Militant lawmakers to resuscitate Aquino impeachment after latest DAP ruling
MANILA, Philippines – Lawmakers from the militant Makabayan bloc wanted to renew the impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III, especially after the Supreme Court affirmed its ruling declaring some parts of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
In a press conference Wednesday, Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares said the latest high court ruling meant Aquino should be held accountable for his savings-impounding mechanism.
This means the impeachment complaint against Aquino, junked for lack of substance September last year by the House justice committee, should now hold water.
Colmenares said the House panel, dominated by Aquino allies in the chamber, junked the impeachment complaint over DAP because the high court then has yet to rule on the motions for reconsideration filed against its earlier ruling on the program’s constitutionality.
“Now, the reason is no longer existent. Ano pa ang rason nila bakit hindi ma-approve ang impeachment complaint? Ibig sabihin may basis yung impeachment complaint. Ibig sabihin tama pala ang complainants. Mali pala ang bumoto to dismiss the impeachment complaint,” said Colmenares, one of the petitioners against DAP.
Act Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said the committee report was not yet opened in the plenary for the House to formally approve the junking of the impeachment.
“In other words, hanggang ngayon ay bukas pa at kailangang ipagpatuloy pa yung impeachment process. Ongoing pa rin ng impeachment process kay Aquino. ‘Yung final decision ng Supreme Court regarding the DAP ang the accountability of the President ay nagpapalakas lalo sa isinampa naming kaso,” Tinio said.
Aquino faced three impeachment complaints over DAP as well as the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement, all of which were later junked by the committee dominated by administration allies.
Colmenares said a one-third vote in the plenary, or 97 of the 290-strong chamber, is needed to reverse the committee report and reopen the impeachment complaint.
For his part, Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. stuck to the justice committee’s report that the impeachment complaints were baseless.
He said the SC ruling on DAP was more positive than the previous one because it acknowledged the economic gains reaped using the program of cross-border transfer funds by the executive.
“The ruling of the SC in DAP was in the right direction. The ruling took note that there was progress because of DAP… I’m very happy with the ruling because it clarified what can and cannot be done. It did not leave the executive with hands tied as the first one had done,” Belmonte said.
In its latest decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier decision declaring as illegal the practice of cross-border transfer of funds from the executive, as well as the withdrawal of unobligated allotments before the end of the fiscal year. The high court, however, said DAP-funded projects before the SC decision can now remain valid.
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