DAP COULD DOOM NOY - MIRIAM

President Aquino could be impeached if he is found to have used the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to bribe senators to convict former chief justice Renato Corona, Sen. Miriam Santiago said yesterday. In a statement, Santiago said both the President and the senators who received funds from DAP would be liable for bribery as provided under the law. She said the release of DAP to senators after the impeachment trial of Corona is now considered as an accepted fact. “If evidence shows that Malacañang paid the senator-judges in exchange for a guilty verdict, then the crime of bribery has been committed, both by the President and by the senators.” As this developed, Santiago called on the public to prove the power of righteous indignation by rejecting politicians involved in fund scams.

ALSO: Impeachment? Bring it on–Palace

Bring it on. President Aquino will not shy away from any battle with his political enemies after he admitted that he personally met with Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona III at the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona. “It’s not the first time that it has been hinted that there could be an impeachment motion, and the President has always replied that he’s prepared to meet any such motion that may be filed,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma. “He’s ready to face it if this would be filed by members of Congress,” Coloma told the Inquirer shortly after Aquino confirmed Revilla’s revelation in a privilege speech on Monday that the senator met with the President at his official residence, “Bahay Pangarap,” and that he also met on separate occasions with Estrada, Recto and Guingona. Coloma, however, quickly stressed that there was nothing irregular or improper for the Chief Executive, who is the titular head of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), to meet with Revilla, the president of Lakas-CMD. Except for Estrada, the two other senators are both LP members.

ALSO: Aquino to Revilla: ‘Straight path’ mantra is no fantasy from a movie

President Benigno Aquino took a swipe on Wednesday at Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who gave a scathing criticism of his “Daang Matuwid” (straight path) mantra. Aquino assailed the senator at the launching of the P26-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 (MMS 3), which, he said, would be among the “concrete projects delivered through our honest and good governance for the benefit of the Filipino people.” “To those repeatedly asking and deliberately turning a blind eye to our achievements: This is the straight path,” he said in his speech. “This is not hammered out of fantasy, nor fabricated like a scene in a movie,” he said in an apparent dig at Revilla’s films. The President, whose perceived lapses and shortcomings the last three years were detailed in Revilla’s privilege speech Monday, slammed what he said was Revilla’s attempt to portray himself as a handsome hero. The senator is known for his role as Flavio in the film, “Ang Panday” (The Blacksmith). He also starred in the movie, “Alyas Pogi” (Alias Handsome) in the early 90s.

ALSO: Revilla refutes Aquino’s claim on Palace meeting topic

”Tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagsisinungaling (May lightning strike he who lies).” This was how Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. reacted to President Benigno Aquino III’s admission Tuesday that they had met in Malacañang during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, not to influence the senator’s decision but to ensure that he would vote based on the merits of the case. “That’s not true. Hindi napag-usapan yun (It was not discussed),” Revilla told reporters on Tuesday.
Asked then if the President was lying, the senator said: “Tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagsisinungaling.” Revilla issued the same statement when told about Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas’ claim that the meeting was about a bill on the cityhood of Bacoor. Roxas was the one who brought Revilla to Malacañang to meet with the President. Revilla said there was no need to discuss the measure with the President since the city had already complied with the requirement. But Revilla clarified that he was not after Aquino’s impeachment.


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DAP could doom Noy– Miriam

MANILA, JANUARY 27, 2014 (PHILSTAR) President Aquino could be impeached if he is found to have used the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) to bribe senators to convict former chief justice Renato Corona, Sen. Miriam Santiago said yesterday.

In a statement, Santiago said both the President and the senators who received funds from DAP would be liable for bribery as provided under the law.

She said the release of DAP to senators after the impeachment trial of Corona is now considered as an accepted fact.

“If evidence shows that Malacañang paid the senator-judges in exchange for a guilty verdict, then the crime of bribery has been committed, both by the President and by the senators.”

As this developed, Santiago called on the public to prove the power of righteous indignation by rejecting politicians involved in fund scams.

“I dare to hope and predict that any incumbent public official who will run in the 2016 elections will lose if the Ombudsman will charge him with plunder and malversation in connection with the pork barrel scam and in what appears to be the impeachment scam,” she said during the annual convention of the Philippine Psychiatric Association in Mandaluyong.

The senator said each of the senators who voted for the conviction of Corona received P50 million from DAP.

Three senators – Juan Ponce Enrile, the Senate chief during the impeachment trial; Franklin Drilon, then chairman of the finance committee, and Francis Escudero – who voted to convict Corona, received P100 million each.

“Naturally, Sen. Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr., denied that the DAP funds they received were bribes because the law punishes both the giver and the taker,” she said.

Santiago, who along with Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and former senator Joker Arroyo voted to acquit Corona, claimed they did not receive DAP funds.

“But if the senator voted to acquit, he does not get anything. At the very least, this procedure is discriminatory and violates the equal protection clause of the Constitution. It also gives rise to the natural presumption that bribery was intended and consummated,” she said.

Santiago urged the Supreme Court to prioritize the deliberation on the constitutionality of DAP, so the bribery issue during the Corona impeachment trial could be settled.

She said if the high tribunal would declare DAP unconstitutional, the senator-judges would be obliged to restitute and return to the government the P50 million each and the P100 million each from senators Enrile, Drilon, and Escudero.“Furthermore, President Aquino will be liable for impeachment, on the constitutional ground of bribery,” Santiago said.

SC can review trial outcome

Santiago said the high tribunal could review the outcome of the Corona impeachment trial.

“On the issue of whether judicial review of the impeachment trial is now called for, I believe the Supreme Court can give due course to a petition for review on certiorari on the ground of extrinsic fraud,” she said, referring to acts committed outside the narratives of the trial and are not known to the judge.

The senator said it is not a crime for the President to try to influence the outcome of the impeachment trial as the process is both legal and political.

She said it is legal for the President to try and influence the senator-judges as he is the nominal head of his political party and has the right to ensure his political survival.

Palace bid to reset DAP argument denied

The high court has denied the request of the Palace to move to March the debate on the legality of DAP.

In a full-court session yesterday, the magistrates dismissed the motion filed by the Office of the Solicitor General (OSG) seeking to reset to March 25 the arguments on the constitutionality of DAP.

The SC decided to proceed with the original schedule on Jan. 28. But it gave respondents Executive Sec. Paquito Ochoa Jr. and Budget Sec. Florencio Abad more time to prepare and set another hearing for them on Feb. 18.

This means only respondents from the legislative branch, Senate President Franklin Drilon and House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., will face the high court in the oral arguments next week.

In its motion last week, the OSG sought to reset the schedule as its collaborating counsel in the case, retired SC Associate Justice Vicente Mendoza, needs more time to prepare for the oral arguments.

Apart from resetting the schedule, the OSG also sought more time to comply with the high court’s order for the Department of Budget and Management to submit on or before Jan. 21 a “list of the sources of funds brought under the DAP, the uses of such funds pursuant to DAP per project and the legal bases thereof.”

Solicitor General Francis Jardeleza asked the SC to give them until March 18 to comply with the order, saying the DBM did not have enough time to prepare the documents as it was busy preparing for the 2014 national budget and in rehabilitation efforts of typhoon-affected areas in the Visayas. The SC junked the request.

The OSG had defended the legality of the DAP in its comment. – Marvin Sy, Alexis Romero, Edu Punay

FROM THE INQUIRER

Impeachment? Bring it on–Palace By Michael Lim Ubac, Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 2:29 am | Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


PLUNDER AND IMPEACHMENT. A member of a militant peasant group carries a “shoulder-load” of documents to back up a complaint of plunder against President Aquino for the alleged misuse of P125 million in the Malampaya Fund. The case was filed in the Office of the Ombudsman on Tuesday. MARIANNE BERMUDEZ

Bring it on.

President Aquino will not shy away from any battle with his political enemies after he admitted that he personally met with Senators Ramon Revilla Jr., Jinggoy Estrada, Ralph Recto and Teofisto Guingona III at the height of the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona.

“It’s not the first time that it has been hinted that there could be an impeachment motion, and the President has always replied that he’s prepared to meet any such motion that may be filed,” said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma.

“He’s ready to face it if this would be filed by members of Congress,” Coloma told the Inquirer shortly after Aquino confirmed Revilla’s revelation in a privilege speech on Monday that the senator met with the President at his official residence, “Bahay Pangarap,” and that he also met on separate occasions with Estrada, Recto and Guingona.

Coloma, however, quickly stressed that there was nothing irregular or improper for the Chief Executive, who is the titular head of the ruling Liberal Party (LP), to meet with Revilla, the president of Lakas-CMD. Except for Estrada, the two other senators are both LP members.

Asked if the President’s meeting with senator-judges was inappropriate during the highly charged Corona trial, Coloma said:

“Where’s the impropriety? That’s what we’re asking from those saying it. The President is the political leader of the nation, and part of his regular duty is to interact and have discussions with other political leaders,” he said.
Asked about the possibility of an impeachment move against the President, Coloma said, “It’s the call of members of the House of Representatives, and we respect that House as a separate and coequal branch of the government.”

Revilla took to the Senate floor on Monday to deny accusations of wrongdoing in connection with the alleged P10-billion pork barrel scam under investigation by the Office of the Ombudsman. Also under investigation for plunder are Estrada and Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile.

Contrary to Interior Secretary Mar Roxas’ account that Revilla was seeking support for a city status for Bacoor in Cavite province, the President said he wanted to confirm with the actor-politician over breakfast intelligence reports that senator-judges were under pressure to “exonerate” Corona.

“We were trying to lessen the pressure on all of them,” Aquino said.

“What I was trying to do was basically ensure that they decide on the merits of the case rather than any other outside factor,” he said.

Move to counter pressure

“So was it right for me to just step aside while all these sectors were really threatening, pressuring and doing things to our senators?” the President said in Filipino.

“I think it was just natural that I ask them, confirm with them, and make them feel that there were people who were ready to support them if they would do the right thing,” he added.

He said he would “appear so irresponsible” if he did not move to counter the reported pressure. He also sought to justify the clandestine manner in which he met with Revilla, citing the purported pressure on the senators.

He said holding the meeting in a “wrong venue” would “not lead to an exchange of ideas” but would “further add to the pressure.”

Coloma said the President did not regret meeting with Revilla, insisting also that “there was no impropriety” in the affair. “No. I repeat, the issue here is not the impeachment. The issue here is PDAF [Priority Development Assistance Fund] and Senator Revilla has to explain,” he said.

“The privilege speech of Senator Revilla could have been a good opportunity for responding to the people’s clamor for a full explanation on what happened to the PDAF allocation that he received from 2007 to 2009,” he said in a separate statement.

Coloma said Revilla’s speech on Monday was “a plain attempt to divert public attention from the real issue,” referring to the alleged diversion to ghost projects and kickbacks of state funds meant for lawmakers’ pet projects to ease rural poverty.

“As an elected public official, the senator is expected to fully account for the PDAF allocation that he received. The main issue is PDAF and it is the right of the people to be given a full explanation.”

Aquino to Revilla: ‘Straight path’ mantra is no fantasy from a movie By Christian V. Esguerra Philippine Daily Inquirer 8:01 pm | Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014


President Benigno Aquino and Sen. Ramon Revilla, Jr. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino took a swipe on Wednesday at Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. who gave a scathing criticism of his “Daang Matuwid” (straight path) mantra.

Aquino assailed the senator at the launching of the P26-billion Metro Manila Skyway Stage 3 (MMS 3), which, he said, would be among the “concrete projects delivered through our honest and good governance for the benefit of the Filipino people.”

“To those repeatedly asking and deliberately turning a blind eye to our achievements: This is the straight path,” he said in his speech. “This is not hammered out of fantasy, nor fabricated like a scene in a movie,” he said in an apparent dig at Revilla’s films.

The President, whose perceived lapses and shortcomings the last three years were detailed in Revilla’s privilege speech Monday, slammed what he said was Revilla’s attempt to portray himself as a handsome hero.

The senator is known for his role as Flavio in the film, “Ang Panday” (The Blacksmith). He also starred in the movie, “Alyas Pogi” (Alias Handsome) in the early 90s.

Revilla on Monday denied allegations he diverted P500 million of his pork barrel funds to dubious nongovernment organizations (NGOs).

The senator then blasted the administration’s purported slow and inefficient response in the aftermath of Super Typhoon “Yolanda” (Haiyan) last November, the rising cost of electricity, the planned fare increase at the Metro Rail Transit, and the alleged inclusion of bogus beneficiaries in the government’s conditional cash transfer program.

Revilla also disclosed that he was taken to the President’s official residence and was asked to vote for the conviction of then Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment trial in the Senate for dishonesty in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth.

On Tuesday, the President confirmed meeting with Revilla. He said he also had sat down with Senators Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada, Teofisto Guingona III and Ralph Recto in the middle of the Corona trial.

Aquino claimed he did so only to “lessen the pressure” allegedly being exerted on the senator-judges by some “interest groups” seeking Corona’s acquittal.

Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda rejected claims, on Wednesday, that by meeting with the senators, the President also exerted pressure on those tasked to decide whether Corona was innocent or guilty.

“There has never been any debate that impeachment is a political process. It’s a political exercise,” Lacierda said. “But as far as the President is concerned, he was very, very categorical that he asked the senators, the persons he spoke to, to decide the case on the merits.”

Lacierda acknowledged that Aquino, prior to the clandestine meetings with senators, had been openly campaigning for the removal of Corona. “It was no secret. It is common knowledge that the President’s position on the issue of the Chief Justice, so that was public knowledge,” he said.

Corona was eventually ousted after 20 senator-judges found him guilty. Only Senators Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Joker Arroyo and Ferdinand Marcos Jr. voted for his acquittal.

Budget Secretary Florencio Abad earlier admitted that a total of P1.107 billion had been released to 20 senators through the “disbursement acceleration program,” a few months after they voted to convict Corona. But he insisted that the amounts were not intended to bribe the senator-judges.

“It is unethical,” said Manila Auxillary Bishop Broderick Pabillo on Wednesday of the meetings Aquino had with the senators.

“I’m not sure if what they say the President did was an impeachable offense. But what is wrong is there is no separation of powers between the two independent branches of government,” Pabillo told reporters. But he lamented that if Revilla “has sincere concerns for the people, he could have spilled the beans even before.”
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate said if it was wrong for former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to call an election commissioner to ask about her lead during the 2004 presidential election in the “Hello Garci” scandal, it should also be wrong for President Aquino to talk to the senator-judges while the impeachment trial was ongoing.

“The President should be observing a higher standard,” he told reporters. With reports from Leila B. Salaveeria and Nina Calleja

Revilla refutes Aquino’s claim on Palace meeting topic By Maila Ager INQUIRER.net 4:49 pm | Tuesday, January 21st, 2014


Senator Bong Revilla hugs his father Ramon Revilla, Sr., after delivering his privilege speech at the senate session hall on Monday. INQUIRER PHOTO/GRIG C. MONTEGRANDE

MANILA, Philippines–”Tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagsisinungaling (May lightning strike he who lies).”
This was how Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. reacted to President Benigno Aquino III’s admission Tuesday that they had met in Malacañang during the impeachment trial of then Chief Justice Renato Corona, not to influence the senator’s decision but to ensure that he would vote based on the merits of the case.

“That’s not true. Hindi napag-usapan yun (It was not discussed),” Revilla told reporters on Tuesday.

Asked then if the President was lying, the senator said: “Tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagsisinungaling.”

Revilla issued the same statement when told about Local Government Secretary Mar Roxas’ claim that the meeting was about a bill on the cityhood of Bacoor. Roxas was the one who brought Revilla to Malacañang to meet with the President.

Revilla said there was no need to discuss the measure with the President since the city had already complied with the requirement.

“Hindi natin kailangan ng approval ng Pangulo,” he said.

And if Roxas was indeed his friend, Revilla then asked why he was asked to sit at the back of the vehicle.

“Bakit kailangang paupuin ako sa likod ng sasakyan? Kung katalagang kaibigan nya ako, doon nya ako pauupuin sa tabi nya’’, he pointed out.

Revilla then challenged Aquino and Roxas to face him in public and to look at each other–eye-to-eye–to see who is lying.

“Kung sasabihin nilang sinungaling ako, I challenge both of them to go to public, magharap kami, magtinginan kami eye to eye para malaman ng tao kung sino ang nagsisinungaling sa amin at tamaan ng kidlat kung sino ang nagsisinungaling sa amin,” he said.

Revilla voted to impeach Corona but said his decision was not influenced by the President.

Asked if he got a reward from the President after voting yes to Corona’s impeachment, the senator said: “In fairness to the President, walang ganun. Tanungin nyo na lang si Senator Jinggoy (Estrada).”

Asked if his statement meant that Estrada got a reward, Revilla said again: “Tanungin nyo na lang si Sen. Jinggoy.”

Two weeks after impeaching Corona in May 2012, Revilla said Malacañang invited all senators who voted to impeach the former Chief Justice to thank them.

“It’s just a get-together party, a thanksgiving party,” he said.

Revilla believed that the President had committed an impeachable offense when he meddled in the Corona impeachment.

“I do believe it’s impeachable. Hindi dapat makikiaalam ang Pangulo especially kaming mga senator-judges,” he said.

But Revilla clarified that he was not after Aquino’s impeachment.


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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