Party-list group asked to support impeach rap vs Aquino

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Friday, July 4, 2014

A PROMINENT lawyer asked Friday a militant party-list group in Congress to endorse an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III over the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court.

Lawyer Oliver Lozano submitted a verified complaint to Akbayan Party-list Representative Terry Ridon, who said earlier that they have started drafting an impeachment complaint against Aquino citing culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Lozano said Aquino has violated certain provisions of the Constitution, particularly the power of the purse, which solely belongs to Congress.

Various critics of DAP explained that it practically repeals the General Appropriations Act (GAA) by realigning funds to items not found in the budget that has been approved by the two houses of Congress.

In 2013, Lozano filed an impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive before the Office of the Ombudsman. He claimed Aquino was guilty of culpable violation of the Constitution for appropriating P72 billion in supposed savings of government agencies sans the approval of Congress.

Ridon confirmed his office has received the verified impeachment complaint from Lozano, a former loyalist of late President Ferdinand Marcos.

Ridon said the Makabayan bloc in the House will "review the complaint and incorporate it with the complaint we are drafting if possible."

The lawmaker said his group is wary of possible "flawed, weak and bogus impeachment complaints" against Aquino that may be endorsed by other House members to block "legitimate impeachment complaints against the president."

Article XI Section 3(5) of the 1987 Constitution states that "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."

Ridon recalled that during the term of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, administration allies "abused the one-impeachment-proceeding-per-year rule" by filing "bogus, flawed, and weak complaints" ahead of legitimate complaints.

"Our group is wary of such tactics, and we stand alert to thwart any move that would weaken or block legitimate impeachment raps against the president," Ridon said.

Meanwhile, a faction of the ruling coalition in the House of Representatives said that it will not support any attempt by some opposition legislators to file impeachment complaint against Aquino.

House Deputy Speaker Pangalian Balindong said the entire Muslim bloc still supports the Chief Executive despite the Supreme Court's verdict against the controversial DAP.

"The Muslim bloc will not support any impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives," Pangalian said.

He added that they "will never let politics and greed for power take precedence over the needs of the people."

"Ambition and lust for power by some misguided opportunists are now trying to sow chaos and confusion to delay, if not totally paralyze the government especially the executive and legislative branch, by going into another long, tedious and acrimonious impeachment proceeding," the lawmaker said.

One-third votes of 290 lawmakers in the House are needed to transmit the articles of impeachment to the Senate where two-third votes of the chamber are needed to remove an impeachable officer from his post. (Sunnex)

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