MANILA, Philippines (UPDATE) - Nearly half of Filipinos believe Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona is guilty of the charges filed against him in the Senate impeachment court.
"Almost half of the Filipino population (47%) is of the view that Supreme Court Chief Justice Corona is guilty, with 33% saying he is probably guilty and 15% being certain about his guilt," Pulse Asia said in its March 2012 Ulat ng Bayan national survey.
However, 43% of the Filipinos cannot say whether Corona is guilty or not. Only 5% say he is innocent.
Corona is facing three Articles of Impeachment, including Article 2 that accuses him of failing to disclose to the public his statement of assets, liabilities, and net worth as required under the constitution.
Pulse Asia conducted the survey of 1,200 Filipinos from February 26 to March 9.
The survey revealed that while 8 in 10 Filipinos (84%) say they follow the impeachment trial, only a small majority (56%) said they know "only a little" about the issue. Some 11% of Filipinos said they "almost have no knowledge at all about the issue," while 8% said they know "a great deal" about it. Another 24% said they know enough about the issue.
The opinions of Filipinos on whether Corona is innocent or guilty were formed as the impeachment trial unfolded. A majority (64%) of those who believe Corona is innocent formed their opinion on the matter during the conduct of the impeachment trial. Nearly the same percentage (66%) of those who believe the Chief Justice is guilty also formed their opinion during the trial.
Filipinos appear to be divided on whether or not the House of Representatives fast-tracked the impeachment process. The survey showed 38% of Filipinos do not think the House members fast-tracked the impeachment case, but 32% said they believe it was fast-tracked. Another 29% said they were undecided on the matter.
When it comes to the Senator-judges in the trial, 7 out of 10 Filipinos (69%) said they expect them to be fair and impartial in deciding the case.
But whatever the outcome of the impeachment trial, a small majority (58%) believes their countrymen will accept and respect the Senate's decision. Pulse Asia said this was the majority sentiment in every socio-economic class (53% to 63%) and almost all geographic areas (53% to 68%).
Public opinion on the matter is the same whether or not Filipinos believe Corona is innocent or guilty.