Tañada ‘wheelchair’ comment spreads online

Posted at 05/24/2012 7:21 PM | Updated as of 05/25/2012 10:20 AM

MANILA, Philippines – In a press conference, House Rep. Erin Tañada said that people who are in trouble with the law would cling to anything that would allow them to get off scot-free.

According to the House prosecution spokesman, Chief Justice Renato Corona is now clinging to a wheelchair.

“Sabi nga ng iba, kapag sa batas naiipit, sa wheelchair kumakapit,” he reportedly said when asked about the chief magistrate, who is currently in hospital for diabetes and heart-related problems.

The prosecutor’s comment was posted on Twitter by reporters, and today went viral on social media, which is saturated with trial-related posts, especially as it has been announced that Corona will appear at tomorrow’s session.

Online memes and viral posts

Recent happenings at the impeachment trial have made Filipinos go in overdrive on social media, creating humorous graphics to express their opinions and their views on how the impeachment verdict should go.

Other posts, however, are meant to sway others into looking at the trial in a certain way.

Haters of Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for example, have posted images comparing Corona’s photos in a wheelchair to those of the former president. Others have edited Corona’s face into photos of Arroyo when she was fitted with a neck brace.

The images are meant to inspire negative feelings about the Chief Justice and urge people to want a “guilty” verdict.

On the other side of the spectrum, meanwhile, are supposed videos and photos of Corona in the intensive care unit of the Medical City. These are presumably to dispel rumors that he is not ill and is merely “hiding” behind the façade of illness.

They also may be to inspire pity and sympathy, and make people want him absolved of all guilt.

Tomorrow is the last day that the Senate impeachment court allowed Corona to appear.

Defense lawyers initially said that the Chief Justice’s doctors advised him to only attend the trial on Monday, but Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile stood firm on his decision that if Corona does not attend tomorrow’s session, the impeachment case would be considered submitted for resolution.

Closing arguments are scheduled on Monday, May 28, and the verdict may also be rendered that day.

“At the latest on Tuesday,” Enrile said during last Tuesday’s session.