The Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has dragged on for months— perceived by the public as boring and duller, sometimes frustrating, and infuriating. As the trial resumed after a few weeks hiatus, we are now entering the last chapter. Yesterday, the defense agreed to put the Chief Justice on the witness stand. And it now comes to a simple question: “How believable is Renato C. Corona on the witness stand?”
The Chief Justice has for the most part played the wounded, under sieged victim. The Chief Justice played on the card that he is attacked and victimized by an imperial President. And in so doing rallied his own fiefdom— the Courts to his favor.
This has not gained traction.
According to Pulse Asia, 47 percent of Filipinos think Renato C. Corona is guilty, with roughly the same percentages across socio-economic strata. Even more telling is Social Weather Station’s survey that 63 percent of Filipinos believe that Chief Justice Renato C. Corona has hidden wealth based on his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net worth.
To put it simply, the Chief Justice lost the public relations war, and he is fast losing the actual war.
The mid-term election is fast coming up. Half the Senate is up for reelection, and naturally the Impeachment Trial of Chief Justice Corona plays a major part in their reelection campaign. Appear in the very least to be unfair, and unjust and they would be voted out of office. That was the lesson of former President Estrada’s impeachment trial.
The winner of this political exercise is of course, President Aquino. A win translates to something he can report on his third state of the nation address. Just to name two, there is progress to be made in education with K+12 initiative— an Aquino campaign promise, and the impeachment of Renato C. Corona is a step towards winning his war on Corruption.
Where does this leave the defense?
The story in its entirety has to be told of course, and we are close to the end now. The Chief Justice has to take the stand in a last ditched effort to win. Renato C. Corona has to prove his innocence, not just to the Senator-Judges, but also to the people watching on television, listening on the radio and tweeting online. If the last six months is of any indication, then it is like climbing a very, very steep mountain. It isn’t entirely possible to do, just a super tall order to overcome. The political wind is entirely against Renato C. Corona.