PNoy hit for ‘impeachment rhetoric’

The Philippines has other economic and human rights problems aside from Chief Justice Renato Corona's impeachment, activists say.

'IMPEACHMENT RHETORIC.' President Benigno Aquino III in Thursday's speech ignored non-impeachment issues, says an activist group. Photo courtesy of Malacañang/PCOO

MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III’s speech on Thursday, February 16, reeked of “impeachment rhetoric” and neglected other economic and human rights problems of the Philippines, an activist group said.

In his speech at the La Consolacion College in Manila, Aquino said the public should now take a stand on Supreme Court (SC) Chief Justice Renato Corona’s impeachment trial, likening the present situation to the battle of his mother, the late Corazon Aquino, against the Marcos dictatorship.

“Aquino’s rhetoric on good governance rings hollow in face of the reality that the administration has not really made Arroyo answerable for the more serious crimes of gross human rights violations, plunder, and the 2004 wholesale election fraud,” said Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes Jr in a statement.

Reyes cited, among others, the government’s “failure” to bring to justice retired Maj Gen Jovito Palparan, who continues to hide from authorities amid a warrant of arrest. 

“For all the relevant questions raised during the forum, Aquino’s loudest applause came when he answered a question related to his love life,” Reyes said.

“Aquino cannot hide behind his impeachment ‘crusade’ when the people are now making him accountable for his failures and misdeeds in running the country,” the activist leader added.

Drawing reactions

Aqino’s speech generated mixed reactions from solons as well as Corona’s lawyers.

Sen Aquilino Pimentel III said the President’s speech does not affect him as a senator-judge, stressing that he will base his decisions on the evidence presented. 

Corona’s defense counsels, for their part, said Aquino’s speech saddens them, according to defense spokesperson Karen Jimeno. 

On the other hand, House Speaker Sonny Belmonte and House Majority Floor Leader Neptali Gonzales III said they see nothing wrong with Aquino’s statements. Belmonte noted that the Chief Justice himself has attacked the President on several occasions. – 

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