Senator Chiz Escudero defended President Benigno Aquino III against allegations that the chief executive is doing the rounds among senator-judges to convince them to vote against Chief Justice Renato Corona in his impeachment case.
Atty. Serafin Cuevas, Corona’s lead counsel, yesterday said the defense team is alarmed over reports that the president is indeed talking to the senators one by one as he can really sway members of the impeachment court to “vote against what they really feel.”
Escudero, a known ally and personal friend of the president, debunked this fear.
The senator said he was with the president last week and during the entire course of their conversation, there was never a mention about the accusation lodged by the Corona team.
“PNoy and I are friends; we talked for about an hour about a lot of things. To be fair and factual about it, he did not bring up the issue nor even mentioned about it.”
Meanwhile, Atty. Maria Valentina Cruz, spokesperson for the impeachment court, said the Senate court is all set for the January 16 impeachment trial of the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, who was charged by the House of Representatives for alleged graft and corruption, culpable violation of the Constitution, and betrayal of public trust.
Corona has asked the Senate to dismiss the impeachment complaint filed against him by the House of Representatives for its failure to meet constitutional requirements.
In his 79-page reply to the House’s charges, Mr. Corona asked for the “outright dismissal” of the complaint, claiming that it was baseless and was not properly verified by the petitioners as provided for in the Constitution.
He also claimed that the move to unseat him was the “handiwork” of Presidente Benigno Aquino III and the ruling Liberal Party and described his impeachment as a “bold, albeit ill-advised attempt by the executive branch… to mold an obedient Supreme Court.”
President Aquino has never fully recognized Corona’s legitimacy as the Supreme Court chief justice even as he said his appointment is a violation of a constitutional ban on so-called “midnight appointments” by an outgoing leader.
Corona has served as Arroyo’s spokesman and chief of staff when she was still vice president. When Mrs. Arroyo was catapulted to the presidency in 2001, Corona was appointed presidential chief of staff, presidential spokesperson, and acting executive secretary.#