The recent decision passed by the Senate Impeachment Court convicting then Chief Justice Corona can be traced to the involvement of 2 ladies, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales.
It’s of public knowledge that Renato Corona is a close ally of the former President. He used to work with her in Malacañang until his appointment in the Supreme Court. And who would have not remember the issue of “mid-night appointment”, when Gloria Arroyo appointed then Associate Justice Renato Corona to be the Chief Justice following the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno. That appointment, which was publicly questioned by many people and civil society groups but was later upheld by the Supreme Court saying judiciary is not covered by the election ban on appointments. From then on the SC under Chief Justice Corona was dubbed as Gloria Supreme Court as it was perceived, that GMA appointed Corona to protect her from possible cases to be filed against her once she step down Malacañang. And that midnight appointment also created the gap between the Chief Justice and current President Benigno S. Aquino III who during his oath taking did follow the tradition of swearing-in with the Chief Justice and instead ask then Associate Justice and now Ombudsman Carpio-Morales to take his oath.
The ill treatment of the president to Corona continued as the President consistently pronounced his “disgust” over Corona in several public speeches. But I think the one that culminated it all which led to Corona’s impeachment was the airport drama following the TRO issued by the Supreme Court with regards to the Arroyo’s travel.
No matter how Corona and his supporters relate his impeachment to the Hacienda Luisita issue, the issue on the TRO of GMA will still weigh more. Forgive me for my word, but I don’t think many people care much about that land in Tarlac than making GMA accountable. I think Filipino’s don’t care much about this land dispute but they are more interested in finding out how this government (who during campaign promised to go out after the corrupt officials of the government) will be able to held the former President accountable from all the allegations against her. If it’s only about Luisita, do you think 188 of the Congressmen and women will support it? Should these Representatives be swayed to signed the impeachment complaint if it’s only about the President taking vengeance over their Hacienda? I don’t think so, because people’s clamor gained height during the airport fiasco. It was Corona led SC’s decision over GMA’s TRO that ignited it all. Take note of the dates when it transpired, it was after that TRO when the Lower House moved to file the complaint and collected 1/3 of the votes. If it’s not for that I don’t think there will be much support from the House of Representatives. It was his perceived bias to Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo led him to the Impeachment Trial.
During his trial, it was another woman who came out to be a big factor on his fate. As oppose to Gloria, this lady is not on his side but against his. At the start of his Impeachment Trial in Senate, it seemed that the prosecution might loose it’s case because of its lackluster performance. But not until the defense themselves presented as hostile witness, the Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales. It seemed it was a great blunder for the defense to have called the Ombudsman to the witness stand and it indeed was proven. It’s like they’ve brought a bomb that exploded in-front of their face. They seemed caught surprised about the documents brought by Carpio-Morales from the AMLC detailing Corona’s 82 Dollar bank account amounting to 10-12 million in transactional balance. Her testimony became the turning point or game changer of the whole impeachment proceedings. The documents presented by Carpio-Morales along with her Powerpoint presentation became a strong evidence that was later considered by the Senator Judges in making their conviction vote. Although the defense argued that what she presented was mere scrap of paper having no authentication marks whatsoever, still they weren’t able to debunk her testimony by mere testimonial by Chief Justice himself. They’ve tried to attack the credibility of Carpio-Morales by presenting Corona himself at the witness stand to falsify all that she said but they failed. Could they’ve presented bank documents that will counter all that Carpio-Morales has testified it could have been better. But what they did was just to bank on the credibility of Corona saying and telling his version of the story without any documentary support. If you were the judge who would you believe more, the ‘untainted’ Carpio-Morales carrying the AMLC documents on her hand, or the accused Chief Justice with no one to present but his story and his wheelchair?
It was really an unfortunate fate for the former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Two women have caused him his crown in the judiciary. And it will be forever in his memory, that once in his lifetime his closeness to one lady and his gap with another has led to his conviction and his eventual downfall.