Philippine Supreme Court chief justice impeached

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine House of Representatives sent impeachment documents to the Senate on Tuesday accusing the Supreme Court chief justice of corruption and favoritism toward the country's former president, now under hospital arrest for alleged election fraud.

A majority of 188 of the 284 members of the powerful House signed the resolution on Monday to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona, who will now be tried by the Senate. Corona, who became the only known Supreme Court chief to be impeached in Philippine history, vowed to fight back.

Among other allegations, the impeachment complaint accuses the Corona-led court of ruling improperly in ex-President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's favor when she sought to leave the country last month before she was arrested.

The surprise move is the latest twist in the Philippine political drama pitting Arroyo against her popular, reformist successor Benigno Aquino III, who has blamed her for a decade of corruption scandals that eroded public trust in government and held back foreign investors.

Arroyo appointed the Supreme Court chief justice shortly before she stepped down last year. Aquino has been at odds with Corona, accusing him of being biased for Arroyo and hampering her prosecution.

Aquino, son of revered democracy icons, succeeded her last year after a landslide election victory largely credited to his illustrious name and promise to battle corruption and poverty in his Southeast Asian nation. His allies dominate the House, which had been the bedrock of Arroyo's power.

Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., who heads the congressional justice committee, said Corona was impeached due to eight acts of alleged corruption and improperly issuing decisions that favored Arroyo.

A Manila court ordered Arroyo arrested on Nov. 18 in her hospital room after she was charged with ordering the rigging of 2007 senatorial elections to favor her candidates. She has denied any wrongdoing and has hired a battery of lawyers to defend her.

Arroyo, 64, is detained in a government hospital while awaiting trial. She has sought treatment for a bone ailment.

Last month, the Supreme Court lifted a travel ban on her, and she tried to leave the country with her husband. Aquino's justice secretary, however, defied the Supreme Court order and asked airport authorities to stop her from leaving.

Corona "betrayed the public trust through his partiality" when his court issued the order to allow Arroyo "an opportunity to escape prosecution and to frustrate the ends of justice," the impeachment complaint says.

The high tribunal, where 12 of the 15 justices were appointed by Arroyo, said the order was valid.

Corona also allegedly violated the constitution and an anti-graft act when he failed to publicly disclose all his properties. "Respondent is suspected of having accumulated ill-gotten wealth, acquiring assets of high values and keeping bank accounts with huge deposits," according to the complaint.

Corona has served as Arroyo's chief of staff, spokesman and acting executive secretary. Arroyo appointed his wife in 2007 to the board of a state-run corporation, said the complaint, which also cited alleged irregularities in Corona's handling of court funds.

Corona said efforts to illegally oust him would destroy the country's democracy.

"We do not want to see a constitutional crisis befall our democracy," Corona said. "But if we are challenged to defend our independence, we shall not meekly walk away."

Corona stressed he would not resign.

Rep. Edcel Lagman, an Arroyo ally, accused the Aquino administration of coercing lawmakers to sign the impeachment complaint by threatening to block budgets for their provincial districts. The complaint, Lagman said, "is the mother of all blackmails."

Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said senators would likely tackle the impeachment complaint in January after a monthlong Christmas break starting on Wednesday.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • ‘Next leader must not be newbie’
    ‘Next leader must not be newbie’

    Vice President Jejomar Binay believes the next president of the Philippines must have vast experience and a long track record in governance and in dealing with crises. “I am very much convinced that the local government is the best training ground for those who want to run for national government positions,” he said. Binay said he is determined to run for president in 2016 on the strength of his competence and track record. …

  • Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning
    Massacre suspect tests negative for poisoning

    A suspect in the Maguindanao massacre case who had been examined at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) tested negative for poisoning, medical records released yesterday showed. However, the Quezon City court handling the multiple murder case resolved to isolate Police Officer 1 Pia Kamidon from the rest of the accused detained at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig for his safety. In a two-page order, Regional Trial Court Branch 221 assisting Judge Genie Gapas-Agbada ordered jail officials to …

  • ‘Homework first before Facebook’
    ‘Homework first before Facebook’

    President Aquino elicited laughter from students here as he reminded them to open books first before Facebook. “Finish your assignments first before making a raid in the Clash of Clans,” Aquino said, referring to a popular online game. In a speech during the turnover yesterday of two new three-story buildings at the Tarlac National High School, he said the government could only provide opportunities for learning but the rest of the work would be up to the students. The new school buildings …

  • Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement
    Espina resignation confirmed; Noy looks for replacement

    President Aquino ended speculations yesterday and confirmed that Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina had indeed resigned as officer-in-charge of the Philippine National Police. As of this time, we are conducting various interviews and checks on the various candidates,” Aquino told reporters at the Tarlac National High School in Tarlac City. Aquino had kind words for Espina, saying that he stood by and defended the 44 slain police Special Action Force (SAF) commandos in the operation in …

  • Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation
    Palace welcomes G7 concern over sea reclamation

    President Aquino welcomed yesterday the Group of Seven industrialized countries’ expression of concern over rising tension in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, calling it a clear indication of the global scope of the problem ramped up by China’s massive reclamation activities in disputed waters. In Tarlac City where he led the turnover of new classrooms, Aquino told reporters that goodwill and not tension must prevail in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, where territorial …

  • DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12
    DepEd, TESDA tie up for K to 12

    The Department of Education (DepEd) has partnered with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) in the first two years of implementation of the K to 12 program. “We will use TESDA centers as technical-vocational laboratories for senior high school,” DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said during the inauguration of 30 new classrooms at the Tarlac National High School yesterday. The classrooms were constructed in partnership with the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corp. …

  • SE Asia Stocks-Philippine falls on foreign selling; others flat to weaker

    BANGKOK, April 17 (Reuters) - Southeast Asian stock markets ended flat to weaker on Friday as Philippine stocks slid on selling led by foreign funds and Singapore shares extended losses with investors ... …

  • Philippine Airlines parent says back in black
    Philippine Airlines parent says back in black

    Philippine Airlines' parent firm said it had returned to profitability, the first time in three years either entity reported being in the black for an entire year. In a filing with the Philippine Stock Exchange Thursday, PAL Holdings reported an after-tax net profit of 129.74 million pesos ($2.93 million) in its fiscal year to December 31. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options