If he was a scoundrel does that character trait inherited by her daughter Asuncion Basa, which in turn inherited by Asuncion’s daughter, Cristina Roco Corona, the wife of the embattled chief justice?
Was this bad gene reinforced by the moral make-up of her husband, the beleaguered jurist or was it regressed?
The old Basa patriarch was a member of the revolutionary committee of Emilio Aguinaldo who was among those exiled in Marianas by the Spaniards, but he found his way together with other expatriates in Hongkong where they established the Revolutionary Committee in 1896 against Spain.
Jose Maria Basa was married to Bernarda Panlaque. The couple begot several children two of whom became prominent later, Jose Maria Basa III and Asuncion Basa.
Jose Basa III was married to Rosario Guidote, her sister Asuncion married Vicente Roco.
Of the Asuncion Basa-Vicente Roco marriage, Cristina Roco was born.
Jose Maria Basa III with brothers and sisters put up the now high profile Basa Guidote Enterprise, Inc. (BGEI) in 1961. This was disenfranchised by SEC for failure to comply with financial record keeping in 2003.
The old Basa had several children and these children have several children too. Thus, there were plenty of claimants of whatever property the enterprise had left after the SEC mandated that it should fold up in 2003.
But even prior to this SEC directive for BGEI to stop operation in 2003, Cristina Roco Corona, whose family has a 10 per cent interest in the corporation, was accused by the other stockholders/relatives of misappropriating the rentals from the property owned by the corporation. The stockholders were also surprised to find out that Mrs. Corona was in control of the corporation when they have not authorized her to do so.
The heirs published in a newspaper a complaint for estafa against Mrs. Corona for unaccounted rentals. Mrs. Corona retaliated by suing her cousins including aunts and uncles for libel and the court found three of the accused guilty of the offense in 1997 and ordered them imprisoned from 4 months to two years and to pay P700,000 damages and cost of suit. Five co-accused relatives were acquitted.
The Court of Appeals modified the decision in 2005 by imposing a fine of P6,000.00 instead of imprisonment to each accused. By some stroke of irony, two of those convicted were already dead. One of the dead was Jose Basa III.
While still alive in 1997, Jose Maria Basa III wrote the JBC when CJ Corona was being considered as associate justice of the Supreme Court that his apppointment to the Court will bring ‘disrepute to the institution.’
The old Jose Maria Basa was a businessman. He helped Rizal markets his two major works, Noli and Fili, but despite their tremendous success, Rizal remains destitute. He literally begs money from friends. Basa extended money to Rizal. But did the old man was simply giving part of what was legally due Rizal?
Rizal writing to Blumentritt in 1888 from Hongkong:
“There was a small Filipino community (referring to Hongkong), most of them men exiled to the Marianas in 1872, and who had subsequently escaped.”
“They are poor, harmless, timid people; once they were rich shopkeepers, industrialists or rentistas. Only one of them is a progressive, something of a republican; rather suspicious.”
The progressive he referred to was the doyen in Asia of Filipinos abroad, Jose Maria Basa, formerly a lawyer, the only exile of 1872 to escape to Hongkong and make good business. The meeting with Basa, who turned out to be deeply interested in Rizal’s work and himself devoted to the Filipino cause, marked the beginning of another close and important friendship”. ( Rizal, Filipino Nationalist and Patriot, Austin Coates, p. 150-51).
Jose M. Basa undertook to sell as many copies as he could to the Philippines, arranging for them to enter the country by passing customs and censor. (ibid, p. 161).
The bulk of the copies were sent to Basa in Hongkong, who made himself responsible for seeing that they reached the Propaganda in Manila in such quantities as were requested; and within a month or two the author had satisfaction of learning that the book was much in demand, selling at double its published price. (ibid, p. 177).
“In fact, he had already decided to go to Madrid, and had written to Basa asking for an allowance of one hundred pesos a month (from the Propaganda in Manila) to be sent to him there. ” (ibid p. 183).
“Like many authors who handle the publication of their own books, he had come to discover the frailty of human beings when it comes to private money transactions. Thanks to the careful Basa, he had made a little money out of Suceso; out of Noli Me Tangere, despite its immense success and extravagant prices paid for it, nothing.” (ibid, p. 199).
“In mid-September, (1896) in the nick of time, Valentin Ventura sent him sum sufficient to cover the outstanding costs, and on the 18th Rizal wrote to Basa that he was on his way, bringing eight hundred copies with him. (ibid p. 201). (These were the Fili copies, the second book of Rizal).
After Rizal was executed in 1896, Josephine Bracken wrote the old Basa through her lawyer to turn over to her the expensive library collections and jewelry of Rizal. Basa went to the lawyer and talked him out of it. Nothing happened to Ms. Bracken’s request.
Was this attitude of the old Basa shares commonality in the attitude of Mrs. Cristina Corona’s refusal to make an accounting of the Guidote-Basa assets?
The economic flagship of the Basa-Guidote Enterprise, Inc., was that building located at the corner of Legarda and J. Figueras Streets in Sampaloc, Manila. This was later on sold to the City of Manila for P34.7 Million and the check was paid to Mrs. Corona in 2001.
Instead of distributing the P34.7 million to the other stockholders, Mrs. Corona gave it to Chief Justice Corona and the jurist deposited the money in three PSBANK accounts. These accounts were closed on Dec. 12, 2011, on the day that Corona was impeached.
CJ Corona, being a corporate tax expert knows a simple no-no in accounting and in law. Never commingle the funds of someone else with yours!
The plot was getting thicker!
Was the old Basa a patriot?
“(Jose Maria) Basa cabled President McKinley on August 8, (1898) saying that “All wealthy and educated Filipinos pray America through Consul General Wildman in the name of Humanity and grant them protectorate or annexation. (Malolos, The Crisis of the Republic, by Teodoro Agoncillo, p. 254).
“In view of the divergence of opinions among the members of the Hongkong Committee, harmony among them was disrupted by occasional bickering. Sandico, for one, returned to Manila to work not only for Aguinaldo but also for the Americans. Yangco resigned in order to devote more of his time to his business interests. Pedro P. Roxas and Basa were annexationists and so found their positions in the revolutionary setup anomalous. Doroteo Cortes, too, as has been seen, was more interested in becoming an American citizen. Because of these defections, the Revolutionary Committee was reorganized in November with the following officers: Galicano Apacible, President; Vicente Fernandez, Vice-President; Faustino Lichauco, Secretary, Crisanto Lichauco, Treasurer; Felipe Agoncillo (in absentia) Ramon Syyap, Gregorio Losada and Mariano Marti, members. ” (ibid, p. 257).
“When one studies the Revolution in its first and second epochs one finds that, while the pattern and composition of the betrayers were different, the effect on the people was the same or at least, similar. In the first epoch, the middle class as a group betrayed the Revolution by a negative attitude: they refused to lift a finger to support the mass-movement because they did not believe it would succeed. This group was composed of ‘natives’ and mestizos. In the second epoch, the betrayal was consummated by positive action: they now entered the government by the front door and tried to sabotage by the back door. The composition change, for the mestizos were not in command while the ‘natives’ either joined up with Mabini or remained impassive. The effect in both instances was the same in that the people, that is, the masses, who had a stake in the Revolution and who forged it with the massive faith in their just cause, were the victims of the betrayal – victims because their betters, who did not have their simple faith and folk wisdom, directly or indirectly brought about the conditions that finally lead the crisis of the Republic.” (ibid, p. 528).
Today, the Republic is in crisis too… and that is because of another betrayal of the ilustrados — that of public trust!