Wednesday, December 16, 2015
89. #6 Defining Moment of the PNoy Administration: Corona sitting on a wheelchair before the impeachment court
The last hold out in the regime change from Arroyo to Aquino was the Chief Justice, Renato Corona. The Corona-led Supreme Court nullified PNoy's Truth Commission and issued an injunction against the hold departure order of Sec. De Lima of the Department of Justice. Chief Justice Corona left the PNoy Administration with no choice but to take him down too, as he showed no indication that he was going to cooperate with what the PNoy Administration wanted to do, especially in the light of the Supreme Court's active defense of Arroyo's right to travel. The nation had a daily dose of a legal spectacle in the impeachment trial, and it was lawyer time again, the second impeachment trial in a span of 12 years. The drama was lost on the first day of the presentation of evidence when Cong. Barsa, who was a prosecutor, argued with Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile as Barsa asked for a postponement. Like in any other trial, there were mishaps and incidents that highlighted the unpreparedness of the lawyers, but CJ Corona's legal team showed that it had more professionalism, wit, and acumen. Unknown to the public, the President, Sec. Mar Roxas, and Butch Abad had been talking to the senator judges secretly and were offering them additional budget allocations, later known as the "Disbursement Acceleration Program" in amounts averaging Php 50 M in exchange for the conviction of CJ Corona. Meanwhile, evidence of CJ Corona's dollar accounts were admitted with no less than the new Ombudsman Conchito Carpio Morales and Asst. Commissioner on Audit Heidi Mendoza presenting the evidence. Thus, on the penultimate day of Corona's trial, CJ Corona was forced to admit he had dollar accounts not declared in his Sworn Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth, because these were covered under the Bank Secrecy Law. He also claimed that he had saved them since he was a student. He walked out of the hearing after his speech and was barred by the Senate marshalls. His lawyers, ever so quick to the draw, crafted out an excuse that he had an attack of hypoglycemia and brought him back on a wheelchair, his face the mark of defeated man who left his fate on the hands of his enemies. When I saw this on national tv, I knew that it was just a matter of time. But Chief Justice Corona decided to wait for the voting instead of resigning, probably a wise decision on hindsight as the subsequent revelation of the DAP offered to the senators in exchange for his conviction have tainted the voting, and the three senators who voted to acquit, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Joker Arroyo, and Bong Bong Marcos, proved to be the conscience vote. I hope CJ Corona writes a book and reveal exactly what was on his mind when he was wheeled back to the Senate that fateful afternoon. He must have been aware that the senators have been dangled with the DAP as compensation for his conviction; his lawyers once protested about it for which Atty. Judd Roy was reprimanded. This is where I say the PNoy Administration crossed the line, as it were. They have used the method and implements of the despised Arroyo regime against the last remnant of the Arroyo regime and in so doing became no different from it. The Aquino and the Arroyo regimes now stood on the same side, the corrupters and the corrupt. The final box on the reform agenda has been ticked, but in the process the reform agenda lost its moral bearings too.