RENATO CORONA IS MORALLY UNFIT TO BE CHIEF JUSTICE

Posted on May 29, 2012

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Public Statement from Faith-based Organizations in the Philippines on the Impeachment Trial of the Chief Justice of the Philippines

We are people of faith from Catholic and Protestant evangelical and mainline church traditions serving our people in social development, education, culture and the arts and various other faith-based organizations.

We have come together to express our belief that the recent shameful conduct of the man who heads the highest court of the land, beyond whose judgment there is no more hope of an appeal, all the more makes him grossly unfit to stay as Chief Justice.

Renato Corona is not on the dock merely for undisclosed monies and properties in his SALN. The main issue for which he is being tried is this: Is he or is he not morally fit to occupy an office that demands the highest and most stringent standards of “competence, integrity, probity and independence” as set forth in the Constitution under Article 8, Section 7, Paragraph 3 ?

We believe that the answer is a clear “no.”

We see a man who remained disappointingly ambiguous about his SALN report and the extent of his possessions, even after his appearance in court. We are unconvinced that such wealth was gained by honest means. Frugality and interest on savings cannot account for such vast sums of money. There is no clear source apart from his wife‟s sale of the Basa properties. The story behind this is itself a disappointing exposé of a trusteeship abused, relatives oppressed and corporate funds selfishly hoarded, the show of reconciliation notwithstanding.

The Chief Justice‟s maligning of a dead relative and other third parties in a public court hearing showed us a man incapable of ethical rigor. His melodramatic exit from the impeachment court, subsequently attributed to medical reasons, comes across as nothing more than the evasive ploy of a man who places such importance on his own authority that he dares to turn his back on a court where he stands accused.

Previously, we saw that, as presiding officer of the high court, the Chief Justice was susceptible to inappropriate external promptings, such that he used his influence to recall and overturn a decision already made final and executory. He wielded his considerable administrative powers towards the speedy granting of a TRO for the Arroyos, to enable them to exit the country and evade accountability.

It could be made to appear that the documentary and testimonial evidence so far presented is technically insufficient to prove beyond doubt the charges against the Chief Justice. Or that they are at least no longer in the proportion of an “impeachable offense.”

But the sum of what has come to light is certainly enough to persuade us that Renato Corona fails to meet the highest and most stringent standards of “competence, integrity, probity, and independence” required of his office. It is a clear and present danger to the country that he should maintain the power to arbitrate and interpret the law for the rest of us, and make judgments that could mean life or death, wealth or dispossession, vindication or dishonor for vast masses of our people.

We therefore appeal to the moral sense of our senator-judges, to take the high road of conscience and not political loyalties as they rule on the moral fitness of Renato Corona for the office of Chief Justice.

We trust that our senator-judges will prove equal to the call of a historic moment such as this. It is our hope that the longing of our people for integrity in its public officials shall not be disappointed. May our senator-judges and all in authority bring this nation to a new level of accountability in governance as they take to heart this command: “Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits…Follow justice and justice alone….”

“Do not deny justice to your poor people in their lawsuits.
Exodus 23:6 (New International Version)

“Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you.”
Deuteronomy 16:20 (New International Version)

Signed:

Melba Padilla Maggay, Ph.D., President, Institute for Studies in Asian Church and Culture

Ruth S. Callanta, President, Center for Community Transformation ( CCT ) Group of Ministries

Ruben C. de Lara, Founder, President and CEO, Serving Humanity Through Empowerment and Development Inc.

Violeta Villaroman-Bautista, Ph.D., President, Care and Counsel Wholeness Center

Norma Liongoren, Curator, Liongoren Gallery

Elnora C. Romero, Chief Economic Development Specialist, National Economic and Development Authority, Member, Diliman Bible Church

Luis P. Gatmaitan, M.D., Physician, Children‟s Book Author

Prof. Lorenzo Bautista, Department Chair, Theology Faculty, Asian Theological Seminary

Sunil Stephens, Seminary Pastor, Alliance Graduate School

Prof. Fe Mangahas, Board Member, Women in Development, ISACC Fellow

Jennifer Llaguno, Founding Member, UP Center for Women‟s Studies, Member, Diliman Campus Bible Church

Imelda Cajipe Endaya, Member, KASIBULAN Women

Alfredo Liongoren, Member, Reach Ministry, Philippines

Simoun Balboa, Proprietor, Sining Kamalig Gallery

Resurrecion Benosa, Secretariat, Social Watch Philippines

Regelio G. Mangahas, Member, Salt and Light for Christ Community

________________________________________________________________
STOP PRESS: Senate convicts Corona
By Maila Ager
INQUIRER.net
5:00 pm | Tuesday, May 29th, 2012MANILA, Philippines –

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. cast the 16th “guilty” vote Tuesday for Chief Justice Renato Corona, the magic number needed to convict him.

Under the rules, a two-third vote of the total members of the Senate or 16 of the total 23 incumbent senators are needed to convict Corona.
Aside from Revilla, the 15 senators who voted to convict Corona were the following:
1. Senator Edgardo Angara
2. Senator Alan Peter Cayetano
3. Senator Pia Cayetano
4. Senator Franklin Drilon
5. Senate Pro Tempore Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada
6. Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero
7. Senator Teofisto Guingona III
8. Senator Gregorio Honasan II
9. Senator Panfilo Lacson
10. Senator Manuel Lapid
11. Senator Loren Legarda
12. Senator Sergio Osmeña III
13. Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan
14. Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III
15. Senator Ralph Recto
Only three – Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Ferdinand “Bong-Bong”Marcos Jr. have so far voted to acquit Corona.

Four senators, including Senate President Juan Ponce-Enrile, have yet to cast their votes.

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Posted in: Leadership