Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Palace execs gang up on Aquino

By Christine Avendaño
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 04:53:00

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, scandal, Benigno Aquino III, Justice & Rights

Original Story:

MANILA, Philippines—Malacañang officials Tuesday took turns upbraiding presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for his statement that if he wins in May, his first presidential act would be to set up a commission to go after President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

Zeroing in on Aquino’s statement that the commission that will investigate the scandals of the Arroyo administration “should make sure that no technicalities would delay” such investigations, presidential political adviser Prospero Pichay asked if Aquino planned to set aside due process.

“If Aquino would like to violate the Cory Aquino constitution, then people should start thinking what kind of presidency this country will have if he is elected president,” Pichay said at a Palace briefing.

Pichay said Aquino’s statement showed his presidency “may be even worse” than that of his mother, the late President Cory Aquino, with the brownouts, flagging economy and its share of corruption allegations.

“So if it’s the legacy he’s trying to bring back, it’s not a very good legacy,” he said.

Pichay warned candidates who attack the President that their negative campaigning could backfire and result in what he said was happening to Aquino: Declining ratings in the candidate preference surveys.

‘Legal crucifixion’

“This guy had 60 percent [preference rating] but now it’s down to 28 percent. By election time, it might even be 10 percent,” he said.

Deputy presidential spokesperson Gary Olivar said Aquino seemed to be after the “legal crucifixion of the President.”

“What seem to be mere ‘technicalities’ to one man might be valued by others as indispensable due process that protects us from the commission of injustice. And what may appear to him as a crusade against evil might be described by others as nothing but a lynch mob,” Olivar said in a statement he read at the briefing.

He said all the “grievances” against Ms Arroyo had been raised in the courts, in the Senate and the media.

“The next president, no less than every new Philippine President before him or her, will have a full plate. And focusing on that plate, building the future instead of trying to repair injuries from the past—whether real or imagined, whether recent or ancient—that will be the very first test of statesmanship,” Olivar said.

Pichay also took issue with Aquino’s bid to revive the investigation into the “Hello Garci” wiretapping scandal of 2005, in which the President was caught on tape calling an election official during the 2004 polls.

He claimed that Aquino, who was still a congressman then, had voted against playing the tape because he did not think it was authentic.

Special task force

“If he brings back [the issue], then we should start questioning his vote during the time we were investigating Garci tapes,” he said.

Another presidential candidate, deposed President Joseph Estrada, was equally skeptical.

“There’s already a precedent. Didn’t his mother create the [Presidential Commission on Good Government] during her time [to investigate the dictator Ferdinand Marcos]? What happened? Nothing,” he said.

He suggested that Aquino instead create a special task force within the justice department.

Estrada, who was on a campaign sortie in Nasugbu, Batangas, became testy when asked about Aquino’s questioning the pardon that he got from Ms Arroyo after his plunder conviction.

“That’s no business of his. Let him become President first,” he said in Filipino.

The militant Bayan Muna said human rights violations, not just corruption, should be on top of the list of alleged crimes that the Arroyo administration should be made to answer. With Norman Bordadora and Alcuin Papa

Original Story:

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