Ex IBP president Vicente Millora joins call to stop Corona impeachment trialBy Tetch Torres
MANILA, Philippines—A former president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) today (Tuesday) joins the call in asking the Supreme Court to stop the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona in January next year.
In a 23-page petition, lawyer Vicente Millora told the Supreme Court that Congress committed grave abuse of discretion when it “blindly signed” the impeachment complaint against Corona and rushed its transmittal to the Senate.
“President [Benigno] Aquino assaults the Supreme Court whenever he feels doing it. But the unpardonable attack against the Supreme Court is his reference to the Supreme Court as a ‘den of corruption.’ Who will now believe the Supreme Court? The damage to the Supreme Court is irreparable,” the petition stated.
Millora said President Aquino has been publicly humiliating Corona from the start, believing that his appointment was void despite a decision by the Supreme Court.
“It is perceived that President Aquino would like to appoint a Chief Justice of his choice for obvious reasons, not different from that of the former President,” Millora said.
Millora added that all the grounds for Corona’s impeachment are “sham, calculated to simply shame Chief Justice Renato Corona and weaken and undermine a co-equal and coordinate branch of the government.”
Among the grounds cited Corona’s bias in consistently voting in cases in involving former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, betrayal of public trust for “issuing a status quo ante in the impeachment of former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez,” for ruling in favor of the constitutionality of Dinagat islands, failure to account for the Judiciary Development Fund.
“The Supreme Court is a collegial body composed of 15 members. The members have one vote each. The Chief Justice has also just one vote. Any decision of the Supreme Court is not the decision of any Justice, even if he is the ponente (author); it is the Decision of the Court which, once final and executory, shall form a part of the legal system of the Philippines,” Millora said.
He added there is nothing in the impeachment complaint which explains that the Chief Justice has influenced his colleagues to concur with him.
On Monday, lawyers Vladimir Cabigao and Danilo Lihaylihay filed separate petitions before the High Court asking to stop the 23-man Senate from proceeding with the trial.
Last year, Lihaylihay filed a plunder case against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the alleged anomalous sale of a property owned by Iloilo airport to Megaworld Corp. in 2007.