The impeachment trial had a “chilling effect” on the Supreme Court and reports about it violated the sub judice rule, Chief Justice Renato Corona said on Friday.
“It has a chilling effect on the Supreme Court. We’re only human,” Corona said, answering questions from Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago.
“My colleagues have seen what was done to me and my family. They did not only use the entire apparatus power of the government, the BIR, AMLC, Ombudsman. We were investigated simultaneously, even our children and in-laws were questioned by the BIR,” Corona said.
“The worst effect of the impeachment trial is the damage it left on the system of checks and balances,” he said.
“The principle of checks and balances guarantees democracy, and if this is destroyed, we will come under dictatorship.”
Comments about the trial “crossed the boundary of propriety and impropriety” and violated the rule on sub judice, Corona said.
“Little by little, the minds of our people were poisoned. Whoever has money for a media campaign, he holds the power to influence the mind and opinion of the public,” he said.
“The evidence that is not presented here is presented outside. That destroys our sub judice rule,” he said.
Worse, his family was subjected to vilification every day, Corona said. His children and grandchildren “suffered” from this, he said. He said his 9-year-old grandson Franco “clenched his fist” and said he was “very, very angry” because of what had been done to him.
“This is how the family felt,” Corona said.