Corona: 'I've done no wrong, I did not steal'
MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - Chief Justice Renato Corona on Tuesday, May 22, said his "conscience is clear" and that he has done no wrong even as he accused the Aquino administration of using all state resources to bring him down.
In an opening statement in Filipino, Corona said all the allegations against him in the ongoing impeachment trial are "all lies."
As predicted, Corona dragged President Benigno Aquino III into the fray, accusing him of plotting to oust him because of his family's loss in the Hacienda Luisita case before the Supreme Court.
He said he was also a victim of a leftist plot in government, and that the President was controlled by Ronald Llamas, his political adviser. Llamas is a former president of the leftist party Akbayan, a coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Party in the 2010 presidential election.
He said: "Siguradong wala akong kasalanan, wala akong ginawang katiwalian. Hindi ako nagnakaw sa gobyerno." (I am very certain that I am not fault, I have done no wrong. I did not steal from government.)
He said his family earned his wealth legally and from years of "honest work."
Before he joined government, Corona said he was a successful private lawyer. (Watch more in the video below.)
He accused the prosecution of bringing him to court without evidence. In the course of the trial, the prosecution "broke all laws" to pin him down through means that undermine the country's laws and the Constitution. "Binaboy nila ang proseso ng saligang batas para yurakan ang aking karapatan, mga batas sa foreign current deposits, AMLA [Anti-Money Laundering Act] at due process."
The prosecution's charges against him are all imagined, the Chief Justice said.
And if the government could do this to a chief justice like him, Corona said, they could do it to ordinay citizens, senators and other public officials.
"I have a clear conscience," he said.
Presiding Officer Sen Juan Ponce Enrile already interrupted him thrice, asking him to go straight to the point.
Private prosecutor Mario Bautista questioned Corona's long speech, saying he was accusing people who were not at the court to defend themselves. But he was overruled.
After a short break, Corona resumed his speech. This time he devoted his remarks to the family dispute involving his wife Cristina and her Basa-Guidote family.
The members of the family were at the court to witness his testimony. He described the dead Basa patriarch, Jose Basa III, as a "spoiled brat," causing some of the family members in court to cry.
Corona was still speaking as of posting. - Rappler.com