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Aquino will not be gagged on impeach trial

President Aquino Sunday (February 19) said he would not keep quiet about the impeachment trial of Chief Justice Renato Corona, citing his right to express an opinion and the need for discourse in a democracy.

Aquino did not heed the appeal of some senator-judges for him and Corona to stop their word war and let the Senate, which is sitting as an impeachment court, handle the trial.

“I think I am within my right to express my opinion…I speak for a sizeable number of our people, ‘di ba, that’s the essence of a democracy eh…A democracy is the majority deciding for everybody and you cannot decide properly if there is no discourse within the contending sides in any issue,” Aquino said in an interview in Baler, Quezon province.

“So to keep quiet about the whole thing is I think wrong. Time to time, I reserve my right to be able to say what I believe should be said to the people,” he said.

He said he would respond to Corona’s tirades, “If there is a need.”

Aquino also said his pronouncements “are not directed at Corona personally, but at the system of which he is the personification.”

“Siya ‘yung mukha ng pinaglalaban natin dito na dapat iayos ang sistema ng hudikatura sa bansa,” he added.

Responding to Corona’s call to open his Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net worth (SALN) and psychological records, Aquino said he has nothing to hide.

He said his SALN has been made public since he was elected as a congressman in 1998. He said he never placed it under lock and key.

“So ano ang bubuksan ko? Kung hindi siya nagbabasa dyaryo, nanonood ng TV, nakikinig ng radyo hindi ko na po siguro kasalanan ‘yon. Mayroon naman siyang sapat na kakayahan para bumili ng dyaryo o manood ng TV, ‘di ho ba?” he asked.

Aquino said the issue on his psychological records was raised during the 2010 presidential campaign. He said the first person who spoke about his so-called psychological profile then was a priest, who denied making a psychological evaluation on him.

He said the second so-called authority, an old Ateneo professor, also denied making a psychological report. He said the third person who was identified as allegedly questioning his psychological fitness was a doctor who knew his family when they were living in Boston.

“By the time nilabas ho ‘yung istorya, patay na po ‘yung doktor. Para siguradong hindi na sila kontrahin, naghanap sila ng patay na tao. Ganyan po ang klase ng mga kalaban natin,” he added.