Palace denies asking senator to convict Chief Justice
Malacañang on Monday confirmed that President Aquino had met with Sen. Ramon Revilla Jr. but claimed it was not meant to seek the senator’s support for the conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
In a statement, the Palace claimed that Aquino had sat down with the senator “to verify persistent reports that the senators were being pressured by interest groups to influence the outcome of the impeachment trial, and he asked the senator to decide on the basis of its merits.”
“The senator said that he would [sic] do what is [sic] right and he voted to convict then Chief Justice Corona,” it added in a statement read by Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.
The Palace said the President also “deplores the unfair insinuation made by Senator Revilla against his sister, Maria Elena Aquino-Cruz, and her husband, Eldon, despite the fact that the Czech ambassador has clearly stated that they are not in any way involved in the MRT (Metro Rail Transit) project in which a Czech firm was interested.”
“The main issue here is the proper use of public funds for which Senator Revilla is accountable. It is his duty to start explaining to our people how his PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) allocation was actually spent,” the Palace said.
Coloma looked and sounded irked when asked if the President had also met with other senator-judges then and if indeed he only wanted to “verify” reports of “interest groups” meddling with the impeachment trial.
Asked why the President had to meet Revilla clandestinely, based on the account of the senator, Coloma claimed that “Bahay Pangarap is the official residence of the President—it’s not a clandestine place.”
Interior Secretary Mar Roxas issued a statement Monday night confirming that he took Revilla to the Palace. He said the senator wanted a cityhood status for Bacoor. He did not directly address Revilla’s claim that Aquino asked the politician-actor to support the ouster of Corona. But Roxas denied that he took out the license plate of his sport utility vehicle when he drove Revilla to Malacañang.
Justice Secretary Leila de Lima stood by the whistler-blowers. “We would not have filed the case if it was not really strong,” she said.
Told that Revilla presented a pile of papers that he placed on top of a toy truck, De Lima said Revilla was apparently “insulting” and “belittling” the work done by her office and the National Bureau of Investigation.—With a report from Christine O. Avendaño
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