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Lightning rally mars Aquino impeach hearing

/ 05:58 PM September 02, 2014

MANILA, Philippines – A lightning rally on Tuesday marred the House of Representatives committee hearing soon after it found insufficient in substance all three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III.

Some five activists led by Youth Act Now spokersperson Einstein Recedes shouted “Shame on you,” “Noynoy, patalsikin! (Impeach Noynoy Aquino),” and “Mga nakinabang sa DAP! (Disbursement Acceleration Program) (Those who benefited from DAP).”

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House security dragged the activists out of the plenary. At one point, one of the security men tried to cover Recedes’ mouth as the scuffle ensued.

The commotion happened after the House justice committee found insufficient in substance all three impeachment complaints against Aquino.

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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 decide to junk the raps.

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 Rep. Colmenares and Zarate, and Gabriela Rep. Luz Ilagan and Emmi De Jesus.

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.

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

A fourth impeachment complaint accused Aquino of sustaining the 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.

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