It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. Finally, Congress has voted overwhelmingly to act on the presidential complaint and impeached Renato Corona. That’s the second best Christmas gift the House of Representatives has given the nation. The first of course was impeaching Erap (Joseph Estrada) 11 years ago.
The articles of impeachment against Corona are legion and richly deserved. The crux of them being, as one of the eight articles puts it, a monumental failure to live up to “the stringent (constitutional) standards that (demand that) a member of the judiciary be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and independence.” Corona has proven himself only, as specified by the other items on the laundry list, to be incompetent, dishonest, fraudulent and a lackey to his sponsor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Not surprisingly, Edcel Lagman is howling his head off. Which only shows how if you’ve gotten used to seeing an upside-down world, you’re going to complain that it’s upside down when it’s been turned back on its feet. “The derogation of our democratic institutions,” he rails from his imagined heights, “is almost complete with the emasculation of the House of Representatives, the violation of civil liberties, the impairment of the rule of law and now the destruction of the Supreme Court and the judiciary.”
But of course it is a brilliant description—of the Arroyo regime. Well, maybe not that brilliant since it understates the pits to which his own sponsor plunged this country. “Derogation of our democratic institutions” does not quite come close to capturing the enormity of “Hello, Garci.” Just as well, the “complete emasculation of the House” does not quite encompass what Arroyo’s representatives did to the impeachment complaint against her. That one, for all the lofty rhetoric that accompanied it, was just a pathetic version of MC Hammer’s classic rap, “Can’t Touch This.”
I leave the readers to supply his own examples of “the violation of civil liberties, the impairment of the rule of law, and the destruction of the judiciary” during Arroyo’s time. They will suffer from an embarrassment of riches.
Not surprisingly as well, Corona himself is howling at the moon. That is at least how the public sees it. He himself sees it differently. He sees it as rallying the troops to fight those that threaten to destroy the courts and democracy. “I am here. I am not going anywhere. I am your defender and most of all I am your chief justice. Together we will face these challenges and fight all who dare to destroy the Court and our system of justice under the Constitution.”
That’s all very fine, except for one thing. You are not the one defending democracy, you are the one destroying it. You are not the one preserving the courts, you are the one scuttling them. You are not the one upholding the Constitution, you are the one trashing it.
And, oh, yes, you are going somewhere: straight to the dustbin of history after a short and completely forgettable tenure as chief shyster.
Corona may imagine he is John Paul Jones announcing to the world that he has just begun to fight, but to the people of this country he merely cuts the figure of an Arroyo clone. Arroyo was a fake president, Corona is a fake chief justice.
Arroyo became president by calling up Garci in the midnight hour, Corona became chief justice by being appointed by Arroyo in the midnight hour. Arroyo was proclaimed president to the chirp of cicadas with no audience in attendance to protest or boo, Corona was proclaimed chief justice to the baying of dogs with no audience in attendance to rant or decry. Arroyo refused to step down after being found out to have screwed the vote, brazening it out, fighting and clawing to keep her post. Corona has refused to step down after being found out to have screwed law, brazening it out, bristling and clawing like a cornered rat.
Arroyo was sent packing by an Edsa masquerading as an election. Corona will be sent packing by justice masquerading as an impeachment.
Corona’s impeachment is the best thing to have happened to democracy in a long time. Corona’s impeachment is the best thing to have happened to the courts in a long time. At the very least, it begins the process of cleansing the Supreme Court of its dregs, not unlike the way Jesus Christ rid his father’s temple of seedy merchants. Corona is not the Supreme Court, he is merely a squatter in it. Corona is not the institution of law, he is merely the despoiler of it.
At the very most, rather than befouling the Constitution and the separation of powers, it deodorizes them. Corona’s impeachment reminds us of what the Constitution and the separation of powers really are.
The Constitution is not just a piece of paper, like the one you find in toilets, to be used the way Arroyo’s justices have used it, and flushed afterward along with what they put on it. The Constitution is what constitutes the people. The Constitution is the flesh and blood of the people, the heart and soul of the people, the will and voice of the people. It does not exist to be bent by crooked judges, it exists to flail at crooked judges.
Just as well the separation of powers is not there to assure a division of spoils, each branch having its own preserve to rule like a fiefdom. The separation of powers is there to assure that each branch serves the people, each branch checking the other to make sure it is acting in the interest of the people and not merely its own. That is what Corona’s impeachment is all about. It makes sure the Supreme Court acts on behalf of Juan de la Cruz and not of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Corona and Gloria: They are the crowning glory of tyranny. Impeaching one and jailing the other:
That will be the crowning glory of P-Noy.
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