MANILA, Philippines - Philippine women judges have reiterated their full support for Chief Justice Renato Corona amid Corona's impeachment trial before the Senate sitting as an impeachment court.
Corona graced today's silver anniversary convention at the Manila Hotel of the Philippine Women Judges Association, Inc. (PWJA), which chose a very apt theme: "Women Judges: 25 years of Upholding Judicial Independence, the Rule of Law and Women's Rights and Advocacies."
The Chief Magistrate will deliver the convention's keynote address before hundreds of women judges in the very same hall where Pres. Aquino publicly lashed out at him during the first National Criminal Justice Sector Summit in December. Corona was inches away from Mr. Aquino when the latter delivered his speech.
In her opening remarks, Supreme Court (SC) Associate Justice and PWJA president Teresita Leonardo-De Castro assured Corona of the women judges' unwavering support.
"They care for you (Corona) and are always praying for you as you lead the Judiciary in upholding Judicial Independence, observance of the Rule of Law..." Leonardo-De Castro said.
The magistrate told her audience that Corona's presence shows "it's business as usual in the Supreme Court."
"The Chief Justice is working in earnest and daily attending judiciously to [his] tasks," she said.
The PWJA had come up with a Manifesto of Support for Corona last January.
"The Philippine Women Judges Association (PWJA), hereby manifests its all out support to the quest for Judicial Independence and the respect for the rule of law, and toward this end, we join the Honorable Chief Justice Renato C. Corona in fighting for the Integrity and Independence of the Judiciary from whoever would attempt to trample the same and put to naught what has been enshrined in the Constitution of the Philippines," the Manifesto read.
PWJA lamented how the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice by allies of the Aquino administration has "besmirched and destroyed" the Judiciary. The women judges also slammed what it called the use of propaganda against Corona outside of the Impeachment Court.
"Knowingly or unwittingly, the Impeachment Proceedings against the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has besmirched and destroyed the image of the Judiciary as a whole, especially because of the massive use of propaganda and other techniques purposely to gain public sympathy, even when the methods used are not in accordance with the standards of law and ethics. We, the women Judges, do believe that public perception does play an important role in portraying the integrity and independence of the judiciary, and any move to taint its integrity and independence, will erode public trust and confidence, to which we must abhor and put to a stop," the Manifesto read.
"In this fight, we do stand by the side of the Chief Justice, and we are with him in denouncing any interference on the functions of the judiciary in dispensing fair and equal justice to all. We salute you, Chief Justice, for being firm and steadfast to stand by the truth even when unpopularly criticized. Please bear in mind that behind the clouds, is a silver lining, and it is quite hard to put down a good man," the Manifesto read.