MANILA, Philippines – Embattled Chief Justice Renato Corona said Monday that there was “no turning back” on his impeachment trial later in the day as he reiterated in a rally at the Supreme Court that he did no wrong to President Benigno Aquino III and to the people.
“Wala nang atrasan [There is no turning back],” Corona said in his speech hours before he was to face the Senate-turned Impeachment Court amid allegations of graft and corruption and constitutional violations.
Corona told his supporters, composed mostly of employees, that he trusted the Senate and expressed hope that he would be acquitted.
“Wala akong kasalanan sa pangulo, wala ako kasalanan sa taumbayan [I did nothing wrong to the President. I did nothing wrong against the people,]” Corona said.
“Wala akong ninakaw sa kahit kaninong tao [I did not steal from anybody],” he said.
Corona is being accused of, among others, failing to declare in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth ownership of 45 properties but which the Chief Justice has denied, saying that only five were under his name.
He pointed out that in the list that was leaked to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, many were double entries, and some were owned by persons he did not know.
The other properties were inherited by his wife from her parents or owned by his son-in-law, who is a very successful doctor, he said.
“They even included the parking lots as among his properties just to make the list longer,” Corona said.
He also denied accusations regarding the World Bank loans to the Supreme Court. He said these were more than a decade ago and were not his responsibility.
The congressional representatives who signed the Articles of Impeachment could not possibly have read it, because it was passed so fast, he said.
Because of the weakness of their case, they are now bringing their fight to the streets and media, he said.
“They say I am a big obstacle. They are correct. I am a big obstacle to those who want to prevent the distribution of land in the Hacienda Luisita,” he said to tumultuous applause.
He also said that he was a big obstacle to a vice-presidential candidate who lost in 2010 and to someone who has long coveted his post.
He alleged that there was a conspiracy to remove him as Chief Justice.
“And most importantly, I am a big obstacle to the establishment of a dictatorship regime,” Corona said.
He said that he would face the charges against him and disprove accusations that were being thrown against him. His defense team and his wife were with him on stage as he spoke. He has not yet decided if he would be present on the first day of his impeachment trial.
For Corona’s speech, listen to Radyo Inquirer 990AM.