The President did not meddle with Corona's impeachment trial –Palace official

January 22, 2014 7:32 am 

By Azer N. Parrocha

MANILA, Jan. 21 (PNA) — Malacanang said on Tuesday President Benigno S. Aquino III never influenced or bribed Sen. Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. into voting for the impeachment of former Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.

Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio B. Coloma Jr. clarified this in a media briefing following Revilla’s privilege speech in the Senate on Monday which implied that the President did so.

“It is totally out of character for the President to speak in that language,” Coloma said, referring to the President’s alleged meddling with the case when Revilla met with him in his official residence at Bahay Pangarap in Malacanang compound.

“The President did not meddle, but all he requested was for Revilla to decide on the merits of the case with his conscience and the senator (Revilla) said, ‘I will do what is right,’” Coloma stressed.

He reiterated that the President was merely concerned about interest groups that could influence the senators’ outcome of the impeachment trial. It was his duty as head of the executive department, he added.

“The President is a political leader and he regularly discusses issues with senators, congressmen and local officials,” Coloma said, citing Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II’s statement.

“Senator Revilla went to the meeting on his own accord, without indication that he did it against his will,” he added, stressing that that there was no “impropriety” about the issue.

During the press briefing, Coloma called again on Revilla to respond to the people’s clamor for a full explanation on what happened to his priority development assistance fund (PDAF) allocation that he received from 2007 to 2009.

“What the people heard and saw yesterday was a plain attempt to divert public attention from the real issue,” Coloma said.

“As an elected public official, the senator is expected to account for the PDAF allocation which he received,” he added. “The main issue is PDAF and it is the right of the people to be given a full explanation.” (PNA)

SCS/ANP

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