Perjury by a chief justice is impeachable offense
Randy David, in his column titled “Public opinion on the Corona impeachment”
(Inquirer, 3/22/12), is correct in pointing out that an opinion survey becomes itself an element in the shaping of public opinion. This is in reference to the latest Pulse Asia survey that says 47 percent of Filipinos find impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona guilty. As someone who has been following the impeachment trial and aware that the evidence so far presented by the prosecution has been very damaging, I myself would render a guilty verdict if I were one of the senator-judges.
The Senate impeachment court would have to consider this overwhelming public sentiment when the time comes for it to reach a verdict. And opinion surveys can be a valuable aid to gauging public sentiment. The senator-judges should anchor their verdict not just on the available evidence, but also on public perception, as impeachment is largely a political rather than a judicial process. David is right: impeachment veers closely to the realm of politics more than it does to law.
I believe that Corona, by not declaring and/or undervaluating his assets in his statements of assets, liabilities and net worth, is at the very least guilty of perjury. But is this an impeachable offense? Yes, as far as I am concerned. He is the Chief Justice whose integrity and probity should be unassailable. We simply cannot have a chief justice who is a liar.
—LAWRENCE ALVAREZ, [email protected]
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