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CHIEF Justice Renato Corona received a whopping 40 percent discount or about P10 million on the price of a 303-sq. meter penthouse he purchased in upmarket Bellagio Condominium in Taguig City.

Private prosecutor Joseph Joemer Perez disclosed this yesterday at the Senate Impeachment Court as he presented witness Giovanni Ng, finance officer of Megaworld Corp, the developer of Bellagio Condominium.

According to Perez, he was informed by Ng that Corona was given a discount when he bought the property in 2009 for P14.5 million.

When asked by the defense panel the connection of the alleged discount to the case, Perez replied, “A public official of probity and integrity would not accept such discount from a developer that might have pending cases before the Supreme Court.”

In his testimony, Ng said that he was informed by Megaworld’s marketing department that the price per square meter of the penthouse at the time it was bought in 2009 was P78,000 per square meters.

However, Presiding Justice and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, refused to accept the answer of the witness because it was considered second hand information or hearsay as he has no personal knowledge about it.

Because of this, Enrile ordered the subpoena of the marketing department head of Megaworld Corp. to testify at the next hearing.

Company policy

Under questioning by Senate President Pro Tempore Jinggoy Estrada, Ng explained that Megaworld usually gives 15-percent discounts to clients buying on shorter terms.

Ng however said there are other “intricacies” considered by their marketing and sales department in the pricing of the units.

He said Corona got a bigger discount because the Bellagio unit he bought still needed some “reworking.” 

“This unit 38-B…actually had some technical and finishing issues that they had actually determined that [they] would have to rectify the unit and do some rework on the unit,” he said.

Because the buyers did not mind condition of the unit and there was a global financial crisis then, Ng said their marketing department decided  to grant the Coronas the hefty discount.

“They just decided to factor this in when they decided the price.  It is really their decision, it is their judgment decision,” he said.

Not to Charina

While the Bellagio penthouse was put under the name of Corona’s daughter Ma. Charina Corona, it was the Chief Justice and his wife Cristina who bought it, according to Ng’s testimony.

“It is not Charina who bought it, it is spouses Renato and Cristina Corona,” Ng said, as he presented three official receipts of payment.

The first payment was dated October 17, 2008, P5 million; 2nd payment, April 20, 2009, P4.5 million and October 16, 2009, P5 million.

Ng added that the names indicated in the buyer’s information sheet were Renato and Cristina Corona and not Charina.

When asked how the Deed of Sale was named under Charina, Ng said the company received a letter from the couple requesting that the document be named after their daughter.

Aside from the penthouse, Corona also purchased three parking slots, measuring 12.5 square meters each, at about P700,000 each.

While the Bellagio property was bought in 2009, Corona only declared this  in his 2010 Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth (SALN) with a value of P6.8 million only.

Prosecution Spokespersons Miro Quimbo and Lorenzo Tañada III said that the panel will present another witness that will discuss the P10-million discount.

Also, the two solons said that they will look into the pending cases of Megaworld before the Supreme Court.

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