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August 23, 2017

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Philippines prosecutes ex-chief justice

MANILA -- The Philippine government asked state prosecutors Thursday to indict for tax evasion disgraced former top judge Renato Corona, who was fired in May on graft charges.

The move is part of President Benigno Aquino's campaign against corruption at all levels of government that he claims reached pervasive levels during the time of Corona's political patron, ex-leader Gloria Arroyo.

In a complaint filed before the justice department, internal revenue commissioner Kim Henares said former Supreme Court chief justice Corona defrauded the government of about 120.5 million pesos (US$2.8 million) in taxes between 2003 and 2010.

Also charged were Corona's daughter and her husband, whom the tax agency said also misdeclared their incomes, assets and net worth while purchasing prime properties.

"Our aim is good governance as a way of life for everyone, regardless of your status, and the president as chief executive has the primary responsibility to make this happen," Henares told AFP.

"Our case is air-tight," she said, adding that if convicted, the three could spend between five and 10 years in jail as well as being ordered to pay the tax deficiencies.

Aquino, who won the presidency in 2010 on an anti-corruption platform, launched a bruising and sometimes controversial crusade to remove Corona.

He had charged that Corona was illegally appointed by his predecessor Arroyo to protect her from prosecution after she stepped down.

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