Yesterday, Chief Justice Renato Corona was declared guilty of violation of Article 2 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which in simple words requires all public officials to declare ALL their assets, liabilities and net-worth (SALN).
Others say that Corona acted in good faith by not declaring his foreign accounts, by provision of the FCDU law (non-disclosure of foreign accounts). They add that this was an error in judgment on his part.
Inspired by Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas' defintion of culpable violation of the Constitution which is the “willful and intentional violation of the Constitution", I cannot imagine how the Chief Magistrate would overlook the sovereignty of Article 2 over the FCDU law and make them appear as 2 clashing provisions or that the latter would serve as exemption of the former. It is likewise unthinkable how one under his category would be so careless in doing so.
If we succumb to the claim that he "acted in good faith", we would make him a clumsy Chief Justice - not meticulous enough to make sure he is worth his title - but perhaps an excuse to charge him not guilty.
If we agree that it was a "culpable violation" then we would make him a dishonest Chief Justice - enough to convict him.
We all make mistakes. I for one make a lot in a day. Intentional or unintentional. For Corona's case, however, the "acting in good faith" seems unacceptable. If it were an ordinary person who did the same "error in judgment", it would have been excusable. And so we are left with only one judgment as to the refusal of declaring his foreign accounts - culpable violation. He did it on purpose.
He violated the law plus he is not the average Juan- He is the Chief Justice. What he did, what he did not and who he was - that convicted him.