Chief Justice Corona impeachedBy Gil C. Cabacungan Jr., Maila Ager
Philippine Daily Inquirer
The House majority on Monday virtually impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona after gathering signatures of more than one-third of the 287 members of Congress favoring his ouster.
Click on the link below for the Summary of the Impeachment complaint vs CJ Corona:
Oriental Mindoro Representative Reynaldo Umali said Corona was virtually impeached with at least 140 members, or almost half of the membership of the House of Representatives, signing the resolution.
Ako Bicol Representative Rodel Batocabe said that the impeachment case was laid down in such a way that it would be geared toward a person and not the institution.
There were three grounds cited and eight articles of impeachment cited in the impeachment of Corona.
Corona will be the third to be impeached by Congress but the second under the railroaded method after then President Joseph Estrada in 2000. Last March, former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was impeached through voting on the floor after going through the committee process.
The move to oust Corona, a midnight appointee of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, was reached during a hastily called caucus presided by House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. and attended by top leaders of allied parties such as the National Unity Party, Nationalist People’s Coalition and party-list groups.
Deputy Speaker and Cavite Representative Crispin Remulla said that more than 100 members lined up to sign the resolution, which was prepared by the House committee on justice headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. He said only 95 signatures were needed to impeach Corona.
Remulla said they would transmit the case to the Senate either Monday or Tuesday.
Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño said Corona’s impeachment was a “foregone conclusion.”
The eight grounds of the impeachment case versus Corona are:
1.) Betrayal of public trust due to subservience to Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo during her presidency, from the time of his appointment as Supreme Court justice to his midnight appointment as Chief Justice. Examples are his partiality in the Megapacific contract decision, Fernando Poe Jr. case, the Lambino versus Comelec case (people’s initiative), David v Arroyo and Neri v Senate (executive privilege.
2.) Culpable violation of the Constitution for non-disclosure of the statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.
3.) Undue closeness to Macapagal-Arroyo as shown by the appointment of the Chief Justice’s wife to a seat in the Bases Conversion and Development Authority.
4.) Betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution when he issued a status quo order ante that had suspended the hearings of the House justice committee on the impeachment case against previous Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
5.) Voting on the cityhood cases and the creation of the province of Dinagat.
6.) Creation of the ethics committee to look into the plagiarism case against SC Justice Mariano del Castillo, which resulted in clearing Del Castillo of any liability.
7.) Temporary restraining order on the travel ban on Mrs. Arroyo.
8.) Refusal to account for judicial development funds, special allowances and other court collections.
House Majority Leader Neptali “Boyet” Gonzales said he was confident that the impeachment complaint would be transmitted to the Senate by Tuesday.
Once they get the required number, Gonzales said they would transmit the complaint directly to the Senate without going through the House plenary for either rejection or adoption.
House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman agreed that under the rules, a complaint may be transmitted directly to the Senate once the required number or signature was reached.
Casiño said that they were caught by surprise with the suddenness of the complaint. “Usap-usapan lang yan, tapos may actual complaint na (There were only mere talks about the impeachment and all of a sudden there was already an actual complaint),” said Casiño, who also signed the complaint.
Asked if there was an urgency to rush the impeachment case against Corona, Casiño said, “I dont know. Maybe because we are going on a break this Wednesday.”—With Isa Avendaño