Palace leaves lobby issue for Senate, INC to answer
MANILA, Philippines — It is up to the Senate and the leadership of the Iglesia ni Cristo to explain the reported lobbying by the politically influential religious sect for the acquittal of impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona, one of President Benigno Aquino III’s aides said Saturday.
Abigail Valte, one of the President’s spokespersons, would make no further comment on the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s banner story on Saturday reporting a legislative source as saying INC officials have been lobbying for the senators to acquit Corona, who is expected to take the witness stand when his impeachment trial by the Senate resumes on Tuesday.
She said Malacañang would not comment on a story based on the account of an anonymous source.
“It will be up to each side if and when they wll respond to this particular issue,” Valte said over radio.
Valte recalled that Malacañang and the senators issued their respective statements when Corona’s defense lawyers claimed at a news conference that the Aquino administration had offered millions of pesos worth of projects to senators in exchange for a ruling of guilty against Corona, who the President has openly said he would want removed from office.
“I cannot say if this would be the same for this particular supposed accusation,” Valte said.
Valte said senators would usually take advantage of the time available during the impeachment trial to clarify certain issues.
She cited the case of Senator Edgardo Angara who took the floor to explain why he would not inhibit himself from the proceedings after the defense lawyers questioned his impartiality because his son was an ally of President Aquino and a member of the prosecution and because of the projects the national government was funding in Angara’s home province of Aurora.
“Let’s see if the senators will take the time to answer this particular item,” Valte said.
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