet listed Renato and Cristina Corona as the buyer.
In fact, all 27 official receipts (O.R.s) issued by Megaworld for the purchase of Mckinley were issued in the name of Renato and Cristina Corona, Ng said.
He said the couple had given an initial downpayment of P200,000 on July 3, 2006. Note that this was eight months before Charina had issued her parents an SPA. The next payment of P494,016.40O. was made on August 8, 2006 – or seven months before Charina had issued them an SPA.
And all receipts for the purchase were issued to Charina’s parents
Ng of Megaworld said that from September 2006 to August 2008, payments of P57,834.70 each were made and O.R.’s were issued all in the name of Renato and Cristina Corona. Finally, on August 29, 2008, the unit was considered fully paid when the Corona couple shelled out P4,858,114.80 and obtained a receipt for that amount.
All throughout this financial transaction spanning two years and 27 O.R.s, Megaworld was never told in writing by the Corona couple that they were merely acting on behalf of their married 29-year-old daughter.
Finally, in the month of September, a letter dated September 8, 2008 came from the Chief Justice and his wife informing Megaworld that it was their daughter who had made all the payments for the lot; and therefore, the title to the property should be issued in her name.
Upon receipt of this, Ng said Megaworld executed a Deed of Assignment in favor of Charina on October 3, 2008.
To bolster their assertion that Charina was the owner, the defense also presented on March 15, 2012 Roberto Villaluz, officer-in-charge of the Taguig City assessor’s office. He presented the original copy of the tax declaration with TCT No. 2093-P, Tax Declaration No. GL-019-01137, registered in the name of Ma. Charina R. Corona.
Charina described as “single” in the tax declaration
Defense lawyer Dennis Manalo told the impeachment court:
And we request that the name of the registered owner appearing in the document as a “Maria Charina R. Corona, of legal age, Filipino, single,” be encircled and marked as our Exhibit “158-A”—ah, “159-AI”.
Enrile: Mark it accordingly.
Charina was married when she purchased McKinley
Notice that the tax declaration for McKinley stated that Charina was “single” when in fact she was already married at that time.
How do we know this?
We know this because it was around the same time that Charina had also bought a unit in Roseville in Placer County, California. At that time, her husband Carlos Salgado had executed an “Interspousal Transfer Grant Deed” granting the Roseville unit to “Maria Charina Corona, a married woman as her sole and separate property.”
I asked University law professor Rowena Daroy-Morales what it meant legally for Charina to be identified as “single” in the tax declaration for the McKinley property.
Prof. Morales, who teaches law and family relations, replied:
Maybe it was overlooked. It doesn’t matter. Ownership is not dependent on whether or not one is described as single or married, but on when she was married and when the property was acquired.
Still, I found it interesting that only her name appears in the two pieces of properties she has acquired during her marriage.
I asked Prof. Morales whether she found it curious that Charina had issued the SPA to her parents eight months after her parents had started paying for the property. In addition, all receipts were issued by Megaworld in her parent’s names and Megaworld was not made aware during the entire payment period that it was actually Charina’s.
It was only after the lot was fully paid that Megaworld was told it was hers and that the daughter had paid for everything.
Professor Morales said that my observation was “very valid.”
Was there ever a copy of the Contract to Sell from the vendor (Megaworld) to the vendee? I don’t recall a contract to sell was ever shown (during the trial). She said the contract should state who the actual buyer was.
Why do you have to tell Megaworld that, ah – by the way, the money I paid you belongs to my daughter.
I was wrong.
The two transactions were more like 11 days apart. Let me explain.
I based my calculation of 22 days on the January 26, 2012 testimony of Bureau of Internal Revenue Chief Kim Henares who told the Impeachment Court that Charina was able to buy a McKinley property on October 2, 2008 even if she had not filed any ITR (Income Tax Return) “to date.”
I should have based my calculation on the January 31, 2012 testimony of Ng from Megaworld. He said the lot was finally paid in full by Renato and Cristina Corona on August 29, 2008 upon their payment of P4.8 million.
Notice that on September 9, 2008 – or 11 days after the payment of P4.8 million to Megaworld – Charina also bought the Roseville unit in California and paid a down payment of US$24,356 (P1 million).
This means that following the line of the defense that Charina paid for both properties, she had to shell out a total of P5.8 million in cold cash for both properties within a span of 11 days – and not 22 days as I had earlier reported.
Prof. Morales said that the question that has to be asked is this:
Is this (behavior) consistent of human nature with regular means? Where a person involved is a Mr. (George) Soros, it is. They don’t care about money.
She also thought it was curious that Megaworld had to execute a Deed of Assignment:
It’s transferring the ownership from yourself to another. (But) you can’t give away something you don’t own. And if the Chief Justice was donating to Charina the property, where did the money come from?
In the end, only the Chief Justice and/or his daughter can explain the transaction.