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MANILA, Philippines – Is he a politician or a Chief Justice?
The law firm co-founded by Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio criticized Chief Justice Renato Corona and denied orchestrating a black propaganda campaign against him.
In a strongly worded statement, Villaraza Cruz Marcelo & Angangco (CVCLAW), also known in legal circles as “The Firm,” responded to statements Corona made in a series of media interviews.
“In a media blitz, more suitable of a politician than a sitting magistrate, Chief Justice Renato C. Corona accuses our Firm as behind the alleged ‘black propaganda’ and ‘professional hatchet job’ against him,” said the firm.
“We deny in no uncertain terms the baseless allegations of Chief Justice Corona. These accusations and conspiracy theories are absolutely false and divert public attention away from the issues in his trial.”
The statement was signed by CVCLAW managing partner and chief operating officer Bienvenido Somera Jr.
On Wednesday, March 7, Corona was asked in an interview on GMA7 whether or not he thinks Carpio is behind attacks against him.
The Chief Justice replied, “Eh ‘di mo maalis sa akin eh kasi matagal na niyang gustong maging Chief Justice. ‘Di naman natin maalis ‘yun eh. ‘Tsaka alam kong mga partner niya sa law office niya eh, sila ‘yun gumagalaw.’ (You can’t take that away from me because he has long wanted to be Chief Justice. And I know that it’s his partners in his law office who are the ones moving.)
Corona has also accused Carpio of being a conspirator in his impeachment, along with President Benigno Aquino III, and Transporation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas.
‘No participation in trial’
The firm also said that as early as December 2011, it announced it will not participate in Corona’s impeachment trial.
“Events have borne this statement to be true as we have declined any requests for assistance in the trial. None of our lawyers have appeared as counsel for either side.”
The firm clarified that Carpio has “long severed ties” with CVCLAW. Carpio was appointed to the Supreme Court in 2001.
Carpio’s former law firm added that if Corona is convicted, it will respect whoever Aquino chooses as his replacement. Carpio has reportedly been one of Aquino’s bets to replace Corona.
“We join the nation in the belief that the President will appoint a Chief Justice of his own choice, possessed with probity, integrity and independence, and not one dictated by others.”
The firm added, “We wish Chief Justice Corona well as he prepares for his defense.”
Corona’s lawyers will begin presenting their evidence and witnesses when the trial resumes on March 12, Monday. – Rappler.com