I signed the impeachment complaint against Chief Justice Renato Corona not only to remove an undeserving person from public office but to hasten the attainment of justice, transparency and accountability in government.
Thus, in the most likely event of Corona’s conviction by the Senate Impeachment Court today, I join the people in wanting to see more than Corona’s removal from office. The following should also happen:
1. All public officials should voluntarily disclose their statements of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN) to the public. The Supreme Court and other agencies that have put obstacles to such public disclosure should remove said obstacles;
2. All public officials will be assumed to have included their dollar and other foreign exchange assets in their SALN. Any discrepancy in the actual and declared amounts will be presumed to be a violation of the law;
3. Like Corona, impeachable officials with erroneous SALNs should be charged for culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of the public trust. Other non-impeachable officials should be held liable under the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards of Public Officials (RA No. 6713);
4. All public officials suspected of having concealed their peso, dollar and other foreign exchange assets in their SALNs should be investigated by the Ombudsman based on the unconditional waiver already incorporated in the SALN. Notwithstanding such automatic waiver, said public officials are enjoined to sign an unconditional waiver on these accounts and their other unreported or misdeclared assets.
After Corona’s conviction, it cannot be business as usual. Only in this way can we say that Corona’s impeachment was not a case of vendetta. Only in this way will his conviction lead to a more just, transparent and accountable system of governance.
If, however, he is acquitted, then God help the Philippines.#
The preceeding was issued as a press Statement today, May 28, 2012