Guilty decision ‘restores public confidence in court’-A A +A
Wednesday, May 30, 2012
MANILA -- Several Filipinos who monitored Tuesday’s “promulgation” of Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment case considered the guilty verdict handed down by the Senate as fair, impartial and restores public confidence and trust in court.
Thousands of Filipinos from different areas in the Philippines and even outside the country monitored Tuesday’s developments in Corona’s impeachment trial through radio, television, and even online at www.sunstar.com.ph and social networking sites.
Based on the comments of those who witnessed the historic event, majority favored the decision of the Senate impeachment court. Others were gravely disappointed with the ruling, while some were indifferent.
The Senate, with a vote of 20-3, decided to remove Corona from his post after it found him guilty of committing culpable violation of the Constitution and betraying public trust.
The impeachment court said Corona can no longer appeal its decision.
Corona is the first impeached official to be handed down a verdict from the impeachment tribunal.
Malacañang welcomed the ruling, saying it is a step in restoring public's confidence in the Judiciary.
"Our democratic institutions have been strengthened and have been proven to work," said deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte.
"Mr. Corona is merely the public face of the things that ail our justice system. Let us never forget that those who come to court, be they rich or poor, must do so in the expectation of receiving impartial justice from those who uphold both the spirit and the letter of the law," she added.
Positive signal to investors
The Makati Business Club, which is composed of some of the most influential businessmen based in the country’s central business district, also welcomed the verdict, saying Corona did not appear to have passed the “bar of integrity and moral fitness for the top magistrate of the country’s judicial system.”
“While certain rules and parameters had to be defined along the way due to the, in many ways, unprecedented nature of this impeachment trial, the Makati Business Club believes that the process leading to the senator-judges’ final decision against Chief Justice Corona was transparent, fair, and impartial,” the group said in a press statement.
Business leaders in Cebu also saw Corona’s conviction as a positive signal to investors who are concerned about graft and corruption in the Philippines.
Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Prudencio Gesta said Corona’s impeachment will strengthen the administration's credibility, and bolster the fight against corruption.
Cebu Business Club president Gordon Alan Joseph said the impeachment “will put the Philippines back on the map” of potential investors.
“Finally, we can show to the world that justice can be served in our country in a fair trial with due process and nobody is above the law, regardless of position and stature,” said Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Eric Ng Mendoza.
Cebu City Mayor Mike Rama believes otherwise, saying Corona should have been acquitted because the prosecution failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Chief Justice was guilty.
“I stand by the dictum that it is better to acquit a guilty person than to convict an innocent one,” Rama said.
Reinforces people’s faith on democracy
In Misamis Oriental, Vice Governor Norris Babiera said the conviction reinforces the people’s faith on the country’s democracy.
“At last, the nation can now move on. I salute the 20 senator-judges who voted for conviction for bringing to a higher level the standard of a public office,” Babiera said.
Lawyer Eduardo Dinglasan Jr., legal officer of the Department of Agrarian Reform, said it was a legalistic verdict.
“We have to maintain the high standard of integrity especially for law implementing agencies such as the Supreme Court,” Dinglasan said, adding “those who dispense justice must conform to the highest standards.”
Albay Governor Joey Salceda also welcomed the verdict, saying “it restores the credibility of our institutions and reinforces the workings of democracy.”
Ako Bicol party-list Representative Alfredo Garbin said the guilty verdict “is a reaffirmation that a public office is a public trust and that public officials and employees are accountable to the Filipino people at all times.”
“Public officials should not enrich themselves while holding public office but instead should serve the public with utmost integrity and must live modest lives,” he said.
Several residents in Davao were also happy with Corona’s conviction, but just like Representative Garbin, majority focused on lessons the Filipino people should learn from the impeachment trial.
"One important lesson the impeachment trial teaches us is that there is a more effective approach in initiating efforts to file an impeachment complaint, that is by filing it with the Ombudsman so that a fact finding inquiry/case build-up be conducted by the Ombudsman to secure evidence needed to establish probable cause before the complaint is filed with the House of Representatives," said Regional State Prosecutor Antonio Arellano.
Davao Representative Karlo Nograles (1st district) said while he only hopes the Senate decision will put a closure to this case, people should bring the lessons learned with them.
Compostela Valley Representative Maricar Zamora-Apsay described the guilty verdict as “one of the biggest boosts in our collective campaign to fight corruption, and to make lawbreakers accountable for their crimes against the nation.”
"I salute the senator judges. It was a fair judgment," said Compostela Valley Governor Arturo Uy.
The president of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines in Davao, lawyer Roan Libarios, also found the proceedings “fair and credible.”
Mixed views online
Several netizens also rejoiced over the Senate decision, while others were dismayed by the ruling.
“I salute all the senators for a job well done! To Senate President Enrile you are the best. God bless you and keep you always,” said a certain “Len” on Sun.Star website’s live chat.
Dinopski and another chatter who used the name “Guest” also praised Enrile, saying: “Manong Jhonny, happy kami (Manong Jhonny, we are happy).”
Marco Morales disagreed, however, saying on Facebook: “It means 87 percent of Filipinos don’t know or understand the law…Is that something to be happy about?”
Monique Ann Tiongco, who uses @monatio on Twitter, said: “This is the kind of justice we have. This is the kind of system THEY serve. God bless the Philippines.”
Jenny Corpus Bugarin, using @callmejennyb, twitted: “I hope Chief Justice Corona's guilty verdict would change the face of politics in the Philippines. Nobody should be above the law.”
Paolo Paulin, a fan of Sun.Star – Philippine News on Facebook, shared his view, saying “kahit ma convict pa si Corona, wala pa rin magbabago sa ating bansa dahil halos lahat ng ating government officials ay corrupt...”
Boyax Polinar, another reader, commented: “Tandaan natin ang mga senador na sumabay sa USO hindi pinairal ang totoong batas...Kawawa ang maging CJ pumalit ky Corona hindi pa matapos ang taon na ito masampahan na naman ng impeachment case yan...Kahit anu pa kalinis, may maisampa pa rin...Judicial crisis ang mangyari sa Pinas...Hawak na ng politiko ang mga huwes.”
Many, however, were hoping that President Benigno Aquino III will choose the best replacement for Corona.
“Sana tuloy-tuloy na ang pagbabago sa Pilipinas,” a comment from a certain Dudz stated.
“I think CJ is guilty on what he's doing...Let's take the bigger picture, future of our dear country, the Philippines!” said Mcvilbar on Sun.Star’s live chat.
There were more than 4,000 readers who joined Sun.Star’s live chat on Tuesday, while over 12,800 people watched the live streaming on www.sunstar.com.ph.
Sun.Star streamed live Tuesday’s event at the Senate impeachment court in partnership with People’s Television or PTV. (Jill Beltran/Kathrina Alvarez/JCV/With Sun.Star Cebu/Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro/Sun.Star Davao/PNA/Sunnex)