Tiangco: ‘Boy Pick-up’ had meeting with another senator

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Tuesday, January 21, 2014

ANOTHER senator who sat as a judge during the impeachment trial of former Chief Justice Renato Corona was "picked up" to meet with President Benigno Aquino III, an opposition lawmaker said Tuesday.

"Ang sigurado ko meron pang isang senador na sinundo rin, pinagmaneho rin at kinausap rin. Ang andun ay sina Secretary Mar, Secretary Butch at si Presidente," said Navotas City Representative Toby Tiangco, referring to Interior and Local Government Secretary Manuel Roxas II, Budget Secretary Florencio Abad and President Aquino.

Tiangco did not name the senator.

Tiangco, secretary general of the United Nationalist Alliance, was one of the witnesses of the defense panel during the Corona impeachment trial.

In a privilege speech Monday, Senator Ramon "Bong" Revilla Jr. disclosed that Roxas, whom he called "Boy Pick-up", personally drove him to Bahay Pangarap, the official residence of the President, where Aquino supposedly personally asked him to vote in favor of Corona's conviction.

Tiangco said Malacanang clearly "exerted effort and pressure" on Revilla.

"Tama ba naman na yung judge kausapin mo during a trial to try to influence (him)?" Tiangco said.

Revilla was one of the 20 senators who voted to convict Corona for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution. The three other senators voted to acquit Corona.

Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr., one of the prosecutors during the impeachment trial, said Revilla, as a senator-judge then, should have declined to meet with Aquino assuming that it was Malacanang who arranged the meeting.

"Kung ang judge pinatawag, dapat sana hindi nagpunta. There is voluntariness on the part of the judge," he said.

Barzaga, also a lawyer, however noted that it was "okay" for the chief executive to meet with a judge of the Senate impeachment tribunal because "the Rules of Court insofar as the conduct of judge is concerned is not applicable."

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said Revilla's speech would not matter before the Office of the Ombudsman, where he is being probed for allegedly plundering public funds through his Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF).

"Whether he answered the allegations or not in his speech; that doesn't mean anything. Ang improtante kasi ay dinadala mo ang depensa kung saan nakabinbin ang demanda sayo and in this particular case it is the Ombudsman," Gonzales said. (Sunnex)

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