MANILA, Philippines – Will an impeachment complaint prosper against President Benigno Aquino III for allegedly meddling during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona?
Not for now, minority members at the House of Representatives said at a press briefing Thursday.
1-BAP Partylist Representative Silvestre Bello III said Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr.’s allegations that the president personally told him to convict Corona would need to be corroborated before being used as basis for an impeachment complaint.
“For Congress to file an impeachment complaint, the allegations have to be corroborated because if there is a trial it will fall apart immediately if there is only one witness, and there is no corroboration,” Bello said in Filipino.
Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Carlos Zarate added that the minority has yet to reach a consensus on the matter.
He noted, though, that there was impropriety on the part of the president in influencing senator-judges during the trial.
He added that impropriety was prohibited under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
“In my opinion, there is at the least impropriety when the president who is very much interested in the impeachment…talks to a senator-judge. We know that under the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices, that is prohibited,” Zarate said.
“Right now, it is not right for any possible complaint because Sen. Revilla’s statement … remains uncorroborated,” he added.
Aquino’s meddling charges stemmed from Revilla’s privilege speech after the senator was accused of being involved in a billion-peso racket involving lawmakers’ discretionary pork barrel funds.
The Palace confirmed the meeting but denied the president influenced the senator-judge.