Oops, Corona not on message

Chief Justice Renato Corona calls his impeachment trial a fraud while his spokespersons say they respect the process

FRAUD OR PROPER VENUE? Chief Justice Renato Corona calls the impeachment trial a fraud while his spokespersons say they submit to the process. Photo by Emil Sarmiento

MANILA, Philippines – There seems to be a miscommunication in the communications team of Chief Justice Renato Corona. 

Corona’s lawyers repeatedly said that they respect the authority of the impeachment court even after they accused Malacañang of pressuring senator-judges to defy a temporary restraining order on Corona’s dollar accounts.

“We have no intention of disrespecting or criticizing the Senate,” said defense spokesperson Rico Quicho on Day 16 of the impeachment trial. 

Defense spokesperson Tranquil Salvador III echoed him, “If we didn’t respect this process, we shouldn’t be here….We have no intention of discrediting the Senate because we believe in the Senate as a strong institution.” 

Yet in a press statement released the same day, Corona said, “Itong impeachment trial na ito ay isang huwad, isang paghihiganti [nang] sukdulan at kahiya-hiyang tangka na pigilin ang pagbabahagi ng lupain sa Hacienda Luisita.” (This impeachment trial is a fraud, an act of ultimate vengeance and a shameful attempt to stop the distribution of Hacienda Luisita.) 

Asked about the disconnect between their pronouncements and their client’s statements, Salvador was surprised with Corona’s statement but sought to downplay it. 

He said he only heard that a statement would be released Monday afternoon but was not part of those who crafted it.

“We have to be very candid and honest with you. Sa dami ng nag-uusap, minsan ang views ng isa ay nalalagay na hindi na rin napapansin sa pagmamadali. So siguro po ihiwalay natin ang salitang iyon.” (Because of the number of people talking, sometimes a person’s views is put into writing that others don’t notice in our rush. So let’s just separate that word.) 

Salvador added, “I don’t want to say we release haphazard statements. We don’t. But of course, in situations like this when emotions run high, you can’t avoid saying something that is not consistent with the principal position.” – Rappler.com 

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