MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona on Friday asked President Benigno Aquino III not to meddle with the impeachment trial by taking the case to the media.
“Ako po ay nananawagan sa ating pangulo na huwag pakialaman, pangunahan at impluwensiyahan ang Senate Impeachment Court. Mayroon pong proseso ang impeachment proceedings at iyan po ay nakasaad sa ating Saligang Batas at sa mga alituntunin at kalakaran sa Senado [I am calling on our President not to meddle, prejudge and influence the Senate Impeachment Court. We have the impeachment process under the Constitution and the rules of the Senate],” Corona said in a statement sent to media a day after Aquino made a speech at the anniversary of the Tagumpay ng Bayan at the La Consolacion College.
Corona also questioned why Aquino was teaching the youth to prejudge the case by discussing it in his speech.
“Ganito po bang hustisya at fair play ang tinuturo ninyo sa kabataan [Is this the justice and fair play that you teach the youth]?” Corona asked, adding that he should be given the chance to present his own side and evidence in response to the “baseless” accusations by Congress.
“Ito po ang tunay na katarungan at ang naaayon sa ating Saligang Batas [This is true justice and according to the Constitution],” he said.
Aquino, in his speech, lambasted Corona, saying his failure to fully declare his multimillion-peso bank deposits was sufficient basis to remove him from his post.
He also said that it was “our responsibility now ito replace Lady Justice’s blindfold, and to rebalance the tipped scales. Let us not wait before we’re all victimized. Let us take a stand now.”
Corona said Aquino should follow what he said in his speech about observing and keeping his silence.
“Huwag po natin ilayo ang usapin sa proseso ng Impeachment Court at idaan sa media ang paghusga sa akin. Pabayaan po nating umusad ang kaso nang ayon sa batas at sa proseso nito [Let us not deviate from the process of the impeachment court and use media to judge me. Let us let the case take its course according to law and its process],” Corona said.
On Aquino’s allegation that they are “purposely being confused and misled so our interest in the proceedings would fade,” Corona said the President should blame no other than the prosecution team for using as evidence a fake list of his alleged 45 properties and his salary to show that he has no means to buy properties.
“Ngunit hindi naman isinama ang pangkalahatang sitwasyon at nitong huli, nagharap ng mga palsipikadong dokumento ng bangko. Sino po ba ang talagang nanlilinlang ng taong bayan? [But they did not consider the overall situation and recently, they presented falsified bank documents. Who is the one misleading the public?]” Corona asked.
Corona said it was not the duty of the President of the Philippines to enlighten the public about his case because it was the duty of the impeachment court.
“Your job is to find solutions to the worsening poverty and hunger of our people, unabated increase in gasoline prices and basic commodities, continuing demolition of squatters’ homes and the slow response to victims of calamities brought about by neglect of the environment. These are what you should look into,” Corona said in Filipino.