Senate votes 20-3 to convict CoronaBy Maila Ager
MANILA, Philippines – Twenty senators, including Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, on Tuesday found Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty of Article 2 of the impeachment complaint filed against him pertaining to his failure to disclose to the public is statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.
Only three voted to acquit Corona and they were Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand “Bong-Bong” Marcos Jr.
“The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Renato Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, upon three Articles of impeachment charged against him by the House of Representatives, by a guilty vote of 20 senators representing at least two-thirds of all the members of the Senate, has found him guilty of the charge under Article II of the said articles of impeachment,” said Enrile after he cast his ‘guilty’ vote for Corona.
“Now, therefore…Renato Corona is hereby convicted of the charge against him in Article II of the articles of impeachment, So ordered,” he added.
Enrile, who presides over the trial, then directed the Senate Secretary acting as clerk of court to provide a certified copy of the judgment to the respondent and his counsels, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Supreme Court and to President Benigno Aquino III.
Aside from Enrile, the 19 senators who rendered a ‘guilty’ verdict for Corona were the following:
Senator Edgardo Angara
Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
Senator Pia Cayetano
Senator Franklin Drilon
Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
Senator Teofisto Guingona III
Senator Gregorio Honasan II
Senator Panfilo Lacson
Senator Manuel Lapid
Senator Loren Legarda
Senator Sergio Osmeña III
Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
Senator Ralph Recto
Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente “Tito” Sotto III
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV
Senate Manuel Villar
Enrile being the presiding officer was the last to cast his vote on the case.
“As one who has been through many personal upheavals through all of my 88 years, I, too, have been judged, often unfairly and harshly. But I have constantly held that those who face the judgment of imperfect and fallible mortals like us have recourse to the judgment of history, and, ultimately, of God,” said the Senate leader.
“And so, with full trust that the Almighty will see us through the aftermath of this chapter in our nation’s history, I vote to hold the Chief Justice, Renato C. Corona, guilty as charged under Article II, Par. 2.3, and that his deliberate act of excluding substantial assets from his sworn Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth constitutes a culpable violation of the Constitution,” he said.
It was Revilla’s vote, who cast the 16th “guilty” verdict, that sealed the fate of Corona because under the rules, at least two-thirds of the total members of the Senate or 16 of the 23 incumbent senators are needed to convict him.
Revilla’s vote came as a surprise considering that he is a known ally of former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
It was Arroyo who appointed Corona as Chief Justice before the former stepped down from office in 2010.
“I prayed hard for Divine Providence and guidance int his one great decision of my life,” Revilla said.
“Napakahirap man, alang-alang sa pagkakaisa at paghihilom ng ating bayan; alang alang sa pagpappatibay ng mga institusyon ng ating pamahalaan, alang alang sa mga darating pang henarasyon at ng ating kinabukasan, I find Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty,” the senator added.
(Though very difficult, for the sake of unity and healing our nation; for the sake of strengthening the institutions of the government; for the sake of the next generation and our future, I find Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty.)
One notable vote came from another Arroyo ally, Lapid, who also cast a guilty vote for Corona.
“Para sakin po, malinaw na malinaw na si Chief Justice Corona ay lumabag sa batas. Siya mismo inamin niya na may $2.4 million at P80 million na bank account. Yun po siguro hindi na kasinungalin yun, yun po ay totoo na,” Lapid said.
(To me, clearly Chief Justice Corona violated the law. He himself admitted he has $2.4 million at P80-million bank account. That’s perhaps no longer a lie, that’s the truth.)
At first, Lapid said his heart went to Corona, when the latter .testified before his own trial.
“I’m very sorry for him. I thought he was telling the truth. He did not,” he said.
In the end, Lapid had these words for Corona: “Pasensiya na po. Pasensiya na po. Pasensya na po. Ang hatol ko sa inyo, guilty.”
(My apologies. My apologies. My apologies. My verdict is guilty.)
Originally posted at 05:07 pm | Tuesday, May 29, 2012