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Philippines chief justice impeached

The Philippine Congress voted Monday to impeach [press release] Chief Justice Renato Corona [official profile] for violating the constitution and the public trust in connection with the trial of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo [BBC profile; JURIST news archive], who originally appointed Corona to the Supreme Court. The impeachment proceedings required at least 95 signatures to move forward and, in the end, 188 of the 284 members of congress voted to impeach Corona. There are eight charges [text] brought against Corona, including failure to disclose his personal finances and several allegations of partiality. The most high profile of the allegations includes a charge of partiality when it comes to the trial of Arroyo. It is alleged Corona granted temporary restraining order on the travel restriction of Arroyo without legal grounds in order to give her a chance to escape. The charges will now be brought to trial. If found guilty, Corona will likely be forced out of office.

Former president Arroyo has been a target of anti-corruption efforts by President Benigno Aquino [BBC profile]. Arroyo was recently arrested [JURIST report] in the hospital before she was able to leave the country to seek medical treatment. Corona presided over the court that voted to allow Arroyo to travel [JURIST report] to receive medical care, temporarily restraining the restrictions on Arroyo's travel in connection with several pending charges against her. Arroyo was president of the Philippines from 2001-2010. She left office after the Philippine Department of Justice (PDOJ) [official website] brought allegations of corruption against her. Arroyo was elected to the House of Representatives last year after the Philippine Supreme Court ruled her eligible to run [JURIST report], despite protests that she had an unfair advantage. In July 2010, Aquino signed an executive order [JURIST report] to set up a "truth commission" to investigate allegations that the outgoing administration engaged in corruption and rights violations.

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