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CJ home province divided over support for him in trial

/ 10:05 PM January 17, 2012

Officials in the home province of embattled Chief Justice Renato Corona appear to be divided over whether to support him or not.

“Traditionally, a Batangueño watches over the back of his fellow Batangueño. But in this case, (most of the) congressmen had signed the impeachment (case),” said Batangas Vice Gov. Marc Leviste.

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Of the four Batangas congressmen, only 2nd district Rep. Hermilando Mandanas did not sign the impeachment case.

The rest—Tomas Apacible (1st district, Liberal Party), Mark Llandro Mendoza (4th district, Nationalist People’s Coalition) and Nelson Collantes (3rd district, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino)—signed the impeachment complaint. Collantes is from Corona’s hometown in Tanauan City.

Leviste was interviewed by phone Monday while on his way to observe the Senate trial.

He said he also went to the Senate to support senator-judge Ralph Recto, his fellow Batangueño and husband of Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos-Recto.

A cousin of the Chief Justice, Board Member Alfredo Corona, said the family of the Chief Justice had moved to Manila since Corona was in elementary. Alfredo said other members of the Corona clan rarely see the Chief Justice’s family because of their busy schedules.

Although the Coronas are among the popular clans in Tanauan City, “not a lot of Batangueños know that (Corona) is from Batangas,” Leviste said.

Leviste said he didn’t see a strong clamor among Batangueños to support the Chief Justice.

In Cebu City, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines chapter said it was “respectfully” encouraging Corona to take a leave of absence so he can concentrate on his defense and to dispel criticisms he was using the Supreme Court as a shield.

Another IBP chapter in Leyte, however, said it hadn’t taken a common stand on the Corona case. Roy Perez, IBP Leyte head, said Corona should take a leave of absence only if the trial starts affecting his work in the judiciary. With reports by Ador Mayol and Joey Gabieta, Inquirer Visayas

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TAGS: Batangas, Corona Impeachment, Politics, Renato Corona, Supreme Court
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