Tarpaulins and posters expressing support for embattled Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona were posted at the doors of local courts in Cebu City at the start of the impeachment proceedings in the Senate yesterday.
“Uphold Judicial Independence. Stand By Chief Justice Renato Corona” read some of the tarpaulins, some of which show Corona waving to the crowd with his wife beside him clapping her hands.
About 10 out of 22 Regional Trial Courts in Cebu City have posted the tarpaulins.
The other courtrooms were reportedly waiting for their respective judges to decide whether or not to post the tarpaulins.
Of the eight Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC) courts, four have posted the tarpaulins. Despite the statement of support, only a few court employees spoke out on Corona.
“Mosuporta ko ni Corona kay sa judiciary ko nabuhi. (I will support Corona because I earn a living in the judiciary),” said Anifeth Dandan, a court stenographer of RTC Branch 9.
She advised the chief justice to face the impeachment complaint so he could defend himself. Arturo Batoctoy, a court process server, agreed.
“Ang-ang dili mi mo-supporta ni Corona nga amo man na nga amo. (Of course, we will support Corona because he is our boss),” he said.
But if Corona is proven guilty, Batoctoy said the chief justice should be removed from office.
The tarpaulins were sponsored by the Philippine Judges Association, Philippine Trial Judges League, Asia Pacific Bar Association, and the Philippine Association of Court Employees.
The materials were reportedly sent from Manila to Cebu City.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) Cebu City chapter earlier urged Corona to take a leave of absence while the impeachment trial against him goes on.
In a resolution, the lawyers’ group said a recess will help Corona “concentrate on his defense and dispel any doubts from critics that he is using the High Court as a veritable shield” from his alleged violations.
Lawyer Rex Fernandez, one of the advisers of the House prosecution panel, said they want to expedite the impeachment proceedings.
He said the prosecution is expecting Corona’s lawyers to use technicalities to escape liabilities.
“The prosecution would want to speed up things,” Fernandez told Cebu Daily News.
He said Corona’s camp want to present the chief justice as an underdog. “I don’t think its working,” Fernandez said.
Rights lawyer Democrito Barcenas said regardless of the outcome, Corona’s reputation had already been stained.
Barcenas was appointed by President Aquino III as one of the directors of the Philippine National Oil Co.
“He (Corona) should resign. Resignation is not an act of defeat but the highest form of statemanship. Resignation is the best option to spare the nation from conducting further proceedings and fighting,” Barcenas told Cebu Daily News. Reporter Ador Vincent Mayol and Correspondent Patricia Andrea Pateña