Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona filed a petition for certiorari and for a temporary restraining order (TRO) before his own court against the impeachment court that currently tries him. With this, he exposed a desperation unprecedented in shamelessness. It also puts into stark relief the whole issue against him: Is he still fit to be a justice of the Supreme Court? The only logical answer that the Senate impeachment court can give is NO.
So far, despite his experienced defense lawyers, it has come out that he lied in his constitutionally-required Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN), accumulated properties and bank deposits worth tens of millions of pesos during his term as associate justice, and is in no position to account for this wealth based on his and his wife’s income. In itself, this may be seen already in the eyes of ordinary people as a betrayal of public trust.
The ploy to transfer the arena from the Senate to the Supreme Court is in itself self-serving. It defies the very constitutional logic of the impeachment process and gives Corona, who had not taken a leave of absence from his position of Chief Justice, a leverage to twist the process and result of the impeachment trial to his own advantage.
There is no other recourse for the Senate but to conclude as soon as possible the impeachment court, ignore the Supreme Court decisions, if any, that attempts to stop or otherwise meddle in its processes, and render swift and fair judgment on Corona’s fitness for office.
Corona is provoking a constitutional crisis. The Senate impeachment court should not let him do it. Otherwise, the people may do it instead. Then, there may be a political crisis.