Sona 2014: Aquino praised for not mentioning pork scam suspects
MANILA, Philippines — Senators have mixed reactions on President Benigno Aquino III’s State of the Nation address but they were one in saying that the President was right when he made no mention about the plight of the three jailed senators.
The three were Senators Juan Ponce Enrile, Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, and Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr., who have been charged with plunder in connection with the “pork barrel” scam. They have been detained at Camp Crame in Quezon City.
“The President did not mention the cases of the three because they are in court,” Senate President Franklin Drilon told reporters after Aquino’s speech.
Senators Nancy Binay and Teofisto Guingona III said Aquino’s Sona was not the right venue to raise the issue of the three.
“Baka it’s not proper to mention the other senators,” Binay, an opposition member, said in a separate interview.
Aquino’s ally, Senator Teofisto Guingona III, it was just right that the President made no mention of the three out of respect to the judiciary.
“I was thinking kasi it’s already with the judiciary, the Sandiganbayan and you know, there’s separation of branches so let the Judiciary branch of government take care of that aspect already,” Guingona said.
“Huwag na tayong makiaalam masyado because the wheels of justice are already moving,” he added.
Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero, another administration ally, said he was glad that the President did not dwell much on the two controversial issues–the Disbursement Acceleration Program and the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) or the pork barrel funds.
“Mabuti at hindi nya tinalakay yung mga ibang issue na hindi tinatalakay sa Sona katulad ng DAP, ng PDAF at iba pang mga issue at mga kontrobersya na wala na naman na sigurong lugar sa Sona matapos itong talakayin ng ilang ulit sa iba’t ibang forum,” Escudero said.
Nevertheless, Escudero and Guingona expressed satisfaction over the issues raised by the President during his one- and-half long speech.
“Definitely, I’m satisfied with the speech of the President,” Escudero said.
“Satisfied na satisfied ako,” said Guingona.
Binay found Aquino’s Sona “full of emotions” but less combative compared to his previous speeches.
“Compared to his other speeches, ngayon mas malumanay and full of emotions,” she said.
Senator Grace Poe, meanwhile, said he was hoping that the President would mention about the Freedom of Information, which has been passed already by the Senate but still pending at the House of Representatives.
Despite this, Poe, head of the Senate committee on information, remained optimistic that the proposed measure would still be passed before Aquino steps down from office in 2016.
“Although the President did not mention the FOI, I am still optimistic that this important measure will be passed under his leadership,” she said in a statement.
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