[In the Web] Chief justice impeached for ‘supporting Arroyo’

Titanic clash looms in the impeachment of CJ Corona. Photo from http://globalbalita.com.

Raissa Robles in Manilla
Dec 13, 2011

Philippine Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona was impeached yesterday by the House of Representatives for allegedly issuing decisions favouring former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo‘s government.

Corona will become the first Philippine chief justice to face an impeachment trial before the Senate. It will start next year, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said late yesterday.
Only 95 signatures were needed.Corona’s impeachment came suddenly when 188 lawmakers in the 287-member House signed the Articles of Impeachment that the house leadership drafted this weekend.

Edcel Lagman, the House minority leader and a loyal ally of Arroyo, branded the move “the mother of all blackmails”. He claimed congressmen were told they would miss out on “pork-barrel” funding for pet projects if they did not back the move.

Arroyo is under guard at a military hospital after her arrest on charges of electoral sabotage. She denies the charges.

Other lawmakers denied Lagman’s claim. Congressman Teodoro Casino said that his militant bloc signed up to the impeachment because “this is an important step in holding [Arroyo] accountable for her crimes against the people”.

Last month, the Corona-led Supreme Court ruled that Arroyo could leave the country despite a travel ban issued by the Department of Justice. But immigration authorities blocked Arroyo from boarding a plane on the orders of the justice department.

Corona warned court employees yesterday of “a secret plot to oust me from office, by any means fair or foul” and promised a fight.

Corona is the third highest official to be impeached, after former president Joseph Estrada in 2000 and ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez earlier this year.

Animosity between Corona and President Benigno Aquino came to a head last week after Aquino delivered a stinging conference speech moments after shaking Corona’s hand.

Aquino told Corona he was a “midnight appointee”, because the latter assumed office only a week after Aquino’s sweeping electoral victory last year, then detailed a number of decisions Corona made favouring Arroyo.

Corona served as her presidential chief of staff and spokesman before she appointed him to the Supreme Court.

Please read original article posted at http://www.scmp.com/portal/site/SCMP/menuitem.2af62ecb329d3d7733492d9253a0a0a0/?vgnextoid=037a9249b2334310VgnVCM100000360a0a0aRCRD&ss=asia%20world&s=news


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