False Moves But Good For The Republic
Perhaps it was just a slip of the tongue but former Chief Justice Renato Corona had admitted that he owns $2.4 Million (US Dollars) and another P80 Million in separate bank accounts, all of which he did not declare in his SALN.
Was it providential? Did God will the admission so that the impeachment trial would finally end?
For the defense team, they thought that by presenting Corona as a hostile witness it would strengthen their argument and dismantle the allegations in the Articles of Impeachment. They already made a false move in presenting Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales who turned out to be a lethal weapon against the defense panel. That false move was was made worse when Corona himself turned in at the trial.
Throughout the course of the trial, the defense team had mastered the art of questioning legal technicalities in order to weaken the position of the prosecution team. However cunning the legal skills of the defense lawyers, one false move had made them helpless. They were not able to stop Corona from making an open confession about his secret money in the banks.
Before the confession happened, the former chief justice also made a damning mistake when he walked out of the impeachment court. After he was given the chance to make an opening statement, Corona did not give due respect to the senators who had to listen to his 3-hour opening statement. He instead made an ungraceful exit which angered and dismayed the senators.
His return to the impeachment trial two days later was the final blow to the defense team because it was then that Corona admitted of his secret dollar and peso assets.
Some would say “wala na gyud seguro tultoli sa Kahitas-an”, meaning God had not guided Corona what to say. Probably it was true that heavens did not favor Corona.
Whatever it is that prompted Corona to admit his bank deposits, what was deemed a false move on his part has served as a good grace for the Republic of the Philippines.
After 44 days of tedious trial, the Senators can now go back to their normal course of work and do something else other than impeaching a chief justice. And the whole nation can now rest from following every detail of the trial, which is very time-consuming. The Filipino nation can now also move forward toward healing after being divided over the case of Corona. We can now stop debating about Corona.
Nevertheless, according to President Noynoy Aquino, the ex-chief justice is not off the hook yet. A possible plethora of administrative and criminal cases will hound Corona until he sees his days inside the jail.
Before the start of the impeachment trial, I had strongly suggested here in this column that in order for Corona to save himself and his family from public humiliation and to spare the nation from wasting time and resources in trying his case, he should just resign and leave everything to history to judge him.
But Corona was unrelenting in his decision to fight toe-to-toe against the impeachment proponents.
From the very start I already saw Corona’s case as a losing proposition, considering that a battle against Malacanang is never a good idea.
Corona prevailed to the end, but staying too long on his grounds had made him an object of ridicule, laughingstock, center of scorn, etc. His secrets were exposed in full. His secrets are no longer secrets.
If he did not appear before the Impeachment Court, perhaps the doubting senators would have voted an acquittal.
One false move of Corona had destroyed everything that the defense team had built up. Bad for the defense team and Corona himself, but we see it as a blessing to the Republic.