Corona says Binay-Aquino 'rift' is politicians' turf

by Ira Pedrasa,

Posted at Apr 19 2012 12:55 PM | Updated as of Apr 20 2012 03:09 AM

BAGUIO CITY, Philippines - Chief Justice Renato Corona won’t comment on Vice President Jejomar Binay’s indirect influence over his impeachment trial.

Some analysts believe that the trial's outcome would have an impact on next year's senatorial elections and the 2016 presidential elections.

On the sidelines of the Forum for the Media on Judiciary Coverage, the chief magistrate said he would rather not comment on the matter. “I’m not a politician,” he said.

Corona’s trial has been dragged anew into the political arena.

Former Senator Ernesto Maceda recently said a vote to acquit Corona would mean a vote for Vice-President Jejomar Binay in 2016.

In press conference over the weekend, Maceda said: “This is the Binay factor. If you’re for Binay for president for 2016, you’ll probably vote for acquittal. Why? First of all, if Corona is convicted, that strengthens Noynoy and a stronger Noynoy means stronger support for his [chosen] candidate.”

“If Corona is acquitted, in the words of [Inquirer columnist Amando] Doronila, that will be the start of the downturn of Noynoy Aquino’s popularity. He becomes ‘weaker’ and his candidate becomes weaker,” he added.

Binay has already distanced himself from Maceda’s statement, describing it as the former ambassador's personal opinion and analysis.

Malacañang also did not directly comment on the issue. Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte earlier told reporters there will be an “inevitable parting of ways” between Aquino and Binay. She said the administration may have a different standard bearer.

Aquino, however, flatly denied this the following day.

Binay agreed with Valte, however, noting he and the president have different goals for 2016.

Transportation and Communications Secretary Mar Roxas, who is widely believed to be the only viable Liberal Party (LP) candidate for president in 2016, said he has no plans of running in 2016 since he is still focused on his work in the executive department.