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Philippine judge testifies at own graft trial

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A senior Philippine judge accused of protecting former President Gloria Arroyo from prosecution on corruption charges has testified at his impeachment trial.

Renato Corona, the chief justice who is also accused of amassing a personal level of wealth that is way above his salary scale, testified on Tuesday. He has denied the charges.

'Midnight appointments'

Corona had previously led a rally of hundreds of court employees, including judges, to protest against the "end of judicial independence", in reference to the charges against him.

Last November, Arroyo, 64, was arrested on charges of rigging the 2007 senatorial elections and is now awaiting trial in a military hospital where she is being treated for what she says is a spinal illness.

Arroyo installed Corona, her former chief of staff, to the top judicial post shortly before she stepped down as president in 2010.

President Aquino has said the move ignored a constitutional ban on "midnight appointments" by outgoing leaders.

Public opinion polls show Aquino enjoys overwhelming backing for his anti-graft efforts, though his critics and even some supporters say he has been employing unnecessarily bruising tactics.


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