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Aquino keeps up war against graft


05:00 AM February 22nd, 2012

February 22nd, 2012 05:00 AM

ANTIGRAFT WORKSHOP President Aquino presides over a Cabinet workshop on anticorruption strategies with (from left) Budget Secretary Florencio Abad, professor Robert Klitgaard and Edilberto de Jesus of the Asian Institute of Management held at Heroes Hall in Malacañang on Tuesday. EDWIN BACASMAS

Saying the justice system was a “major battleground for reform,” President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday gave another speech that could be seen as pushing for the removal of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Opening an antigraft workshop for Cabinet officials in Malacañang, Mr. Aquino said his administration’s graft-busting efforts would be “rendered a mockery if certain elements are still able to prevent Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, for example, from being held accountable.”

“We cannot sustainably fight corruption unless we reintroduce a sense of accountability—a sense that, if you commit a crime, you will be punished,” he said.

“If certain elements are still able to prevent Gloria Arroyo, for example, from being held accountable then it makes a mockery of our anticorruption efforts.”

The President’s allies in the House of Representatives impeached Corona in December after the Supreme Court issued a temporary restraining order on the government’s travel ban against former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, because the government had not yet filed a formal case of electoral sabotage against Arroyo.


She was later formally charged before the Pasay City regional trial court.

But the President said he believed the government’s case would have been irreparably compromised if Arroyo had managed to leave the country on account of the Supreme Court TRO.

“We want our judiciary to dispense justice blindly, as it should. And perhaps this explains our fight to restore integrity to the judiciary, which has made headlines everywhere,” Mr. Aquino said in his speech.

No doubt

“No one should doubt our justice system is a major battleground for reform,” he added.

The President said that while the country had made progress in fighting corruption, the 2012 Index of Economic Freedom released by the Heritage Foundation showed the problem of judicial inefficiency and susceptibility to outside pressures “remain a serious concern.”

“We want to send a stern yet simple message: No one evades justice. There are no exceptions in our campaign against corruption,” Mr.  Aquino said. Norman Bordadora

Originally posted: 12:39 pm | Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

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