Senators say no PNoy influence in Corona trial

Posted at 01/21/14 7:41 PM

MANILA - Several senators on Tuesday denied allegations by their colleague, Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., that President Aquino tried to pressure them to vote for the ouster of then Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial.

After President Aquino admitted to reporters that he spoke to Senators Revilla, TG Guingona, Ralph Recto, and Jinggoy Estrada during the course of the impeachment trial of Corona, Guingona and Recto shared details about their meeting.

Recto said although the impeachment trial was discussed, the President made no attempt to influence his vote.

"I do not recall the conversation but he merely explained his side," Recto said.

Guingona, meanwhile, said the impeachment trial was not even discussed that in his meeting with the President.

"Nothing about impeachment," Guingona said. "It's nothing unusual".

Revilla, meanwhile, made another allegation involving Aquino and senator-judges two weeks after the impeachment trial.

He said Aquino invited the senator judges for a get-together in Malacanang. "Lahat ng nag 'yes' vote ininvite," Revilla said.

Senator Tito Sotto, a member of the opposition, said he also attended the Malacanang invitation.

He said it was a social gathering for the impeachment trial that included a tour of Malacanang given by no less than the President himself.

"Hindi na nga sumama si Senator Honasan (sa tour) dahil kabisado na daw nya ang Malacanang. Nagkatawanan nga sila ng Pangulo," Sotto said.

However, Sotto, Revilla, and Recto said there was never any talk about a reward for those who voted to convict Corona in the form of the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).

With regard to Roxas, Revilla said it is not true he wanted to talk to the President about the cityhood of Bacoor.

"Common sense lang, hindi kailangan approval ng Senado, at bakit nya ako pauupuin sa likuran? Kung kaibigan niya ako dapat sa harap," Revilla said.

He said only the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) can show how his pork barrel was spent, in response to allegations that the funds were diverted to bogus nongovernment organizations.

"Lahat yan nasa DBM. Hayaan natin ang DBM na maglabas nyan," Revilla said.