Aquino attends leftist congress: All’s right
“I and the members of Akbayan think alike,” President Benigno Aquino III said on Friday, virtually confirming his close ties with the left-leaning party-list group that impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona has accused of holding the President and his administration “by the neck.”
Mr. Aquino on Friday attended Akbayan’s fifth regular congress at the Philippine International Convention Center where the President, and Akbayan leaders—Ronald Llamas, Akbayan president who is Mr. Aquino’s presidential political adviser, and Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel, Akbayan spokesperson and Mr. Aquino’s Liberal Party mate—all denied Corona’s allegations.
“I don’t control Akbayan and [they] don’t control me. We are both influenced by our countrymen,” Mr. Aquino said.
The President said the members of Akbayan had been his allies at the House of Representatives from the time he started out as a congressman from Tarlac.
“In fact, when the government was being rocked by corruption and loss of integrity, the Liberal Party and Akbayan put together their voices so that we won’t be drowned by the noise of the sycophants of the past administration,” he said.
Akbayan was one of the groups to successfully win a seat in Congress during the first election for sectoral representatives in 1998, the same year that Mr. Aquino won a House seat as a Tarlac representative.
They think alike
Mr. Aquino said he and Akbayan stand against human rights violations and an abusive mentality in government, but they are for social justice, equal recognition for women, and integrity, honesty and accountability in government.
“These traits are among those that pushed us to convince Risa Hontiveros-Baraquel to be part of the Liberal Party senatorial lineup in 2013,” Mr. Aquino said.
“Your theme is quite appropriate. We want a good fight and a good future from the beautiful, intelligent and talented Risa,” he said.
Creeping leftist takeover
In his testimony at his Senate impeachment trial on Tuesday, Corona accused President Aquino of using the entire government bureaucracy to destroy his reputation to avenge the loss of Hacienda Luisita, the vast sugar estate of the President’s Cojuangco family, as a result of an adverse Supreme Court ruling.
Corona also alleged that he was being impeached because of the President’s desire to gain absolute control of all three branches of government and that leftist elements were slowly taking over the government.
Llamas, who was named by Corona as one of these leftist elements “holding [the President] by the neck,” said this was untrue.
“While I suppose I should be flattered that he attributed so much influence to me, which is so untrue, the obvious motivation behind that statement is to once again attribute the dire straits he finds himself in to a supposed conspiracy,” Llamas said.
In her own remarks at the congress, Baraquel denied Corona’s allegations.
“This is not a conspiracy, this is accountability,” she said of Corona’s impeachment and trial.