MANILA, Philippines – A day after President Benigno Aquino III challenged Chief Justice Renato Corona to come clean on his dollar accounts, the Chief Justice turned the tables on him – and more.
In a fiery statement, Corona challenged the President to disclose not only his wealth but also his “psychological records” to the public.
Aquino’s psychological well-being was a controversial issue in the 2010 presidential campaign.
At the height of the campaign, supposed medical records allegedly sourced from the Nacionalista Party (NP) claimed that the Liberal party standard-bearer suffered from depression. Aquino’s closest rival then was Sen. Manuel Villar, the NP’s standard-bearer.
Corona said the public deserves to know the true state of the President’s mental health.
The Chief Justice issued the statement after Mr Aquino broke his silence on the ongoing Corona impeachment trial.
In that February 16 speech at the La Consolacion College, the President called on the public to watch the trial closely even as he made the conclusion that Corona lied in his sworn asset statements. He dared Corona to reveal his dollar accounts.
The SC issued a temporary restraining order stopping the impeachment court from looking at the said foreign currency bank deposits, but Corona – through his lawyers – said he would reveal them in due time.
Get your facts right
In his statement, Corona also said that Aquino should check his facts regarding the Rabe v. Flores case, which the President cited in his speech.
In the said case, the SC sacked a court interpreter after she failed to declare her financial interest in a market stall in her SALN. Aquino said in his February 16 speech that it would be unfair if a chief magistrate could get away with not declaring over P30 million worth of his bank accounts in his SALN, when a court personnel was penalized for less grave reasons.
In his response, Corona said Delsa Flores was sanctioned not only because she did not declare the said source of wealth, but also because she was getting “double compensation” as a court interpreter and as an employee of the Municipal Government of Panabo in Davao.
The Chief Justice also scored Mr Aquino for allegedly using his clout over executive departments and the House of Representatives just to remove him from the post.
Corona said that Aquino has mobilized officals from the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Land Transportation Office and the Registers of Deeds to pin him down and his family on charges of acquiring properties.
“Ginagamit na po ninyo ang buong puwersa ng gobyerno upang ako at ang aking buong pamilya ay apihin at pagmalupitan. Ito po ba ang patas na laban? At matuwid na daan?” he said. Read Corona’s entire speech here.
Corona appealed to the public not to allow Aquino have control over the judiciary, as he already has enormous power over the executive and legislative departments.
In a statement, Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said that Corona continues to “deflect public attention from the real issues.”
Valte said: “Despite the lengthiness of Mr. Corona’s recent statement, he remains deaf to the basic question foremost in the public’s mind: Why is there a discrepancy between what he disclosed in his SALN, and the wealth and properties that have surfaced in the course of his trial? And more of this wealth is being revealed with every day that passes.”
Valte said the Chief Justice should just stick to the issue of whether or not he could explain his wealth.
“We repeat: This is not personal; it is a fight for our justice system. It is dismaying to hear from the Chief Justice the same lines we have heard from Mrs. Arroyo. If he had only used this statement to clear his name, then public discourse about this issue would not have been diminished. Has anything good come out of Mr. Corona’s statement? No.” – Rappler.com