Malacañang on Wednesday belied Vice President Jejomar Binay’s statement branding President Benigno Aquino 3rd as a dictator for supposedly meddling in the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
According to Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr., the impeachment trial of Corona was fair and was even led by Binay’s ally in the Senate.
“It’s wrong to accuse the President of being a dictator. The impeachment and consequent conviction of Chief Justice Corona was in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution,” he said in Filipino.
“The Senate acting as an impeachment court earned praises for its fair handling of the trial. It was then- Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, an ally of Vice President Binay, who presided over the trial,” Coloma added.
Binay, in a radio interview on Tuesday, claimed that he had advised President Aquino against pushing for the impeachment of Corona or risk becoming a dictator like late former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Sitting as an impeachment court, the Senate found Corona guilty of betraying the public trust and committing culpable violation of the Constitution.
It was a move that shook the normally secretive Supreme Court and caused many to worry about a perceived rift between the executive and judiciary.
“I spoke to him before he left for another country. I told him that what he was doing to Corona wasn’t right,” Binay said of Aquino, dispelling criticism from administration allies who questioned why he was quiet when he was Cabinet secretary for five years.
The Vice President added, “I told him, you already have the executive department.
Congress is yours. If you touch the judiciary, Justice Corona, that turns you into a dictator. Everyone would be afraid of you. And it happened, the judiciary feared him.”
Binay insisted that he tried to give his two cents on various issues but said Aquino was “hard-headed.”
Meanwhile, Malacanang spokesman Edwin Lacierda branded Binay’s so-called ‘true State of the Nation Address (Tsona)” as charot–a joke, in Filipino gay lingo–as the pitch verbal battle between the administration and opposition camps continued on Wednesday.
“Sadly the Vice President has been hitting everyone like a shotgun. It’s like his Tsona was charot,” Lacierda said in a news conference.
Reiterating his previous statements, he noted that Binay kept mum “where he could have been part of the solution” and even praised Aquino “in many instances” during his five-year stint in the Cabinet.
“[I don’t know what he was doing in] the past five years…We have been governing for the entire five years. We’ve been very serious about governance and the accomplishments,” the Palace spokesman added.