BS Aquino ready for impeachment

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Militant farmers of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas show off the documents for the P125 million plunder case they will file at the Office of the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino 3rd with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, Janet Lim-Napoles and nine others over the misuse of the Malampaya Funds. PHOTO BY MIGUEL DE GUZMAN

Militant farmers of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas show off the documents for the P125 million plunder case they will file at the Office of the Ombudsman against President Benigno Aquino 3rd with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, Agrarian Reform Secretary Virgilio delos Reyes, Janet Lim-Napoles and nine others over the misuse of the Malampaya Funds. Photo by: RUY MARTINEZ

Photo by: RUY MARTINEZ

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PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino 3rd on Tuesday admitted that he met with at least four senators, including Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr., at the time when the Senate was still hearing the impeachment case against then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Besides Revilla, who earlier accused him of “meddling” in the impeachment case, Aquino disclosed that he had also met with Senators Jinggoy Estrada, Teofisto Guingona 3rd and Ralph Recto. Guingona and Recto are members of the Liberal Party also headed by Aquino.

Quick to the defense of Aquino, a Palace spokesman said the President does not regret his meeting with Revilla and is even prepared to face any impeachment charges that may be filed against him.

Too, Aquino allies in the House of Representatives House Majority Leader Rep. Neptali Gonzales 2nd of Mandaluyong City and Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. of Cavite Fourth District said that there is nothing wrong with Aquino’s meeting with Revilla during the height of the impeachment proceedings.

Both even dared critics to file an impeachment case against the president if the latter violated the Constitution.

‘Lessen the pressure’
In an interview during the anniversary celebration of the Insurance Commission, the President explained that the separate meetings were done to “lessen the pressure” being exerted by some sectors on the senator-judges.

He even justified the meetings as “part of his duty.”

“Normally, I could have simply ignored so many reports that there were sectors exerting strong pressure on senators to decide the case not based on its merits. It was like many were telling them to exonerate Corona in exchange of something,” Aquino said in the vernacular.

The President confirmed Revilla’s claim that he met with the former at the Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang to discuss the issue on impeachment, among others.

“There [were]some of them . . . I [sat with]Sen. Jinggoy at one point, Sen. Guingona, and lastly Sen. Recto. Not a majority of them if I recall correctly,” he said.

In a privilege speech he delivered on Monday, Revilla said he was fetched by then Transportation Secretary Mar Roxas in Quezon City and personally drove him to Malacañang where Aquino supposedly asked him Corona’s head.

Natural for Aquino
Without going into the details mentioned by Revilla, Aquino said it was normal for him to “support” those like Revilla who were being forced to acquit the then Supreme Court (SC) chief and ”counter” those pressuring the senator-judges.

“So, was it proper that I just allow these sectors to cow, pressure and do whatever they want to senators? I think it was natural for me to seek confirmation from them and to make them feel that there are others who are ready to support them if they do what is right,” the president stressed.

Aquino further defended his actions as part of his responsibility to protect the senator-judges from undue stress.

“I will be very irresponsible if I would just allow the pressures to go unchecked. Like there was nothing we could do to counter the pressure,” he pointed out.

The president also defended the “secrecy” of his meeting with Revilla, saying that it was done away from public view to prevent other issues from setting in.

If the meeting was done in a “wrong venue,” Aquino explained, the intent of the discussion would have been defeated.

“Holding it in a wrong venue will not lead to an exchange of ideas, but rather it will be, ‘di ba, ang dami nang issues na papasok diyan—bakit kayo nag-uusap, et cetera, et cetera. That will further add to the pressures . . . What I was trying to do was basically ensure that they decide the case on the merits of the case rather than any other outside factor,” he further stressed.

“We were trying to lessen the pressures on all of them,” he added.

INC lobby
Prior to the conviction of Corona in mid-2012, it was reported that leaders of the influential religious group, Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC), had approached some senators for Corona’s acquittal.

Former SC Justice Serafin Cuevas, Corona’s lead defense counsel in the trial, is a member of the INC, which has voting strength of at least five million. The religious group supported Aquino’s candidacy in 2010.

Reports then indicated that INC leaders Dan Orosa and Resty Lazaro supposedly approached some senators, including Estrada, weeks before the verdict was handed down by the tribunal.

Eventually, Aquino himself paid a visit to the INC headquarters in Quezon City purportedly to verify reports about the INC pressure in favor of the former chief justice.

Malacañang officials confirmed that the meeting actually took place and that INC chief minister Eduardo Manalo hosted Aquino’s visit.
During Monday’s interview, however, Aquino refused to identify the “sectors” he mentioned but cited “intelligence reports” regarding the matter.

“These were intelligence reports and there [were]reports coming from various quarters saying that there really was such a move by quite a lot of quarters. Now, absent proof, lalabas na hearsay; and hearsay is not substantiable—is not substantial,” he emphasized.

Textmates
Aquino also said he had no bad blood with Revilla, whom he worked with during his stint as senator. In fact, he said, Revilla and his family frequently exchanged text messages with him on various issues but that the text messages suddenly stopped years ago.

“This was an exchange of text messages quite a while back, and after that, wala na rin kaming masyadong contact. Parang, if at all, from their camp ang nagte-text sa akin, especially during the last elections and prior to the election day, si Congresswoman Lani Mercado,” the President recalled.

During their last meetings, he said Revilla promised him of his support and for them to just “let go of the past.”

“Every time we met he used to tell me to leave the past behind . . . and that I should expect his support in the future. And he always tells me that since I became president,” Aquino also said.

“Then it came to a point where I could not feel the support he promised in all my proposals so I asked him If I should still wait for the future help he promised me. And he didn’t respond,” he said.

Ready for impeachment
Aquino does not regret his meeting with Revilla 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

House double dare
The critics of Aquino are free to file impeachment raps against the Chief Executive if they believe the words of embattled Revilla that the President tried to get Revilla’s vote for the impeachment of Corona, House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales 2nd said.

This, a day after Revilla—who is facing P224.5 million plunder complaint before the Office of the Ombudsman over the P10 billion Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) scam—accused Aquino of asking him a favor by voting for the conviction of Corona of betrayal of public trust for undeclared wealth before the Senate impeachment court.

“If they think what happened was an impeachable offense, then the proper thing to do it file an impeachment complaint here in the House [of Representatives]because it is this body, thru the House Committee on Justice, which decides which is an impeachable offense. But they need to file the impeachment compliant first and it must be endorsed by a member of the House,” Gonzales said during the weekly Ugnayan sa Batasan News Forum.

Gonzales was referring to the constitutional duty of the House to initiate impeachment proceedings.

“For so long that there is an endorser, the impeachment complaint can be referred to the House Committee on Justice. But you must have personal knowledge of the complaint. Otherwise, it will just be hearsay. But if there is no complaint, there will only be a high school debate on what is impeachable or not,” Gonzales, a lawyer, argued.

House Games and Amusements panel Chair Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Dasmariñas, for his part, expressed doubts that the words of the beleaguered Revilla would be enough to initiate an impeachment proceeding against Aquino.

“Do we accept what he said at face value that the President talked to him to secure a vote for Corona’s conviction? That is disputed in the first place because it has been denied by the President and the [Interior] Secretary Mar [Roxas],” Barzaga said, referring to Revilla’s claim that it was Roxas who fetched him for the meeting with the President.

“The rule of law is due process. We need to hear the response of the person alluded to. It has happened and now it is up to the media or the Filipino people to choose whose words to believe in,” Barzaga added.

In closing, Gonzales invoked that it all boils down to Revilla’s decision on the Corona case, regardless if Revilla’s claims that he was forced to vote for Corona’s conviction or otherwise.

“What is important to me is his [Revilla’s] statement that he decided to convict then Chief Justice Corona because that was the correct thing to do based on his appreciation of the circumstances [that was unearthed in the Corona trial],” Gonzales said.

No betrayal of public trust
However, Barzaga believed—considering Revilla’s allegations were true—that Aquino did not commit a betrayal of public trust because the senator’s vote for Corona’s conviction is “not crucial.”

“I don’t think there will be a betrayal of public trust. When we say betrayal of public trust, it is a trust of such magnitude goes to the heart and soul of the nation. And in this particular case, the vote of Sen. Revilla is not actually critical or crucial because the result of the vote was 20 in favor of conviction and only three against,” he said.

Meanwhile, United Nationalist Alliance Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Toby Tiangco said that because of the limited number of opposition members at the House, it would be impossible to pass an impeachment complaint against Aquino.

“We have to face the reality that he [Aquino] cannot be impeached whatever impeachable offense he may commit,” Tiangco said.

Given that Revilla’s allegations were true, the opposition lawmaker also said it is upon the hands of the people to make the administration accountable given the number of allies he has at the House.

With reports from Catherine S. Valente, Llanesca T. Panti and Jhoanna Ballaran

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18 Comments

  1. Impeachment complaint against Presidente Aquino will not succeed. Remember, PNoy controlled the Lower House. PNoy has 200 plus allies in the House, so…you know what I mean.

  2. Minda dela Cruz on

    for heavens sake! bong revilla didn’t say a word since his name appeared on PDAF like maamong santo while somebody is readying his speech with a practised acting, remember he is an actor and all of a sudden he double faced Pnoy…do you believe him people?

  3. I’ve saying all along that this president is inefficient and lazy. He surrounded himself with
    people like him (Mar Roxas, Leila de Lima, Henares of the BIR) So we can’t expect too much,
    let alone anything from these people. “Tuwid na Daan” is just nothing but empty promise.
    He has not accomplished anything to eliminate corruption. In fact, it’s just getting worse.

  4. Impeach Aquino or not does not matter, we will leave it to the people how to remove the charlatan in the palace. What matters is that CNoy lost his moral ground to govern, destroyed by his best friends Jinggoy and Bong.

    Consider this:

    The desperate contradictory statements of CNoy and Roxas cemented the common belief that CNoy bribed the lawbreakers to impeach Chief Justice Corona. In his denial of Bong’s allegations, Roxas nonsensically focused on his car plate number saying that he does not use no. 8 as alleged by Bong, implying that his being a driver of Bong on their way to the palace did not take place. Informed that CNoy will admit the meeting, Roxas abruptly changed his tune and admitted that indeed the meeting between Bong and CNoy took place but the purpose of the meeting is that :”he wanted to help his friend Bong as regards the cityhood of Bacoor and Bong’s wish to head the Lakas Party.” This was a huge blunder by Roxas since he will be debunked by no less than CNoy himself later on.

    In his admission that indeed, the meeting between him and Bong took place, CNoy made a convenient excuse that “he wanted to find out who are pressuring the senator-judges to vote one way or another and that he only pleaded with Bong to vote according to the merits of the case.” A plausible excuse but a lie no less. What is important is that CNoy is unaware that he just admitted that the topic of his clandestine meetings with the senator-judges, including Bong Revilla, is all about the impeachment of CJ Corona. Moreover, it cannot be gainsaid that CNoy is practically saying that Roxas is a liar, since they have extremely different reasons of the meeting. The fact is, they are both lying. The reasons they have given are too shallow that these are in fact insults to the minds of the people.

  5. Ang ginawa ni Bong Revilla ay di dapat ikapagtataka. Nakalimutan na ba yung ginawa niya kay Erap, di ba tinraydor din niya si Erap ng ito ay i empeach? Ang ginawa niya kay Corona ay para na ring ginawa niya yun laban kay GMA na palabigasan ng mga tiwaling politiko at opisyal ng simbahang katoliko, ngayon naman ay kay P-Noy na naman. Hindi niya dapat dinala yung tatay niya na dating senador pagkat kailan man ay hindi nito tinraydor si Erap.

  6. Funny sometimes that we all wanted is matinong presidente. Among the others it is Pnoy who only work on eliminating corrupt officials but then now you want to oust him simply because he wanted to eliminate corrupt officials like you.
    In politics they will throw each other’s kabulukan. SHAME on you people who steal the money of Filipino citizens. You cannot fool people. Find mistake and “baho” sa isat isa in order to be just liberated from the bulok things you had committed. Your style senators are “bulok”. If Sen. Bong Revilla would like to speak why speak now? That is because he consulted with his lawyers and allies on how to point the mistake back to President and divert the case to the opponent. Bottom line if you are a thief you are a thief ! “Magnanakaw” is that is how how i describe politicians who shamelessly stealing the money of Filipinos who are starving on street.

  7. I won’t be surprised if and when it turns out that Sen. Revilla’s privilege speech was written by Ricky Carandang. LOL

  8. conchita gabucan on

    a lot of issues being raised pero wala lang ang mga pilipino. Okay lang sa atin ang dayain tayo, okay lang sa atin ang utuin tayo, okay lang sa atin ang pagnakawan tayo.
    kailan tayo magigising? mayaman ang bayan natin pero ang mga tao naghihikahos dahil puro tayo “okay lang yan”

  9. Mabuti pa hayaan na natin ang Peoples Republic of China ang mag take over ng Philippines para umunlad ang Pilipinas. Lahat ng corrupt na government officials ay bitayin pati na rin ang mga masamang pnoy at pinay. Malilinis ng China government ang Pilipinas for sure yan. Si Jingoy at si Bong ang unang tatakas papuntang America kasi doon na ang kwarta na ninakaw nila sa ating bayan. Get it.

  10. Someone will file an impeachment case but most likely will be quickly dismissed by Congress because most are allied with PNoy. It will only prosper when these Congressmen feel that PNoy is losing support.

  11. “Ready for impeachment?” CNoy is full of stinking hot air.

    CNoy does not have to be ready for impeachment at all. He knows that it’s not only about his control over the lawbreakers in the House who will never pass any articles of impeachment against him that matters. More importantly, he knows that the Senate cannot constitute an impeachment court among themselves. How can they when majority of them are part and parcel of the crime of Bribery to remove Chief Justice Corona? How can they when they wantonly violated the constitution by conniving to met CNoy in clandestine meetings to discuss Corona’s impeachment. How can they when majority of the members of the Senate partook of the loot plundered from the coffers of the government through illegal and unconstitutional PDAF and DAP bribes? In short, it’s all about conspiracy at the highest level and no one can check them even the Supreme Court, can’t you see?

    CNoy made sure that majority of the members of Congress became his conspirators in plundering the wealth of our Nation to insure his selfish ends and perpetuate himself in power. Mark my word. This issue about CNoy’s ready for impeachment is nonsensical to say the least.

  12. Once again pnoy got caught with his pants down and all his explanations together with his spokespersons in malacanang and congress are pure unadulterated HOGWASH!

  13. Revilla Jr. is a big cry baby. Be a man, It is time to face the music. Stick to the facts, defend your self if you truly is innocent. Do not be like a little child who got caught with his hands in the candy jar, and started trying to deflect the issue by saying the other kids were doing more bad things, why don’t you go after them. They have a name for guys like you, they name you after a woman’s genitalia.

    • It is sad to hear that we Filipino’s are still run by politicians who knows nothing but working for their own interest. Impeach the Ninoy, why?
      He can not be re elected anyway. I say we just move on. Learn from the past. Most of all scrap those politicians who are big time robber. They can not even answer their accusations… I think low brain as well>>>

  14. Bong Revilla face the real issue. How much passed by under the table. DO NOT DIVERT THE ATTENTION OF THE PEOPLE.

  15. Abnoy says he didn’t meddle in the SCJustice Corona impeachment. Ano tawag mo sa billion peso bribes? Bo bo mo.