Corona found guilty, removed from office

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20 senators vote for conviction, 3 vote for acquittal

RENATO CORONA (AB ’70, LLB '74) has been found guilty on Article 2 of the impeachment complaint filed against him as the Chief Justice of the Philippines, after 20 senators voted for his conviction on the charge that he failed to disclose all his assets in his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth (SALN).

Prior to the vote, the defense argued that under the Foreign Currency Deposits Act, Corona is not obliged to disclose in his SALN the $2.4 million in his dollar accounts, given the act’s provision on the absolute confidentiality of foreign accounts.

Corona’s side also maintained that the P80 million in his peso deposits was not disclosed because they were commingled funds that mostly belonged to his children and Basa-Guidote Enterprises, Inc.

Those who found Corona guilty are senators Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Chiz Escudero, Jinggoy Estrada, TG Guingona, Gregorio Honasan, Ping Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Serge Osmeña, Francis Pangilinan, Koko Pimentel, Ralph Recto, Bong Revilla, Tito Sotto, Antonio Trillanes, Manny Villar and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile.

Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago and Bongbong Marcos voted to acquit Corona. Sixteen votes were needed for conviction, while eight were needed for acquittal.

Corona was not present to personally hear the impeachment court’s verdict, as he remains confined at Medical City.

Corona is the first ever chief justice of the Philippines to be convicted in an impeachment trial, in what is in fact the first ever impeachment trial to be completed in the country. The last high-profile impeachment trial, ex-president Joseph Estrada’s back in 2001, was not concluded.

Corona is now officially removed from office, since the decision of the impeachment court is immediately executory.

Atenean background

Corona is an alumnus of the Ateneo de Manila University. He graduated from the grade school in 1962, from the high school in 1966, from the college with a degree in AB General Studies in 1970, and from the law school in 1974.

Corona is only the second chief justice in Philippine history from the Ateneo Law School, and is the first since the late Claudio Teehankee, Sr, who served from 1986 to 1988.

Corona was the editor-in-chief of The GUIDON during his senior year in college, working alongside incumbent Supreme Court Justice and acknowledged rival Antonio Carpio, who also became editor-in-chief. Corona was also active in the debating society and the Reserve Officer Training Corps.

The ex-chief justice also taught at the law school and at the Loyola Schools. In a previous interview with The GUIDON, he said he established the legal management program at the Loyola Schools.

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