MANILA, Philippines – A former official of the Catholic Church and anti-corruption advocate has expressed alarm that the impending impeachment trial of Supreme Court Chief Justice should serve as a “warning” to the other members of the magistrate to refrain from going against the wishes of the Palace.
Retired Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan Oscar Cruz, who is now engaged in social apostolate under the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP), said that the “hurried” impeachment complaint vs Corona was aimed at reminding the High Court to “keep its hands off” the Hacienda Luisita issue.
“When the SC decision ordered that the Hacienda Luisita land be distributed and the farmers be paid, I think that was the last straw. Somebody up there must have lost his head,” Cruz said.
Cruz said that “the big boy in Malacañang” is retaliating because of the SC’s decision to divide the sprawling sugarcane estate in Tarlac for the benefit of more than 6,000 farmers.
Hacienda Luisita is owned by the Cojuangcos, President Aquino’s maternal relatives, who, according to reports, castigated him for failing to keep the land.
Touch me not
“Hacienda Luisita is like Noli Me Tangere, touch me not,” Cruz said, referring to the novel written by national hero Jose Rizal about the ills of Philippine society during his time.
Cruz said that he is “amazed and could hardly understand” why there is an apparent conspiracy to have Corona booted out of office by subjecting him to the pressure of an impeachment trial when there were 14 justices who ruled on the Hacienda Luicita case as a collegial body.
“If he (Corona) will resign, it will just be a sign of guilt,” Cruz said. “If I were him, I will fight to the hilt.”
When asked to react to several media reports implicating Corona in various controversies hounding his personal properties, as well as his leadership at the SC, Cruz called these as “pre-trial propaganda” so that Corona’s “good name will be besmirched and muddled.”
“I have yet to read them but you can’t help but question the timing why all these are coming out now,” Cruz said.
Cruz said he no longer holds masses since “being out of the box” and retiring from office, but said that based on his talks with his colleagues in his social apostolate work, quite a number of his followers are “against the machinations of Malacañang to oust Corona.”
“They are against how the SC is being threatened as a whole. Although it’s only the Chief Justice physically, it carries the message against all the justices: dont fool around or else,” Cruz said. – Rappler.com