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Bishops fear crisis over impeachment

Head of supreme court to answer for allegedly favouring former president

Chief Justice Renato Corona at the installation of Archbishop Tagle yesterday (photo: Michael Diaz) Chief Justice Renato Corona at the installation of Archbishop Tagle yesterday (photo: Michael Diaz)
  • ucanews.com reporters, Manila
  • Philippines
  • December 13, 2011
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Catholic bishops and religious groups today expressed alarm over the “rushed” impeachment of the head of the judiciary.

Retired Bishop Teodoro Bacani of Novaliches, a member of the 1986 constitutional convention, described the impeachment move as “arm twisting and from above.”

Parliament yesterday voted to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona on eight charges including violations of the constitution and betrayal of public trust by being partial to former president Gloria Arroyo.

Father Ranhilio Aquino, dean of San Beda College’s Graduate School of Law, said the impeachment is sending a “dangerous signal.”

“If you read the articles of impeachment, many of them have to do with cases decided by the supreme court. Now if you used impeachment against the SC justices because you don’t like the court rulings, that sends a very dangerous signal to the balance of governmental power,” Fr Aquino said.

Bishop Bacani also asked the public to remain vigilant because there were clashes involving three branches of government “who are supposedly working together.”

Bishop Jose Oliveros of Malolos also expressed fears, saying the impeachment move was “politically motivated.”

“I’m sad with the turn of events and surprised with the speed which they impeached Chief Justice Corona,” Bishop Oliveros said.

But Sr Mary John Mananzan, co-chair of the Association of Major Religious Superiors of the Philippines (AMRSP), welcomed the impeachment, saying it would help in the government’s fight against corruption.

“Although I’m a little bit surprised, it happened so fast. It seems justice is getting faster. We are not used to it and hence we’ve been surprised. But we should welcome this development.”
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