Laguna, Batangas judges mourn Corona’s death
SAN PEDRO CITY, Philippines—Court judges in the provinces of Laguna and Batangas on Friday expressed grief over the death of former Chief Justice Renato Corona, who, to some, had fought for judicial independence.
In San Pablo City in Laguna, judges and court employees said they will wear black armbands until the remains of the former magistrate were laid to rest.
Philippine flags at the regional and municipal trial courts in San Pablo City and in the towns of Alaminos, Rizal and Nagcarlan in Laguna were also raised at half-staff, said Judge Agripino Morga of the Regional Trial Court Branch 32 in San Pablo.
“For us, [Corona’s] name, honor, and reputation remain unsullied despite the injustice done to him by the powers that be,” said Morga in a text message.
Corona, who was appointed by former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to lead the judiciary, was the first Philippine magistrate impeached for failing to disclose P183-million worth of bank deposits on his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. At the height of his impeachment trial in 2012, judges rallied behind the Corona, who they believed was a victim of political persecution by President Benigno Aquino III.
“People personally close to him knew that he was not corrupt and that he never sold out cases… Sabi pa, suplado nga yun, hindi pwede lapitan sa kaso (They would say he was a snob, and that you cannot influence him over a case),” said Judge Maria Cecilia Austria of Batangas.
Austria also described Corona as a “kind and softhearted man.” RAM