Aquino Not A Dictator – Palace

MANILA — President Benigno S. Aquino III is not a dictator who is deliberately removing all appointees of his predecessor in the Supreme Court, a Palace official said Monday.

Deputy Presidential Spokeswoman Abigail Valte said this Monday as she rejected the allegations of some court employees about the so-called propaganda war launched by Aquino against the SC magistrates.

“As to the President being a de facto dictator, we obviously disagree,” Valte said in a Palace news conference.

Valte made it clear that the administration judges an official based on his performance, not on his or her appointment by former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

“We do not look at the source and say you are not fit. We look at the consequent actions. It’s not because you are an appointee, we will bring you down. That’s not the truth,” she said in Filipino.

“The measure of looking at the appointee is really his actions. Even we as people will demand a certain level of performance,” she added.

On Monday, Supreme Court employees joined the so-called “Red Monday” protest rally to oppose the administration’s alleged persecution of Chief Justice Renato C. Corona, currently facing an impeachment trial. They have denounced Arroyo as a “de facto dictator” for his alleged attacks on the High Tribunal.

However, personnel of the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Monday skipped the rally so as Manila RTC Judges’ Association President Antonio Eugenio Jr. said that most employees and judges are in a “wait-and- see” mode on the impeachment trial at the Senate.

“We didn’t join [today's] red protest because we think that our participation might work against Chief Justice [Renato] Corona,” Judge Eugenio said in a text message to the Manila Bulletin.

The protest rally came as Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, lead prosecutor, reportedly disclosed plans to get rid of other Arroyo appointees in the High Tribunal.

The Palace, however, distanced itself from the statement of Tupas, saying this was a personal opinion of the lawmaker. “He speaks for himself. He speaks for his colleagues,” Valte said.

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