Thursday, March 1, 2012

Chief Justice Renato Corona Impeachment Trial 2012

Current Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona has been impeached by the House of the Representative accusing him of betraying the Public Trust, committing Culpable Violation of the Constitution and Graft and Corruption.

The articles of impeachment are the following:

Article 1 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona betrayed the Public Trust through his track record marked by partiality and subservience in cases involving the Arroyo Administration from the time of his appointment as Supreme Court Justice and until his dubious appointment as a midnight chief justice to the present.

Article 2 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona committed culpable violation of the constitution and or betrayed the Public Trust when he failed to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required under Sec. 17, Art. XI of the 1987 Constitution.

Article 3 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona committed culpable violations of the constitution and betrayed the public trust by failing to meet and observe the stringent standards under Art. VIII, Section 7 (3) of the Constitution that provides that “[A} Member of the Judiciary must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity, and independence” in allowing the Supreme Court to act on mere letters filed by a counsel which caused the issuance of flop-flopping decisions in final and executor cases; in creating an excessive entanglement with Mrs. Arroyo through her appointment of his wife to office; and in discussing with litigants regarding cases pending before the Supreme Court.

Article 4 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona betrayed the public trust and or committed culpable violation of the constitution when he blatangly disregarded the principle of separation of powers by issuing a “Status Quo Ante” order against the House of Representatives in the case concerning the impeachment of then Ombudsman Merceditas Navarro – Gutierrez.

Article 5 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona betrayed the Public Trust through wanton arbitrariness and partiality in consistently disregarding the Principle of Res Judicata in the cases involving the 16 newly-created cities, and the promotion of Dinagat Island into a province.

Article 6 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona betrayed the public trust by arrogating unto himself, and to a committee he created, the authority and jurisdiction to improperly investigate a justice of the Supreme Court for the purpose of exculpating him. Such authority and jurisdiction is properly reposed by the Constitution in the House of Representatives via impeachment.

Article 7 of the Impeachment: Respondent betrayed the public trust through his partiality in granting a temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Arroyo in order to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice, and in distorting the Supreme Court decision on the effectivity of the TRO in view of a clear failure to comply with the conditions of the Supreme Court’s own TRO.

Article 8 of the Impeachment: Renato Corona betrayed the Public Trust and or committed graft and corruption when he failed and refused to account for the Judiciary Development Fund (JDF) and Special Allowance for the Judiciary (SAJ) collections.

The impeachment trial in the Senate started on Monday, January 16, 2012.

Enriqueta Esguerra-Vidal who is the clerk of court of the Supreme Court was called in as the first witness for the prosecution. She was told to surrender the SALNs (statements of assets, liabilities and net worth) from 2002 to 2010 of the Chief Justice to the impeachment court. At first, Vidal tried to beg the court citing Supreme Court en banc’s May 2, 1989 resolution which prohibit the public disclosure of the SALN of judges and justices.

But in the end, she was forced to turn over Corona’s SALN’s inside a brown envelope to the impeachment court. The prosecution panels received the documents and started to read them, but the Senator Sotto called their attention that the documents should be surrendered to the impeachment court not to the prosecutors. Then the documents are marked as evidence by the court.

Later, Marianito Dimaandal, records custodian of the Office of the President was called. He brought with him the certified copies of the SALN’s of Corona from 1992 to 2002 when Corona was still an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court.

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