Penchant for embellishment

THE dust of controversy surrounding his doctorate degree from the University of Santo Tomas has yet to settle but impeached Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is again the subject of barbershop talk following the revelation of a researcher that he allegedly lied about his academic honors from Ateneo de Manila University.

Riziel Ann Cabreros, a researcher who also graduated from Ateneo and ANC segment producer, said contrary to Corona’s claim in his resume’ to Malacañang in 1992 and in the Supreme Court website, the chief magistrate did not graduate with high honors from Ateneo grade school, high school, college and law school.

According to Cabreros, who researched for journalist Maritess Danguilan Vitug’s upcoming book on the Supreme Court, Corona’s claims that he earned his Bachelor of Laws degree “with honors as no. 5 in the class of 44 members,” he finished his Bachelor of Arts course “with academic honors,” he graduated from high school with “silver medal graduation honors” and from grade school with “gold medal graduation honors” could have been misrepresentations.

Cabreros said a college commencement program, dated April 19, 1970, indicates Corona graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, but his name is nowhere in the college honors list, again contrary to what is in his resumé and on the Supreme Court website. She also said Corona is not on the list of high school honor awardees.

He graduated from Ateneo’s high school department on April 30, 1966 and was awarded a silver medal under the category of “Activity Awards.” This was for his involvement in the Science Club. Corona graduated from grade school on March 22, 1962 with an “Honorable Mention” and not a “gold medal” as claimed in the Supreme Court website.

His gold medal was for an “Academic Contest Award” in spelling (Filipino), Cabreros stressed.

Cabreros also said Corona claimed to have earned his Bachelor of Laws degree “with honors as no. 5 in the class of 44 members.” There were 44 students in his batch. But according to the law school’s commencement program, he graduated on March 31, 1974 with a Bachelor of Laws degree with no honors. If Cabreros’ report is true then the question that needs to be answered is this: Is Corona morally fit to remain in office as chief magistrate of the republic?

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