Lobbying is normal – Sotto

May 21, 2012 10:36 pm 

MANILA, May 21 – Amid reports a religious group is allegedly lobbying for the acquittal of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III said Monday there is nothing wrong with lobbying.

But he denied he was one of the five senators approached by Iglesia ni Cristo emissaries.

”Lobbying is normal. It did happen. That’s normal, but I’m one of those who have not been (approached),” Sotto said in a media interview.

The Senate official made his reaction after the INC reportedly approached at least five senator-judges to seek the acquittal of Corona in the ongoing impeachment trial in the Senate.

Sen. Edgardo Angara said it is within the rights of any religious group or individual to ask for an audience with the lawmakers, who are representatives of the people in Congress.

Angara said: "I think there is nothing wrong with constituents (who wish) to talk to their representative government.

"Anyway, that’s the concept of democracy. People are represented by representatives and so the people and their organizations can talk to their representative.”

Like Sotto, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile said nobody had approached him to lobby for either acquittal or conviction of the chief magistrate.

”Nobody approached me,” Enrile said.

Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. was one of the senators who was reportedly approached by the INC but even the lawmaker from Ilocos Norte denied such report.

”Nobody talked to me about the impeachment,” Marcos said.

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said he would prefer to tackle the impeachment issue with his colleagues.

Former Supreme Court Justice Serafin Cuevas, Corona’s lead counsel, is a member of the INC.

Corona is scheduled to testify before his own impeachment trial Tuesday to explain his 82 dollar accounts in five banks alleged earlier by the Ombudsman, who appeared as hostile witness for the defense. (PNA)

hbc/scs/jfm

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