After a five-month trial that unfolded on national television, the Philippine Senate has found Renato Corona, the chief justice of the country’s Supreme Court, guilty of breaching the nation’s constitution, BBC News reported.
A majority of senators voted to convict Corona, 63, for violating the law by not declaring $2.4 million worth of assets stashed in foreign currency accounts. The senators did not vote on the two other counts Corona was charged with – unlawfully trying to protect former President Gloria Arroyo and failing to meet the standards expected of a judge – BBC News reported.
The Philippine House of Representatives impeached Corona in December over corruption charges and bias, but Corona maintained that his offenses were not serious enough for impeachment, the Associated Press reported.
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He also argued that a 1974 bank privacy law protected foreign deposits from disclosure, but prosecutors convinced the Senate that the constitution calls for someone in his position to declare their assets, according to the AP.
The conviction clears the way for Corona’s removal from office, BBC News reported.
Corona continued to claim innocence and said “bad politics’ is behind his conviction, the AP reported.
“This is not about vendetta,” Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, a close adviser to Aquino, told the AP. “This is about strengthening the institutions of democracy, the institutions of check and balance.”
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