Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Davide hits graft in gov’t, backs Aquino

By Philip Tubeza
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 03:26:00 04/14/2010

Filed Under: Inquirer Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections, Graft & Corruption, Benigno Aquino III

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100414-264146/Davide-hits-graft-in-govt-backs-Aquino

CEBU CITY—The man who went to EDSA nine years ago to administer the oath of office to then Vice President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, thus making her president on the spot, is now turning his back on her.

Saying the public “can never forget” the corruption in the present administration, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. Tuesday endorsed presidential candidate Sen. Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III so the country would have a shot “at real change.”

Davide, the country’s ambassador to the United Nations until last month, said he resigned from his post so that he could “campaign for change.”

He said his home province of Cebu might even give Aquino more votes than what it delivered to President Macapagal-Arroyo in the 2004 elections. His son, Hilario “Junjun” Davide III, is running for governor.

“The issues should be diverted [and raised] against the opponents of Noynoy, especially those who are connected to the President,” Davide said at a press conference here that was attended by Aquino and other ranking Liberal Party officials.

Obstacle to Gibo campaign

The former Chief Justice added that being identified with the “leadership” was the main obstacle to the campaign of Lakas-Kampi-CMD presidential candidate Gilbert “Gibo” Teodoro “because the people can never forget and can never tolerate graft and corruption.”

Davide, who was wearing a Liberal Party campaign shirt, said he was actively campaigning for Aquino and his running-mate, Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II, because “this is the best time for our country really to have real change.”

“That change can only be accomplished through the leadership of Noynoy and Mar … That is exactly the reason why I had to tender my resignation as the Philippines’ ambassador and permanent representative to the UN effective April 1,” Davide said.

He said his term would have ended on June 30. “But I just had to come [home] to be able to enlighten our people on the need to choose the best. So, here I am, campaigning hard, knowing that a victory will be sure for Noynoy and Mar and the entire LP,” he added.

No regrets

While saying he was not sorry for swearing in Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo as deposed President Joseph Estrada’s successor after the EDSA II revolt in 2001, Davide said Ms Arroyo’s record in the past nine years could be judged by looking at her dismal approval ratings.

“I have no regrets whatsoever because it was a constitutional duty and therefore my duty,” said Davide who presided over the aborted impeachment trial of Estrada on corruption and other charges.

“But you have this public perception [against the President]. You have these surveys and I think the most recent survey was very bad. We can base it on the surveys,” he said.

Integrity crucial issue

Davide said he was not supporting Nacionalista Party standard-bearer Manuel Villar because “integrity” should be a “crucial issue” in the elections.

“Well, you know very well the reasons against Villar,” he said. “I am for accountability of public officials. They should be accountable to the people at all times.”

A report by the Senate committee of the whole found that Villar had failed to declare a conflict of interest in the C-5 road extension project in Las Piñas and Parañaque cities.

Villar was paid for right-of-way by the government and the value of the real estate owned by his firms increased because this was traversed by the road project.


Davide said this was why he believed that the Nacionalista Party’s focus on questioning Aquino’s mental fitness using a fake document would boomerang against the party.

“That is a diversionary strategy which will be counterproductive for them and which would even boomerang against them because the plain and simple reason is the document upon which it is based is fake,” Davide said.

He was referring to the alleged psychological report which its own supposed author said was fake.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20100414-264146/Davide-hits-graft-in-govt-backs-Aquino

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