The first half of this year was an education in SALn or “Statement of Assets and Liabilities, Net-worth,” for many Filipinos. That probably explains the high percentage of those surveyed not caring one way or the other what the verdict would be and trusting that decision to the Senators. The existence of a law governing the SALn was unknown to the majority of Filipinos until the televised impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona yet the understanding of that law still remains unclear to most, we’re willing to bet. At the end of the trial, the people “judged” the Senator judges not by the respective verdicts they rendered but by quite something apart from that and based on the surveys, the three “acquittal judges,” Arroyo, Marcos and Santiago, were given the most thumbs-up by the majority because of their perceived independence, fortitude, and fairness. The Senators that trained their eyes on the public pulse and voted to convict failed to see the larger picture. Yes, the majority believed Corona to be guilty thanks to the media that helped Malacanang along in vilifying the Chief Justice and having people believe he was no less than evil incarnate. But by the end of the trial, the people still didn’t understand what he was guilty of and whether it was in fact, an impeachable offense. What they liked in the three Senators that voted to acquit was their courage in going against popular belief and the pressures from Malacanang that had become obvious towards the latter part of the trial. For that, they were rewarded with an overwhelming vote of approval. [SEE SURVEY http://bit.ly/KZxzsV%5D
Now that the trial is over and the search for a new Supreme Court Chief Justice is well on its way, will PNoy choose someone with known probity and independence or someone with tested loyalty to PNoy and consequently, questionable independence? Our wager goes to the latter because reform was never the objective in the impeachment of Corona. It was always the subjugation of the court that was the goal and that turned out to be as easy as it was to control the legislative branch. In fact, Malacanang knew from the start that the key was the Senate as impeachment court. Having their work cut out for them, the Palace people felt confident about their chances of success — that’s how low Malacanang viewed most of the Senators and one would be hard pressed to disagree with PNoy on that. The proof was in the eating. As to “reform,” one does not bribe the police to catch a thief if one were serious about reform. It would be a mockery of justice and counter productive in curbing criminality to do so. To be told that “reform” was behind the move to oust Corona is insulting to the intelligence of Filipinos, at least those that have some.
And now, we are witness to PR campaigns of the various contenders for the vacant job of Supreme Court Chief Justice. There’s nothing like a corrupt media to expose corruption for they know first hand of what they speak of.