IF President Benigno Aquino 3rd found nothing wrong in meeting with senator-judges at the height of the impeachment trial of former chief justice Renato Corona, it is possible that he will also talk to Supreme Court (SC) justices to solicit their support for the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) said on Thursday.
UNA Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco said Aquino’s admission that he met with four senators raises fears that Malacañang may use the same scheme in “influencing” SC justices.
“If Malacañang finds nothing wrong with talking to the senators who served as judges during the Corona impeachment, then what would stop them from talking to the SC justices to save the DAP?” he asked.
He noted that with DAP on the line, Malacañang could employ the same formula and strategy it used during the Corona impeachment.
“So, how many SC justices has Malacañang tried to talk to or talked to already either directly or indirectly, for the DAP decision?” Tiangco said.
According to him, the “undue influence peddling only shows that the administration has no respect for a co-equal branch of government and openly delegitimizes lawful institutions.”
“It’s pitiful that the Daang Matuwid lacks the decency to correct its misconducts,” he added.
The ruling Liberal Party and the administration, he added, have perfected the “carrot-and-stick” approach in neutralizing those who are antagonistic to Aquino’s agenda.
He noted that the people Malacañang are able to win over are “rewarded,” while those who cannot be enticed with public funds are either threatened or harassed.
“The revelations made by Sen. Bong Revilla about the circumstances of his meeting with the President, Mar Roxas and Butch Abad only bolster our fears that the ddministration would cross the line just to get what it wanted,” Tiangco said.
He said Malacañang apparently wanted to keep the DAP funds legal by putting pressure on the justices by way of “bullying and blackmailing” them into favoring DAP.
“Is PNoy ready to admit that he has stopped bullying the justices?” Tiangco asked.
In September 2013, Sen. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada revealed that Aquino lured some senators with P50 million worth of largesse from DAP.
The SC has set the oral arguments on the controversial DAP on January 28.