By Lilybeth G. Ison
A total of 20 senator-judges on Tuesday found Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona "guilty" under Article 2 of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him by the House of Representatives.
Those who gave the "guilty" verdict were Senators Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano, Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Jinggoy Ejercito Estrada, Teofisto Guingona III, Gregorio Honasan II, Panfilo Lacson, Manuel Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena III, Francis Pangilinan, Aquilino Martin Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla Jr., Vicente C. Sotto III, Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar and Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile.
On the other hand, the three senators who voted to acquit the chief justice were Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, and Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
In giving a "guilty" verdict, Angara said the documents produced by Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales in the impeachment proceedings were official records of the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC).
Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano said it is the chief justice's moral duty to protect the Constitution and not himself.
For his part, Estrada said that numbers are irrelevant. What is important, he said, is that these assets are correctly declared in the SALN of the chief justice.
Estrada said he was not convinced. "Corona is a learned man of the law."
Honasan said what is clear is that there is now doubt in the ability for the chief justice to assume the highest magistrate of the land.
Meanwhile, Pangilinan said his vote to convict the chief justice is a vote to end abuses in government.
The decision of the Senate, sitting as the impeachment court, is final and for immediate executory.