MANILA, MARCH 14, 2012 (PHILSTAR) By Aurea Calica - Malacañang denied yesterday President Aquino was personally lobbying for the senators to overwhelmingly convict impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. 

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said it was not true that the President met with senators individually, but only saw them during public events.

For example, Lacierda said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile and Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. were present when American senators visited and paid a courtesy call on the President in Malacañang recently.

When the government-owned and controlled corporations turned over P19 billion to the national coffers, Sen. Franklin Drilon, among others, was present during the ceremony at the Palace, he added.

The President also met Sen. Edgardo Angara in Aurora during the founding anniversary of the province.

“When there are some legislative matters to be discussed, it’s not remote that the President will meet with them. But certainly on legislative matters. However, to put color to the meetings, that’s not true,” Lacierda said.

Reports said Aquino held one-on-one talks with most of the 23 senators to get the numbers needed to convict Corona.

Aquino reportedly last talked to Senators Ralph Recto and Joker Arroyo.

Sources at the Senate said Aquino was apparently disturbed by an internal survey that showed only 37 percent of the people were in favor of Corona’s conviction and that the trustworthiness of senators remained high regardless of whether they would vote for conviction or acquittal.

Malacañang has denied that it conducted such a survey, or had any knowledge of such a survey.


Public lynching not allowed EDITORIAL

Without saying it, impeachment court presiding justice Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile bared his heart the other day on the doubts he holds on the ability of some of the senator-judges in the Senate trial to render an impartial judgment on impeached Chief Justice Renato Corona.

Noynoy’s Senate partymates and some other senators who have been won over to the oust-Corona movement have been and continue to be perceived as aiding the prosecution panel by jumping in whenever the accusers of Corona encounter a dead end either through sheer incompetence or as a result of the rules of the Senate court, which rules, not surprisingly, are being claimed by the same Noynoy senator allies not to apply strictly — to the point of even introducing hearsay as evidence beneficial to Noynoy and his senator-judges, and also polluted and illegally obtained evidence as proof.

What these Noynoy senator-allies are intent on is to turn the Senate court into a kangaroo court, merely to get Corona convicted, and hand the Supreme Court control on a silver platter to Noynoy.

Often, the senator-judges are believed to be rescuing the prosecutors whenever their line of argument falls outside of the Articles of Impeachment or when the evidence they present are obviously meant more for a publicity stunt rather than substantiating the charges raised against Corona.

Enrile the other day said he will offer to step down as the officiating head of the impeachment trial if the senator-judges or the prosecution panel starts to blast away at Corona to put him in a humiliating spot if his lawyers decide to call him as witness.

Enrile expressed belief that Corona’s presence is crucial for both his defense and to make clear to the public his intention to clear his name from the allegations raised against him, saying that there is no better person to rebut the Articles of Impeachment than Corona himself.

Noynoy and his allies in the House and in the Senate court are also egging on Corona to testify before the trial but apparently for a different reason which is to pillory him before nationwode television on allegations even beyond the impeachment charges.

After the prosecutors withdrew five of the eight Articles of Impeachment, it was made clear that Noynoy and his yellow mob are only exploiting the impeachment process to sustain the campaign to vilify Corona and several other members of the Supreme Court.

The attacks being waged against the Chief Justice have the hallmarks of muckraking which is very familiar during campaigns for the presidential elections.

Even his gun collections, doctorate studies and members of his family were fair game in the character assassination campaign obviously to pressure Corona to hoist the white flag and resign.

Enrile apparently knows this and the efforts of the allies of Noynoy in the impeachment court which are all geared toward demonizing Corona instead of building up the basis for a solid judgment for his conviction or acquittal.

With a perceived air of resignation, Enrile said that he will not stand for a public lynching of Corona in the impeachment trial and that he will not hesitate to resign voluntarily his post as presiding judge if the senator-judges will set up the Chief Justice for a public shaming should he appear in the trial.

What is being missed out by these Noynoy senator-judges is the fact that if Enrile quits as the presiding officer, the entire trial’s credibility and integrity collapses, precisely because it is Enrile who has tried, from day one, to keep the trial credible and impartial.

It has always been these senator-judges who march to the beat of their master in Malacañang who have done all they can and more, to destroy the majesty of an impartial and fair trial and turn it into a kangaroo court.

Enrile said disrespecting the Chief Justice at the trial is like dishonoring the country and the Constitution.

He might as well be talking to Noynoy himself.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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