Senator-judges has denied allegations that President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III is convincing them to vote for Chief Justice Renato Corona's impeachment.
Retired Associate Justice Serafin Cuevas, Corona's lead counsel, said the defense is concerned over reports that the president himself is influencing members of the impeachment court, even if it meant "[voting] against what they really feel."
But Senator Francis “Chiz” Escudero defended Aquino and debunked such allegations.
"PNoy and I are friends, we talk for about an hour about a lot of things. To be fair and factual about it, he did not bring up the issue nor even mentioned about it," Escudero said in a statement Wednesday.
"I am speaking on a personal standpoint and knowing PNoy, what Atty. Cuevas is accusing him of is out of the president's character. He won't do such a thing,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile, presiding officer of the impeachment court, said he has not heard from any of the senators that Aquino is talking to them regarding Corona's trial and that he sees nothing wrong if Aquino is indeed speaking to the judges.
“Both sides can talk with the senators. It’s up to the senators to exercise their circumspection,” Enrile said in an interview.
However, members of the prosecution panel of the House of Representatives said they barred themselves from talking with the senators to avoid speculations that they are influencing the decision of the judges.
“We, as lawyers, don’t see it fit to talk with the senator-judges,” said Cavite Rep. Joseph Abaya who is part of the 11-man prosecution team.
Nevertheless, Enrile stressed, “The behavioral requirement in this impeachment process is addressed to the individual discretion of the members of the Senate.”