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Filipino communities overseas, all eyes on Corona impeachment

MANILA, Jan. 18, 2012—The entire Filipino communities, here and abroad, are keeping an eye on the on-going impeachment trial against Chief Justice Renato S. Corona, which has started Monday, January 16.

Migrante Middle East regional director John Leonard C. Monterona, in an email said, that their chapters in the entire oil-rich region would be spending long hours watching the trial over the internet and via cable television.

“Our 3,000 plus members are expected to watch one of the most historic events in the Philippine political history and we are also expecting that the Impeachment Tribunal, would render an honest and fair trial,” Monterona told

The migrant leader also urged the senators, now performing as impeachment judges, to make the proceedings fast and clear, in order to prevent the public being dragged into “political bickering and divisiveness”.

Monterona, however, clarified that they are neither favoring Corona, nor Aquino, rather, they want to make the necessary corrections in the current justice system in the Philippines.

“Corona has become Mrs. [Gloria] Arroyo’s shield in order to avoid persecution and possible imprisonment because of her crimes against the Filipino people. Nevertheless, the hurried impeachment complaint is doubtful and we believe that Malacañang has done so in order to prevent the execution of the favorable ruling regarding the dispute, involving the 6,000 hectare Hacienda Luisita,” he said.

Impeachment watchdog formed

Meanwhile, law students and other youth groups had formed the #i-monitor, an impeachment watchdog that will bring the public, blow-by-blow account of what is happening inside the Senate, in connection with the Corona trial.

Kabataan Partylist Rep. Raymond Palatino, one of the conveners of the #i-monitor, the purpose of the alliance is to “ensure that social justice will prevail during and after the impeachment proceedings.”

One of the 168 congressmen and women who signed the impeachment complaint against the High Tribunal’s chief, Palatino said that the youth and people must take an active role in bringing Arroyo and her cohorts, including Corona, to justice while exercising extreme vigilance to counter any maneuver from Malacañang to install an Aquino Supreme Court.

The young lawmaker also said that the Filipino people must challenge the idea that only those immediately involved in impeachment trial have the power and right to direct the course and outcome of the proceedings.

“We may not have the battery of lawyers and legal experts from both the defense and prosecuting teams, but we have the mass movement which we shall rely on and activate in pursuance of genuine social justice. The situation is excellent for an intensified people’s action amidst the chaos among the ruling elite,” he said in his opening statement during the launch of #i-monitor last January 16.

Earlier, the young congressman had clarified his stance over the removal of Corona as Chief Justice, saying that he did sign the complaint in order to give way the necessary changes in the judicial system.

He said that he believes the said reforms would be impossible if Corona remains in the seat.

Be pro-poor and win support from people, Corona challenged

On the other hand, there is still hope for Corona to win the hearts and souls of the Filipino people, especially the poor, if he would issue “pro-people” decisions, particularly over the issue of demolition of urban poor communities nationwide.

Carmen “Nanay Mameng” Deunida, chairman emeritus of the Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) in a statement said, if Corona would release a temporary restraining order to stop the demolitions and totally scrap the Urban Development and Housing Act of 1992, then the urban poor would be on his side.

Nevertheless, the esteemed urban poor leader said that Corona must withdraw his support to now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and be on the side of the poor and the oppressed.

“It would be easy for Corona to prove that he is not ‘Gloria Arrovo’s’ lapdog if he would take courage to be on the side of the marginalized,” she explained. [Noel Sales Barcelona/CBCPNews]