Renato Corona

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Renato Corona
Renato Corona official portrait.jpg
23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
May 17, 2010 – May 29, 2012
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Reynato Puno
Succeeded by Maria Lourdes Sereno
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
In office
April 9, 2002 – May 17, 2010
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Arturo Buena
Succeeded by Maria Lourdes Sereno
Presidential Chief of Staff
In office
January 20, 2001 – April 9, 2002
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Aprodicio Laquian
Succeeded by Rigoberto Tiglao
Personal details
Born Renato Tirso Antonio Coronado Corona[1]
(1948-10-15) October 15, 1948 (age 66)[1]
Santa Ana, Manila, Philippines[1]
Spouse(s) Cristina Roco
Alma mater Ateneo de Manila University
Harvard University
University of Santo Tomas
Religion Roman Catholicism

Renato Tirso Antonio Coronado Corona[1] (born October 15, 1948) was the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He served as an Associate Justice after being appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on April 9, 2002 and later as Chief Justice on May 12, 2010 upon the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Corona was a former law professor, private law practitioner, and member of the Cabinet under two Presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, before being appointed to the high tribunal.

On December 12, 2011, he was impeached by the House of Representatives.[2] On May 29, 2012, he was found guilty by the Senate of violating Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him pertaining to his failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth to the public.[3]

Background[edit]

Renato Tirso Antonio Coronado Corona was born at 12:10 AM on October 15, 1948 at Lopez Clinic in Santa Ana, Manila, Philippines. He is the son of Juan Corona, a lawyer from Tanauan, Batangas, and Eugenia Coronado of Santa Cruz, Manila.[1][4] He is married to Cristine Corona (née Roco). They have three children and six grandchildren.[5]

Education[edit]

Corona graduated with gold medal honors from the Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1962 and high school in 1966.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, also from Ateneo de Manila in 1970 where he was the editor-in-chief of The GUIDON, the university student newspaper. He finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo Law School in 1974. He placed 25th highest out of 1,965 candidates in the bar examinations with a grade of 84.6%. After pursuing law school, he obtained his Master of Business Administration degree at the Ateneo Professional Schools.[5]

In 1981, he was accepted to the Master of Laws program of the Harvard Law School where he focused on foreign investment policies and the regulation of corporate and financial institutions. He was conferred the degree LL.M. in 1982. He earned his Doctor of Civil Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas, summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian.[5]

Doctorate degree controversy[edit]

On December 22, 2011, Marites Vitug of online journalism site, Rappler.com, published an article alleging that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) "may have broken its rules" in granting Corona a doctorate in civil law and qualifying him for honors. She wrote that Corona did not submit a dissertation to complete his PhD, a requirement set by the university for all wishing to have their doctorate degrees, and that Corona overstayed, since UST requires that PhD programs be completed in five years with maximum residency of seven years.[6]

Basing from a previous interview, Vitug said Corona started his coursework on his PhD in 2000 or 2001. Corona graduated in April 2011, a decade later, where he was one of six graduates to garner top honors during ceremonies intended to commemorate the university's quadricentennial.[7]

In a statement, the UST Graduate School denied that it broke its rules to favor Corona. It added that Corona had enrolled in all of the requisite subjects leading to the doctorate, attended his classes, passed them and delivered a “scholarly treatise” for his dissertation in a public lecture. UST said that since it has been declared by the Commission on Higher Education as an “autonomous higher educational institution (HEI)” it thus enjoys an institutional academic freedom to set its standards of quality and excellence and determine to whom it shall confer appropriate degrees. It added that issues about Corona's residency and academic honor received were moot because these come under the institutional academic freedom of the university.[8] UST likewise questioned the objectivity of the article citing that Vitug has had a run-in with Corona and the Supreme Court.[9] Vitug supported Associate Justice Antonio Carpio's bid for the chief justiceship in her articles in Rogue and Newsbreak [10][11]

Sought for comment, Vitug said UST's statement "basically says, we have rules but we can flout them, invoking academic freedom and autonomy."[12]

The book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, also written by Vitug, found that his claim that he graduated with honors from his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila University is not recorded in the university's archives.[7]

As Chief Justice[edit]

Chambers of Renato C. Corona, (new Supreme Court of the Philippines building).

In his September 25, 2013 privilege speech, Jinggoy Estrada, one of the Senators who voted to oust Corona as Chief Justice said that all Senators except Bong Bong Marcos, Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor-Santiago received P50 million each to remove Corona from his position. On January 20, 2014, Sen. Bong Revilla revealed that President Aquino spoke with him to convict the Chief Justice.

[13][14][15][16]


History: On May 12, 2010, two days after the 2010 general election and a month before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's term expired, Corona was appointed the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, succeeding Reynato Puno who had reached the mandatory age of retirement.[17]

His appointment was highly criticized, notably by then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III and former President Fidel V. Ramos, due to a constitutional prohibition against Arroyo from making appointments two months before the election up to the end of her term.[17] Before being elected president, Aquino said that he will not recognize any chief justice appointment that will be made by the Arroyo administration, and mentioned impeachment as an option to remove him by saying “The legislature has the power of impeachment if they feel there are grounds to impeach an impeachable constitutional body. That is open to any president... Therefore we will have to restudy the matter, study our options. At this point in time Congress has yet to be elected.”[18]

However, an earlier Supreme Court decision in Arturo M. De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council, et al. on March 17, 2010 upheld Arroyo’s right as incumbent president to appoint the Chief Justice. Voting 9–1, the high tribunal underscored that the 90-day period for the President to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court is a special provision to establish a definite mandate for the President as the appointing power and that the election ban on appointments does not extend to the Supreme Court.[19]

Corona abstained from ruling on the case together with Chief Justice Puno and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio while Associate Justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Presbitero Velasco, Jr. dismissed the petition as immature. Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, in her dissenting opinion, stressed that the Court can function effectively during the midnight appointments ban without an appointed Chief Justice.[20][21]

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, a constitutional expert, warned critics of the Corona's appointment to obey the rule of law, saying that the appointment of Corona has already been laid to rest under the doctrine of res judicata, meaning that it can no longer be relitigated in court, because it has already been decided with finality. Further stating that “After the Supreme Court decision in De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council last March, which settled the issue, any petition is now precluded, on the theory of so-called collateral estoppel,” She also commented that “The problem with the critics is that they mistake the law as it is; with the law as it ought to be, according to their layman’s interpretation. A line has to be drawn between the rule of law and the dystopian concept of freewheeling ethics,” [17]

Impeachment[edit]

Corona's Judicial Chambers, after the Impeachment

On December 12, 2011, 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives signed an impeachment complaint against Corona.[2] As only a vote of one-third of the entire membership of the House, or 95 signatures, were necessary for the impeachment of Corona under the 1987 Constitution, the complaint was sent to the Senate for trial.[22][23]

Corona was accused of consistently ruling with partiality to former President Arroyo in cases involving her administration and of failing to disclose his statement of assets as required by the Constitution. However he argues that he was not required to disclose US$2.4 million because foreign deposits are guaranteed secrecy under the Philippine's Foreign Currency Deposits Act (Republic Act No. 6426)[24] and that the peso accounts are co-mingled funds. Corona said that the case against him was politically motivated as part of President Benigno Aquino III's persecution of political enemies.[25]

On May 29, 2012, he was found guilty by the Senate of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him for his failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth.[3] Twenty out of twenty-three senators voted to convict him. A two-thirds majority, or 16 votes, was necessary to convict and remove Corona from office. Corona responded by declaring that "ugly politics prevailed" and his "conscience is clear." This marked the first time that a high-level Philippine official has been impeached and convicted. Senator Joker Arroyo denounced the verdict, ending his statement with "I cannot imagine removing a Chief Justice on account of a SALN. Today, we are one step from violating the constitution and passing a bill of attainder. No one can stop us if we do not stop ourselves. This is not justice – political or legal. This is certainly not law, for sure it is not the law of the constitution. It is only naked power as it was in 1972. I haven’t thought that I would see it again so brazenly performed but for what it is worth, I cast my vote. If not for innocence falsely accused, of offenses yet to exist, and if not for the law and the constitution, that we were privileged to restore under Cory Aquino, then because it is dangerous not to do what is right. When soon we stand before the Lord, I vote to acquit".[26] Senator Pia Cayetano explained her vote by stating that "the failure to declare $2.4 million and some 80 million pesos is not minor."[27][28]

On September 25, 2013 privilege speech of Jinggoy Estrada, one of the Senators who voted to oust Corona as Chief Justice said that all Senators except Bong Bong Marcos, Joker Arroyo and Mirriam Defensor-Santiago received P50 million each to remove Corona from his position.

Post-Impeachment[edit]

On April 25, 2014, the Dept. of Justice issues hold departure order against Corona along with former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson.[29]

[30][31][32][33]

Notable opinions[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e Renato Corona's Birth Certificate
  2. ^ a b "Chief Justice Corona impeached". ABS-CBN News. 11 December 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Senate votes 20–3 to convict Corona". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  4. ^ Renato Corona's Birth Index Card
  5. ^ a b c "The Chief Justice". Supreme Court of the Philippines. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  6. ^ "UST breaks rules to favor Corona". Rappler.com. December 11, 2011. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  7. ^ a b "UST: Corona's lecture enough for PhD". Rappler.com. January 12, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  8. ^ "UST: CJ Corona earned PhD". Philippine Daily Inquirer. January 12, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  9. ^ "UST faculty affirms: Corona earned summa honors". GMA News Online. January 3, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  10. ^ Vitug, Marites (June 2009). "Carpio's Force". Rogue (22): 88. 
  11. ^ "Carpio's Force". Newsbreak. July 3, 2009. Retrieved Oct 2, 2012. 
  12. ^ "UST denies favoring Corona in doctoral program". GMA News Online. January 2, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  13. ^ http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/27/13/palace-no-comment-coronas-vindication
  14. ^ http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/09/26/1238247/i-feel-vindicated-corona
  15. ^ http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/328147/news/nation/corona-says-he-feels-vindicated-after-jinggoy-speech
  16. ^ http://manilatimes.net/corona-thank-you-lord-for-vindication/39814/
  17. ^ a b c "Corona assumes as Chief Justice". Manila Bulletin. May 17, 2010. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  18. ^ "Chief justice appointment explained". Sun.Star. March 21, 2010. Retrieved October 3, 2012. 
  19. ^ Arturo M. De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council, et al., G.R. No. 191002 (March 17, 2010).
  20. ^ "Election Ban on Appointments Does Not Extend to the Supreme Court". Supreme Court of the Philippines. April 20, 2010. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  21. ^ "Aquino-appointed associate justice sponsors mass for Corona". Philippine Daily Inquirer. May 16, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012. 
  22. ^ "House majority oks impeach case vs Corona for Senate trial". GMA News. December 11, 2011. 
  23. ^ "Chief Justice Corona impeached". ABS-CBN News. December 11, 2011. 
  24. ^ Lawphil.net. "REPUBLIC ACT No. 6426". Lawphil.net. Retrieved 27 July 2012. 
  25. ^ "Philippine senate convicts top judge". Al Jazeera. May 29, 2012. 
  26. ^ "SENATOR JOKER ARROYO: CORONA NOT GUILTY". News 5. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Philippine top judge Renato Corona faces sack for corruption". BBC News. May 29, 2012. Retrieved May 30, 2012. 
  28. ^ "Philippine Chief Justice Removed Over Omission in Report on Assets". New York Times. May 29, 2012. 
  29. ^ http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/597426/renato-corona-chavit-singson-barred-from-leaving
  30. ^ http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/09/27/13/palace-no-comment-coronas-vindication
  31. ^ http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2013/09/26/1238247/i-feel-vindicated-corona
  32. ^ http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/328147/news/nation/corona-says-he-feels-vindicated-after-jinggoy-speech
  33. ^ http://manilatimes.net/corona-thank-you-lord-for-vindication/39814/

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Aprodicio Laquian
Presidential Chief of Staff
2001–2002
Succeeded by
Rigoberto Tiglao
Legal offices
Preceded by
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
2002–2010
Succeeded by
Maria Lourdes Sereno
Preceded by
Reynato Puno
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Maria Lourdes Sereno