Vol. 8 No. 388
Sunday, February 19, 2012
  Tagbilaran City, Bohol, Philippines

Broken Trust

The Supreme Court, by all means, is considered as the bastion of truth. People of our nation believe the Supreme Court as the last authority of laws. Our deep respect for laws has something to do with how much we also respect those who are supposed to be guardians of laws.

What will happen when it is no longer relevant to trust those who are supposed to be the voice of truth?

In the case of Chief Justice Renato Corona, we believe he no longer has the mandate and integrity to be the nationís image of what truth is.

The fact that he lied in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN) gives us a strong belief that he is not worthy of our trust. Corona is no ordinary public official. He is the chief justice of the highest court of the land. If a chief justice has the temerity to lie to the public, how can we expect an ordinary taxpayer not to lie?

The chief justice, unfortunately, has become a bad example to every Juan. If it were true that indeed he did not declare his SALN accurately, then he no longer has a reason to stay in his position in the Supreme Court. The only commendable decision that Corona must do is to relinquish his post.

We do not pre-judge the chief justice. But there is no denying the fact that based on records presented to the impeachment court, Corona had not declared his assets correctly. There is a big difference between the declared 22 million pesos and the undeclared 70 million pesos. Thatís outrageous.

It is easy to create an opinion about the impeachment since the records would easily show that the chief justice owns several world-class, high-valued properties in various locations in the National Capital Region. No one can disown a title or certificate that is duly recorded in the Registry of Deeds, the final authority on property ownership.

We deplore the fact that we have known too much about the chief justice. We expect him to be more judicious in his judgment and conduct as a public official. He is supposed to lead this nation to the way of truth by making himself a model of honesty and integrity.

On the other hand, perhaps Corona is just a microcosm of the true condition of the Supreme Court. It is difficult to imagine what itíd be like once we know the SALNs of other justices. Have the rest of Supreme Court justices declared their SALN honestly?

Perhaps it is easy to forgive if an ordinary Juan has lied over his SALN, but for an officer of the court to trample the sanctity of the law, itíd take years to rebuild the broken trust of the Filipinos toward their Supreme Court.

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