‘No attempt to influence votes of UNA senators’

Posted at 05/20/12 1:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) lambasted reports that the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is trying to influence senator-judges identified with it.

In a statement, UNA secretary-general Tobias Tiangco condemned a Philippine Daily Inquirer story that said INC emissaries have sent feelers to senator-judges to vote for the acquittal of Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“It is disappointing to read of an ‘anonymous’ source trying to besmirch the reputation of both INC and UNA. Could this be a relative of Cong. Umali’s small lady or Cong. Banal’s gate to gate courier service?” he asked.

He is referring to the supposed evidence presented by members of the prosecution against Corona on his alleged dollar account. Rep. Reynaldo Umali claimed a “small lady” approached him with a specimen card on the chief magistrate’s dollar account.

Tiangco goaded Inquirer’s source to come out in the open.

“This congressional source insists he remain anonymous while he attempts to discredit UNA and debase the INC. Aren’t we honorable men? Come into the light Mr. Congressional source and prove that you’re an honorable man,” he said.

“I hesitate to impugn the impartiality of a respected institution like the Philippine Daily Inquirer, but is it responsible journalism to headline mere rumors whispered by anonymous sources?” Tiangco added.

In Malacanang, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda denied the government is aware of any influence-peddling.

“There is none that I know of,” he said when asked if he is aware of the alleged INC lobbying.