Sandigan yet to release late Renato Corona's bail bond

MANILA, Philippines — The anti-graft court Sandiganbayan has yet to release the P160,000 bail bond that the late Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona posted in 2014 despite the dismissal of his 16 criminal cases last year due to his demise.

In an ex-parte motion filed before the court’s Third Division on August 10, Corona’s lawyers Magilyn Loja and Carlos Paulo Villaruz said the Sandiganbayan Cashier informed them that the check, covering the bail bond that Corona posted, will not be released unless the court issues an order specifically identifying the check’s recipient.

“In view thereof, it is respectfully prayed that this Honorable Court order the release of accused’s cash bail bond in the total amount of P160,000 to accused’s wife, Mrs. Ma. Cristina R. Corona,” the motion read.

The bail bond that Corona posted on April 2, 2014 was for eight counts each of perjury under Article 183 of the Revised Penal Code and violation of Republic Act 6713 or the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

The cases, filed by the Office of the Ombudsman, stemmed from Corona’s alleged misdeclaration of assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth from 2001 to 2011.

The Third Division ordered the cases’ dismissal in June 2016 in accordance with Article 89 of the Revised Penal Code and Section 4, Rule 111 of the Rules of Court, which extinguish the criminal and civil liabilities of an accused upon his death.

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Corona passed away on April 29, 2016 due to cardiac arrest after years of battling diabetes.

The cases were the offshoot of an impeach trial against Corona over his alleged failure to declare in his SALNs several assets including real estate properties.

The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, found him guilty of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution causing his removal from office in 2012.

But in a privilege speech the following year, then senator Jinggoy Estrada, bared that he and his fellow senators were given P50 million each by the Aquino administration for voting in favor of Corona’s conviction.