PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III on Monday expressed optimism that Chief Justice Renato Corona will be convicted at the Senate trial, noting that charges against the latter are "solid and strong".
“Palagay ko napaka-solid ‘nung mga charges leveled against the Chief Justice. Ang expectations ko lang ay ‘yung Senado titingnan itong mga akusasyon at huhusgahan ayon doon sa ebidensyang ihaharap at palagay ko napakatibay ng ebidensyang ihaharap,” Aquino said in an interview after the inauguration of D’Luxe Bags Philippines, Inc. in Barangay Sta. Rosa, Concepcion, Tarlac.
The impeachment trial on Corona is set to start at 2 p.m. Monday.
Corona is accused of betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption and culpable violation of the Constitution. He was impeached by the House of Representatives last December 12.
Aquino said he will leave it up to the Chief Justice whether or not he will take a leave of absence during the trial.
Corona earlier vowed to face the impeachment trial saying that only death could make him surrender.
“Bilang isang malayang Pilipino, desisyon po niya kung ano ang gusto niyang gawin sa kanya pong buhay at sa kanyang katungkulan,” the President said, in response to Corona’s remarks.
Asked if he will monitor the trial, he said he has two scheduled meetings in the afternoon one is with Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation and the other one is with Budget Secretary Florencio Abad.
He added that he is preparing for the visit of former Singaporean foreign minister George Yeo, United States Senator John McCain, and Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra this week.
Meanwhile, Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda in a television interview reacted on the speech of Corona hours before the Senate trial saying that there are three persons who are colluding to remove him from office including one who wanted to stop the distribution of the Hacienda Luisita to the farmer-beneficiaries in Tarlac.
The Palace spokesperson said the issue is not about the Hacienda Luisita but the apparent partiality of the Chief Justice in issuing decisions particularly on cases involving former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who appointed him to the High Court. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)