The verdict in the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona has no relation to the 2016 presidential election, the prosecution panel said Monday.
In a phone interview with the Philippine Daily Inquirer, Aurora Representative Juan Edgardo Angara, a spokesperson for the prosecution, disagreed with the assertion of former Senator Ernesto Maceda that “a vote to acquit Chief Justice Renato Corona is a vote of support for Jejomar Binay in the 2016 presidential election.”
“As the Binay camp said, it’s Senator Ernie [Maceda’s] personal opinion,” Angara said.
Angara did not think the impeachment would have a bearing on the 2016 election.
The election is four years away, he said. By then, he added, “no one will be talking about the Corona impeachment.”
Angara made this pronouncement when asked if the electoral protest brought by Transport Secretary Manuel Roxas II against Binay would have an impact on the outcome of the impeachment trial, as removing Corona would entail a changing of the guard on the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which the Chief Justice chairs.
It is widely believed that President Benigno Aquino III would appoint Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio as Chief Justice once Corona is removed.
Carpio is close to Roxas, Mr. Aquino’s vice presidential running mate in the 2010 presidential election.
“I think the position of the Vice President has been clear, which is to respect the process and make it credible,” Angara said. “Perhaps, some would like to delineate the battle lines earlier than usual—many months before [the] election.”
Angara, however, refused to predict the outcome of the impeachment trial. “Too early to say,” he said.
Maceda had been saying that the senators would vote along partisan lines to decide Corona’s case. He said the political prospects of Binay, who is aiming for the presidency, was intertwined with the impeachment trial.