MANILA (Mabuhay) – The House justice committee on Tuesday overwhelmingly voted to junk the three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III, declaring them to “insufficient in substance.”
Voting 54-4 in all three impeachment complaints, the panel moved to dismiss the impeachment raps against Aquino.
Two of the three complaints filed against the President alleged that Aquino committed a culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in connection with his implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
The Supreme Court has declared the DAP partially unconstitutional.
The third complaint also alleged culpable violation of the Constitution with regard to the Aquino administration’s signing of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) with the US.
The EDCA is now the subject of a suit before the Supreme Court.
Tension marred the House justice committee’s deliberations on the sufficiency of substance of the three impeachment complaints against Aquino III after a heated exchange between an administration ally and a militant lawmaker.
The argument started after Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone accused Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, one of the endorsers of the impeachment complaint, of having received funds from the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), which has been declared partially unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and is the basis of two of the three complaints.
In response, Colmenares clarified that he stopped endorsing projects whose funds he suspected came from the DAP the moment he was aware of the program. He said his endorsement of the complaint even though he received DAP funds does not make him a hypocrite.
Following this, Colmenares shot back at Evardone: “Ikaw ba sinabihan ka naming balimbing ka noong lumipat ka mula sa pagiging ally ni GMA kay Aquino?”
Evardone was formerly a member of the Lakas-Kampi-Christian Muslim Democrats (CMD) party chaired by former President and now pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo before he defected to the ruling Liberal Party (LP).
After the heated exchange, House Justice panel chair Rep. Niel Tupas banged his gavel and called for the suspension of the hearing for a few minutes.
When the hearing resumed a few minutes later, Tupas made a motion for the remarks of both Evardone and Colmenares to be stricken off the record for being unparliamentary.
Two of the three complaints filed against Aquino cited the DAP as basis while one is over the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) between the Philippines and the US. (MNS)