What if Corona goes to the SC?

Purple S. Romero

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Being the most senior in the High Court, Justice Antonio Carpio, as officer-in-charge, will decide when to call for a special session

CORONA to SC. Will he seek - and find - relief from his colleagues in the High Court?

MANILA, Philippines – Chief Justice Renato Corona may run to the Supreme Court (SC) if the Senate — sitting as an impeachment court — votes to convict him Tuesday, May 29. This was what lead defense counsel Serafin Cuevas told a radio reporter over the weekend, a statement that didn’t sit well with Presiding Officer Sen Juan Ponce Enrile. The latter reminded Cuevas in open court Monday that the Senate is the sole trier of cases involving impeachable officials.

But can Corona really count on the SC for support at this time?

The High Court is on recess. It will resume its en banc sessions on June 19 yet.

Under the internal rules of the Court, special sessions “may be held whenever necessary.” It is the Chief Justice who calls for the special session.

Corona did this in November 2011, when former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sought a temporary restraining order from the SC. Arroyo filed a petition for a temporary restraining order (TRO) to stop the Department of Justice from enforcing its travel ban on her and her husband, lawyer Jose Miguel.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima prohibited the two from leaving the country because they were under preliminary investigation for their alleged involvement in reported cheating in the 2007 senatorial elections.

Corona called for a special session and the SC issued the TRO.


If Corona files a petition before the SC, however, he will have to inhibit from the case. 

It is only the next most senior justice — in this case, Justice Antonio Carpio, his perceived nemesis — who can call for a special session. Corona, however, has asked for Carpio’s inhibition in his cases. He moved for the inhibition of Carpio and Justice Lourdes Sereno when he first asked the SC to nullify the impeachment complaint. (The SC has yet to rule on this case).

Besides Corona, lawyers Homobono Adaza, Alan Paguia, and 4 others asked for the inhibition of Carpio and Sereno. The two justices refused to inhibit. 

Carpio is touted as a possible replacement of Corona if the latter is removed from his post. The two used to be friends, but Corona himself has admitted that there is “enmity and rivalry” between them. Carpio has held opposing viewpoints from that of Corona in politically-sensitive cases. 

If Carpio inhibits, however, Justice Presbitero Velasco will be the next most senior justice. But Velasco himself inhibited in the case involving Corona in February 2012, because his son, Marinduque Rep Allan Velasco, signed the impeachment complaint against Corona.  – Rappler.com 

Click on the links below for more of Rappler’s special coverage of the Corona trial. 

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