MANILA, Philippines – Senator Joker Arroyo is the first to find Chief Justice Renato Corona “not guilty” on Tuesday, May 28.
Arroyo was the second to vote on judgment day of the Corona trial. Earlier, Sen Edgardo Angara found Corona guilty.
“Impeachment is a political process, not a political assassination,” Arroyo said. He said what happened in the House of Representatives was not a proper impeachment process.
“I cannot imagine removing the Chief Justice on account of his SALN (Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth),” Arroyo. “This is not justice…this is the naked power as it was in 1972.”
Arroyo was a human rights lawyer under the Marcos regime.
The senator has consistently sided with the Chief Justice on two points: the Court’s issuance of a temporary restraining order on a government-imposed travel ban on former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and Corona’s belief that the attack on him is an attack on the entire judiciary.
In the beginning of the impeachment trial, he told reporters: “The SC has put a stop, put a brake on the totalitarian tendencies of this government. We already have a creeping martial law here that we don’t only notice.”
An ally of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, he has consistently questioned the prosecution’s evidence. He fumed over its erroneous declaration that Corona has 45 properties and its anonymous sources. He also questioned the weight of prosecution’s evidence.
Senator Arroyo was a key player in the first Aquino regime led by Mr Aquino’s mother, the late President Corazon Aquino. He served as her first executive secretary. – Rappler.com