Monday, 28 May 2012 13:34
While the senator-judges were in a closed-door caucus in another room, an unexpected drama unfolded in the VIP box at the courtroom… televised for millions of viewers to see. As Chief Justice was seated in the witness stand – with eyes closed — waiting for the senator-judges to come back with a decision on whether to accept his “waiver” as evidence, his wife Cristina was reconciling with her erstwhile bitter enemies – her cousins from the Basa family. Embracing and patting each other on the back, they chatted animatedly like long lost cousins. Indeed, the spectacle was like the final chapter of a Mexican telenovela.
What followed next was even more spectacular when Cristina led her cousins holding hands like a human chain out of the VIP box to the witness stand a few feet away. Seemingly unaware of what happened behind his back while he was napping or daydreaming, Cristina and her cousins woke up Corona who appeared to be surprised by the sudden twist of events. The children of the deceased patriarch of the Basa family, Jose Ma. Basa III, hugged Corona one by one. How can they forget what Corona said two days ago during his three-hour testimony? He said that Basa was an unemployed “spoiled brat” who oppressed his own mother and lived off his parents’ money as the Basa children watched in horror a few feet behind in the VIP box.
While reconciliation between protagonists who were suing each other for the past three decades – with cases still pending in court – is a welcome sight, it makes one wonder if the event was staged-managed for the benefit of the beleaguered Corona who is fighting to keep his position as the top magistrate of the land. If his nemeses of 30 years could forgive him, why can’t the Filipino people do the same? Why can’t the senator-judges forget all the damning evidence presented by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and give Corona a second chance? Why can’t President Benigno Aquino III embrace him and show solidarity between the Chief Executive and the Chief Justice in the spirit of national reconciliation?
But does Corona deserve all these? It would take more than just a tear-jerking telenovela to convince the people to give him a pass. There might be eight senator-judges who would acquit him for any reason other than the fact that Corona had admitted that he did not report his liquid asset of $2.4 million and P80 million in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN) as required by the Constitution, but it would not be enough for him to be acquitted of betrayal of public trust in the court of public opinion.
While the Corona-Basa telenovela was occurring, I posted a “breaking news” of the spectacle on my Facebook account. The following are some of the responses:
“Parang may naging arrangement na sila-sila lang ang nakakaalam. Another pakulo ni cheap justice?” – Damn U. Loggers
“Showbiz attempt by Renato Corona, the CHEAPEST JUSTICE in town.” — Rommel
“Basang-basa na sila!” – Yuko
“Tama may sabwatan na sila jan, what a dramatic scene… Best Actress: Cristina Corona, Best Actor: Renato Corona, Best Supporting Actress: Basa Family.” — Bart
“We are not calling for blood since we are just neutral but after all what happened and laundering of dirty linens in public, can’t believe what Cristina did unless it is for public consumption again to sway public opinion after last Tuesday’s debacle…” – Praxedes
“Nag-photo op pa sila.” – Gilda
“CHEAP JUSTICE Renato Corona was illegally appointed by fake president Gloria Labandera Arroyo to save her skin. That’s that!” – Rommel
Evidently, the Corona-Basa telenovela didn’t achieve the desired effect from the public. Instead, it only stirred the hornet’s nest drawing the ire of the public further.
The “walkout” by Corona two days ago had a chilling effect on the public. How could the top magistrate of the land dare to insult the impeachment court? His last words when he walked out were: “The Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines wishes to be excused.” Referring to himself in the third person was a display of raw arrogance. He projected himself as being above the impeachment court.
That didn’t bode well with the public. And the telenovela – or skit – that happened could only cast further doubt on Corona’s credibility and moral fitness to be the supreme protector of the Constitution and defender of the law.
How could he protect the Constitution while he interprets it to satisfy his needs and ambitions? And how could he defend the law when he breaks the spirit of the law?
At the end of the day, no one is above the law and more so if you’re the “Chief Justice of the Republic of the Philippines.”
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