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Noynoy Aquino vs Renato Corona and the issue of judicial independence

We know that there’s no love lost between Chief Justice Renato Corona and President Benigno Aquino III even before the former was officially sworn in by ex President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as the leader of the high court. The tensions reached incredible heights this year.

Last September, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported that Malacañang “reduced the judiciary’s 2012 budget to P13.396 billion and transferred the allocation for unfilled positions to the miscellaneous personnel benefit fund (MPBF), which would be under the control of the Office of the President.”

Just last month, Department of Justice Secretary Leila de Lima openly defied a Supreme Court temporary restraining order which effectively allows CGMA to travel abroad. Then shortly, the SC ordered the distribution of the Cojuangco-owned Hacienda Luisita to farmers. Reeling from successive judicial setbacks, Aquino went on the offensive – launching a tirade against the Chief Justice (despite being just inches apart) during his keynote remarks at the 1st National Criminal Justice Summit last December 5. Virgilio Bugaoisan of the Daily Tribune writes:

Throwing good manners, presidential dignity and respect for a co-equal and independent branch, as well as proper breeding out the window, President Aquino went much too far yesterday as he insulted Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona to his face in a Justice Summit organized by the high court with the Department of Justice and the Interior and Local Governments department.

The chief justice was just a few meters away from him during the opening of the summit held at the Manila Hotel, stoic in his demeanor.

Showing good manners, breeding, and dignity befitting his office, the chief justice was seen as impassive and silent even amid the charge of Aquino that it was the SC that violated the Constitution, and not he.

In a response read by Supreme Court administrator Jose Midas Marquez, the high tribunal described Aquino’s tirades as “disturbing,” saying:

“It is not at all unusual for the Executive Branch to disagree with the Judicial Branch.  But what is considerably unusual is for the Chief Executive to look down on the members of the Judiciary in public at a Justice Sector Coordinating Council session, and to their faces denounce the Court’s independent actions, as the Chief Justice sat speechless, motionless and expressionless because of the requirements of protocol,” he added.

English: Philippine President Benigno S. Aquin...

Image via Wikipedia

Approached by reporters right after hearing Aquino’s direct tirades against him, Corona dismissively said: “Magpapasko na, hayaan na natin.” A few days after being impeached by Aquino allies in the Congress, the calmness in Corona disappeared, saying: “I oppose this relentless persecution, intimidation and bullying. I oppose this dictatorship that President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is slowly establishing.” Another great political war is on.


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About markpere2010

Mark Pere Madrona has worked as an editor for a book publishing company. A former intern for the Philippine Star, he has contributed articles and write-ups for Philippine Daily Inquirer, VERA Files, and Yahoo News Philippines as well as online media sites like AllVoices and Definitely Filipino. He received the Best Text Blog award during the 7th Annual PopDev Media Awards for his series of posts tackling migration, premarital pregnancies, and sex education.
  • Jan

    renato corona… wag po kaung masyadong pahalata sa KASALANAN ninyo!! kinakarma na kau ngaun!!!

  • This article is hogwash… Judicial Independence should mean that the Courts are unbiased… You can only say now that the Supreme Court is “independent of Pnoy” — as practically all their decisions are against the current administration — but clearly it isn’t independent in the real sense of the word, especially when its members vote according to who appointed them…

  • @Emelita: ‘Yung hindi nangangamote (e.g. Quirino Grandstand hostage fiasco), ‘yung may genuine concern, visibility at sensitivity sa hinaing ng taumbayan (e.g. lethargic reaction sa pananalanta ng Bagyong Sendong), ‘yung talagang transparent (take note na hindi ini-endorse ni P-Noy ang pagpasa ng Freedom of Information Act).

    • violet


  • ano ba ang gawang maayos para sa yo???

  • opo natagpasan lahat at ang lumakilang ay yungpork barrel ni PNoy 101-B audit free for 2012 gaung sya itong walang ginagawang maaus

    • violet

      You said it right!

  • violet

    Hatred and vindictiveness is the reason Pnoy is acting that way. Unfortunately, because of the President’s hatred, he refused to see that the decisions of the SC even in Hacienda Luisita is made as a collegial body and Corona was not even a ponente on any of those decisions that he hate. He thinks the SC is just Corona. How about the three Justices that he appointed that voted against the Cojuangcos in Hacienda Luisita? Will he have them impeached too as his threat to the other justices-appointee of GMA? These Pnoy appointee-justices “must” not get the ire of the President…. or else!!!

  • bakit kelangan ipag diinan ang Budget cut? hindi lang naman judiciary ang natagpasan dba? pati Education…