Corona, lawyers weigh options: To appeal or notBy Marlon Ramos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
A “very sad” Renato Corona had a “cordial” meeting with his lawyers on Tuesday night, hours after he became the first Supreme Court Chief Justice to be ousted from office by the Senate impeachment court.
Corona watched the promulgation of his impeachment case on television in his hospital room at The Medical City, but was advised by his doctors not to finish the entire proceedings, defense lawyer Tranquil Salvador III said Wednesday.
“He said was like a dreamer hoping that he would find a perfect case to present his side, but the (decision did not favor him),” Salvador said over the phone.
In a statement upon hearing Tuesday’s verdict after a four-month trial, Corona insisted he was innocent but said he was prepared to continue with his “calvary.”
Rico Paolo Quicho, a defense spokesperson, said Corona was “composed and very calm” when he met with his defense lawyers in a conference room of the hospital in Pasig City, where he has been confined since an attack of hypoglycemia during his appearance before the Senate last week. He is diabetic.
“We discussed with him the decision of the Senate. He thanked us for our invaluable support and for our commitment to help him and represent him in this case,” he said. “We also thanked him for giving us the opportunity.”
Study legal remedies
Quicho said Corona directed them to study the legal remedies available to him, hinting that the ousted Chief Justice was open to the advice of lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas that the Senate’s judgment of conviction could still be challenged in the Supreme Court.
“The meeting was very cordial. The Chief Justice looked composed and very calm,”
“While we’re surprised with the outcome, we are all proud because we felt we’ve done everything that was possible. We argued our points. It just so happened that the senator-judges did not find it our way,” he added.
During the meeting, Quicho said he explained that it would be better if Corona would just respect the Senate ruling and forego the possibility of filing a petition for certiorari in the high court.
“I don’t feel it’s appropriate at this time. I’d rather move forward,” he said. “But we have to discuss it. The defense team is still studying it. Nothing is final.”
Another defense lawyer, Jose Roy III, said Corona and his lawyers were “calm, very sober” during the meeting which lasted about an hour.
“There were a lot of emotional moments. We discussed the analysis of the case and the matter of the available options was also discussed,” Roy said.
Asked how Corona felt about his ouster, Roy said: “He was concerned about it. He was very sad and he was telling us that this is something unfortunate.”
Not easy decision
He admitted that challenging the Senate decision was not an easy decision, noting that some people had already lauded Corona for “setting an example, that he already captured the imagination of the people.”
Roy dismissed suggestions in the media that Corona was attempting to cling to power. “I do not see him as that kind of person,” Roy said.
“We’re waiting to find out what he would like to do. For the moment, we will stay quiet and study carefully the options.”