Sen. Arroyo says Aquino ‘becoming an autocrat like Marcos’
Two Catholic bishops on Tuesday expressed concern over the Monday impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Malolos Bishop Jose Oliveros said Corona’s impeachment by President Benigno Aquino III’s allies in the House of Representatives was “politically motivated” and “disrespectful” to the Supreme Court.
“I’m [saddened] by the turn of events and surprised at the speed [of the impeachment]. … They say Malacañang had nothing to do with this, but it is very clear that they had a hand in this,” Oliveros told the Church-run Radio Veritas.
“It is sad because there should be respect [among] equal branches of government. Let us hope that the dignity of the Supreme Court will be maintained,” he said.
Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani, likewise, said he was surprised.
“I will tell you the truth. At the speed with which things happened, there might have been arm-twisting from above,” he said.
In an impromptu press conference, Senator Joker Arroyo said the President was on his way “to becoming an autocrat like [the late Ferdinand] Marcos.”
Arroyo said the House’s move had further strengthened its traditional image as a lackey of Malacañang.
The senator said that with the President now targeting the Supreme Court, it would only be a matter of time before he set his eyes on the Senate as well.
So far, the dominant Liberal Party has only four members in the Senate—Franklin Drilon, Sergio Osmeña III, Ralph Recto and Francis Pangilinan. But many senators from other parties have indicated their friendliness with the administration.
“The way I look at it, Noynoy (the President’s nickname) is smarter than Marcos because Marcos had to issue Proclamation No. 1081 to usher in martial law. Noy doesn’t have to do anything except to muscle in on everyone,” Arroyo warned, adding:
“Marcos used [the eradication of] poverty and communism as his excuse to commit abuses. We have a one-man government now since Noy has subjugated the House and is on his way to doing so to the judiciary.
“By focusing on the alleged crimes of [former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo] and Corona, people are being entertained by the President’s bid for power disguised as transparency.”
Bishop Oliveros said those accusing Corona of “bias” in favor of Gloria Arroyo themselves had their own political biases.
“They are biased against Corona. This is a sad event. They did not respect the role of the Supreme Court. I hope the senators will look at this more rationally,” he said. “There is a great danger here that our coequal branches of government are losing their respect for [one another].”
Bishop Bacani, a member of the 1987 Constitutional Commission, said Corona’s impeachment had raised questions about his ability to continue with his work at the high court.
“Can you acquit yourself of the job despite the charges that had been leveled at you?” Bacani said.
Tagbilaran Bishop Leonardo Medroso said due process should be respected.
But he cautioned politicians from spoiling the holiday season with their fighting: “It is not good to see our own national leaders leading in squabbles and misunderstanding this Christmas.”
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