Aquino’s impeachment proceedings readied

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Sunday, August 10, 2014

MANILA -- Pro-impeachment lawmakers are now ready to defend before the House of Representatives the merits of the complaints seeking to unseat President Benigno Aquino III.

Three impeachment complaints, two of them in relation to the controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), will be referred by the plenary to the justice committee on Monday.

Hearings will then be conducted by the committee led by Iloilo Representative Niel Tupas Jr. to determine if the complaints are strong enough to be debated upon by the rest of the 294-member House, where Aquino has more than enough allies to avoid trial at the Senate.

Makabayan bloc member and Kabataan party-list Representative Terry Ridon, who endorsed the second impeachment complaint filed by youth groups against Aquino, remains unperturbed.

"Even if there are some quarters who blindly seek to block the impeachment proceedings without first hearing the merits of the case, I and my colleagues in Makabayan remain unflustered. We believe that the case against Aquino is strong,” said Ridon on Sunday.

He urged his colleagues in the justice committee to listen and consider the arguments they will present during the impeachment proceedings, adding they should not "play blind, deaf, and mute to the travesties" allegedly committed by Aquino.

In their 23-page complaint filed last July 21, the 25 youth and student complainants accused Aquino of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption in connection with the DAP, a purported economic stimulus package whose key parts were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court (SC).

The second complaint is also about the DAP and was endorsed by lawmakers from Bayan Muna partylist, and the other one hinged on the signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the United States, and was endorsed by ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio and Gabriela Representative Emmi de Jesus.

“To push through with the impeachment complaint is to fulfill our mandate to register the people’s growing call for Aquino to step down. We are not naive about the power dynamics of Congress, yet we are determined to fight fire with fire," Ridon added.

In July, Aquino showed his displeasure over the SC’s decision declaring key parts of the DAP unconstitutional.

"Excuse me. Iba ang DAP sa PDAF. Sa PDAF, may ilang nagdala ng pondo ng gobyerno sa mga pekeng NGO, at diumano’y pinaghati-hatian ng ilang mapang-abuso. Sa DAP, malinaw na hindi ninakaw ang pondo ng gobyerno -- sinikap itong gastusin para maiparating ang benepisyo sa Pilipino. Hindi saka na, o bukas makalawa; now na. Ang kayang ipatupad agad, ipinatupad agad," he said.

"Mabuti ang DAP. Tama ang intensyon. Tama ang pamamaraan. Tama ang resulta. Mga boss, ipinapangako ko sa inyo: Hindi ko hahayaang pahabain pa ang pagdurusa ninyo, kung ngayon pa lang, ay kaya na nating ibsan ito," the President added. (Virgil Lopez/Sunnex)

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