MANILA, Philippines – Senator-judge Manuel Villar put in the last vote before Presiding Officer Juan Ponce Enrile did. He voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Speaking at length and reminiscing about his painful loss in the 2010 presidential elections, Villar said he pitied Corona who had been the target of stories critical of his properties, accounts and funds. He said that like Corona, he was at the receiving end of accusations which were denied but which fell on deaf ears.
Despite investigations that the Nacionalista Party, which he headed, initiated against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and the controversial NBN-ZTE deal, persistent associations with her stuck.
Sympathetic to Corona, Villar said that while he was voting to convict the Chief Justice, he believed that Corona was a good person. The standards of integrity needed for the position of chief justice are high, he added.
Villar also criticized the prosecution for its illegal presentation of evidence. He made references to “mailboxes” and “Mr Anonymous” which were cited by the prosecution as sources of information about Corona’s properties and bank accounts.
His wife, former Las Piñas Rep Cynthia Villar, did not sign impeachment complaint. Villar voted to allow the subpoena of Corona.
As presidential candidate, Villar said he was disappointed with the Supreme Court decision allowing then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to appoint the next chief justice.
He said it would have been better if the next president made the appointment. He said, “I’m saddened by the Supreme Court decision but the SC has the final say. If [an appeal] can still be pursued, we will see what can be done.
Villar said he based his decision to convict Corona on what the Chief Justice himself admitted as his own properties and funds. – Rappler.com
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