LAWYER Karen Jimeno, who served as spokesperson of the defense panel during the impeachment trial of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona, has jumped fences and now serves as one of the top officials of the camp that “persecuted” her former boss.
Jimeno, who gave the impeachment trial a “pretty face”, owing to her good looks and eloquence, has been appointed as media director of the Office of the Presidential Adviser for Rehabilitation and Recovery headed by former Senator Panfilo Lacson. The agency is under the Office of the President.
President Benigno Aquino 3rd was said to be Corona’s biggest public prosecutor and it was the chief executive who egged his allies in Congress to pursue the magistrate’s ouster.
The lady lawyer was officially introduced to the media when Lacson appeared for a briefing in Malacañang on Monday.
Being Corona’s mouthpiece, Jimeno staunchly defended the then embattled chief magistrate who was accused of hiding ill-gotten wealth which were not disclosed in any of the statement of assets liabilities and networth that he submitted while in government service.
Jimeno gave interviews and conducted press conferences to counter “media attacks” by Corona’s tormentors— the prosecution panel and the Palace.
Asked if Jimeno’s appointment in Lacson’s office sits well with them, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said he welcomes the entry of Jimeno into their team.
“Yes, i have no problem with Atty Jimeno. She is a professional,” Lacierda told The Manila Times.
The Palace official explained that it was Lacson himself who invited Jimeno to work for the government.
“She came on board with Sec. Lacson upon his invitation and that she knows that by being Sec. Lacson’s Communications Director, she can help communicate the role of PARR in the rehabilitation of Yolanda affected areas,” Lacierda further said.
The rehabilitation of Yolanda-devastated regions is now among President Aquino’s top priorities and Lacierda said he sees nothing wrong with having a former “opponent” to do the talking and media coordination for Yolanda efforts.
“Also on a personal note, we both came from The law firm of Quisumbing and Torres where we got the same rigorous training in corporate legal work although we were not there in the same time,” he further stressed.
Jimeno, in a text message to the Times, said she was grateful for having been invited to work for the government and Lacson, who was among those who voted to oust Corona. She said Lacierda welcomed her very warmly and even gave tips on how to handle communications for OPARR.
“When I spoke to Sec. lacierda he was very helpful and gave me constructive suggestions on how to handle PARR communications. I didn’t consider Sec. Lacson as Corona’s prosecutor. He was a senator judge who rendered a decision based on his appreciation of the case. The OPARR is about helping the Yolanda affected people and communities get back on track,”
The lady lawyer explained that her entry into the folds of Malacanang “should not be viewed as Pro-PNoy, anti_Noy, pro-Corona, anti-Corona or pro- or anti-government or opposition, It should not be about politics or personalities.”
“ We should not lose focus on the fact that this is all about the Yolanda victims. For those who can’t or don’t want to help, then don’t. But don’t get in the way… I’m fortunate t work for a man who shares my view that we should all do what we can to help regardless of personal differences or affiliations. Helping fellow Filipinos recover is an aspect where the country should be united, not divided,” Jimeno emphasized.
She added that she knew that her becoming an official of the Palace would certainly raise eyebrows but maintained that it should not be an issue.
“ I know it’s tempting to make an issue out of this, but seriously, kahit gawan pa ng issues and hindi ako magustuhan ok lang. I told Sec. Lacson if better for me to be behind the scenes and do back office work I don’t mind just to make sure I don’t get in the way of PARR goals,” she told the Times.
“ But i really hope we can all work together to help the affected communities and people. If you could see them, hindi pa talaga sila ok. They need help. Thank you for getting my side,” she added.