MILITANT group Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) on Tuesday denounced President Benigno Aquino 3rd and Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad for releasing an additional pork barrel funds to legislators in exchange for the ouster of former chief justice Renato Corona.
According to the KMU, the President and Budget chief clearly used the people’s money to bribe lawmakers into voting against Corona who was removed from office largely on the basis of his incomplete declarations in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth or SALN.
“Clearly, Aquino and Abad employed corrupt tactics in Corona’s impeachment trial, which was packaged as part of the government’s anti-corruption drive. The release of bribes for Corona’s impeachment highlights Aquino’s selfish motives in pushing for Corona’s ouster,” Elmer Labog, the group’s chairman, said in a statement.
The group said that, while the public became angry at Corona over his role in former president Gloria Arroyo’s attempt to leave the country, the Aquino regime ousted the former chief magistrate primarily because the Supreme Court under his leadership ordered the distribution of Hacienda Luisita, owned by the president’s Aquino-Cojuangco family, to farm workers.
“The scale of bribery and corruption related to the Corona impeachment implies that no less than Malacañang is responsible. Aquino and Abad have seriously undermined their ‘daang matuwid’ slogan with this move,” Labog said.
Condemning the bribes, Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago said that each senator who voted to convict and each congressman who voted to indict the former chief justice, if shown to have received additional pork barrel funds immediately after the trial, is “presumably guilty of bribery.”
“The use of pork barrel funds to bribe legislators in the service of Aquino’s selfish motives again shows that the pork barrel system must be abolished in its entirety. No amount of reforms will improve this system of corruption, bribery and deceit,” Labog said. NEIL A. ALCOBER