SUPREME Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s recent move asking his colleagues to stop the Impeachment Court from allowing the prosecution’s presentation of his foreign currency savings account while at the same time asking them to stop the entire proceeding smack of desperation.
For a man profusely professing his innocence and eagerness to clear his name, Corona’s petition before the high tribunal shows the contrary. It seems his initial enthusiasm to answer all charges hurled at him is all bluster.
By petitioning the SC for a Temporary Restraining Order, which was granted, the defense panel seems hell bent on fomenting a Constitutional crisis by pitting the Senate, acting as Impeachment Court, with the Corona- led Supreme Court. The defense panel is obviously banking on a stalemate between the two equal bodies, probably hoping that it could be an easy way out of the impeachment trial.
The recently presented evidence before the Impeachment Court is quite damaging, hence it is not surprising that Corona wanted it stopped.
For example, the prosecution was able to show glaring discrepancy between what Corona wrote in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) form and what he actually had in the bank. The impeached chief justice claimed ownership of only about P3.5 million while it was clearly revealed by the prosecution, citing bank records and witnesses testimonies, that he had nearly P32 million in the bank as of Dec. 31, 2010.
The people are waiting for a convincing P32 million worth of explanation from Corona which hopefully is forth coming.
Corona’s situation reminded me of the first six stanzas of a popular Eagles song Desperado, that goes a little like this: “Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses? (Resign if you can’t prove your innocence). You’ve been out riding fences for so long now. (You have been with the Court for too long anyhow).
Oh, you are a hard one (Don’t stop the proceedings, instead prove them wrong). I know that you got your reasons. (Yeah, everybody does).
These things that are pleasing you can hurt you somehow.” (Money is good but can be hurtful)
I was browsing the internet when I came upon an article of Ms. Ellen Tordesillas, a renowned journalist, where she quoted several interesting questions of Human Rights lawyer Theodore Te concerning the petition filed by Corona before the SC. The questions are as follows:
1. Is it ethical for a sitting Chief Justice to ask for relief from the very Court he leads and from which he has not taken leave?
2. Is it ethical for a sitting Chief Justice to not disclose in his petition that the documents and testimonies subject of his TRO application are NOT YET ADMISSIBLE as they have yet to be formally offered and considered?
3. Is it ethical for a sitting Chief Justice, who should be primus inter pares (first among equals), to ask for inhibition of two of his fellow Justices?
4. Is it ethical for a sitting Chief Justice to treat the public office he holds as his personal “property” such that he should invoke the due process clause (which covers ONLY life, liberty and property)?
Can somebody answer these questions for me? Please.
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