UNA spokesman: Aquino could influence SC justices on DAP, too

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

A SPOKESPERSON of the United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) on Thursday expressed fear that President Benigno Aquino III will also attempt to pressure the Supreme Court (SC) justices to rule in favor of the administration's Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

"If Malacanang finds nothing wrong with talking to the senators who served as judges during the Corona impeachment, then what would stop them from talking to the SC justices to save the DAP. It's pitiful that the Daang Matuwid lacks the decency to correct its misconducts," said Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, secretary general of UNA.

Tiangco was referring to the attempt of Aquino and his Cabinet secretaries to influence the vote of Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. in the 2012 impeachment trial of ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona.

In his privilege speech last Monday, Revilla said Aquino personally appealed to him to convict Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. The vote then was 20-3.

"The revelations made by Senator Bong Revilla about the circumstances of his meeting with the President, (Interior and Local Government Secretary) Mar Roxas and (Budget Secretary) Butch Abad only bolster our fears that the administration would cross the line just to get what they wanted," Tiangco said.

Tiangco said it would not also be surprising if Malacanang would pressure SC justices by way of "bullying and blackmailing."

Aquino has four appointees in the SC, including Corona successor Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

"Ang tanong: Tinigilan na ba ng Palasyo ang pangha-harass sa mga SC para suportahan ang DAP? Is PNoy (Aquino) ready to admit that he has stopped bullying the justices?" Tiangco said.

Oral arguments on petitions questioning the controversial DAP, which was allegedly given as bonus to senator-judges who voted to convict Corona, was scheduled by the SC on January 28, Tuesday. (Sunnex)

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