President Benigno Aquino 3rd does not regret his meeting with Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. and is even prepared to face any impeachment charges that may be filed against him, a Palace official said.
In a press conference, Presidential Communications Secretary Hermnio Coloma Jr. insisted that the President didn’t meddle with the impeachment trial of Corona when he met Revilla in his residence at the Malacañang complex.
He explained that Aquino only met with Revilla to ask him to vote based on the merits of the evidence but not to influence him.
“Sa marami na pong pagkakataon, tinanong ninyo ang ating Pangulo hinggil sa posibilidad ng impeachment, at ang palaging sinasagot ng Pangulo, ay handa naman siyang harapin kung ito man ay ihahain ng mga miyembro ng Kongreso [In many instances, the President has been asked about the possibility of impeachment and he has always said that he is prepared to face this if it is to be initiated by the members of Congress],” Coloma said.
However, he could not say if an impeachment complaint against the President would prosper, noting that Congress alone may decide for itself.
“Nasa pagpapasya na po nila iyan. Hindi naman po natin gusto silang pangunahan. Ginagalang po natin ang Kongreso bilang separate and co-equal branch of government,” he added.
In his privilege speech on Monday, Revilla said that Aquino pleaded that he vote to convict Corona in 2012—an act the senator said violates the independence of the legislature.
Coloma, however, said that Revilla is just trying to divert public attention from the “real issue.”
He said that the senator should have told the people how he spent his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) allocation.
“The privilege speech of Sen. Revilla could have been a good opportunity for responding to the people’s clamor for a full explanation on what happened to the PDAF allocation that he received from 2007-2009,” Coloma said
“What the people heard and saw was a plain attempt to divert public attention from the real issue. As an elected public official, the senator is expected to fully account for the PDAF allocation that he received,” he added.
Roxas confirms Malacañang drive
Meanwhile, Interior Secretary Manuel “Mar” Roxas 2nd admitted on Tuesday that he personally drove Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., to a meeting with President Aquino in Bahay Pangarap during the impeachment trial of former chief justice Corona.
However, Roxas said in a statement that the meeting between President Aquino and Senator Revilla were not related to the impeachment trial but to various local issues in Cavite including the bid for city hood of Bacoor.
“Mayroon siyang gustong i-take-up sa Pangulo kasama ang Cityhood ng Bacoor at ang kanyang pagiging Pangulo ng Partido Lakas, gumawa ako ng paraan para magkausap sila,” Roxas said in a statement.
A staff from the office of the Interior Secretary said that Roxas is not inclined for an interview and the statement issued by their office will be suffice enough to answer’s all Revilla’s allegation.
The interior secretary added in his statement that he understand the anger of Senator Revilla who was in a ‘difficult’ situation after his name was dragged in the ‘multi-billion peso pork barrel-scam’ allegedly masterminded by businesswoman, Janet Lim-Napoles.
“Mahirap ang sitwasyon niya na may COA documents at testigong nagpapatunay ng koneksyon niya sa Napoles scam. Pero hindi solusyon sa problema niya ang paglilihis ng isyu, pagbaluktot sa katotohanan at panloloko ng tao, [He is in a difficult situation since there are COA documents and witness that connect him to the Napoles Scam but covering the truth and deceiving people is not the solution.]” Roxas said.
“Sagutin na lamang niya ang mga sinabi ng mga testigo laban sa kanya at ipaliwanag na lamang niya ang mga dokumentong nag-uugnay sa kanya sa Napoles scam,”
Roxas said that he personally drove his car, with Senator Revilla, to Malacañang, noting the strict rules of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) when it comes to checking vehicles entering the palace compound.
“Noong oras na iyon, wala sa Malacañang ang Pangulo. Para matugunan ang reglamento ng PSG at hindi na maaberya si Senator Bong, ako na ang nagmaneho ng sasakyan papunta sa Bahay Pangarap,” Roxas said.
The interior secretary belied Revilla’s allegation that he unscrew the license plate of his car and he had never used any special plate number for his vehicles even during the time when he was a congressman or a senator.
“Hindi ako gumamit nang otso na plaka noong kongresman, siyete noong senador at sais nang Cabinet Secretary. Hindi ko nakaugalian na ikabit ito sa aking sasakyan,” Roxas said.
CATHERINE S. VALENTE and ANTHONY VARGAS