Tributes for Corona amid JBC meeting

Ex-Chief Justice Renato Corona returns to the Supreme Court to bid his supporters goodbye

CORONA RETURNS. Supreme Court employees pose with former Chief Justice Renato Corona during his Supreme Court visit Monday. Photo courtesy of Sonia Onyales (in photo)

MANILA, Philippines – While the Judicial and Bar Council (JBC) was starting the search for the next Chief Justice, it was a moment for tearful goodbyes Monday, June 4, in the room to be vacated by convicted magistrate Renato Corona.

Group by group, Supreme Court (SC) employees lined up outside Corona’s room to bid him farewell after the impeachment court voted to remove him from office on May 29.

Judith Tolentino, an SC employee for 15 years now, said Corona appeared glum yet happy. “Masaya siya kasi hindi niya maubos maisip na ang daming taong nagmamahal sa kanya,” Tolentino said. (He was happy because he never imagined the number of people who love him.)

CORONA MEMORIES. Supreme Court employee Judith Tolentino shows her photos taken with former Chief Justice Renato Corona. Photo by Matthew James Balicudiong

Tolentino even had a shirt autographed by the Chief Justice while she tried to contain her emotions.

Naiyak ako kasi siya ‘yung Chief Justice na nalapitan ko for how many years ako dito,” she said. (I cried because he was the only Chief Justice I got to personally approach after how many years here.)

EX-CJ'S AUTOGRAPH. Former Chief Justice Renato Corona himself signed the shirt of Supreme Court employee Judith Tolentino when Corona visited the court Monday.

‘Amiable’ Corona

Like Tolentino, many other SC employees cried while bidding Corona goodbye, said Sonia Oyales, who has worked at the High Court for 15 years.

As compared sa mga nakaraan, mas mabait siya. Mas (nakikihalubilo) siya sa mga tao. Mas madali siyang lapitan; ‘pag picture picture, mas madali siyang makipag-picture,” Oyales said. (Compared to his predecessors, he is more amiable. He mingles more with people. He is easier to approach, like when we want to take our pictures together.)

She said she couldn’t say the same for other magistrates, like Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio. “Hindi pa namin namin siya masyadong kilala. Kilala namin siya as associate justice pero hindi pa namin alam ang palakad niya,” Oyales said. (We don’t know him that much yet. We know him as an associate justice but we don’t know how he would run the court.)

SC SUPPORTERS. Supreme Court employees on Monday say goodbye to a person who, according to them, is one of the best Chief Justices they knew. Photo courtesy of Ricardo Alvarado

In a statement released to the media Sunday, June 3, Corona sounded hopeful amid his removal from office.

The former chief justice also thanked his supporters, saying his removal from office begins “the quest for transparency in government service.”

When Corona visited the SC on Monday, the JBC crafted a new rule for the selection of a chief justice, taking a cue from lessons learned in the former magistrate’s impeachment trial. This was the decision to include bank waivers in the requirements for applicants to the position of Chief Justice. –

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