A year after Corona ouster, justice reforms a ‘work in progress,’ says Palace
A year after Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached and voted out of office, Malacañang on Wednesday admitted that reforms undertaken since then are still a “work in progress.”
The most concrete sign of reform is the Civil Service Commission’s (CSC) requiring of government officials to file more detailed statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN), and a CSC directive requiring all government employees to file SALNs, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Wednesday.
Apart from that, however, the other reforms are still “a work in progress,” she told a press briefing.
After a four-month trial, senators voted in May 2012 to oust Corona for failing to declare all his assets in his SALN, specifically some $2.4 million in bank deposits and P80.7 million in alleged commingled accounts, which the senators said was an impeachable offense.
In a statement on Wednesday, Corona said he and his family were “fine” and have moved on with their lives and are hoping for “better days ahead.”
He said he has been busy the past year, “keeping abreast of the latest Supreme Court decisions and new laws (since a lot of people consult me and seek my advice); getting invited often to small gatherings and lunch or dinner discussion groups to share my views and experiences.”
When he can find the time, “I go to the gym or try my hand at playing the piano again,” he said.
Corona said he has no plans to go back to government service but “public service is still very much part of my life.”
He also said he prays “a lot” for the farmers of Hacienda Luisita, the huge sugar estate owned by the family of President Aquino, hoping they will “someday finally attain the justice the Corona Court gave them but which this regime is trying hard to thwart.”
Corona accused the “vindictive regime” of President Aquino of continued harassment and persecution of him and his family.
“The gargantuan funds it wasted in my sham impeachment trial could have been better used for education, school buildings, increased salaries of government employees, healthcare and medicines for the poor, more courts and halls of justice… And for what—to remove a sitting Chief Justice just so that the President can appoint his own?” he said.
He said people he encountered “have invariably said they do not believe the government propaganda against me and my family.”
Corona maintained he had not stolen anything while in government and that his properties were the fruit of his 45 years of service in the private and public sectors.
“I have nothing to be ashamed of nor regret in any aspect of my life. And most of all, I owe the government not a single cent in unpaid taxes,” he said.
Corona, his daughter Carla and the latter’s husband, Constantino Castillo III, are facing a P150-million tax evasion case that the Bureau of Internal Revenue filed against them last year.
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