Historic impeachment trial ends gov’t career of Renato Corona



The judgment of the Senate against Chief Justice Renato Corona came with a vote of an overwhelming majority of senators – 20 to 3.

Five months after he was impeached by the House of Representatives, Corona was found guilty of committing culpable violation of the Constitution and betraying the public trust.

With this, Corona is considered immediately removed from his post as the highest magistrate in the land and banned from occupying any other government post.

The decision, arrived yesterday at after 43 days of trial, took Corona to task for his failure to include some $2.4 million in bank deposits — on top of a commingled amount worth P80.7 million — in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALNs) from 2002 to 2010.

Only three voted to acquit Corona , senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinan “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.

One by one, each senator took the podium to explain their vote, which lasted four hours.

“The Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, having tried Renato C. 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 2 of the said Articles of Impeachment,” Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile announced after explaining his own vote to convict about 6 p.m.

“Now, therefore, be it adjudged that Renato C. Corona is hereby convicted of the charge against him in Article 2,” he said continued, before banging to gavel to signal the end of the impeachment trial.

The penalty is “immediately effective”.

Under the 1987 Constitution, judgment in impeachment cases “shall not extend further than removal from office and disqualification to hold any office,” but the party convicted “shall nevertheless be liable and subject to prosecution, trial and punishment, according to law.”

President Aquino has 90 days to find Corona’s replacement. Deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters the short list of nominees for the top Supreme Court post would come from the Judicial and Bar Council.

President Aquino is expected to give a statement on the verdict today.

The conviction puts an abrupt end to Corona’s stint as the Chief Justice, which began in May 2010 with his disputed appointment by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Corona, 63, remained confined in the the Medical City hospital, where doctors said he was “stable” but under close watch because of his diabetic condition and possible risk of a heart attack.

House prosecutors got the crucial 16th vote to remove Corona when Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. took the floor and rendered a guilty verdict.

Four more senators—Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, and Enrile—followed suit, bringing to 20 the number of senator-judges who found the Chief Justice guilty.

As presiding officer, Enrile cast the final vote with Corona’s fate already sealed. He gave an overview of the entire trial, its twists and turns and legal and “moral dilemmas” that needed to be resolved.

“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,” he said. (See excerpt of Enrile’s speech in Opinion pag 16.)

Most of the senators did not buy Corona’s position that he was precluded from declaring his dollar deposits—purportedly his family savings of nearly four decades—in his SALNs because of the “absolute” confidentiality provision of the Foreign Currency Deposit Act (RA 6426).

Enrile, in particular, rejected Corona’s reason that he did not declare some P80.7 million worth of deposits in three peso accounts because they were “co-mingled” with his family’s savings, including money from the Basa Guidote Enterprises Inc. (BGEI).

Enrile described as “grossly misplaced” the Chief Justice’s “reliance on the absolute confidentiality” provided under RA 6426. He cited the constitutional provision requiring all government employees to submit SALNs.

“Are we now to say that this Constitutional command is limited to a public official’s assets or deposits in local currency? If so, would we not be saying, in effect, that the Constitution allows something less than a full, honest and complete disclosure?” he asked.

Enrile said Corona could have converted his dollar deposits into peso and reflected them in his SALNs.

Since Corona was already found guilty of the second article of impeachment, the court no longer voted on the two other charges—Article 3 on the alleged flip-flopping Supreme Court decisions, and Article 7 on the Supreme Court temporary restraining order that allowed Arroyo to seek medical treatment abroad.

A recurring issue throughout the trial was the matter of “hypocrisy.”

Enrile acknowledged the question as to why Corona should be punished for an error—the failure to make full disclosure of assets in SALNs—when others in government were most likely doing it as well.

“I believe it is our duty to resolve this ‘dilemma’ in favor of upholding the law and sound public policy,” said Enrile, one of the richest members of the upper chamber.

“If we were to agree with the Respondent that he was correct in not disclosing the value of his foreign currency deposits because they are absolutely confidential, can we ever expect any SALN to be filed by public officials from here on to be more accurate and true than they are today?”

Although he voted for Corona’s conviction, Minority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano commended the Chief Justice for submitting a waiver allowing the government to scrutinize all his assets, not just the bank accounts.

Saying the Corona waiver “has set a new standard” among public officials, Cayetano said the President should “instruct his Cabinet to (do the same) or resign and leave government.”INQUIRER

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7PILUDK6IPFGJLJNCM2IROCRY Albin

    Perhaps the end also of judicial independence. Now we have a complete dictatorship. It’s only a matter of ime before the Supreme Court will have a reversal of the Hacienda Luisita ruling.

    • Arthur Bravo

      I don’t think that the Filipino people are stupid enough in allowing that to transpire

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_KBG3CSDWJH7MZ273WQV37H6DIA mario

       end of pandak controlled supreme court yan ang tamang words

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_2DAZWQGRABQ742P6J6XNTSLGJQ dark matter

      If the moves of your so called dictatorship will be checked by a transparent co-equal branch of government then I don’t see any problem with that. What happened yesterday is a proof that checks and balances still exists in your so called dictatorship. It is the senate impeachment court who decided on this case and you cannot conclusively say that they are being controlled by the executive branch after all those explanations of their votes. It is foolish to dismiss their judgment with the thought that it is all the doing of the executive branch. It’s like saying that righteousness can only come from the judiciary.

    • Lord_patawad

      move on na albin. wala na ang amo mo. malayo yang sinasabi mong dictator ship

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/B7R4UVZUU42OYY2M4XS6QMDWL4 ROXAN

      Bakit kasi ginagamit na scapegoat ni Corona yung desisyon sa Hacienda Luisita na dahilan kung bakit sya gustong matanggal as CJ, Masyado lang kasing obvious na inilagay sya as CJ para protektahan si Gloria at halatang halata yan nung gusto nyang makatakas si Gloria kahit hindi naman kumpleto ang dukumento bago magbaba ng TRO nung Nov. Wag nya ring sisihin na ginamit ni PNOY ang lahat ng ahensya ng gobyerno para maconvict sya dahil sya mismo ang nagpahamak sa sarili nya ng umamin sya na kulang 200M ang cash nya na hindi isinama sa SALN nya . Kung naconvict si Delsa Flores for the same offense bakit naman hindi dapat maconvict si Corona, NO ONE IS ABOVE THE LAW

  • dukaponte

    Hindi ko kayang isipin kung na acquit si CJ Corona sa epekto sa ating bansa. Sigurado ako na dadagsa ang corruption at criminalities dahil meron silang mapagtataguan ng pera nila. Mabuti na lang meron pa tayong mga senador na handang tumayo sa ikabubuti ng ating bansa. Meron pa tayong pag-asang umunlad sa desisyong iyn ng senado.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/YUWKXUS3U6EGMJWFKCBIBY7KF4 ELMER

    Ethics is important for a public servant. When a person enters into a public life, their private life becomes public. It is important in public life to be sound, both in outside and inside senses to be fair and truthful. To be a strong steward of public funds. Disclosure of finances is very important so that the public can decide his ability to properly manage public funds and to assess an indidivual’s potential for giving into politically charged financial pressure. Opposing viewpoints to this that a public servant should not disclose fianancial information because they maybe linked to personal contacts that prefer to remain anonymous. Another view is the public servant sexual life. This is due to the assumption that any sexual misconduct can link to a corruptive decisions.

  • ztefertilizerscam5

    Freeze all Corona assets and Hold Depature order to all Family members…

  • ztefertilizerscam5

    Midas RESIGN NOW!!!

    • Winn728

      Huwag naman. . . .

      Sino na ang mg defend uli ng mga corrupt Justices & Judges. . . .Don’t forget, he is the Spokeman of Corrupt Justice (CJ) Corona. . . .

      Paki explain nga, Atty. Midas (Gold) san galing ung 203+Million pesos ng Boss mo. . . 

      O, baka, ikaw rin, may tinatagong Dollar Account, labas mo na or mag amend ka na ng 2011 SALN mo at baka maimbestiga ka ni Ombudswoman. . .

      Ikaw rin. . .wala ka ng Defender. . .Sana, hwag maging CJ Drilon ang next Boss mo. 4 sure, hindi na yan ang posisyon mo. . 

      Baka Receptionist ka na lang ng Supreme Court, harharharhar

  • kenpascual

    Hopefully the government continue tracing the money trail.

    Is the former CJ can still keep his US$2.4M?
    Will there be no more post impeachment litigation?
    The money may have originated from kick backs (NBN ZTE). This could be one of the reason why China is so furious and has taken over Panatag as payback.

    All things are interconnected afterall: (Spratley/PanatagNBN ZTE GMA/CJ/cohortsAFP Generals pabaon). Just a theory.

  • ztefertilizerscam5

    Who’s Next?
    Corrupt People
    Mike Arroyo,Esperon,Norberto Gonzales, Pechay,Nograles,Mickey and Datu arroyo,Euro Generals,Pabaon Generals Diomedio Villanueva, and Roy Cimatu,Nani Perez,Marcos,Gambling Lord Bong Penida,Joc Joc Bolante,Ebdane,Neri,Garci,Mr and Mrs.Ligot,Abalos,Gen Garcia,Merceditas Gutierrez,Raul Gonzales and many more

    Pardon of controversial convicted criminals like Ninoy’s murderers, killer Claudio Tehanke and rapist Romeo Jalosjos

    • rosamistika16

      if we pardon murderers, killers and rapist you are likely telling the country and its people to just file cases to the persons you stated and convict them later then pardon them after!

      i will not be surprised that corrupt officials will not even think twice to do like what corona did bcuz after conviction they might anyway be pardoned!

      Therefore, once convicted guilty, respondent must serve his/her penalty!!!

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