Corona fights back: ‘I am not going anywhere’

Purple S. Romero
Chief Justice reacts to reports of a "secret plan" to remove him from office

MANILA, Philippines – Breaking his silence, Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona said that he will “not be going anywhere” amid reports that allies of President Benigno Aquino III in the lower house are preparing to file an impeachment complaint against him today.

In a speech delivered before the court employees today, Dec.12, Corona said that he chose to speak up after reports confirmed a “secret plan” to remove him from office. SC spokesman Jose Midas Marquez, in his article titled “Unyielding Allegiance to the Constitution,” said that he discovered a plot where House members would amend the rules so that they could go straight to the plenary and transmit the articles of impeachment immediately to the Senate.

SC Chief Justice Renato CoronaCavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Aguinaldo Abaya Jr. was quoted in reports as saying that the Liberal Party, the party of the president, has sufficient numbers in the lower house to impeach Corona.

Talks of impeachment came after Aquino unleashed a series of attacks against Corona, an appointee of his predecessor, former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Aquino slammed the SC publicly thrice already: in the 30th anniversary of the Makati Business Club on Dec.1, where he scored the Court’s flip-flopping on certain cases, in the 1st National Criminal Justice System Summit on Dec.5, where he raised the midnight appointment of Corona as chief justice, and at a media forum in Sofitel on Dec.6, where he said that an unstable judicial system does not contribute to economic improvement.

Aquino also castigated the Court for declaring the Truth Commission – which aims to probe Arroyo’s alleged acts of corruption – unconstitutional.

The fiery criticisms came after the SC voted 8-5 on Nov.15 to issue the temporary restraining order enjoining the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Immigration from enforcing the watch list orders against Mrs. Arroyo and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel. Justice Secretary Leila de Lima placed the Arroyos under the immigration watch list after they were both implicated for alleged poll fraud in 2007. Arroyo sought clearance from the DOJ to leave for medical treatment abroad for her bone illness but her request was denied. The former president then sought the Court’s intervention.

The House majority would be holding a caucus later today, for which the subject of Corona’s impeachment would reportedly be brought up.

Corona said he is ready to face his detractors.  “I have been quietly preparing and will be ready to take more determined steps in the coming days. I want all of you to know that your chief justice continues to be in command and will lead the fight against any and all who dare to destroy the court and the independence of the judiciary,” he said.

“Do not forget, I am here, I am not going anywhere. I am your defender and most of all I am your chief justice. Together we will face these challenges and fight all who dare to destroy the court and our system of justice under the constitution,” he warned. – Rappler.com