The nation was riveted to their TV sets on May 29 as the Senate voted to convict Chief Justice Renato Corona for "betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution by failing to fully declare his wealth in his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth," Interakyson.com reports. This makes Corona the first man of his position to ever be impeached.
A total of 20 senators found Corona guilty: Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Teofisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena III, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Vicente Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
Meanwhile, senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., formed the dissenting vote.
Corona was tried on three articles of impeachment (II, III, and VII). He was found guilty of Article of Impeachment II, which deals with the "failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth." Since he only needed to be guilty of one article to get impeached and the Senate reached the minimum count of 16 votes for conviction at 5:00 PM, they no longer had to proceed to the two other articles.
One of the prosecutors, Rep. Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, told Interaksyon.com, "[Corona's] assets of at least 200 million pesos is nearly eight times his admitted income of P31 million, so he is presumed to have intentionally hidden his assets on the lame excuse of confidentiality, and that's not good faith. Hindi tayo dapat magkaroon ng Chief Justice na mahilig sa palusot (We cannot have a Chief Justice fond of excuses)."
Corona himself took to the witness stand last week to say his non-disclosure of his dollar assets was in accordance with the Foreign Currency Deposit Act. In a statement after the trial, he said, "I am innocent. There is no truth to the charges against me in the Articles of Impeachment. My conscience is clear."
Sen. Enrile said the result of the trial could not be appealed, but he added that if Corona's counsel wanted to go to the Supreme Court, he won't stop them. “Bahala sila, umakyat sila sa Supreme Court, basta alinsunod sa ating Saligang Batas, final ang decision ng Senado (It's up to them, they can elevate it to the Supreme Court, but the Constitution says the decision of the Senate is final)."
(Screencap via YouTube)