MANILA, Philippines – Running for 4 months with over 40 episodes now, the Coronavela – a play on the last name of the impeached Supreme Court magistrate and telenovela or soap opera – approaches its finale on the week of May 28, with senator-judges expected to already hand down a verdict.
High drama has marked Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, like a telenovela, especially since the Chief Justice took the witness stand last week. It is a story that gradually built up to the point that Corona cried before the impeachment court, and two families reconciled on live TV after a bitter feud of over 3 decades.
Even sociologist Randy David, in his newspaper column Sunday, May 27, described Corona’s courtroom appearance as a “performance” guided by a “script.”
Writing for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, David singled out Corona’s supposed walkout due to hypoglycemia, viewing the incident through sociological lens.
“Medical emergency has become the favorite refuge of those who would escape accountability. Medicine trumps the law so easily in our society because of the culture of awa (pity). The Chief Justice used it to full effect in his testimony,” David wrote.
For 47-year-old vegetable vendor Luzviminda Bernandino, the trial is much like a current, popular telenovela whose antagonist is a politician using his power for selfish intentions. “Kumbaga gamitan lang ‘yan,” Bernandino told Rappler. (It’s all about using each other.)
With the trial winding down, Bernandino said the truth is all she wants to find out. “Malinaw lang ba, sinong binibigyan ng pabor, sinong nagbibigay ng pabor, anong binibigay na pabor,” she said. (Just to clarify who is given favors, who is giving favors, and what favors are handed out.)
“Kapag napatunayan na totoo ang kanilang ipinaparatang, eh di ibigay ang karampatan na parusa,” Bernandino added. (Once the accusations are proven, then mete out the appropriate punishment.)
Online, other Filipinos share their expectations of the Coronavela finale next week. Read their reactions below.
The dean of the Ateneo School of Government, for his part, said the verdict to be issued this week will be both solemn and historic. In a Thought Leaders piece for Rappler, Dean Tony La Viña said he also wants it to end in “truth and love.”
“The Senate decision must be based on the truth as the trial, imperfect as it has been, has uncovered,” La Viña wrote. “The verdict must be rendered out of love for our nation; in the end, the only question the senators must answer is ‘What is good for our people?’” – with reports from Matthew James Balicudiong, Ferlyn Ramirez, and Patrick Taguibao/Rappler.com