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Philippine Chief Justice Corona urged to resign
18 Dec 2011
TWO days after a "court holiday" was declared in support of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, Bantay Gloria Network (BGN) responded with a "national day of action" to press for the removal of Corona from his post.
Dubbed the "people's holiday from injustice and impunity," around 3,000 anti-corruption advocates trooped to the high tribunal to "reclaim" the Supreme Court from the hands of a "midnight chief justice."
Akbayan Party Spokesperson Risa Hontiveros said Corona’s removal from public office is necessary to “restore integrity to the high court and remove Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s last defenses.”
“The people are calling for Corona’s removal from the Supreme Court. We have waited for Corona to prove his independence, to no avail. He consistently toed the line and gave in to every whim of Arroyo. He should be removed to allow the Supreme Court to reclaim its integrity and independence,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros also chided Corona for his “partisan attack” on moves by the House of Representatives to impeach him. Hontiveros said that “it further eroded the dignity and moral authority of the Court.”
“Corona has completely exposed himself as a rabid Arroyo defender. His flimsy argument that the impeachment complaint against him is simply an attack on the judiciary only serves to drag down the entire judicial branch with him. It is already clear from his intentions that if he cannot remain as chief justice, he will destroy the judiciary beyond repair,” Hontiveros added.
Hontiveros asserted that the problem began with Arroyo’s midnight appointment of Corona as chief justice.
"If Arroyo's original sin was the rigging of the 2004 elections, Corona's original sin was when he accepted his midnight appointment. The minute he wore the crown of a midnight chief justice, he already undermined the credibility of the Supreme Court," Hontiveros said.
"Corona’s argument that this is an attack of the executive on the judicial branch is pure fallacy. This is the people attacking Arroyo's legacy of corruption and impunity. This is the people’s use of a constitutional measure to restore the credibility and independence of the high tribunal and to rebuild democratic institutions," Hontiveros stressed.
‘Court holiday’ decried
Meanwhile, Leah Navarro of the Black and White movement criticized the recent ‘court holiday’ as being “prejudicial to public interest.” According to Navarro, “the court holiday was an abuse of power by Corona at the expense of hundreds of citizens expecting the courts to be open and dispense justice."
“Many Filipinos already have to contend with the slow pace of justice in this country but a court holiday only inconveniences them even further. What irks them even more is that this court holiday was only done to shore up support for Corona," Navarro said.
"This misuse of time and resources of the judiciary by Corona betrays his desperation to get any kind of support for him even if it means exhausting the little credibility left in the office of the Chief Justice. Too bad for him, the Filipino public still wants his resignation,” Navarro added.
Navarro also called on Corona “to spare the judiciary from being dragged down by his impeachment by resigning or at least taking a leave while the impeachment trial is ongoing.”
The Association of Law Students in the Philippines (ALSP), Flight Attendants and Stewards Association of the Philippines (FASAP), Akbayan Party, Black and White Movement, People Power Volunteers for Reforms (PPVR), Kilusan para sa Makabansang Ekonomiya (KME), Liberal Party, Repormar, Alab Katipunan, Anak Mindanao (AMIN), Bangsamoro Solidarity Movement (Bangsa), Reform ARMM Now (RAN), Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), Akbayan-youth, Kabataang Liberal, Pinoy Power, Yellow Ribbon Movement, Kubol-Pagasa, FPJPM, and the Rebolusyong Alyansang Makabansa (RAM-Guardians) marched from Orosa, Manila at 1 p.m. calling for Corona’s resignation.
Aside from Manila, a “people’s holiday” was also conducted in the provinces of Cebu, Zambales, Bicol, Davao, Zamboanga, Cagayan De Oro, and General Santos.
Do Right for the Filipino People, Impeach CJ Renato Corona
Privilege Speech of Akbayan Rep. Walden Bello
14 December 2011
Dear Colleagues, I was watching the speech of Mr. Renato Corona this afternoon, and I observed that this is a very, very political speech by a gentleman who has been so instrumental in politicizing the Supreme Court.
Indeed when he was speaking, Mr. Speaker, I was reminded of the slogan of many people in the legal profession when he accepted the appointment of Chief Justice. Ito hong slogang ‘to read: “Punong mahistrado, hindi dapat bastardo.” Uulitin ko po, ito ho ang slogan noon of so many in the legal profession who opposed his appointment: “Punong mahistrado, hindi dapat bastardo.”
Alam nating lahat ang ginawang pambabastos ni Corona sa ating Saligang Batas noong s’ya ay hiranging Chief Justice ni Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo noong May 2010. Against all constitutionally prescribed limits to the appointment of government officials, Gloria made the midnight appointment and Corona wholeheartedly accepted it. Yun ho ang original sin. Yun ho ang original sin that we are now trying to correct by impeaching this false, untrue Chief Justice who does not deserve to belong in his position.
Mr. Speaker and dear colleagues, as I was listening to the speech of Mr. Corona, I could only have one thing going thru my mind. And that was the English word B.S. Lahat po ng sinabi ni Corona, sa tinging ko ay B.S. I will not spell out that acronym. Let me just say that what was going on in my mind was, given his record of a thorough defender and lapdog and bulldog of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo evident in all his decisions, what came to my mind was, what a hypocrite, what a crook.
This man was speaking to a crowd that is thoroughly isolated minority of the Filipino people. This was the defense of a man that is in panic. He was saying that this was an assault on the separation of powers, on the judiciary. No, Mr. Corona, this is an effort to get you out of an institution that you have bastardized with your thorough lapdog loyalty to Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. This is what it is all about.
Mr. Speaker, this man, this lapdog, this H.S. dared to accuse the President of about to be declaring a dictatorship. Mr. Speaker and dear colleagues, this is very far from reality. And his spokesman, his pawn, Mr. Midas Marquez, has repeated the same accusation, and accused us of being party to the subjugation of Congress to the President. This is really terse, and should not be coming from the spokesman of the Supreme Court, and, definitely, should not be coming from the Chief Justice.
But I understand where the Chief Justice is coming from. These are the words of a condemned man, the words of somebody who has been condemned by his actions.
The 188 of us, and more who will be signing this impeachment complaint, did right. We did right for the people. This is what the Filipino people need; we need to get this Chief Justice, who has bastardized the Supreme Court, out of power, and we know that the senate of the Republic of the Philippines will uphold this impeachment complaint.
Akbayan - Citizens Action Party
PLM Statement on the Impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona
WHILE THE IMPEACHMENT by the House of Representatives of Chief Justice Renato Corona is a welcome accomplishment – the PLM (Partido Lakas ng Masa) insists that the entire membership of the Supreme Court should resign, that the government review the appointment powers of the president of the Philippines, and that a democratic method be put in place to replace Supreme Court justices.
The impeachment of Corona highlights the long-standing tension between the executive branch and the judiciary, or the two co-equal branches of the government. The tension between President Noynoy Aquino and the Chief Justice began right after the midnight appointment of the latter by former President Gloria Arroyo a week after the 2010 presidential election. It was exacerbated by the rejection of the Corona-led Supreme Court of President Aquino’s project of convening a Truth Commission.
But we believe the issue that got the President’s ire is not only the earlier ones nor the TRO (temporary restraining order) granted by the Supreme Court in order to aid the escape of the Arroyos to a foreign country during the NAIA stand-off. It was the Supreme Court’s latest decision to distribute the 4,916 hectares of Hacienda Luisita (owned by the Aquino-Cojuangco clan) to 6,296 farmworker beneficiaries.
While the decision is commendable, we believe it has long been overdue and has been used as a mere scoring point against President Aquino. This decision, whose practical implementation will likely be stayed by more court litigations, comes in the heels of pro-capitalists’ and pro-landlords’ decisions made by the Court. These include the decision to grant the multi-billion peso coconut levy fund, collected from the coconut farmers during the martial law period, to Marcos’ crony Danding Cojuangco; and the reopening and reversal of a favorable Court ruling on the flight attendants and stewards’ case (Fasap case) based on a mere demand letter sent by Lucio Tan’s lawyer.
This Supreme Court has long been tainted as a court that does not serve the interests of the workers and the poor people, and a court that only curry favors for factions of the ruling elite, be it the Arroyos, the Lucio Tans and Danding Cojuangcos of the land.
We believe that it is not only Chief Justice Renato Corona who should be impeached. To spare the people from further machinations of an Arroyo-controlled Supreme Court and a court beholden to the ruling class’ interests, we call for the resignation of all the Supreme Court justices.
The government should be given a clear hand to choose new justices who have proven integrity, competence, probity, and independence; justices who have clear track records of serving the interests of the people, not factions of the elite.
But we also believe that the appointment power of the President of the Philippines over Supreme Court justices is one of the main reasons we always have a factionalized Supreme Court. The Court has become a plaything or a stamping pad for the president’s wishes.
While it is true that members of the Supreme Court come from a list provided by the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC), the JBC itself is composed of appointees by the President and confirmed by the Commission on Appointments which is, in turn, controlled by whichever is the ruling party in government.
To ensure that the court will be independent from the executive and legislative branches of government, the President should adopt a transparent approach in choosing the new justices. This can be done in a process that integrates public nomination, consultation and hearings. Independent people’s organizations, including the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, human rights groups, civil society groups, and others should be asked to nominate members of the Supreme Court based on constitutional requirements.
The impeachment by Congress of Chief Justice Corona can really be a ‘historic act’ if it is coupled with an independent, graft-free, democratic methods of choosing the new replacements.
Supreme Court Justices: Resign All!
Review the appointment powers of the President!
For people’s participation in choosing the new justices!
Partido Lakas ng Masa
Party of the Laboring Masses
This work is in the public domain