MANILA, Philippines—Finding fault with “too much compassion”, Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said Friday she agreed with President Benigno Aquino III on the need to go after former Chief Justice Renato Corona if it is shown he has violated the country’s laws.
“I don’t think it is wise and healthy for a nation that just because one proceeding has been concluded, the rest should be forgotten. If there are cases that need to be filed, and if there is sufficient evidence, then cases have to be filed,” De Lima said in an interview.
Some senators have suggested that Corona should no longer be prosecuted for possible ill-gotten wealth or for not paying the proper taxes as he was already removed from office by impeachment last Tuesday and perpetually disqualified from holding public post.
“That’s the problem of Filipinos; we’re too compassionate. We forget and forgive at once. What we’re really after here, from the very start, was truth and accountability. We can see that truth has been established — it may not be the complete truth but at least the truth has been established — and it was seen by the overwhelming majority of the senator-judges,” she said.
“But what about accountability? Some are saying removal, that’s accountability. We still have laws to enforce; if someone disobeyed the law, those who offended should be put to task,” she added.
De Lima said the “appropriate offices” were already investigating Corona, namely the Office of the Ombudsman and the Bureau of Internal Revenue.
On Tuesday, the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, found Corona guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust for not declaring in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth his US$2.4 million and P80.7 million in bank accounts.