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Philippines president calls for public support in chief justice impeachment trial

Philippine President Benigno Aquino [BBC profile] called for public support Thursday to encourage impeachment proceedings against Philippine Chief Justice Renato Corona [official profile]. Aquino warned that the fight against corruption depended on the result [AFP report] of the impeachment. Aquino invoked the "people power" revolution, which gives Filipinos the power to ensure Corona is removed from office. Aquino recalled "civil disobedience campaigns" used in the past by civilians to oust a previous dictator peacefully. He claims that if the Senate acquits Corona it will destroy his efforts against corruption in the Philippines. Corona is charged [text] with 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.

Corona's impeachment trial began [JURIST report] in January before the Philippine Senate [official website]. If found guilty, Corona will likely be forced out of office. Aquino has targeted former president Arroyo in his anti-corruption efforts. 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 in 2010 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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