MANILA, Philippines – The whole nation watched as the trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona finally reached its climax yesterday, May 29, ending with the first successful conviction of an impeached chief justice.
The Senate, a smorgasbord of personalities and backgrounds, cast their votes Tuesday. All that was needed was 16 votes (two-thirds of the senators), and Corona’s fate was sealed when Sen Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr cast his vote.
The remaining senators Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar Jr also voted in favor of impeachment, culminating with Enrile’s “guilty” vote. The conviction votes totaled 20, with 3 acquittal votes from senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
The online community reacted with varying degrees of humor to what has been dubbed the “Coronavela.”
Villar, the second to the last man to speak, also elicited reactions online. Many remembered his catchy jingle from the 2010 elections.
People online showed they were aware of other factors that could have affected the decisions of senator-judges.
Some senators got more attention than others. Santiago delivered a 20-minute speech on the corruption of the Philippine government with her trademark anger, passion, and animated gestures.
Enrile tried to shorten her speech, prompting Santiago’s reply, “I thought I was unlimited,” which in turn immediately sparked some jokes.
Enrile, whose speech detailed the highs and lows of the trial, was perceived as the wise man of the Senate:
Not everyone, however, had definitive views on the conviction of Renato Corona. Some anti-conviction netizens questioned the bases of the senator-judges’ decisions, saying the evidence presented did not merit a conviction. Others took the criticism of the prosecution, even after they secured the conviction votes, as indication that their success may not have been completely earned.
Some of those who had a lot of time on their hands made memes out of the historical occasion.
By Wednesday, the Supreme Court (SC), under Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio convened a special en banc session. The High Court decided to release the Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth of all 14 SC justices, along with those of justices of the Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan, Court of Tax Appeals, and the rest of the country’s judges. The country has about 2,000 justices and judges. – Rappler.com