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House junks impeach raps vs Aquino

/ 08:39 PM September 02, 2014

MANILA, Philippines — The House of Representatives justice committee on Tuesday found insufficient in substance the three impeachment raps lodged against President Benigno Aquino III.

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The panel, dominated by Aquino allies, overwhelmingly voted to junk the complaints, after some allies moved to suspend the debate on the complaint and instead decided to junk the raps.

Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares fumed on the speed by which the panel tackled the complaints.

“Noong panahon ni Arroyo, the impeachment complaints against her reached three to four hearings. Kay President Aquino, two hearings. Are you rushing this?” Aquino told the panel chairman Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr.

Tupas said the panel practiced the same standards in both impeach hearing.

The three complaints were dismissed separately in a vote of 54 lawmakers against each complaint and four votes favoring each of it. Those who voted for the three complaints were Bayan Muna Representatives Colmenares and Carlos Zarate, and Gabriela Representatives Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus.

In an interview after the hearing, Tupas said the committee will prepare a report on the dismissal to be referred to the plenary for approval.

“It can be reversed, but I think is a reflection of the sentiment of the entire House,” Tupas said.

Colmenares, meanwhile, lamented the speedy dismissal of the impeachment complaints.

“Nakakadismaya ang ginawa ng Kongreso na pinatay agad ang impeachment complaint (The Congress’ junking of the impeachment complaint is disappointing). This is a terrible day for accountability, a terrible day for the Filipino people,” the militant solon said.
The first two complaints stemmed from Aquino’s Disbursement Acceleration Program, parts of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The third is over the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, which seeks a greater US military presence in the country despite a constitutional ban on foreign bases.

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The impeachment raps were endorsed by militant lawmakers Colmenares, Zarate and De Jesus, and Anakpawis Representative Fernando Hicap, Kabataan Representative Terry Ridon, Act Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio and Gabriela Representative Emmi De Jesus.

A fourth impeachment rap accused Aquino of sustaining the outlawed Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) in the 2014 budget. The SC declared as unconstitutional the congressional pork at the height of a corruption scandal under the alleged scheme of Janet Lim-Napoles.

But the complaint failed to reach the floor in time for the committee referral of the first three complaints.

Last Tuesday, the complaints were found sufficient in form based on verification of complainants and endorsement of lawmakers.

Originally posted: 1:40 pm | Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

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TAGS: House of Representatives, impeachment raps, Neri Colmenares, President Benigno Aquino III
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