MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona comes out swinging against his fellow justices in the Supreme Court.
In a media blitz on Wednesday, March 7, Corona dismissed the dissenting opinion of Associate Justice Ma Lourdes Sereno accusing him of irregularities in issuing a temporary restraining order that would have allowed the Arroyos to escape prosecution. (Read: The Arroyo TRO: What Happened Behind the Scenes.)
Corona said in an interview with GMA News TV that Sereno’s allegations were exaggerated.
“Maraming sinabi doon si Justice Sereno na hindi lang ako, kundi ang mga ibang kasamahan ko doon. Kaya natalo siya. Kaya dissenting opinion siya. Natalo siya sa botohan. Ang kanyang opinyon, hindi naboto. Eh kasi hindi naman, marami siyang sinabi doon, mga exaggeration.” (Sereno said many things in her dissenting opinion not just about me but other justices. That’s why she lost. Hers was a dissenting opinion because she lost in the voting. Many of the things she said were exaggerations.)
Corona said he was waiting for Sereno to testify before the impeachment court because his lawyers were prepared to cross-examine her.
“Sinabi niya ginawa ko raw ganito, ginawa ko raw ganoon. Hindi naman totoo eh,” said the Chief Justice. (She said I did this, I did that. It’s not true.)
Last week, the prosecution invited Sereno to testify on Article 7, which accuses Corona of issuing the TRO in favor of the Arroyos “to give them an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice.”
It was not just Sereno who Corona attacked in his media interviews.
In an interview with dzBB, he again criticized Associate Justice Antonio Carpio when asked about the root of reports on the supposed divide in the High Tribunal between the pro-Arroyo and pro-Aquino factions.
“Ang pinagmulan lang siguro niyan, matagal naman kasi si Justice Carpio nag-aambisyon maging chief justice. Siguro iyan ang pinagmulan niyan …. Sino ba ang ayaw maging chief justice?” (The root of that is probably Justice Carpio has long wanted to become a chief justice. Who doesn’t want to be a chief justice?)
On the first day of his impeachment trial, Corona said in a speech at the Supreme Court that 3 personalities were behind efforts to remove him from office. He hinted that the 3 conspirators were Carpio, President Benigno Aquino III, and Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.
Carpio has kept his silence on the allegations.
SC not affected
Despite the controversies hounding him and the SC, Corona said the Court is unaffected.
“The Supreme Court is okay. The justices are not affected there.”
Corona stressed that he is fighting on for the sake of the Supreme Court and the judiciary.
“Pag na-control ang judiciary at ako’y bibigay dito, lalabas na masyado ang concentration ng kapangyarihan sa kamay ng iilan. Hindi ako makakapayag diyan eh. Kawawa ang hudikatura at kawawa ang bayan pag iyan ang nangyari.” (If the judiciary is controlled and I give up, power will be concentrated in the hands of a few. I can’t allow that to happen. This is not good for the judiciary and for the nation.)
“Masisira ang checks and balances. Masisira ang demokrasya natin.” (Checks and balances in government will be damaged. Our democracy will be destroyed.)
‘I set the tone’
Corona said another reason his rivals want him out of office is the Supreme Court decision on the Hacienda Luisita case. Aquino’s family owns Hacienda Luisita.
He said “certain parties” want a payment of P10-B for the distribution of the land to farmers but he is blocking this.
“Ang ibig kong sabihin sa pagharang na iyon, kasi ako ay punong mahistrado eh. I set the tone and I lead the direction on where the court is going so in that sense, hindi ko maalis sa isip nila na ako ang humahadlang doon. Although in reality, isa lang naman ang boto ko.” (What I mean is that I block in the sense that I am the chief justice. I set the tone and I lead the direction where the court is going so I cannot stop them from thinking that I am the one blocking this. Although in reality, I have only one vote.) – Rappler.com