Chief Justice Renato Corona’s trial-by-publicity heats up as Malacañang PR machine switches to overdrive

It is not very surprising behaviour coming from the parties that seek to oust Chief Justice Renato Corona from the Supreme Court. Even before the 16th of January impeachment trial to be conducted by the Philippine Senate, efforts to sway public opinion by demonising Corona are already underway. The most obvious among these is disclosure to the media by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr of a luxury penthouse owned by Corona — a move that was denounced by several Senators who will be serving in the impeachment trial.

The for its part also exhibited a rather revealing enthusiasm in the way it published a “report” of another property owned by Corona in Taguig. Said “report” was based on information provided by an anonymous source who “lack[ed] clearance to speak on the matter.”

The whole trial-by-media circus against Corona had started even earlier; back, for example, when “investigative journalist” Raissa Robles posted an article on her blog (a link to which is given prominent space on the ABS-CBN News homepage every now and then) detailing “shocking” revelations of impropriety on the part of Mrs Cristina Corona related to Board and executive management positions she held at the John Hay Management Corporation — revelations that fail the “So What?” test when taken in the context of the impeachment case against her husband.

More recently, “online journalist” Marites Vitug also attempted to make a big deal about Corona’s being granted a doctorate degree by the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in a “report” she published on the self-described “social news network” site. A similarly revealing overzealousness in what turned out, on closer scrutiny, to be sloppy investigative reporting on Vitug’s part all but brought to light the question of who the financial backers of this new “social news network” could be — a piece of crucial information that, as far as I know, has so far been silent about.

Thus is evident the trouble with a trial overseen by the Senate — a political body composed of officials elected by popular vote, many of whom routinely act with careful consideration of their re-election prospects. In effect, it is actually possible to campaign for a desired outcome in such a trial — because the officiators of said trial are beholden to a public, composed of a majority who are blind consumers of mass media. A public sentiment bent towards a certain notion may as well be a firm twist on the arm of one Senator or another.

If, for example, the publicity machine of Malacañang succeeds at turning Corona into evil personified before the Filipino public, Senators who perhaps would have wanted to do the right thing would be placed in a difficult position. They will be faced with the prospect of ruling in favour of a perceived demon if the evidence against Corona proves to be flaccid. Indeed, Corona’s lead counsel Serafin Cuevas sees this as an indication that the prosecution could be scrounging around for evidence at the eleventh-hour, further highlighting the hasty rail-roaded nature of the way the impeachment complaint was filed in early December last year. “I thought they were very well prepared. Why are they still looking for evidence now?” Cuevas was quoted as saying in reference to the way the House prosecution panel is presenting evidence to the media “piecemeal”. Rule XVIII of the “Rules of Procedure on Impeachment Trials” stipulates that…

The Presiding Officer and the Members of the Senate shall refrain from making any comments and disclosures in public pertaining to the merits of a pending impeachment trial.

The same shall likewise apply to the prosecutors, to the person impeached, and to their respective counsel and witnesses.

Then again, this is the Philippines, a society where even the simplest guidelines cannot be followed and where the media jump upon even the most lurid stories even at the expense of the well-being and safety of human life all in the name of the scoop.

It’s called “the Philippines”.

[Image courtesy]


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61 Comments on "Chief Justice Renato Corona’s trial-by-publicity heats up as Malacañang PR machine switches to overdrive"

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Which brings me to a realiziation that these media organizations have no business pontificating us common Filipinos about morality, decency and integrity which they have long lost.


When for example CJ Corona is finally exonerated by the Senate (which I hope he will be), do you think he has legal ammunition to file a case against media organizations who very clearly committed libel by publishing unverified information that are not only malicious but also damaging?


Another question:
Is an impeachment really more of a political trial rather than judicial as what some of the senators said? Does this mean that not much weight will be given to evidence? If so, why waste taxpayers money convening an impeachment court when as early as now judgment can already be rendered based on the senator-judges’ political agenda?

Domingo Arong
Actually, what most of the Articles of Impeachment against Corona show is that what is on trial here is the RIGHT to express an opinion and, in the case of the judiciary, the constitutional DUTY to render a decision “in writing” to convey the Court’s opinion on a case at bar, specifically the reasons that lurked behind why Corona concurred or dissented (or even recused himself) in the cited decisions handed down by a collegial body of equal vote. So, that which is on trial in Corona’s case is practically what media and the press is all about and jealously… Read more »

thanks again benigno. you are so brillant. i like the way you are writing all this stories it keeps me entertain. death to pnoy and all yellow submarine

Der Fuhrer

The continuing trial by publicity is nothing more than a hate campaign. It is designed to destroy the image of CJ Corona. The dictator Mr. Aquino is just repeating what was done to GMA. His propaganda style is already known to the discerning public. Recent news indicates that some senators will be also targetted by the communications group. Mr. Aquino should tread carefully in the senate as any illegal moves to force the issue will surely boomerang against him.

Phil Manila

I was nodding my head in general agreement with your article until this:

“Then again, this is the Philippines, a society where even the simplest guidelines cannot be followed. . .”

Must you always frame issues with Pinoy-bashing lenses?

Hmm, really makes me wonder?


rappler presumably is malacanans pr move into social media.
no wonder they will not disclose their funding.
more hypocricy and cheap ‘journalism’
the corona saga portrays why the country has no international respect.
it cannot exhibit any sense of decorum or decency

Hyden Toro
It’s th usual tactic of the YellowTards. Demonize the person. Put some paid YellowTard Journalists, to write some fictional interesting stories about the demonized person. Then, put it on final stage on the Lopez Media, ABS-CBN network, or other networks , willing to take it, with some “CASH-SUNDUAN”. However , the issue of the Hacienda Luisita ruling, that is the Main Cause of the Impeachment. Is placed aside…can you see, these people : Aquinos and the Cojuangcos…They are not only unabashed liars…They are very Selfish and Greedy…They use the money (swindled from us) to manipulate people…and the informations…;Like Joeseff Goebbels… Read more »

Contexts of trial by publicity:

– NEWS SOURCE WHO WISHED CONFIDENTIALITY means somebody who is mopping the floor and happens to be the only person around to answer their phone inquiry.

– AS WHAT EXPERTS HAVE BEEN CLAIMING means they have rejected other experts opinion and have published/aired only those who conform with their agendas.

– LIVE INTERVIEW means preselected interview.

– RANDOM INTERVIEW is same as the above definition of live interview.

Try watching Ch 2 or reading Inquirer to validate them.

Der Fuhrer

BadNoy’s subliminal black propaganda at work. Making lies appear as truth. Mind manipulation and control.

“The public is already with us. They said they believe in President Aquino and not Corona. The public wants the(impeachment)trial to continue. The public believes in the cause of the President,” -Lacierda Palace, House won’t clam up, Philippine Star January 6, 2012

Notice the repetition(3X) of the word public.

Santiago Vargas

Demonized techniques

Der Fuhrer
Heil der Nutzi Fuhrer BadNoy! The greatest Nutzi propaganda artist in the reich! Watch his black Nutzi propaganda as it triggers hatred in select gullible and ignorant people of the improved society! Watch him appear as the heroic Nutzi iconoclast so clean, pure and without sin while his perceived enemies are already guilty before trial! Watch him command his leftist minions to occupy the pro-democracy Supreme Court! Der Nutzi Fuhrer BadNoy repeats his lies again and again and soon this is accepted as the truth! He attacks the real truth and makes this appear as lies! Truly a master Nutzi… Read more »

[…] any aspiring bozo for membership in the Senate. And, as I pointed out in my previous article “Chief Justice Renato Corona’s trial-by-publicity heats up as Malacañang PR machine switches to ov…”… Thus is evident the trouble with a trial overseen by the Senate — a political body […]


[…] to that, much ado over Corona’s supposedly “unexplained wealth” was being spun by various “online journalists”. The angle of choice of these […]


[…] of Philippine Mainstream Media into an all-out demonisation of Corona, observing how… […] much ado over Corona’s supposedly “unexplained wealth” was being spun by various “online […]


Just sharing. I just turned on the T.V. and ABS-CBN just showed a biased version of Sen. Santiago’s interview and every-time they mentioned something negative they show a screen clip of the defense council and of the presiding officer.