MANILA - United Nationalist Alliance (UNA) secretary general Toby Tiangco challenged President Benigno Aquino III to come clean and disclose how many senator-judges he really “met” with at the height of the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona.
"Ilan ba talaga, kuya? First there was none. Then, there's one. Ngayon naging apat na! Sigurado ba Malacanang sa sinasabi nila na apat lang talaga ang kinausap ni PNoy na senador?" asked Tiangco.
He said Aquino owes the public a valid explanation why he met with the senator-judges, rather than claim he was there as a counter-pressure to groups who were pushing for the acquittal of Corona.
"Malinaw na malinaw that the President was putting his weight around to influence the outcome of the impeachment. While he may be the Chief Executive, he should have been more circumspect even in talking with senator-judges because it crosses the line into impropriety," Tiangco said.
This comes on the heels of an admission from Senator Bong Revilla in a privilege speech on Monday. Revilla said Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas even drove him to the president’s official residence, Bahay Pangarap.
"We all know that Sec. Mar Roxas is the designated chauffer, but what's the role of Sec. Butch Abad? Siya ba ang cook sa Bahay Pangarap? I just wonder kung may pabaon ba?" he said.
Tiangco said Abad's presence during the meeting with Revilla should confirm reports of the additional "rewards" given to those who voted to convict Corona, such as the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
"It seems that the Liberal Party and the administration have perfected the 'carrot and stick' approach. Those they cannot entice with public funds, they threaten or harass," he said.