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House asks Senate to dismiss Corona plea

MANILA – The wheels of the impeachment trial have moved again as the holiday lull is over.

Members of the House of Representatives who will stand as prosecutors in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona have asked the Senate Monday (January 2) to reject his motion to dismiss the case against him.

The 11-member House panel asked the Senate acting as an impeachment court to “proceed to trial forthwith and convict the Chief Justice” for corruption, betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution for accepting his “midnight” appointment by then President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

The members of the House prosecution panel are Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, Dasmariñas City Rep. Elpidio Barzaga, Marikina City Rep. Romero Quimbo, Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene Bag-ao, Isabela Rep. Giorgidi Aggabao, Deputy Speaker and Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza, Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption party-list Rep. Sherwin Tugna, and Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya as manager.

Aurora Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara was elected as alternate prosecutor and spokesman along with Quimbo and Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III Tañada.

Lead prosecutor Neil Tupas, chair of the House committee on justice, said that the team has refuted point by point the issues raised by the Chief Justice Corona in his affirmative defense.

“We challenge the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court not to resort to legal technicalities. It’s just a delaying tactic on the part of the Chief Justice to avoid technicality and accountability, to delay the process,” Tupas said.

“Corona is not immune from accountability. For all his self-serving, grandiose and arrogant claims, his impeachment is not an attack on the independence of the judiciary, or the rule of law, or the system of checks and balances,” the prosecutors said. “Corona’s impeachment is purely a response to the people’s clamor to hold him accountable for his sins and offenses, and purge the highest court of a morally unfit officer who has betrayed their trust,” they added.

Last Dec. 12, 188 lawmakers rushed to impeach Corona for alleged partiality and subservience to the Arroyo administration, flip-flopping on decisions, and failure or refusal to account for the Judicial Development Fund and special allowance for the judiciary.