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GUTIERREZ IMPEACHMENT
Don’t waste our time, Joker warns House prosecutors

By Christian V. Esguerra
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 09:32:00 03/18/2011

Filed Under: Congress, Impeachment, Legal issues

MANILA, Philippines?Don?t waste your time and ours.

Sen. Joker Arroyo Thursday served notice to prosecutors from the House of Representatives that they should not come unprepared should their effort to unseat Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez reaches the Senate.

?They cannot come here not prepared because it will not be fair to the Senate and the public if they will come without the evidence that is needed,? said Arroyo, who was a member of the House panel that prosecuted former President Joseph Estrada in an impeachment trial in 2000.

?They should think about this case as a very serious case and be ready with the evidence.?

Arroyo reminded the House panel that could prosecute Gutierrez that senators were ?prepared to ask questions and probe deep into whether the articles of impeachment contain impeachable offense.?

He said that senators, who would sit as judges in an impeachment trial, would look specifically for an ?impeachable offense? in the case to be presented by the House prosecutors.

?When you are a juror and you find them (prosecutors) unprepared, prejudice develops,? he said. ?That?s why I keep on saying, ?House, you prepare because the Senate is prepared.??

The House justice committee chaired by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. is still preparing the six articles of impeachment for plenary approval and later, transmission to the Senate.

Arroyo, a long-time member of the lower chamber, said Tupas and company did not need to come up with a total of six articles?or accusations?against the Ombudsman.

?One article is enough to impeach,? he said. ?They should present the strongest case. Because if they concentrate on six (articles) and scatter them, they?ll be wasting their time.?

The senator added, ?Impeachable offense is the definition by which every allegation should be supported and that?s all.?

Arroyo said his colleagues would ?participate and prepare for the trial,? which he described as a ?national spectacle.?

?I can feel the mood of the Senate,? he said.

In his case, he said, he would judge the impeachment case ?on the basis of the evidence presented, on the standard of the impeachable offense.?



Copyright 2014 Philippine Daily Inquirer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.



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