Philippine chief justice blasts Aquino 'dictatorship'



Philippine chief justice blasts Aquino `dictatorship` Manila: The chief justice of the Philippine Supreme Court on Wednesday accused President Benigno Aquino of plotting a "dictatorship", and vowed to fight for his job after parliament impeached him.

Renato Corona rejected accusations against him of unlawfully protecting ex-president Gloria Arroyo, and appealed for popular support to resist what he said was an assault on the judiciary's independence.

"What they are trying to sow is a dictatorship... I will oppose the looming dictatorship of President Benigno Simeon Aquino III," Corona said in a speech to about 500 black-clad court workers outside the Supreme Court.

Aquino's allies in parliament impeached Corona on Monday over charges his 15-member court had made a series of rulings that hindered the prosecution of Arroyo, who was arrested last month for vote rigging.

The impeachment complaint also accused Corona of "betrayal of public trust" and personal corruption for allegedly siphoning money from judicial funds.

It was the latest move in a hard-hitting campaign by Aquino to ensure that Arroyo, who ruled the country from 2001 to last year, and her close supporters are held to account for what he says was widespread corruption under her rule.

Aquino's campaign has widespread public support, although it has drawn criticism even from some supporters amid concerns he may be abusing his presidential powers to achieve his goals.

Aquino's allies in parliament impeached Corona on Monday over charges his 15-member court had made a series of rulings that hindered the prosecution of Arroyo, who was arrested last month for vote rigging.

The impeachment complaint also accused Corona of "betrayal of public trust" and personal corruption for allegedly siphoning money from judicial funds.

It was the latest move in a hard-hitting campaign by Aquino to ensure that Arroyo, who ruled the country from 2001 to last year, and her close supporters are held to account for what he says was widespread corruption under her rule.

Aquino's campaign has widespread public support, although it has drawn criticism even from some supporters amid concerns he may be abusing his presidential powers to achieve his goals.