He may have been ousted in inglorious fashion at the Senate session hall nearly two months ago.
But former chief justice Renato Corona said his challenge to lawmakers to fully disclose their statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) remains.
“The challenge for those who signed the impeachment in (Congress) to make a full disclosure of the (SALN) seems to have been conveniently forgotten. What does that then say of us as a people?,” he told reporters last week.
Corona reiterated this amid his expectations that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III will target him anew in his third State of the Nation Address today.
The first high official to be impeached by Congress with a resounding 20-3 vote last May 29, Corona believes there is nothing to be ashamed of.
“And to this day, I remain proud and hold my head up high because deep inside me I know I fought for my principles and the values I cherish,” said Corona who was the guest speaker in a forum held in Cebu City last week.
Corona questioned whether he committed a “heinous crime” by accepting what his detractors including President Aquino described as a “midnight appointment” to the chief justice post by former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
“Did I alone issue those decisions my detractors claimed to be without any legal or constitutional basis? Despite the verdict which I do not agree with, I have already submitted to God’s will,” he added.
Corona said he is hoping the citizenry will learn something from this piece of history to improve public governance.
“I realize that this political exercise has caused deep wounds to the national psyche and it is time to heal them and move forward,” he said.
Corona recalled being advised by some friends to resign at the onset of the impeachment process.
He said he was told that he had any chance against the incumbent administration.
But Corona refused to heed the call and said he fought on until the end.
“But I do not regret at all my decision to fight until the very end. Each of us goes through his own Calvary in his lifetime. This was mine and my family’s. I can always look back at this chapter of my life with no remorse,” he said.
Corona said he, his defense team, and all those who supported him did everything within the confines of what was legal and moral.
“I did not succumb to the threats and the use of naked state power. I stood my ground to defend the institution that I headed and I put my life and everything I worked for on the line to uphold the constitution which I swore to protect,” he said.
The former chief justice said he had some options to avoid getting ousted and remain in office such as kowtowing to the administration.
He also said he believed he wasn’t treated fairly by the senator-judges who declared him guilty.
Corona said he didn’t “see the rule of law in any of the reasons cited by the senators who voted against me.”
“I can cite a litany of legal arguments to show that I shouldn’t have been removed but let me leave that for another day and time,” he said.
“I may have lost my seat in the court but I believe I have won the hearts and minds of countless Filipinos who were convinced like me that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way we play our politics in the country,” Corona added.
In an earlier interview, the former chief justice believed that the High Court’s decision in the land case involving Hacienda Luisita, which is owned by the president’s family, drew Aquino’s ire.
Corona said many are surprised with how he and his family moved on quickly after his impeachment.
He said he and his family spend time together in the mall and watching concerts and basketball games, among others.
Corona said he also devotes time for reading and writing.
“At times, I still ask myself where I went wrong. What mortal sin did I commit? Did I do a wrong so grave to the exclusion of those likewise in government that only I should suffer removal from office?,” he said. /Ador Vincent Mayol, Reporter