The Corona impeachment trigger
The trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has started.
It is expected that like the Estrada impeachment trial, the Corona impeachment would also be a blockbuster telenovela that will be followed by the Filipino nation. Afternoons will now be prime TV hours, Mondays through Thursdays.
It is appropriate to ponder how we got into this situation that viewed from the Aquino administration’s perspective would result in reforms in the judiciary and better government for the people. From the political opposition’s perspective, however, it’s trampling on the Constitutional guarantee of separation of powers and bastardizing democracy.
I think it’s good to know how we got into this situation in the first place. We must ask why, after one-and-a-half-years in office, Aquino finally decided to move for the ouster of Corona.
I don’t believe that the Supreme Court decision on Hacienda Luisita was the trigger in Aquino’s decision move against Corona, who is a known ally of Gloria Arroyo. (He served as Arroyo’s spokesman and legal counsel.)
That’s what Corona thinks. Asked last Friday if his impeachment had anything to do with High Court’s decision on cases that Aquino had a personal interest, Corona replied, “It’s very clear that it’s Hacienda Luisita (decision) that they want reversed. It’s very clear, nothing else.”
I don’t think so.
The information I got was, it had something to do with the electoral sabotage case of Gloria Arroyo, which is the basis for her imprisonment. Confinement is the more appropriate term because she is under hospital arrest at the Veterans Memorial Medical Center.
It must be recalled that Arroyo questioned before the Supreme Court, dominated by her appointees, the legality of the joint Department of Justice and Commission on Elections panel that investigated anomalies in the 2004 and 2007 elections. From the information gathered during that investigation, Comelec hurriedly filed last Nov. 18 the electoral sabotage case against Arroyo and four other officials.
Electoral sabotage is non-bailable.
The information I got was that Malacañang learned that the Corona court, in a vote of 9-5, was going to declare the DOJ-Comelec panel illegal.
Had that happened, the electoral sabotage case against Arroyo would be null and void being a “fruit of a poisoned tree.”
If the electoral sabotage case is thrown out, Arroyo walks out of VMMC and can fly to wherever she wants to go and never come back while Aquino is in Malacañang.
What would happen to Aquino’s promise of making Arroyo accountable for all the crimes that she committed against the Filipino people?
If Aquino and his legal advisers had been slow in the past one and half years in building up a strong case or cases against Arroyo, they more than made up for it by resorting to legal shortcuts.
The decision on the legality of the DOJ-Comelec panel is still pending in the Supreme Court. Now, with what is happening to Corona, who among those nine justices will still vote to declare the joint panel illegal?