MANILA, Philippines – It’s their turn to declare a “people’s holiday” from what they describe as the country’s state of “injustice and impunity.”
Protesters led by partylist group Akbayan, the Black and White Movement, and the Bantay Gloria Network marched to the Supreme Court on Friday, Dec.16, 2011, to demand the resignation of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“The people are calling for Corona’s removal from the Supreme Court,” said former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros. “We have waited for Corona to prove his independence, to no avail. He has consistently towed the line and gave in to every whim of Arroyo. He should be removed to allow the Supreme Court to reclaim its integrity and independence.”
One of the grounds for Corona’s impeachment is his alleged bias toward former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, his former boss. Corona was Arroyo’s chief of staff, presidential legal counsel, spokesman and acting executive secretary when she was vice president in 1998 up until she became president in 2001.
Arroyo appointed Corona as SC justice in 2001, and chose her to be the chief justice in 2010, amid criticisms that it was a midnight appointment.
Arroyo named Corona as chief justice on May 17, 2010, a week after the presidential race that President Benigno Aquino III won. The SC earlier upheld the appointment ban, which bars presidents from making any appointments except to temporary executive posts two months before the elections and until his or her term ends in June.
Yet in the case of Corona, the SC, dominated by Arroyo appointees, reversed itself and said the judiciary is exempted from the ban.
Former Sen. Vicente Paterno, who was at the rally, said he found it “hard to believe” that Corona’s ties with his principal ended after he was appointed to the Court.
Meanwhile, the Flight Attendants’ and Stewards’ Association of the Philippines also joined calls for Corona’s resignation, saying he lost his credibility when he acted on the letters of Estelito Mendoza, lawyer of flag carrier Philippine Airlines (PAL). FASAP filed a case against PAL after the latter retrenched their members – some 1,400 flight attendants – in 1998. The high tribunal ruled in FASAP’s favor in September this year with finality, but ordered the case to be re-opened after Mendoza wrote the SC four times.
“Now he is trying to depict himself as an underdog. The real underdogs and victims here are the ordinary people like the 1,400 illegally retrenched PAL flight attendants and their respective families, FASAP president Bob Anduiza said in a statement.
“Corona is neither ordinary nor an underdog. He is high and mighty and very powerful,” FASAP president Bob Anduiza said. – Rappler.com