Chief Justice Renato Corona has been impeached and found guilty, but it remains a question whether justice has been really served.

He was convicted by virtue of his peso and dollar deposits that he hadn’t declared, deposits which Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales had alleged, based on an unauthenticated report by the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) that she presented before the impeachment court.

But there are laws that protect the confidentiality of bank deposits, and their very essence becomes worthless words if abused especially by government officials themselves.

According to the foreign currency deposits law for instance, a depositor should first be informed that his accounts will be examined and that the AMLC must first obtain a court order.

Shouldn’t ordinary citizens be alarmed that private bank accounts are now as accessible to state agents as a Facebook account?

Would the impeachment trial now be considered just even if the evidence against the accused has been obtained through abuse of power or worse, through illegal means?

As for the senators, true enough most of them gave the guilty verdict based on partisan political considerations and sheer self-interest.

Even at the height of the trial, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV called for a “mass consultation” with youth leaders and youth groups—the Varsitarian was one of the invited parties—in which he arrogantly declared that if given the opportunity, “I will convict him (Corona) twice.”

The impeachment trial is supposed to ferret out the truth, but how could it be obtained by a biased and prejudiced searcher?

Sadly, some journalists and media practitioners also failed to be objective in reporting about the impeachment. Many of them were beneficiaries of sensational yet misleading, if not altogether false, leaks that crucified Corona before the public even before he was convicted.

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The press for example roundly declared that Corona had “failed” to file his income tax return when government officials and employees aren’t required by law to do so.

Considering that rules had been shortcut and laws violated by lawmakers and government officials themselves, the impeachment trial wasn’t exactly a model after which to fashion future impeachments. Ditto with the press whose partisanship was very evident during the whole episode.

News agencies did not disclose their business links with the House prosecutors. Newspaper columnists and broadcast commentators pilloried Corona without disclosing that their kin or close associates are holding top positions in the Aquino administration.

In short, the media contributed to the kangaroo court.

Let us at least admit that the impeachment of Corona could hardly be considered a triumph for democracy and the rule of law.

Challenge

To be truthful, objective, and fair: This is the same challenge that I’m about to face outside the University walls and the Varsitarian office. The media are just too powerful that they forget that power corrupts absolutely.

Fellow Thomasians, particularly the students, it’s a bigger world out there. Get ready!

To my Journalism majors, try to excel in all your major subjects. You don’t need to have a “favorite subject,” because you will never know what field of journalism or communications you will get in. You may surely be surprised.

But more important, keep all the values taught to us by UST. We have a great University that serves great education. Take advantage of the opportunity.

For me, it’s the start of another journey, and I thank everyone who helped me make this Level Up adventure, bumps and all, quite a ride.

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Thank you for all those who patiently read the contents of this column. You’ll have more of them soon, I promise. But sadly, the Varsitarian will no longer be my medium.

There’s a greater Pokemon battle waiting for all of us, but in everything that we do, always strive to level up.

Again, thank you! To God be the glory.

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