Who will initiate Aquino’s impeachment?
MANILA, Philippines — It would now be up to the people and members of the House of Representatives to initiate an impeachment move against President Benigno Aquino III if indeed he has committed any violation of the Constitution over the botched Mamasapano operation, Senator Sonny Angara said on Monday.
“I agree with the conclusion of the committee report na ang ultimate responsibility belongs with the President. Ganun din ang naging conclusion ng board of inquiry ng PNP (Philippine National Police). Anong klaseng responsibilidad yan? Sa akin, it’s political responsibility,” Angara, an administration ally, said during a press briefing.
(I agree with the conclusion of the committee report that the ultimate responsibility belongs with the President. That’s also the conclusion of the board of inquiry of the PNP. What kind of responsibility? For me, it’s political responsibility)
“Kung sa tingin ng mga tao na impeachable yun, di mag-file sila? Di ba kung tingin nilang dun ang pananagutan ng Pangulo? Is there criminal responsibility? Sa tingin ko wala,”he added.
(If the people think that’s impeachable, then they should file (a complaint) if they think that the President was liable. Is there criminal responsibility? There is none.)
Angara was one of the 20 senators who signed a Senate draft report that found Aquino “ultimately responsible” for the January 25 Mamasapano operation where 44 elite policemen were killed.
While he said Aquino owes the public an explanation on the incident, the senator said he saw no “willful violation”committed by the President.
“May pananagutan sya sa tao, dapat ipaliwanag nya yung mga actions nya dito sa Mamasapano. That’s political accountability at kung meron syang nilabag sa Constitution, then liable sya under the Constitution for impeachment pero sa ngayon nga hindi pa klaro yun . Nasa congressman na natin kung gusto nilang mag-file,” said Angara.
(He has a responsibility to the public, he should explain his actions on the Mamasapano. That’s political responsibility and if he has violated the Constitution, then he’s liable under the Constitution for impeachment but it’s not yet clear at this point . It’s up to our congressmen if they want to file.)
The senator believes the President’s mistake was when he excluded acting Philippine National Police Chief, Deputy Director General Leonardo Espina, from the Mamasapano operation planning and tapped the then suspended Police Chief Director General Alan Purisima to call the shots.
Purisima was under preventive suspension by the Office of the Ombudsman when he met with the President in Malacanang and discussed about the operation two weeks before it was launched .
Angara said he would not have also excluded Purisima from the operation since he was involved in its planning in the past but he said, “I would just would not treat him as the head anymore of the operation.”
“Pero in hindsight, ang dali lang sabihin lahat ito pero sa totoo lang pag nandun ka, kung successful ang mission walang magki-question nyan e,” he said.
Angara recognized the President’s efforts to explain what happened in the operation, saying it was part of the national process of healing and closure on the Mamasapano incident.
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