MANILA, Philippines – What karma?
Former president Benigno Aquino III rejected the notion that the fate of ousted chief justice Maria Lourdes Sereno was brought about by his administration’s moves against her predecessor, the late Renato Corona.
Aquino was initially hesitant to comment, saying he would rather respect the dead. He later on said the case of Sereno is different from that of Corona, who was impeached by Aquino’s allies in the House of Representatives in 2011 and convicted by the Senate in 2012.
“Karma, may kasalanan. Ano’ng kasalanan ko? Siguro ‘yun ang first question. Siguro isa lang point na: ‘Yung mga nadiskubre do’n [sa complaint], galing sa kanya [Corona] mismo. Siya nagsabi, as opposed to iba naglabas,” Aquino said in a press conference on Monday, June 4, after attending a Department of Justice (DOJ) preliminary hearing on Dengvaxia.
(Karma, meaning there was a sin. What’s my sin? Maybe that’s the first question. I think the point is whatever was discovered, it came from Corona himself. He admitted it, as opposed to others releasing it.)
“Ngayon, karma, so ‘yung may kasalanan bibisitahin, babalikan ng kasalanan. Ano’ng kasalanan ni CJ Sereno as far as Corona is concerned? Parang incomplete ‘yung kuwento,” he said.
(Now, karma, so the one at fault would be haunted by the sin. What was the fault of CJ Sereno as far as Corona is concerned? The story seems incomplete.)
Both Corona and Sereno drew the ire of sitting presidents and were hit by issues involving their Statements of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth. (READ: How similar are the Sereno and Corona impeachment cases?)
Aquino earlier backed moves to oust Corona, who was a known ally of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Corona was among Arroyo’s midnight appointees.
Sereno, meanwhile, was repeatedly lambasted by President Rodrigo Duterte for criticizing his bloody anti-drug campaign.
But Aquino said that unlike Sereno, Corona underwent the constitutional process of impeachment. In contrast, the Supreme Court (SC) ousted Sereno by granting the quo warranto petition of Solicitor General Jose Calida.
“May proseso sila do’n. ‘Yung impeachment wala namang katiyakang lulusot sa Kongreso, Senado. Sugal ‘yun…. Dinaan sa proseso ‘yung nangyari [kay Corona]. Dito parang ‘di ko maintindihan ‘yung proseso,” Aquino said.
(They have a process for that. There is no guarantee that impeachment will move forward in the House and the Senate. That’s a gamble…. What happened to Corona underwent a process. In the case of Sereno, I can’t understand the process.)
“Kasi ‘pag tinignan mo impeachment, nakalagay sa Constitution ‘sole’…. Kongreso at saka Senado…. Biglang pasok Supreme Court, na parang ‘di ata nakalagay diyan [at] na-divert sa Padre Faura,” he added.
(Because if you look at impeachment, the Constitution says “sole”… House and the Senate. But the Supreme Court suddenly came in and the issue was diverted to Padre Faura.)
Aquino reiterated that Sereno’s ouster was unconstitutional and “forced.”
Sereno earlier appealed the decision against her, seeking the reversal of her colleagues’ voting. Opposition senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV also filed a separate motion for reconsideration.
House leaders, meanwhile, have said they would wait for the final decision of the SC before deciding on the articles of impeachment. The Senate, for its part, has so far not taken a united stand on the issue. – Rappler.com
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