Renato Corona

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Renato C. Corona
Renato Corona official portrait.jpg
23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines
In office
May 17, 2010 May 29, 2012
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded by Reynato Puno
Succeeded by Maria Lourdes Sereno (De facto)
Teresita Leonardo-De Castro (De jure)
150th Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
In office
April 9, 2002 May 17, 2010
Appointed by Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded byArturo Buena
Succeeded by Maria Lourdes Sereno
Chief of Staff to the President
In office
January 20, 2001 April 9, 2002
President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
Preceded byAprodicio Laquian
Succeeded by Rigoberto Tiglao
Personal details
Born
Renato Antonio Tereso Coronado Corona

(1948-10-15)October 15, 1948
Manila, Philippines
DiedApril 29, 2016(2016-04-29) (aged 67)
Pasig, Philippines
Cause of death Heart Attack
Resting placeHeritage Memorial Park,
Taguig, Metro Manila, Philippines
Spouse(s)Cristina Roco
Children3
Education Ateneo de Manila University (BA, LLB)
Harvard University (LLM)
University of Santo Tomas (DCL)

Renato Antonio Coronado Corona [1] (October 15, 1948 – April 29, 2016) was the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He served as an Associate Justice after being appointed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on April 9, 2002, and later as Chief Justice on May 12, 2010, upon the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.

Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines

The Chief Justice of the Philippines presides over the Supreme Court of the Philippines and is the highest judicial officer of the government of the Philippines. As of November 28, 2018, the position is currently held by Lucas Bersamin, who was appointed by President Rodrigo Duterte following the mandatory retirement of his predecessor Teresita Leonardo-de Castro in October 2018.

An Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines is one of 15 members of the Philippine Supreme Court, the highest court in the Philippines. The Chief Justice presides over the High Court, but carries only 1 of the 15 votes in the court. Traditionally, the Chief Justice is deemed primus inter pares among the Justices.

President of the Philippines Head of state and of government of the Republic of the Philippines

The President of the Philippines is the head of state and head of government of the Philippines. The President leads the executive branch of the Philippine government and is the commander-in-chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. The President is directly elected by the people, and is one of only two nationally elected executive officials, the other being the Vice President of the Philippines. However, four vice presidents have assumed the presidency without having been elected to the office, by virtue of a president's intra-term death or resignation.

Contents

Corona was previously a law professor, private law practitioner and member of the Cabinet under two Presidents, Fidel V. Ramos and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, before being appointed to the high tribunal.

The Cabinet of the Philippines consists of the heads of the largest part of the executive branch of the national government of the Philippines. Currently, it includes the secretaries of 20 executive departments and the heads of other several other minor agencies and offices that are subordinate to the President of the Philippines.

On December 12, 2011, he was impeached by the House of Representatives. [2] On May 29, 2012, he was found guilty by the Senate of violating Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him pertaining to his failure to disclose his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth to the public. [3]

Impeachment of Renato Corona

Renato Corona, the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, was impeached on December 12, 2011. Corona was the third official, after former President Joseph Estrada in 2000 and Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in March 2011, to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

House of Representatives of the Philippines Lower house of the Congress of the Philippines

The House of Representatives of the Philippines is the lower house of the Congress of the Philippines. It is often commonly referred to as Congress and informally referred to as Camara or Kamara. Members of the House are officially styled as representative (Kinatawan) and sometimes informally called Congressmen/Congresswomen and are elected to a three-year term. They can be re-elected, but cannot serve more than three consecutive terms. Around eighty percent of congressmen are district representatives, representing a particular geographical area. There are 234 legislative districts in the country, each composed of about 250,000 people. There are also party-list representatives elected through the party-list system who constitute not more than twenty percent of the total number of representatives.

Senate of the Philippines the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines

The Senate of the Philippines is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the Philippines, the Congress; the House of Representatives is the lower house. The Senate is composed of 24 senators who are elected at-large with the country as one district under plurality-at-large voting.

Background

Renato Tirso Antonio Coronado Corona was born on October 15, 1948, at the Lopez Clinic in Santa Ana, Manila, Philippines. [1] He was the son of Juan M. Corona, a lawyer from Tanauan, Batangas, and Eugenia Ongcapin Coronado of Santa Cruz, Manila. [1] [4] He was married to Cristina Basa Roco. They had three children and six grandchildren. [5]

Santa Ana, Manila district of Manila, Philippines

Santa Ana is a district of Manila, Philippines known for its architectural heritage known as Santa Ana Heritage District which is composed of numerous historic ancestral houses, Plaza Hugo, and the Santa Ana Church and its Camarín de la Virgen in which the Patroness of Santa Ana is Enshrined, The 300 years old Image of the "Nuestra Señora de los Desamparados de Manila" La Gobernadora de la Ciudad de Manila. The district was classified as a histo-cultural heritage/overlay zone by an ordinance passed by the Manila City Council. It was the only district of the city spared from the destruction of World War II. The area is also extremely rich in archaeological findings, notably on the material culture of pre-colonial or protohistoric Tagalog communities.

Tanauan, Batangas Component City in Calabarzon, Philippines

Tanauan, officially the City of Tanauan,, or simply known as Tanauan City, is a 2nd class city in the province of Batangas, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 173,366 people.

Santa Cruz, Manila district of Manila, Philippines

Santa Cruz is a district in the northern part of the City of Manila, Philippines, located on the right bank of the Pasig River near its mouth, boredered by the districts of Tondo, Binondo, Quiapo, and Sampaloc, and Grace Park and La Loma. The district belongs to the 3rd congressional district of Manila in the Philippines.

Education

Corona graduated with gold medal honors from the Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1962 and high school in 1966.

Ateneo de Manila University a private teaching and research university run by the Society of Jesus in the Philippines

The Ateneo de Manila University, also known as simply Ateneo or The Ateneo, is a private Roman Catholic Jesuit research university in Quezon City, Philippines. Founded in 1859 by the Society of Jesus, Ateneo is the third-oldest university in the Philippines.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, also from Ateneo de Manila in 1970 where he was the editor-in-chief of The GUIDON , the university student newspaper. He finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo Law School in 1974. He placed 25th highest out of 1,965 candidates in the bar examinations with a grade of 84.6%. After pursuing law school, he obtained his Master of Business Administration degree at the Ateneo Professional Schools. [5]

The Bachelor of Laws is an undergraduate degree in law originating in England and offered in Japan and most common law jurisdictions—except the United States and Canada—as the degree which allows a person to become a lawyer. It historically served this purpose in the U.S. as well, but was phased out in the mid-1960s in favor of the Juris Doctor degree, and Canada followed suit.

The Ateneo de Manila University School of Law is the law school of the Ateneo de Manila University, a private Jesuit university in the Philippines. It was founded in 1936, in the Padre Faura St., Ermita, Manila campus of the Ateneo, where it remained even after the college, graduate school, and basic education units moved to Loyola Heights, Quezon City in the 1950s. In 1977, it moved to Salcedo Village in Makati, and in 1998, transferred to its present location in Makati's Rockwell Center. Its current dean is alumnus Jose G. Hofileña who succeeded Sedfrey Candelaria who, in turn, succeeded Cesar L. Villanueva. Its patron saint is Thomas More.

The Philippine Bar Examination is the professional licensure examination for lawyers in the Philippines. The exam is exclusively administered by the Supreme Court of the Philippines through the Supreme Court Bar Examination Committee.

In 1981, he was accepted to the Master of Laws program of the Harvard Law School where he focused on foreign investment policies and the regulation of corporate and financial institutions. He was conferred the degree LL.M. in 1982. He earned his Doctor of Civil Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas, summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian. [5]

Doctoral degree controversy

On December 22, 2011, Marites Vitug of online journalism site, Rappler.com, published an article alleging that the University of Santo Tomas (UST) "may have broken its rules" in granting Corona a doctorate in civil law and qualifying him for honors. She wrote that Corona did not submit a dissertation to complete his PhD, as required by the university. And that Corona overstayed, since UST requires that PhD programs be completed in five years with maximum residency of seven years. [6]

Basing from a previous interview, Vitug said Corona started his coursework on his PhD in 2000 or 2001. Corona graduated in April 2011, a decade later, where he was one of six graduates to garner top honors during ceremonies intended to commemorate the university's quadricentennial. [7]

In a statement, the UST Graduate School denied that it broke its rules to favor Corona. It added that Corona had enrolled in all of the requisite subjects leading to the doctorate, attended his classes, passed them and delivered a "scholarly treatise" for his dissertation in a public lecture. UST said that since it has been declared by the Commission on Higher Education as an "autonomous higher educational institution (HEI)" it thus enjoys an institutional academic freedom to set its standards of quality and excellence and determine to whom it shall confer appropriate degrees. It added that issues about Corona's residency and academic honor received were moot because these come under the institutional academic freedom of the university. [8] UST likewise questioned the objectivity of the article citing that Vitug has had a run-in with Corona and the Supreme Court. [9] Vitug supported Associate Justice Antonio Carpio's bid for the chief justiceship in her articles in Rogue and Newsbreak [10] [11]

Sought for comment, Vitug said UST's statement "basically says, we have rules but we can flout them, invoking academic freedom and autonomy." [12]

The book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, also written by Vitug, found that his claim that he graduated with honors from his Bachelor of Arts degree at the Ateneo de Manila University is not recorded in the university's archives. [7]

As Chief Justice

Chambers of Renato C. Corona, (new Supreme Court of the Philippines building). Justicejf.JPG
Chambers of Renato C. Corona, (new Supreme Court of the Philippines building).

On May 12, 2010, two days after the 2010 general election and a month before President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's term expired, Corona was appointed the 23rd Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, succeeding Reynato Puno who had reached the mandatory age of retirement. [13]

His appointment was highly criticized, notably by then presidential candidate Benigno Aquino III and former President Fidel V. Ramos, due to a constitutional prohibition against Arroyo from making appointments two months before the election up to the end of her term. [13] Before being elected president, Aquino said that he will not recognize any chief justice appointment that will be made by the Arroyo administration, and mentioned impeachment as an option to remove him by saying "The legislature has the power of impeachment if they feel there are grounds to impeach an impeachable constitutional body. That is open to any president... Therefore we will have to restudy the matter, study our options. At this point in time Congress has yet to be elected." [14]

However, an earlier Supreme Court decision in Arturo M. De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council, et al. on March 17, 2010, upheld Arroyo's right as incumbent president to appoint the Chief Justice. Voting 9–1, the high tribunal underscored that the 90-day period for the President to fill the vacancy in the Supreme Court is a special provision to establish a definite mandate for the President as the appointing power and that the election ban on appointments does not extend to the Supreme Court. [15]

Corona abstained from ruling on the case together with Chief Justice Puno and Associate Justice Antonio Carpio while Associate Justices Antonio Eduardo Nachura and Presbitero Velasco, Jr. dismissed the petition as premature. Associate Justice Conchita Carpio-Morales, in her dissenting opinion, stressed that the Court can function effectively during the midnight appointments ban without an appointed Chief Justice. [16] [17]

Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago, a constitutional expert, warned critics of the Corona's appointment to obey the rule of law, saying that the appointment of Corona has already been laid to rest under the doctrine of res judicata, meaning that it can no longer be relitigated in court, because it has already been decided with finality. Further stating that "After the Supreme Court decision in De Castro v. Judicial and Bar Council last March, which settled the issue, any petition is now precluded, on the theory of so-called collateral estoppel," She also commented that "The problem with the critics is that they mistake the law as it is; with the law as it ought to be, according to their layman's interpretation. A line has to be drawn between the rule of law and the dystopian concept of freewheeling ethics," [13]

Impeachment

Corona's Judicial Chambers, after the Impeachment Chiefjusticejf.JPG
Corona's Judicial Chambers, after the Impeachment

On December 12, 2011, 188 of the 285 members of the House of Representatives signed an impeachment complaint against Corona. [2] As only a vote of one-third of the entire membership of the House, or 95 signatures, were necessary for the impeachment of Corona under the 1987 Constitution, the complaint was sent to the Senate for trial. [18] [2]

Corona was accused of consistently ruling with partiality to former President Arroyo in cases involving her administration and of failing to disclose his statement of assets as required by the Constitution. However he argues that he was not required to disclose US$2.4 million because foreign deposits are guaranteed secrecy under the Philippine's Foreign Currency Deposits Act (Republic Act No. 6426) [19] and that the peso accounts are co-mingled funds. Corona said that the case against him was politically motivated as part of President Benigno Aquino III's persecution of political enemies. [20]

On May 29, 2012, he was found guilty by the Senate of Article II of the Articles of Impeachment filed against him for his failure to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth. [3] Twenty out of twenty-three senators voted to convict him. A two-thirds majority, or 16 votes, was necessary to convict and remove Corona from office. Corona responded by declaring that "ugly politics prevailed" and his "conscience is clear." This marked the first time that a high-level Philippine official has been impeached and convicted. Senator Joker Arroyo denounced the verdict, ending his statement with "I cannot imagine removing a Chief Justice on account of a SALN. Today, we are one step from violating the constitution and passing a bill of attainder. No one can stop us if we do not stop ourselves. This is not justice – political or legal. This is certainly not law, for sure it is not the law of the constitution. It is only naked power as it was in 1972. I haven't thought that I would see it again so brazenly performed but for what it is worth, I cast my vote. If not for innocence falsely accused, of offenses yet to exist, and if not for the law and the constitution, that we were privileged to restore under Cory Aquino, then because it is dangerous not to do what is right. When soon we stand before the Lord, I vote to acquit". [21] Senator Pia Cayetano explained her vote by stating that "the failure to declare $2.4 million and some 80 million pesos is not minor." [22] [23]

In his September 25, 2013, privilege speech, Jinggoy Estrada, one of the Senators who voted to oust Corona as Chief Justice said that all Senators except Bong Bong Marcos, Joker Arroyo and Miriam Defensor-Santiago received P50 million each to remove Corona from his position. [24] [25] [26] [27] On January 20, 2014, Senator Bong Revilla revealed that President Aquino spoke with him to convict the Chief Justice. [28] [29]

Post-impeachment

On April 25, 2014, the Department of Justice issued hold departure order against Corona along with former Ilocos Sur Governor Luis Chavit Singson. [30] On June 2016, the Sandiganbayan Third Division dismissed the pending criminal cases of Corona after his death. [31]

Death

Corona died on April 29, 2016, at 1:48 a.m. at The Medical City in Pasig due to complications of a heart attack. [32] [33] He also suffered from kidney disease and diabetes. [34]

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References

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Political offices
Preceded by
Aprodicio Laquian
Chief of Staff to the President
2001–2002
Succeeded by
Rigoberto Tiglao
Legal offices
Preceded by
Arturo Buena
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
2002–2010
Succeeded by
Maria Lourdes Sereno
Preceded by
Reynato Puno
Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
2010–2012
Succeeded by
Maria Lourdes Sereno
de facto
Succeeded by
Teresita Leonardo-de Castro
de jure