Renato Corona graduated with gold medal honors from the Ateneo de Manila grade school in 1962 and high school in 1966.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree, with honors, also from Ateneo de Manila in 1970 where he was the editor-in-chief of The GUIDON, the university student newspaper. He finished his Bachelor of Laws at the Ateneo Law School in 1974. He placed 25th highest out of 1,965 candidates in the bar examinations with a grade of 84.6%. After pursuing law school, he obtained his Master of Business Administration degree at the Ateneo Professional Schools.
As young lawyer, Corona was special counsel of the government-owned Development Bank of the Philippines. He later became senior vice-president and general counsel of the Commercial Bank of Manila and a senior officer in the tax and corporate counseling group of the tax division of SGV and Company.
In 1981, he was accepted to the Master of Laws program of the Harvard Law School where he focused on foreign investment policies and the regulation of corporate and financial institutions. He was conferred the degree LL.M. in 1982. He earned his Doctor of Civil Law degree from the University of Santo Tomas, summa cum laude and was the class valedictorian.
Corona joined the Ramos administration in 1992 as assistant executive secretary for legal affairs, deputy executive secretary, and as chief presidential legal counsel.
When the term of Fidel Ramos ended, Corona joined the administration of then Vice President Arroyo as her chief of staff. When Arroyo assumed the presidency, Corona served as the presidential chief of staff, presidential spokesperson and acting executive secretary.
On April 9, 2002, Corona was appointed Associate Justice by President Arroyo, and later as Chief Justice on May 12, 2010 upon the retirement of Chief Justice Reynato Puno.
In November 2011, the Supreme Court under Corona ordered the distribution of the 4,915 hectares (Wikipedia says 6,453 hectares) Hacienda Luisita in Tarlac to farmers of the sugar estate owned by the family of President Benigno Aquino III. Corazon Aquino, mother of Benigno III, had exempted the sugar estate from the operation of land reform when she was President. In a separate opinion, Corona argued for a lower compensation to the owners of the hacienda, based on the fair market value of the land in November 1989.
A month later, on December 6, 2011, allies of President Aquino in the House of Representatives voted to impeach Corona over charges of hidden assets and partiality towards Arroyo.
After an impeachment trial – the first in Philippine judicial history – the Senate voted 20-3 in May 2012 to convict him for betrayal of public trust due to his failure to disclose all his properties in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. Corona was then removed from office and succeeded by Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
In September 2013, Senator Jinggoy Estrada, one of the Senators who voted to oust Corona, revealed that senators who voted to convict Corona were bribed with P50 million in extra development funds from the Budget Department.
Corona’s ordeal did not stop with his ouster. In March 2014, the Justice department filed a case against him before the Court of Tax Appeals for allegedly evading taxes of P120.5 million in assets. A few weeks after that, the Office of the Ombudsman filed a civil case for forfeiture of unexplained wealth amounting to P130.3 million and also cases of perjury and violation of the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials before the Sandiganbayan.
Corona vowed to fight to the very end, knowing the truth waas on his side.
Renato Corona, who was diagnosed with diabetes and had undergone heart bypass surgery twice, died on April 29, 2016 at The Medical City in Pasig due to complications of a heart attack. Justice Corona is survived by his wife Cristina Basa Roco and thier three children and six grandchildren.
Justice Corona died without clearing his name.
- Ex-Supreme Court chief justice Corona dies, The Standard, April 30, 2016
Article: Kahimyang Project