Aquino bats for due process when dealing with friends, foes
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno S. Aquino III firmly believes in following ‘due process’ when dealing with political opponents, as well as close friends who happen to be working for him in his cabinet, and are under fire for certain lapses or policy decisions, said Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda.
Speaking at Radyo Inquirer 990AM’s Tapatan program, Lacierda countered charges that the President seemed “more forgiving to his friends” when it comes investigating cases of wrongdoing, or management lapses against them.
“In the cases of DILG Undersecretary Ricardo Puno and BuCor director Ernesto Diokno, the President already that stated that his actions were not based on loyalty, or shared history,” Lacierda said. “In fact, we had an opportunity to speak to the president about this. What he said can be summed up in two words: due process. We will give our opponents due process, but we will also give this to our friends, he said.”
Lacierda acknowledged that “unfortunately, the President’s granting of due process to Puno and Diokno was equated with weakness, or having a soft spot for friends, by some quarters.”
The Presidential spokesman said they tried to advise the President that public opinion would be against his decision, but he would not budge on this point. “He’s a firm believer in due process. This is what his father taught him. He said he absolutely refuses to shortcut the process” Lacierda explained.
President Aquino accepted on Monday the resignation of embattled BuCor chief Ernesto Diokno over recently uncovered unauthorized trips of homicide convict Antonio Leviste out of the New Bilibid Prison in Muntinlupa city
The President said Diokno’s resignation was “irrevocable.” He thanked Diokno, a known ‘shooting buddy’ for his service and his “delicadeza” for resigning, and later told reporters his resignation was “the best form of apology.”
Queried on the comparative alacrity with which the President had let go of former chief of state weather bureau Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Dr. Prisco Nilo, last year, Lacierda said that was a different case.
“ The decision on Dr. Nilo’s case wasn’t made that fast, “ Lacierda said. “He was given several chances to correct a number of management problems at Pagasa which were uncovered during a command conference, but he unfortunately failed to deliver. Thus, he was recommended to be relieved. “
Nilo’s retirement was tendered a few months later after President Aquino ordered him replaced when Pagasa failed to predict the path of Typhoon Basyang (international codename Conson) in mid-July, 2010. He was replaced by Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary Graciano Yumul.
Joel Lacsamana, INQUIRER.net