A LOT OF TALK ABOUT POSSIBLE IMPEACHMENT CHARGES AGAINST BOTH GLORIA AND SPEAKER JOE DE VENECIA IS GOING ON IN THE PHILIPPINE POLITICAL ARENA. THIS LATEST ROUND RAISES THE ANTE UP ONE NOTCH BECAUSE THE SUPPOSED VACCINE THAT WILL IMMUNIZE GLORIA FROM FURTHER IMPEACHMENT FOR ANOTHER YEAR HAS SUDDENLY DEVELOPED POTENCY WHEN THE OPPOSITION PROVIDED THE SUBSTANCE NEEDED TO MAKE IT A SERIOUS THREAT TO HER.
BUT THEN, THERE'S THE GROUP OF CORRUPT CONGRESSMEN WHO ARE SALIVATING AT THE PROSPECT OF ANOTHER ROUND OF BRIBERY FROM GLORIA IN ORDER TO SUSTAIN THE IMPEACHMENT THREAT AGAINST JOE DE VENECIA. ESSENTIALLY WHAT WE'RE DEALING WITH HERE IS POLITICAL BLACKMAIL BECAUSE IT TAKES JOE DE VENECIA'S BLESSING TO PUSH GLORIA'S IMPEACHMENT TO THE SENATE FOR TRIAL.
Amended impeach raps filed vs Arroyo
MANILA, Philippines -- At least two amended impeachment complaints were filed Monday against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo at the House of Representatives over the national broadband network controversy.
Even without a firm commitment from the opposition bloc at the House, the United Opposition filed a supplemental complaint to the impeachment case by lawyer Roel Pulido against the President.
Earlier in the day, former Iloilo Representative Rolex Suplico and some concerned citizens, led by lawyer Harry Roque, included the President in an 11-page supplemental complaint that they attached to the one filed by Suplico against resigned Commission on Elections chief Benjamin Abalos Jr.
Instead of going to the House of the Secretary General, lawyer and UNO spokesman Adel Tamano went directly to the House justice committee to submit a 38-page complaint against Arroyo over the NBN controversy.
Also attached in the complaint, which the committee secretary received at 2:20 p.m., was a manifestation by Pulido adopting the supplement or the pleading to his complaint, which he filed last October 5 charging the President with alleged betrayal of public trust for failing to act on the NBN dispute.
In the amended complaint, the charges against Arroyo included culpable violations to the Constitution and graft and corruption for allegedly tolerating the commission of a crime over the NBN agreement, which had been forged with Chinas ZTE Corp.
Tamanos complaint also charged the President with bribery after she allegedly abetted, allowed, and countenanced the distribution of bribe money to congressmen for the purposes of dismissing the Pulido complaint and hastening the referral to the justice committee to prevent the filing of a more substantive complaint.
The President of the Philippines, Gloria Macapagal-Aroyo, by her involvement in the ZTE scandal, and her complicity in the bribe-giving in Malacañang failed to live up to this constitutional yardstick, according to the amended complaint.
Such accusations undoubtedly render her unfit for public office and subject to the impeachment power of Congress. Specifically her acts constitute bribery, graft and corruption, and betrayal of public trust, which are impeachable offenses, it pointed out.
At a press conference before the filing, Tamano insisted that the House had no choice but to accept his pleadings.
If they reject it, I think that should be subject of a vote. It is their ministerial duty, wala silang [they have no] choice but to accept these pleadings that we are filing, he said.
If you take a look at their rules, in the Constitution, they have no authority to prevent people, to prevent citizens from giving evidence. Thats basically what we are doing here. Were providing evidence, were trying to make the impeachment proceedings honest and credible, he said.
It would be a grave abuse of discretion, Tamano said if the House would reject his pleadings -- enough reason to bring the issue before the Supreme Court.
At the same time, Tamano admitted that he did not know whether the House opposition would endorse the amended complaint following a meeting of its members last Saturday.
We had a meeting last Saturday with the minority congressmen. The purpose of the meeting was to inform them of our plan to file it. Whether to accept or reject it, I dont know, he told reporters.
When pressed further, Tamano said, Its possible that no one from both camps will support it.
A source privy to the meeting disclosed that Minority Floor Leader Ronaldo Zamora conducted a head count in which only 45 lawmakers supported the complaint.
Zamora had allegedly counted only 32 from the opposition bloc, including those independents who are inclined to support the complaint, and another 15 to 20 lawmakers identified with Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. should he decide to abandon the President.
In a phone interview, Deputy Minority Floor Leader Satur Ocampo confirmed Zamoras headcount.
The supplemental complaint attached to the one filed by Suplico was submitted to the office of House Secretary General Roberto Nazareno at 11:55 a.m.
But Nazareno initially refused to accept the complaint without endorsers, saying that it is considered a new case since it contains new information against another party, apparently referring to Arroyos inclusion in the case.
Nazareno only agreed to receive the complaint when Suplico promised to produce the original endorsers -- Bukidnon Representative Teofisto Guingona III, Bayan Muna Representative Teodoro Casiño, Akbayan Representative Risa Hontiveros, and Zamboanga City Representative Ma. Isabelle Climaco -- to reiterate their endorsement within the day.
Before the filing of the complaint, Suplico told reporters that his original complaint, which had been pending at the committee on rules, and not placed in the archives as posted earlier in the day, could still be revived even after Abalos had resigned.
Suplico insisted that the complaint could still be pursued, this time to seek Abalos perpetual disqualification from holding public office.
Roque said they also wanted to revive the case to clarify once and for all if Abalos had resigned from his post or if he had just gone on terminal leave.
Gusto rin naming linawin kung bakit bibigyan siya ng retirement benefits kung nagbitiw na siya sa puwesto [We also want to clarify why he will be given retirement benefits if he has resigned from his post], Roque said in a press conference.
Suplico said the date of the filing of the supplemental complaint should be the same as the date in which his original complaint was lodged.
And therefore, Suplico said the case should also be considered by the House since it had been filed ahead of a separate case against Arroyo by lawyer Roel Pulido.
Roque said the supplemental complaint was attached to the Suplico case against Abalos to ensure that impeachment proceedings against the President would push through.
The complaint is also in connection with Arroyos alleged involvement in the NBN dispute where Abalos had been tagged as the supposed broker in the agreement.
The majority said that the Pulido complaint can no longer be amended because the one-year ban has started. But since they have not referred the one by Rolex, this means that the complaint can still be amended, Roque said in Filipino in a phone interview.
Nakasulat sa rules na hanggat hindi nare-refer, pwedeng mag-amend o mag-supplement [Under the rules, until the complaint has not been referred, it can still be amended or a supplement can still be filed], he pointed out.
And even if the House would dismiss the Pulido complaint, Roque said they would insist on the Suplico complaint, citing the pending petition at the Supreme Court questioning the one-year prohibition against multiple impeachment complaints.
Roque said they would revive the case filed by former Cebu congresswoman Clavel Martinez at the Supreme Court where she had asserted that the prohibition applied to multiple proceedings and not on the filing of multiple complaints against the same impeachable officials.
Posted on Nov 5, 2007, 7:56 AM from IP address 126.96.36.199