'PNoy didn't even utter a word about impeachment'
MANILA (UPDATED) -- Senator Jinggoy Estrada on Tuesday confirmed that he also met with President Benigno Aquino III at the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, but denied he was influenced in his decision as a senator-judge.
Speaking to ANC's "Primetime," Estrada said Aquino just served him breakfast and did not even utter a word about the ouster of Corona.
It was Interior and Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas who "did all the talking," he said.
Also present at the meeting was Budget Secretary Butch Abad.
"In fairness to President Aquino, he did not even utter a word regarding the impeachment case against former Chief Justice Renato Corona. The President just sat down and listened to what Secretary Mar Roxas was saying," Estrada said.
Noting that the impeachment trial happened almost two years ago, he said he could not recall Roxas' exact words to him. But he said the Cabinet secretary merely "appealed" to him regarding the impeachment case of Corona.
"Parang naaalala ko lang 'Sama-sama na tayo rito. Huwag mo na kaming pabayaan.' Yun lang ang sinabi niya," he said.
"The President never approached me kahit nung umalis ako. Wala siyang sinasabi na 'O, bahala ka na sa impeachment complaint.' Walang ganun na sinasabi si Presidente," he added.
When asked if he felt pressured at that time, Estrada just said, "Siyempre pag kaharap mo ang Presidente, you're always pressured."
But he assured that his decision to vote for the conviction of the former chief justice was not influenced by anyone, not even Roxas or Aquino.
"Ang sabi ko naman I will base my decision on the pieces
of evidence presented to the impeachment court, which I did," he said.
PNoy also meets with Revilla, Guingona, Recto
Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr., in his privilege speech on Monday, revealed that he had a secret meeting with Aquino, Roxas and Abad in Malacañang about the removal of Corona.
He said Roxas first invited him to his house in Cubao where he was asked to leave behind his security detail. Roxas then removed the license plate from his vehicle and personally drove him to Malacañang where he, Aquino, Roxas and Abad had breakfast, with Roxas allegedly explaining why Corona had to be impeached.
He accused the President of interfering in the impeachment of Corona, claiming that Aquino told him "Pare, parang awa mo na. Ibalato mo na sa akin ito. Kailangan siyang ma-impeach."
Aquino, on Tuesday, disclosed that aside from Revilla, he also met with Senators Estrada, TG Guingona and Ralph Recto but said he just wanted to ensure that they would decide based on the merits of the case, noting that there were reports of pressure being exerted by some "sectors" on the senator-judges.
"What I was trying to do was basically ensure that they decide on the case on the merits of the case rather than any other outside factor. I was trying to lessen the pressure on all of them," Aquino said.