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‘Corona’s conviction should serve as lesson’

MANILA, May 29, 2012— The removal of Chief Justice Renato Corona from his position should serve as a lesson for all public officials, a ranking Catholic bishop said.

Archbishop Angel Lagdameo, former president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines, said that transparency and the virtue of honesty should be the foremost lessons political leaders should learn from Corona.

“The law invoked applies not only to the Chief Justice but also on all public officials. It is lesson for all,” Lagdameo said.

With 23 votes cast, an overwhelming 20 members of the Senate sitting as the impeachment court convicted Corona on Tuesday for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

Senators Edgardo Angara, Alan Peter Cayetano and Pia Cayetano, Franklin Drilon, Francis Escudero, Jose Estrada, TG Guingona, Gringo Honasan, Panfilo Lacson, Lito Lapid, Loren Legarda, Sergio Osmena III, and Francis Pangilinan have voted for Corona’s conviction.

Senators Aquilino Pimentel III, Ralph Recto, Ramon Revilla, Jr., Vicente Sotto, and Antonio Trillanes IV, Manuel Villar, and presiding officer Juan Ponce Enrile also found Corona guilty for failing to publicly disclose his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth..

Senators Joker Arroyo, Miriam Santiago, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., meanwhile voted for Corona's acquittal. Sixteen votes are required to convict, eight to acquit.

Prosecutors, most of whom are Aquino administration’s allies from the House of Representatives, argued that Corona concealed his wealth and offered excuses to avoid public accountability.

But Lagdameo said the Aquino government has a lot of things to do if it is serious in fighting corruption and Corona’s conviction is just the beginning.

He called on President Benigno Aquino III to spare no one and prove that he is not practicing double standard in the anti-corruption campaign.

“The trial and conviction of the CJ is a turning point towards honesty, truthfulness and accountability of government officials. The underlying principles have a wide application. It is not the end, but a beginning,” he said.

Tuesday’s event is historical with Corona as the first Chief Justice who was thrown out of his job through an impeachment trial. [CBCPNews]