Corona: My silence is not a sign of weakness

Posted at 12/12/11 9:35 AM

Corona vows to fight ouster

MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona on Monday called on members of the judiciary to be vigilant amid reports of an alleged plot to oust him.

During the flag-raising ceremony at the Supreme Court on Monday morning, Corona said he received information that there is a move to railroad his ouster at the House of Representatives.

"Reports yesterday confirmed the mobilization of a secret plan to oust me from office, by any means fair or foul. A few days ago, as you all know, I was content to let things pass in the spirit of Christmas. Today, however, with the discovery of this scheme that will destroy our democracy. I am forced to call upon you to remain ready and vigilant," he said.

Corona was set to deliver his Christmas message to employees and officials of the Supreme Court in today's flag-raising ceremony, but instead delivered the strongly-worded speech "We Stand Together."

This is the first bold statement coming from Corona since he was criticized last week by President Aquino at the Criminal Justice Summit.

"My silence does not mean anything more than caution and patience. Let no one mistake my silence as a sign of weakness... I have been quietly preparing and will be ready to take more determined steps in the coming days."

"I want you to know that your Chief continues to be in command and will lead the fight against any and all who dare to destroy the Court and the independence, we shall not meekly walk away," Corona said.

Supreme Court employees showed their support for Corona by giving him a round of applause as he walked down the steps of the High Court lobby to join them for the flag-raising ceremony. The employees accorded the Chief Justice with the same loud applause after his speech.

On Sunday, Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez said that  "reports show that Malacanang officials have confirmed a plot to destabilize the Supreme Court and oust [Chief Justice Renato Corona]."

He added that in the House of Representatives, reports also reveal that lawmakers may amend its own rules in order to hasten the impeachment process against Corona by “going straight to the plenary, and thereafter transmitting the articles of impeachment immediately to the Senate."

Marquez described the efforts as “very unsettling” and seeks to malign the independence of the judiciary.

"We take this occasion to denounce attempts to initiate and railroad impeachment proceedings against the members of the Court, being labeled as enemies of the President. These plans pose a direct threat to the independence of the Supreme Court and the Judiciary," Marquez said in the article "Unyielding Allegiance to the Constitution." - With reports from Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News and ANC