Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona’s camp fired two political broadsides two days ago. One was his impassioned speech “defending the judiciary” and accusing Malacañang of foisting the “Aquino dictatorship.” on the people. The second was the “voluntary” rally of court personnel before the Supreme Court pledging loyalty and support to CJ Corona.
In so doing, these only confirmed the political nature of the impeachment process. These also showed the unfamiliarity with political strategy and poor political judgment in the acts themselves. These only undermined CJ Corona’s case.
First, the label of an “Aquino dictatorship” from a supposedly learned law expert was an evident emotionally-laden accusation bereft of substance. Expected from a politician in the heat of controversies or electoral campaigns, it does not befit a chief justice of the highest court of the land.
Second, by stooping to the level of a political combatant, he loses the biggest weapon he had in the impeachment process–the argument that he (and for that matter, the pro-Arroyo majority in the SC) made his decisions on Arroyo cases on the basis of an impartial, objective and fair weighing of facts and evidences.
Third, certainly the pro-Corona rally of court judges and employees–evidently on the basis of text messages from Atty. Midas Marquez, SC and CJ’s spokesperson–can be considered a political exercise that contrasts with an existing SC policy of banning rallies and public demonstrations in and around the SC premises. It thus negated the claim of adherence to rule of law and non-partisan conduct of the Corona group in the SC.
What has been uncovered by their acts is the purely partisan framework that governs the majority Corona group in the Supreme Court–a partisanship to their appointing power, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo–that is due to be tested in the Corona impeachment process. The problem, of course, is that the courts, particularly the Supreme Court, has to be peopled with impartial, objective and fair judges.
Corona has no more credibility and his reputation is in tatters. The only course open to him is to leave–either by resigning or by removal through impeachment. Winning an impeachment case will be a pyrrhic victory–there will always be the danger of a constitutional crisis as a Corona-led Supreme Court publicly perceived as an Arroyo court issues controversial decisions contested at every turn by a crusading Aquino government believing in its mandate from the people and supported by a House of Representatives dominated by Aquino allies.
It is a scenario no one who stands for democracy and democratic rule would wish on the country. It is an open invitation to extra-constitutional measures.