The Senate of the Philippines, acting as an impeachment tribunal, found Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty, by a vote of 20-3, of committing “culpable violations of the Constitution and/or betrayed the public trust when he failed to disclose to the public his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth as required under Section 17, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution.” It therefore accepted Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment as valid.
We thus ended a historic full impeachment process and an impeachable official of the Republic was removed from his post. Only the official ceremonies remain.
The Corona impeachment is a big boost to the Aquino administration’s campaign against grand corruption and for transparency and accountability in government.
First, all of us, including particularly the government officials, realized the power of the SALN–they cannot anymore hide their wealth from the people. It also brightens the prospect of passing the Freedom of Information bill.
Second, the prospect is clear for cleaning up the judiciary of decades-old problems of corruption, influence-peddling, and syndicated justice . This, in itself, will be a lasting achievement of the Aquino administration.
Third, the road is now more open to pursuance of the cases against the key officials and cronies of the previous Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The impeachment will have a chilling effect on those who are guilty of various crimes in the past administration.
Fourth, the voters are now given a clear criteria of “truthful declaration of SALN” for voting into office people of integrity and an effective instrument for accountability of all public officials.
The total effect of the Corona impeachment is a solid vote of the people and their representatives for democratic good governance. The wheels for a stronger Philippine democracy is now turning more rapidly.