Corona had been saying that this is the real reason behind his impeachment – not his hidden dollar and peso accounts or his undisclosed real properties or his abusive behavior as chief magistrate.
By stating this, Corona depicts himself as the moving force behind the historic ruling of the High Court. It implies that as chief justice, Corona can indeed influence or sway the Supreme Court to his desired position. In fact, Corona’s sycophants like Midas Marquez hailed Corona as “champion” of agrarian reform and suffered for it. One of his lawyers hopes the Luisita decision will lift Corona’s negative 28 percent approval rating.
Compare the position of Corona on the Hacienda Luisita ruling and the other unpopular and disgusting decisions of the High Tribunal and what is revealed is a master of duplicity. Among the articles of impeachment filed against Corona were the flip-flopping decisions on PAL flight attendants and on the creation of new cities as well as bias and partiality on the cases involving the Arroyo administration and in the granting of the temporary restraining order (TRO) in favor of the Arroyo couple to flee the country.
Responding to these charges, Corona and his lawyers declared he cannot be held personally responsible for the collegial decisions of the Supreme Court. They contend Corona is only one of the fifteen justices. How can he possibly swing the Court to his bias they ask when he is only one vote?
If decisions of the Supreme Court are collegial in nature why is Corona claiming credit for the Hacienda Luisita decision and even went to the extent of portraying himself of being tormented with impeachment for it? But in decisions that are detested and repulsive, Corona asserts he has no hand in them, hiding behind collegiality. What a cheap gimmickry. The deceit of Corona is crystal clear.
Corona shamelessly takes personal credit for decisions of the Supreme Court that serve his interest and dissolves himself in collegiality when they do not. This is not only cowardly but utter bankruptcy of leadership. True leaders do not shirk in their responsibility and stand by the decisions or actions of their organization, good or bad.
Hailing Corona as champion of agrarian reform is like acclaiming the dictator Marcos as human rights advocate. The land problem is a centuries-old issue in the country. It had been a major cause of uprisings during Spanish era. In the 30s land problem fired up the Sakdal revolt forcing Commonwealth President Manuel Quezon to craft his Social Justice Program. Land was also the root of the Huk rebellion in the 50s and the present NPA insurgency is fueled by agrarian unrest.
Where is Corona in the long and arduous struggle of the peasants for land? Did he break bread with farmers or join them in their long marches, way before he became part of the Supreme Court? Has there been proof of Corona’s action on land reform, either as a private individual or government official? Did he take position in the past on peasant or agrarian reform issues? For the record, he has not said a word nor did something on the matter until the Hacienda Luisita decision. But Corona’s oppression of the relatives of his wife, the Basas, and how he and his wife wrestled the Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc. (BGEI) from them is public knowledge.
Duplicity of Corona is further exposed when Marquez publicly complained there is a wave of disobedience on court decisions after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima’s defiance of the TRO on the Arroyo couple. Marquez cited SM City’s initial refusal to stop cutting pine trees in Baguio and failure of fugitives Jovito Palparan and Joel Reyes to surrender. Marquez deliberately forgot to mention his boss, Renato Corona.
Last week, Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales acting on several complaints filed in her office asked Corona to explain in writing within 72 hours his unexplained wealth, particularly his $10 million. Article XI, Section 13 of the Constitution allows the Ombudsman “on its own, or on complaint by any person, any act or omission of any public official, employee, office or agency, when such act or omission appear illegal, unjust, improper, or inefficient.”
Ramon Esguerra, Corona’s lawyer, said “There is no reason for the Chief Justice to comply with the Ombudsman’s order.” As an impeachable official he cannot be prosecuted by the Ombudsman, his lawyers argue. Corona is not being prosecuted nor charged but is investigated. Nothing in RA 6770, the Ombudsman law, or in the Constitution bars the Ombudsman from making an inquiry.
If Corona has nothing to hide, as he repeatedly declared, why refuse to explain? A not guilty person would welcome a probe as a venue to prove innocence.
Marquez should stop whining about the so-called defiance of court orders. His boss is the finest example. Corona’s refusal to follow orders from the Ombudsman encourages people to defy court directives. “Obey courts when it serves one’s interest and defy it when it does not” the master of duplicity teaches. Who is now destroying the judiciary?