The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) said President Benigno Aquino 3rd can be impeached because of his statement appealing to the Sandiganbayan to go “easy” on Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile, who is facing plunder and graft charges.
The group accused the President of trying to influence the anti-graft court.
Aquino on Wednesday said the court should consider the age and health condition of the 90-year-old senator. The anti-graft court is yet to say if it found probable cause to order the arrest of Enrile. Hi co-accused, senators Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. and Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, are already detained at Camp Crame, headquarters of the Philippine National Police in Quezon City.
Dante Jimenez, founding chairman of the VACC, said the President could be held liable for influence-peddling since the Sandiganbayan Third Division is still in the process of determining probable cause.
“That [Aquino’s statement] is a breach of public trust and confidence, which is a ground for impeachment,“ Jimenez noted.
He explained that Aquino’s statement carries weight because he is the President.
Instead of issuing irresponsible statements that tend to influence the court, the President, according to Jimenez, should just wait for the anti-graft court to decide on the matter.
“Our legal team is already studying the matter and we believe that it can be ground for impeachment,” he said in an interview.
Sen. Vicente Sotto 3rd, however, welcomed the Aquino’s statement, saying it only showed that the President has compassion.
Senate Majority Leader Alan Peter Cayetano also sees nothing wrong with the President’s pronouncement, saying it would not influence the court.