It's interesting to note how some columnists, particularly those critical of the Aquino administration, view the recently concluded impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Rigoberto Tiglao, of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, calls the Corona conviction a "Pyrrhic victory" for President Aquino, since Corona's removal from the Supreme Court doesn't change the Court's final decision on Hacienda Luisita, which Tiglao opines is ruinous to Aquino and his relatives. He also insinuates that Corona's removal was largely in part due to the law firm of Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who was Corona's rival for the top position. Justice Carpio, Tiglao writes, "is therefore absolutely certain that Mr. Aquino will appoint him chief justice".
It should be noted that Tiglao is often fond of making accusations of which he gives no proof. He accused the government, particularly Press Secretary Ricky Carandang, of masterminding a black propaganda campaign against Corona, without providing concrete proof. He's even tried to pin some blame for the Maguindanao Massacre on the President, all the while conveniently glossing over the fact that the tragedy, the worst case of poll violence in our history, happened, and was abetted by his patron, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
On the other hand, Carmen Pedrosa, of the Philippine Star, writes in her column today that the Senator-judges who voted overwhelmingly for Corona's conviction, did so because "we may not have the evidence but we will convict him anyway," (side note: Pedrosa put these words in quotes, although she didn't note where she got the quote. Weird.) which is a slur on the Senator-judges most of whom actually convicted the Chief Justice on his own admission regarding his dollar and peso accounts. So does Pedrosa imply that Corona perjured himself in court?
Admittedly, the prosecution and the Aquino administration didn't do themselves any favors in the process of the trial. The prosecution dealt with a rushed set of articles of impeachment, and committed blunder after blunder during the trial, only to be saved by the Chief Justice's own blunder of attempting a walk-out and admitting that he did not include his dollar and peso accounts in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN). On the other hand, the Aquino administration, led by the President himself and his spokespersons, could not stop talking about the trial, and bolstered the belief that the President was taking this impeachment personally and was actively working to remove the Chief Justice.
In the end, the Senate managed to take the impeachment trial and make it as objective as possible. When it came time for the vote, each Senator stood up and clearly explained his or her vote, and was able to do so with a modicum of logic and facts. A number of Senator-judges castigated the prosecution for their ineptitude, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile did a masterful summation of the case before casting his vote.
With the trial over, as I mentioned in my previous post, it's time to move on and go forward with more open eyes regarding our public officials. Tiglao may be dubious when he questions in his column whether public officials will be more transparent, but, really, it's not just up to the public officials to be transparent. We, the Filipino people, have to be vigilant and continue to act as watchdogs to make sure that our elected and public officials will be honest/