THE United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Thursday expressed fear that the Aquino administration also tried to talk with the justices of Supreme Court (SC) to solicit support on the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
UNA Secretary General and Navotas Rep. Tobias “Toby” Tiangco issued the statement after President Benigno Aquino 3rd admitted that there was nothing wrong or improper in meeting four senator-judges at the height of the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Tiangco said Aquino’s admission was already enough to ascertain that Malacañang continues to 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 said.
He said that with DAP on the line, Malacañang is set to employ the same formula and strategy it used before, during and after the Coronoa impeachment.
“So, how many SC justices has Malacañang tried to talk to or talked to already either directly or indirectly, for the DAP decision?” asked Tiangco.
According to Tiangco, 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 (LP) and the administration, he added, have already perfected the “carrot-and-stick” approach in neutralizing those who are antagonistic to Aquino agenda.
He noted that those whom they are able to win over are “rewarded,” while those whom they cannot entice 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 Administration would cross the line just to get what they 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. Jinggoy Estrada in his privilege speech revealed that Aquino sought the meetings with senator-judges in the Corona impeachment trial to put pressure on the senators and, for those who the President could not convince, lured them with P50 million worth of largesse from DAP.
Tiangco said the “secret meetings” are essentially to put pressure on not-so-friendly forces who are not congruent to the agenda of Malacañang.
The Supreme Court has set the oral arguments on the controversial DAP on January 28. RITCHIE A. HORARIO