MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/14 December) – There are many ways of looking at the storm being generated by the impeachment case against Chief Justice Renato Corona. Those who favor the move would insist that it would be beneficial to our perennially ailing body politic. And of course, those who side with the embattled magistrate will always say that Malacanang simply wants to make the Supreme Court acquiesce to its agenda.
Yet for all its faults the public must accept the reality that impeachment is not a judicial but a political proceeding. As such, there’s no end to the debate surrounding the real motives of the complainants and the violations alleged against the accused official.
At the core of the impeachment complaint against Corona is his supposed bias in decisions concerning the cases against former president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Rightly or wrongly, the Palace thinks that with Corona at the helm of the highest court of the land it would be difficult to prosecute the graft, plunder and electoral sabotage cases against Arroyo. President Benigno S. Aquino III thinks the Chief Justice has become the biggest stumbling block to his “daang matuwid” campaign.
Corona’s past official affiliation with Arroyo is his biggest liability. As Arroyo’s former chief of staff, among other positions, it would be hard to dispel perceptions that he was placed in his present job precisely as her patron’s last line of legal defense. Add to it the fact that he acquired his position a few weeks before Arroyo’s term as president ended in blatant disregard of rules on appointments. All these will always put in question the Supreme Court’s decisions that favor Arroyo especially since majority of the Justices are her appointees.
On hindsight, a sense of delicadeza would have saved Corona from the current mess he’s in. Loyalty to Arroyo, however, got in the way.
Corona has opted to strike back at Aquino. In a speech Wednesday at the Supreme Court, he implied that the President orchestrated the impeachment to divert the people’s attention from pressing economic problems. He further accused the Chief Executive of bullying the judiciary into submission.
The Chief Justice had spewed out bold words against Aquino. Unfortunately for him, his bravado cannot undo the impeachment complaint that had been submitted to the Senate. After all the heated exchange of accusations and counter-accusations he or his lawyer has to face the senators who will decide his fate in full public view.
Will Corona be able to withstand the rigors of an impeachment trial? Or will he throw in the towel? My fearless forecast: he will resign either before the trial actually starts or midway through it. (MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. H. Marcos C. Mordeno can be reached at [email protected])