In Court, On Air, On Trial: The Impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona as Social Drama

Junesse d.R. Crisostomo


This paper looks at the impeachment of Renato C. Corona, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines, through the lens of Victor Turner’s Social Drama Theory. Using a rhetorical analysis approach, it classifies the events of the Corona impeachment into the different elements of Social Drama Theory, namely: Breach, Crisis, Redressive Action, and Reintegration/Schism. The paper shows the importance of recognizing and analyzing various conflicting versions of a social drama as shown in the conflicting narratives of Renato Corona and former President Benigno Aquino III regarding the whole impeachment event. The Breach in the social drama was Corona’s midnight appointment as Chief Justice, the Crisis involved the events drafted in the Articles for Impeachment against Corona, the Redressive Action focused on the existence of two competing versions of the whole political event present in the speeches by the senator-judges, and the Reintegration/Schism phase emphasized how aspects of a social unit may perceive the result of the Redressive Action as a healing of the breach while others perceive the result as a continuing crisis in the institution. The findings showed that the social drama of the Corona impeachment was not only about Corona’s alleged subservience to former Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo (PGMA) and his misdeeds as the leader of the Judiciary. It also proved that Aquino III may have also had a political agenda of his own behind the whole impeachment trial. The researcher also found that social dramas do not end in the Reintegration/Schism phase for new crises will inevitably disturb the social unit again.

Keywords: Social drama, impeachment, Renato Corona, rhetoric

Full Text:


ISSN: 2012-0788