Party-list group rejects Lozano impeachment complaint

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

KABATAAN party-list Representative Terry Ridon said Sunday that he will not endorse the impeachment complaint forwarded to him last week by lawyer Oliver Lozano for lack of merit.

In his complaint, Lozano said President Benigno Aquino III must be removed from office for his involvement in the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and failure to address the siege of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) forces in Zamboanga City and the problems brought about by Typhoon Yolanda that wreaked havoc in Eastern Visayas last year.

“Initially, we considered having his complaint consolidated with the one we are drafting at the moment. But when we reviewed his complaint, it became apparent that his impeachment suit is grossly insufficient in form and substance,” Ridon said, adding his colleagues in the Makabayan bloc composed of other militant party-list groups are also not keen on endorsing the complaint.

The lawmaker felt Lozano's arguments would easily be dismissed by the House justice committee, which hears impeachment complaints, because the "discussion of substantive matters were too general."

Ridon said Lozano did not even mention why Aquino committed culpable violation of the Constitution through the DAP, whose key parts were recently declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

Kabataan and other youth organizations would instead push through with the filing of a separate impeachment complaint on July 14.

Ridon noted that under the revised internal rules of the House of Representatives on impeachment proceedings first adopted in the 15th Congress, individual impeachment complaints need to be consolidated first before the impeachment proceeding begins.

“Such rules allow for the filing of several complaints while still complying with the Constitution,” the lawmaker said, referring to Article XI Section 3(5) of the 1987 Constitution, which states that "no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year."

The party-list group will also file malversation raps against Budget Secretary Florencio Abad before the Office of the Ombudsman on July 8 in relation to the SC ruling against DAP's constitutionality.

The SC said the Palace violated the Constitution for pooling funds that were used to augment new budget items not previously authorized by Congress and for funding projects and programs outside the Executive department.

Abad is said to be the architect of the controversial spending program, which was aimed at hastening the disbursement of public funds to help boost the economy from late 2011 up to last year. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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