Rumors swirl of Mrs. Corona's departure

Spokespersons for Chief Justice Renato Corona were quick to deny Thursday a circulating text message alleging that Cristina Corona was leaving the country days before Corona is set to testify at the impeachment trial.

A text message from mobile number 09152936123 was sent to reporters Thursday afternoon saying Mrs. Corona may attempt to leave the country.

"Please verify. Cristina Corona booked for Qatar Airways, flight QR647 to Barcelona, May 19, 6:20 p.m. Do we have extradition with Spain?," the message read.

Qatar Airways confirmed the existence of the flight but, due to security guidelines, could not comment on whether Mrs. Corona had booked a flight.

Lawyer Karen Jimeno, spokesperson for the Corona defense team, however told Yahoo! Southeast Asia, "I personally asked Mrs. Corona and she said that's absolutely untrue."

No charges have been filed against Mrs. Corona, which means, there is no legal impediment to her right to travel.

Lawyer Tranquil Salvador III, also a spokesman for the defense, dismissed the text rumor: "all I can say is he-he."

"They're really getting desperate," Salvador said in a separate text message.

Corona's lawyers told the Senate impeachment court this week that Corona himself will take the witness stand on May 22.

The Philippines does have an extradition treaty with Spain but it has yet to be ratified by the Senate.  

Throughout the trial, which began in January, reporters and bloggers have been receiving text messages related to the Corona impeachment from unknown numbers. Unsolicited e-mails have also been sent to reporters covering the impeachment trial.

Most of the messages have been critical of Corona, who has been accused of failing to accurately disclose his net worth, being subservient to Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and of lacking the integrity required of his position.

Corona's supporters have, meanwhile, launched a website "to (respond) to the mounting clamor from our people to have the Defense version of the impeachment."

"Events in recent months unfolded where the most vitriolic attacks were waged against one man and his family using all resources of the State in cahoots with mainstream media sympathetic to the Administration," a statement announcing the launch of the website read.


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