Corona got 4 free trips from PAL: Quimbo

Posted at Feb 22 2012 06:20 PM | Updated as of Feb 23 2012 02:20 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona traveled 4 times for free on Philippine Airlines even as a case involving 1,400 PAL flight attendants was pending before the Supreme Court, Marikina Rep. Miro Quimbo said on Wednesday.

Quimbo said Corona went to Guam, Singapore, Honolulu and Hong Kong in a span of 7 months after receiving a PAL Platinum Card, which, Quimbo said, entitled Corona to unlimited free travel. He said Corona's wife also traveled 12 times using a PAL Platinum Card.

He said that after Corona's last overseas trip in April 2011, the Chief Justice set aside a final SC decision on the flight attendants' case after he received a letter from PAL lawyer Estelito Mendoza.

"This was a specific action on the part of the Chief Justice receiving a particular privilege and using it while the litigation was ongoing. This was all we wanted to establish. We didn't want to expand the Articles of Impeachment. The Senate was saying, 'This is a new crime, bribery.' All we are saying is this is the motivation. We wanted to show the motive why the Chief Justice was partial for Philippine Airlines. In our minds, that was the inducement," he said.

Meanwhile, defense lawyer Karen Jimeno said Corona is not the only government official who has been given a PAL Platinum Card.

"The privileges of the platinum cards were given to several government officials because of the fact it is also for the carrier to have officials to ride their airline," she said.

She said it was unfair to imply that Corona was given a Platinum Card because he was chief justice. She also rejected allegations that Corona was given a Platinum Card because the carrier wanted to influence his decision in the FASAP case.

She said Corona's decision cannot be isolated from the decisions of the other SC magistrates.

Mornings@ANC, February 22, 2012