MANILA (Mabuhay) – President Benigno Aquino III took the offensive two days after Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. accused him of meddling in the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
On Wednesday’s groundbreaking ceremony of the Skyway Stage 3 Project, Aquino lashed at his critics whom he said have nothing better to do but scoff at his administration’s achievements.
He did not specifically mention Revilla but made several allusions to the actor-turned-politician.
“Ito ang daang matuwid. Hindi pinanday ng pantasya, at mas lalong hindi gawa-gawa na parang eksena sa isang pelikula – totoo at kongkretong [ang] mga proyektong hatid ng ating tuwid at mabuting pamamahala para sa kapakanan ng sambayanang Pilipino,” Aquino said.
In a privilege speech Monday, Revilla claimed Aquino personally asked him to vote to convict ousted Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
“’Yan ba ang daang matuwid?” said Revilla, who is known for his “Panday” and fantasy movies.
Aquino, however, said the country’s progress will not be hampered by those who just wish to make themselves the hero.
“Anumang pilit ng ilang magpapogi at magpabida para sa pansariling interes lang, ay wala pa ring makapipigil sa kolektibo nating pag-arangkada bilang isang bayan,” he said.
Earlier, the Palace confirmed Aquino’s meeting with Revilla, but said it was only to verify reports that senators were being pressured for votes.
On Tuesday, the President even admitted having met senators other than Revilla, but said he only wanted to “lessen” the pressure on the lawmakers.
On the other hand, Revilla’s lawyer Joel Bodegon was quoted in reports as saying what Aquino did – asking for a vote to convict an official – is an impeachable offense in itself.
But the Palace had said Aquino normally meets with government officials, and that he is ready to face impeachment over the meeting with Revilla.
Budget Secretary Florencio Abad said: “Sen. Revilla should just defended himself against the documented charges against him by COA (Commission on Audit) and the whistleblowers led by [Benhur] Luy instead of distracting us with general denials and a litany of groundless accusations and obfuscations.”
“I remember that meeting with the President he [Revilla] referred to. If you know the President – and clearly Revilla does not – it is out of character for the President to speak in the manner that Revilla quoted him, he added.
In his privilege speech, Revilla quoted PNoy as telling him over breakfast at Bahay Pangarap in Malacañang, “Pare, parang awa mo na. Ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan siya [Corona] ma-impeach.”
Moreover Abad said, “If impeachment was mentioned during the course of their conversation – and the likelihood is that impeachment may have been subject of their conversation – it was more likely for the President to have told Revilla to vote on the merits of the case as the President repeatedly emphasized during the course of the impeachment process.” (MNS)