Friday, March 30, 2012

CHARINA CORONA: No Dummy, Dummy, or Both?

Who is the real owner of the McKinley property? Charina Corona or Renato and Cristina Corona? Was CJ Renato Corona required to declare it in his SALN?

Based on the pieces of evidence presented by both sides and published reports, here is the TIMELINE:

1.  Cristina R. Corona made a reservation and an offer to purchase a McKinley lot;
 2.  A buyer information sheet was filled up under the name of Renato Corona and Cristina Corona;
3.  On July 3, 2006, a down payment of P200, 000 was paid by CJ Corona and, correspondingly, a receipt was issued in favor of Corona;
 4.  On August 8, 2006, the next payment of P494, 016.40 was made by CJ Corona per receipt;
5.  Starting September 2006 to December 2006, monthly payments of P57, 834.70 were paid by CJ Corona per receipts;
 6.  From January 2007 to December 2007, the same monthly payments as No. 5 were made by CJ Corona;
7.  On February 15, 2007, a Declaration of Trust was made designating Renato and Cristina Corona as Trustees and Charina Corona as Trustor, Beneficiary, and Legal Owner of the title to Lot 1, Blk. 16, Phase 2 of McKinley Hill Subdivision;
 8.  On March 7, 2007, an SPA was made designating Renato Corona and Cristina Corona as Attorneys-in-fact signed by Charina Corona;
9.  From January 2008 to July 2008, the monthly payments as No. 5 were made by CJ Corona;
 10. On August 29, 2008 a full and final payment of P4.8 million was paid by CJ Corona per receipt;
11. On September 8, 2008, CJ Corona wrote a letter to Megaworld stating that Charina Corona actually made all the payments and that she should be named as the owner; (Meanwhile, on September 9, 2008, Charina bought a property in Roseville, California with a down payment of $24, 356 and making sure that her husband waived all rights to the same property.)
 12. On September 15, 2008, another Special Power of Attorney (SPA) notarized in San Francisco, Ca. was executed in favor of Renato C. Corona and Cristina R. Corona to sign the deed of sale and documents pertaining to the purchase of Lot 1, Blk 16, Phase 2 of McKinley Hill Subdivision;
13. On October 3, 2008, a Deed Assignment transferring the ownership rights to Charina Corona from Renato and Cristina Corona was made;
 14. A TCT was eventually issued in the name of Charina Corona. The Tax Declaration also identified Charina Corona as owner.

Let me try examining the effect of each of the above-mentioned events on Charina Corona.

No. 1 – If she asked her Mom to reserve the lot for her, it was a smart move since she was in the United States. NO DUMMY.
No. 2 - Since the information sheet did not list her as a buyer, on its face, it was not for her protection or interest. DUMMY.
            If Renato and Cristina Corona were listed as buyers but with the promise that it would be transferred to her, it could be acceptable. NO DUMMY.
No. 3 – If she sent money from the U.S. or transferred money equivalent to P200, 000 from her dollar or peso accounts in the Philippines to the dollar or peso accounts of Renato or Cristina Corona for the down payment but the receipt was in her parents’ name, she was not protected. DUMMY.
            If the down payment was ADVANCED for her, then it was for her benefit. NO DUMMY.
No. 4 - If she sent money from the U.S. or transferred money equivalent to P494, 016.40 from her dollar or peso accounts in the Philippines to the dollar or peso accounts of Renato or Cristina Corona to pay for the next payment but the receipt was in her parents’ name, she was not protected. DUMMY.
            If ADVANCED for her, then it would be for her benefit. NO DUMMY.
No. 5 - If she sent money monthly from the U.S. or transferred money equivalent to P57, 834.70 from her dollar or peso accounts in the Philippines to the dollar or peso accounts of Renato or Cristina Corona to pay for the monthly installments but the receipts were in her parents’ name, she was not protected. DUMMY.
            If ADVANCED for her, then it would be for her benefit. NO DUMMY.
No. 6 – The same as No. 5
Nos. 7 & 8 – NO DUMMY.
No. 9 – The same as No. 5
No. 10 -If she sent money from the U.S. or transferred money equivalent to P4.8 million from her dollar or peso accounts in the Philippines to the dollar or peso accounts of Renato or Cristina Corona to pay for the full and final payment but the receipt was in her parents’ name, she was not protected. DUMMY.
            If ADVANCED for her, then it would be for her benefit. NO DUMMY.
No. 11 - For the Philippine and U.S. properties then, benefit was for her. NO DUMMY.
No. 12 – NO DUMMY.
No. 13 – NO DUMMY.
No. 14 – NO DUMMY.

There is a Constitutional provision that prohibits foreign nationals from owning real estate properties in the Philippines. To circumvent the law and to protect the interests of foreigners who are buying real estate properties in the Philippines, there is one method that is usually used.

The wife who is a Filipino citizen buys the real property on behalf of the foreigner. To protect the real buyer/foreigner who provided the cash for the purchase of the property, the Filipino citizen, in whose name the property is titled, is asked to execute a Deed of Trust with the foreigner as a Trustee, as well as a Special Power of Attorney appointing the foreigner as Attorney-in-fact to be signed by the Filipino citizen.

This is a common practice among lawyers who represent foreign buyers of real estate. But if it is done for foreigners, a fortiori (with more reason), it could be done for Filipinos.

The Prosecution must have suspected that CJ Corona and her daughter Charina must have followed this method.  Renato and Cristina Corona were the real buyers and Charina as the front person or, for purposes of this article, the DUMMY.

CJ Corona and wife reserved to purchase the property.  They were registered as the buyers. They paid and correspondingly were given a receipt in their name for the down payment. They paid and were correspondingly given receipts in their name for the next payment, all the monthly installments, and the full and final payment. They had to ask Megaworld to assign the ownership rights to Charina because Megaworld recognized them as the real owners.

To protect themselves, they asked Charina Corona to execute a Special Power Attorney both in the Philippines and the United States, and a Deed of Trust as I have described.

If this was the case and, I also suspect it was, Charina Corona was a DUMMY, not because she was dumb but because she was fronting for her parents. In fact, as an unintended consequence, she could end up really owning the property smartly.

Ask Senator Judge Bongbong Marcos and the DUMMIES of his father.

Should CJ Corona have declared the McKinley property in his SALN?

My answer is a resounding YES.
1.  If Charina is proven to be a DUMMY, then CJ Corona being the real owner should have declared it in his SALN.
 2. If CJ Corona advanced all the payments for the benefit of Charina, then they should have been reflected in his SALNs in 2006, 2007 and 2008 by decreasing his CASH Account and increasing his Accounts Receivables.
3. FOR SURE, based on Timeline Nos. 1-5 when Charina Corona had not yet come into the picture, CJ Corona and wife, no doubt, had ownership rights to the property. They put a down payment of P200, 000. This should have established a Prepaid Asset Account of P200, 000, and correspondingly decreased his Cash Account for the same amount. His next payment of P494, 016.40 and his monthly installments of P57, 834.70 should also have increased the Prepaid Asset Account by said amounts and decreased his Cash Account for the same amounts accordingly. This means that these entries should have been reflected in his SALN of 2006.

Failure to include the McKinley property under any of the above scenarios in the SALN of CJ Corona would still be tantamount to culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

IPAD 3 In My Family

Yesterday, I had a call from my wife while I was in our local library in McLean, Virginia.

She said our oldest daughter Tanya Maynigo Loucks was visiting us to show or rather to show off her (and her husband Tim’s) iPAD 3 or HD.

I rushed home immediately (library is less than a mile from my house) not only because my wife said so and Tanya, whose birthday is today, wanted me to, but more because I wanted to examine her new iPAD 3 hands-on.

My family is what you call, an “APPLE Family”.  My wife Tina, daughters Tanya and Traci, and only son Raul  I call the “apples of my eye”.  They also represent the “apples” in my mind and in my heart. All of us live by the overused quote, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”.  Now we do not only eat it but we live it, type on it, mouse it, touch it, finger it, order or dictate on it, signal it, and definitely, cannot leave home without it.

Of course, the fact that the value of the Apple stock has been steadily growing upward recently not only enhanced our Experience, Education and Entertainment but our Equity as well.

At least one of us always has the latest MAC device. When the amazing MacBook Air came out, my wife had it first. When the more amazing MacBook Pro came out, I had it first, followed by Traci and Tanya.  On the iPhones, the iPhone 4S being the latest, Raul was always the first. Then, when the most amazing iPAD 2 came out, I had to have it and I got it with the maximum features and memory. The price did not matter.  A while later, courtesy of her fiancĂ©’s parents,  Traci got one too.

As of today, I installed about 400 carefully chosen, useful, and productive apps. These are apps that kept me more educated, skilled and learned that, at times, when I go to my “one to one” class at the Apple store, I could out-genius some of the “geniuses” at the Genius Bar.

Tanya’s (and husband Tim’s) iPAD 3 was a sweet delight. When she first showed me the device she and her mother were looking at the website of  Sweet City Desserts   ( It was the site of a dessert shop owned by family friend Manny Tagle, brother of the Archbishop of Manila, featuring beautiful pictures of cakes and pastries.

What really made it so beautiful was not only because the site was beautifully designed with great photography but more so because we were looking at it with Tanya’s iPAD 3.

Having the current “bragging rights” in the family and also celebrating her birthday  (by Filipino time because she was born there), I wanted to reinforce her fun and happy celebratory mood. So I focused on all the new features, which make iPAD 3 superior to my IPAD 2.

But Tanya insisted on comparing our iPADs understandably reinforcing and enjoying her “bragging rights.” J

Earlier, my wife asked me why I have not gone to the Apple store to check out the new IPAD? I said, “I would only get envious and I might be tempted to upgrade which for me is unnecessary and economically impractical.”

Tanya’s insistence to compare hers to mine could have the same effect. But at the same time I was forced to show the difference for her satisfaction.

I took out my iPAD 2. I started comparing the physical features. First, both have the same size, so NO difference there. Then, I showed my cover and stand which could display my iPAD 2 in different “kama sutra” positions as featured at the MacWorld/iWorld 2012.  Advantage: iPAD 2. 

We then looked at some features and built-in apps that come with iPADs such as Calendar, Reminders, Notes, Face Time, Skype, iTunes, Safari, Music, Videos, Contacts, Twitter, Facebook, App Store and Settings. NO difference.

I showed her the popular Flipboard in my device.  Her device did not have it. Advantage: iPAD 2.

I demonstrated the features of GoodReader in my IPAD 2. Her device did not have it. Advantage: iPAD 2.

I opened my “logmein” app that controls remotely my MacBook Pro. Her device did not have it.  Advantage: iPAD 2

Noticing that her “bragging rights” were slowly disappearing and the celebratory mood changing, I also changed gear.

I asked her to turn the IPAD 3 Camera as I did mine. The two cameras were focused on me. The iPAD 2 displayed a very handsome ME. The iPAD 3 displayed the handsomest guy on earth, also ME. That’s the BIGGEST ADVANTAGE of the iPAD 3. The amazing Retina Display. This made her happy. J

Then, I brought out an iPAD stand, which I got at the MacWorld conference. It is the same stand that I gave Traci, my other daughter on her birthday.  I gave it to Tanya as my birthday gift. This made her happy! J

I started explaining all the apps that she could download to make her iPAD 3 the most productive and useful device not just in our family but also in her neighborhood and elsewhere.

We accessed her iPAD 3 Apple store. We started to download the Flipboard, a free app. The store asked for a password. Tanya could not provide it.  Knowing the name, password, and ability to download are signs of ownership or co-ownership but possession is at least 90% ownership. Tanya currently has possession but accessibility is still an issue.

Today, as we celebrate her birthday, I am sure, this will be resolved! J

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Right To Cover Your Ears


My barber called and discussed with me the event that resulted in the covering by private prosecutor Vitaliano Aguirre of his ears.

For several days during the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, every time Senator Miriam Santiago spoke, she had the habit of berating, lecturing, and insulting the Congressman-Prosecutors and private prosecutors on national television before the eyes and ears of millions of Filipinos. At one instance, she called them “GAGO (Fools) and “BOBO” (Idiots)).

Atty. Vitaliano Aguirre could no longer tolerate Santiago’s inappropriate conduct fully aware of the provisions of the Canon of Judicial Ethics which he knows the latter violated.

My barber made the following observations:

  1. Aguirre was covering his ears to avoid hearing more of Santiago’s insults.
  2. Aguirre was not noticed by Santiago because the former was not in the latter’s line of sight.
  3. Santiago continued her tirades and finished her annoying remarks without interruption and disturbance.
  4. She found out about Aguirre’s action through Senator Jinggoy Estrada who has been observing Aguirre and through Senator Alan Cayatano who video-recorded Aguirre’s move.
  5. Aguirre was cited for contempt because according to Senators Pia Cayetano and Miriam Santiago, under Senate Court Rules Aguirre showed disrespect by causing disturbance resulting in interruption to the proceedings.
  6. Aguirre was supposedly disrespectful because he refused to listen to more verbal assaults to his dignity but did it without disturbance or interruptions.
  7. “What about Estrada and Alan Cayetano?” my barber asked.

While observing people like Aguirre in the captive audience, Estrada was obviously not paying attention to Santiago’s annoying remarks.

While also observing the people in the captive audience, taking out his camera phone, focusing his camera on Aguirre, turning on the video or still camera, and later turning it off, Cayetano was obviously not paying attention to Santiago’s annoying remarks.

Weren’t Estrada and Cayetano disrespectful too? Did Cayetano get Aguirre’s permission to publish his picture or video?

Take it from my barber!

Then my barber again asked, “What about rights? There must be some rights involved here.”

I explained to him that when Aguirre covered his ears, he exercised individual autonomy within the context of Free Speech Rights. The latter consist of the right to speak, the right against compelled speech, the right to listen and the RIGHT AGAINST COMPELLED LISTENING.”

In an article published by Boston Law Review, Caroline Mala Corbin said, “"Free Speech jurisprudence – which already recognizes the right to speak, the right to listen, and the right against compelled speech – is incomplete without the right against compelled listening. The same values that underlie the other free speech rights also lead to this right. Furthermore, this claim holds true regardless of whether one conceives of the primary purpose of the Free Speech Clause as creating a marketplace of ideas, enhancing participatory democracy, or promoting individual autonomy. “

As examined by Constitutional experts, “the protection afforded to unwilling listeners by the captive audience doctrine, balances private speakers’ right to communicate against listeners’ rights to privacy, equality and individual autonomy.” 

Indeed, the protection for captive listeners with the right against compelled listening is grounded in free speech values

Individual autonomy means each individual in his own world has full autonomous control of his entire body, his brain, his sensual organs, other body parts. He decides what to see and what not see with his eyes. He decides when to pinch his nose if he does not want to smell an odor or figuratively, does not want the “smell” of somebody’s arguments. He can pay attention to other things if a speaker bores him. He can even “cover his ears” if he finds the speaker annoying or insulting.

Indeed, by covering his ears, Aguirre exercised individual autonomy within the context of Free Speech Rights which, in this case, is the Right Against Compelled Listening. He actually had several choices. First, to stand up and object. This would have rudely interrupted Santiago. Besides, he was prohibited from doing it. Second, to stand up and ask permission to leave. This would have rudely interrupted Santiago and definitely be perceived as being discourteous. Third, cover his ears. This would neither cause any disturbance nor interruption. He was also defending his dignity, respect and self-esteem by not being forced to listen to more abusive language.

For being cited for contempt, Aguirre faced a possible fine plus up to ten days in jail. Does he deserve it? What about Santiago’s bad behavior?

Punishing Aguirre would be adding INJURY to a series of INSULTS.

Eight out of ten in the social media favor Aguirre over Santiago. Senator Trillanes in a text message wrote, “A slap on the wrist would suffice.” He would have also stood up and defended himself if he was on the receiving end of Santiago’s scathing remarks.

Former Ambassador and National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) Chairman Roy Seneres , Aguirre’s former classmate at San Beda law school delivered a good point. Aguirre was cited for contempt by the Senate but Santiago was never chided for calling the prosecutors “fools”.

“He and Santiago are in pari delicto (equally at fault). Both committed contemptuous behavior. Aguirre should not be punished unless Santiago is punished also. If the Senate can’t punish Santiago, they should not punish Aguirre either. The entire Senate would be committing a contemptuous act if they punish Aguirre only,” Seneres texted.

The Senate, after its caucus, in a display of good political wisdom and judgment, decided NOT to punish Aguirre.

My barber is a little more hopeful about the Senate and the Philippines!!!