LP stalwarts confirm Aquino ordered ‘fast impeachment’ of Corona
MANILA, Philippines—Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said 176 representatives have signed to impeach Chief Justice Renato Corona after a three-hour caucus of the majority.
“This is very important, grave and historic. We realize the gravity of this decision,” said Belmonte in a press conference after the signature drive.
Belmonte explained that since the representatives’ signatures were verified by the House secretary general after signing the resolution, the case could be sent directly to the Senate either Monday night or Tuesday. Belmonte said the 11-member prosecution team would be formed by Wednesday and would bring the case formally to the Senate.
Belmonte and another LP stalwart, Cavite Representative Joseph E.A. Abaya, revealed that a “furious” President Aquino wanted a “fast” impeachment of Corona after he and seven other Arroyo appointees issued a temporary restraining order on the Department of Justice’s travel ban against the former President.
“He was infuriated after the SC issued the TRO. He called me up and told me how he felt bad that the SC was intervening in behalf of Arroyo. He felt that this should stop,” said Belmonte in an interview. “This is our own game plan, we just had his support.”
Abaya said in an interview that the President told him that he felt Corona was the “last stumbling block” to his core reform agenda and that he did not want to spend the next five years clashing with the Supreme Court. “He gave the general direction, we followed because we believe this is the right thing,” said Abaya.
Abaya said that after gathering forces in the LP, President Aquino moved to consolidate his allies from other parties.
Belmonte and Abaya said the House leaders went to work to build a case against Corona “and go to every detail and ensure that it will stand on strong legal ground.”
Belmonte said the majority had been talking about Corona’s impeachment for weeks prior to Monday’s caucus and they only decided to push through with it after getting at least 95 supporters.
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