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House prosecution team still has 3 more vacancies

/ 11:16 AM March 31, 2011

MANILA, Philippines—The House of Representatives is having a hard time filling up the 11-member prosecution team in the impeachment trial of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez because some of the candidates were linked to the previous administration.

“They should have no baggage from the past administration. They should have absolutely no ties with the previous administration,” said House justice committee chair and Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. who was treating the impeachment of Gutierrez as proxy trial of former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

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The House impeached Gutierrez for betrayal of public trust for her inaction on the corruption cases and anomalies alleged against Arroyo and her husband such as the fertilizer fund scam and the NBN-ZTE deal.

Tupas said that only eight have so far been named to the prosecution team and they were having a hard time naming the remaining three spots.

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Aside from Tupas, the members of the prosecution team so far are Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III, Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, Valenzuela Rep. Magtanggol “Magi” Gunigundo, Akbayan party-list Rep. Arlene “Kaka” Bag-ao, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Javier Colmeneres and Mindoro Oriental Rep. Reynaldo Umali.

A source said Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. was supposed to be named to the team but some administration allies complained that he was too identified with the Arroyo government being a member of the Lakas-Kampi who recently switched to the newly-formed National Unity.

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TAGS: Congress, Impeachment, Trial
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