"Little by little, we are now discovering how Aquino abused his power to persecute his perceived enemies."
Finally, Noynoy Aquino had been brought to court for his alleged manipulation of the Senate in his obsession to oust the late Chief Justice Renato Corona just to satisfy his whims, with the use of public funds.
Sometime last week, the Truth and Justice Coalition headed by its president, Greco Belgica, charged Aquino, along with former Budget Secretary Florencio B. Abad, former Transportation Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya, former Senator and Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas, Senators Franklin Drilon and Antonio Trillanes, former budget undersecretary Mario Relampagos, director Yolanda Doblon, and other John Does, before the Office of the Ombudsman, with malversation, in connection with the alleged use of public funds to influence the impeachment of Corona.
Belgica said they filed “274 counts of malversation, no bail per count for spending public funds to impeach former Chief Justice Renato Corona.”
This case should have long been filed. Former Senator Jinggoy Estrada had long exposed this as he was about to be sent to jail over his alleged involvement in the pork barrel scam (Maybe he was then entertaining the notion he could threaten Aquino and force him to drop the pork scam charges against him by exposing the then unknown disbursement acceleration program, which was used to “bribe” the senators into convicting Corona).
Anyway, the nagging question now is: if Aquino and his co-accused are found to be guilty on the charges filed against them, will the decision convicting Corona could be reversed?
As I have been told, the decision of the Senate, sitting as an impeachment court, cannot be appealed. In fact, this line of reasoning is being used by some quarters to claim that an impeachment court is different from a regular court as the impeachment itself is a political process itself.
But if it is, then why don’t we just oust any impeachable official because the administration wants it done? Just gather the required number in Congress and the Senate and oust the official.
Why bother hiring a lawyer to draft an impeachment complaint, ask Congress to approve on the sufficiency in form and substance of the complaint, determine the probable cause, have it endorsed the one-third of its members, and have the impeachable official tried before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court, when at the end of the day, it would just boil down to numbers?
And what a way to get the required numbers other than providing them with additional hundreds of million pesos more as Belgica and his group alleged Noynoy and his cohorts had done?
In fact, if the allegations against Noynoy and his co-accused are true, then the Senate could have abused its power when it convicted Corona over erroneous filing of his Statement of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth.
While there may have been wrong or missing entries in Corona’s SALN, it is recognized to be a correctible offense as no less than the Civil Service Commission had acknowledged that erroneous SALNs can be corrected.
So, if the grounds for Corona’s conviction are non-existent as erroneous filing of SALN, the CSC had averred can be corrected, and that the Senate decision convicting Corona was just forcibly rammed down our throat as Aquino had supposedly used public funds to influence the Senate on its decision, then what happens to the decision itself which was a product of an illegal act?
While the case against Aquino and his group has yet to be heard, even at this early, we should look at its probable implications.
If the case could be proven, it would confirm there was bribery to have Corona convicted and it had resulted a great injustice against the late Chief Justice and his family.
But as the decision of the impeachment court is non-appealable, how then could we correct the injustice meted upon the former Chief Justice?
As I have said before, Corona may have already been gone, but that doesn’t mean we should just accept the things as they were and as they are now. Little by little, we are now discovering how Aquino abused his power to persecute his perceived enemies.
An injustice has been done and it must be corrected. Justice cannot be rightfully served just by sending Aquino et al to jail. Justice should also be accorded to the late Chief Justice Renato Corona by reversing the decision of the impeachment court which convicted him, and posthumously reinstating him to his post, extending to him all the benefits due him.