Corona leaves fate to God
MANILA, Philippines - Ousted chief justice Renato Corona has no immediate plans to run after the people behind what he called his "sham impeachment."
In a text message to The STAR, Corona said: “Only God knows His plans for me. I will bow to that.”
Sen. Jinggoy Estrada claimed Budget Secretary Florencio Abad had sent letters to senators, offering additional funds after Corona was convicted.
It confirms what he had long believed, that Malacañang had used its resources to oust him, Corona said.
Meanwhile, a member of the Supreme Court (SC) believes Corona could re-claim the post of chief justice to further vindicate himself.
“Proof of corruption voids the authority of a magistrate to judge a case,” said the insider, who requested anonymity due to sensitivity of the issue.
The source told The STAR the SC can void the Senate impeachment court’s decision should existence of bribery or corruption in the verdict be established or proven.
“There must be solid evidence of extrinsic fraud,” the insider said.
“My personal opinion is that the bribery or corruption may occur before the trial, during the trial, or even after a decision is handed down, if the offer of reward or incentive is aired before or during the trial.”
On the other hand, lawyer Romulo Macalintal believes the impeachment case can be re-opened to clear Corona’s name and remove the penalty of disqualification from holding public office, but not to reverse the decision removing him as chief justice.
Macalintal said Corona can seek the re-opening of the impeachment case based on Estrada’s allegations that several senator-judges each received P50 million after voting to convict him.
“If such amount was indeed given to these senator-judges, then the decision was a corrupted decision and it can be assailed at any time as it was a null and void decision from the very beginning,” he said. “There was very very grave abuse of discretion in rendering the decision.
If Estrada’s allegations that Sen. Franklin Drilon had issued a confidential memorandum giving P50 million to the senators who had voted to convict Corona is proven to be true, Drilon must resign as Senate president if he could not resign as a senator, he added.
Macalintal said the Office of the Ombudsman may investigate the criminal liabilities of the lawmakers involved, and they might even be liable for plunder.
The ombudsman should now start its investigation on the aforesaid possible crimes committed by these lawmakers based on Estrada’s exposé, he said.
Macalintal said senators may also be charged with indirect bribery if they received the P50 million in their capacity as judges in the Impeachment Court.
If the Office of the Ombudsman can investigate complaints against public officials based on anonymous letters, senators can also be investigated for alleged involvement in anomalous acts, he added.