Prospects dim for success of impeach-Aquino cases

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THE writings on the wall are there for everybody to see. The impeachment proceedings against President Benigno Aquino 3rd are on, but their proponents could not expect the complaints to succeed beyond the first base.

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No less than Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. made it very clear as he made the pronouncement ahead of deliberations on the consolidated impeachment complaints to be conducted by the justice committee today.

“Yes, it [impeachment proceedings]will push through. But there’s no support for it outside the extreme left. The complaints have no basis,” Belmonte, vice chairman of the Liberal Party, said in a text message.

He was referring to the Makabayan bloc lawmakers from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Kabataan, Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Anakpawis party-list groups that endorsed the impeachment complaints against President Aquino.

An impeachment complaint should be endorsed by a member or members of the House for it to be deemed valid for deliberations.

Of the three impeachment complaints against the President, two of them were about the outlawed Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), while the third is about the Philippines-United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA).

DAP is a spending program that allowed the executive to realign unused budget of slow-moving projects to the priority projects of the administration.

Many see this as usurpation of Congress’ sole power to appropriate, while EDCA provides for increased presence of American troops in the country and American artillery’s access to Philippine military bases.

All the complaints accused the President of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.

“The President does not have to worry about the impeachment complaints, considering that no impeachable offense has been committed by him” Rep. Elpidio Barzaga of Cavite said.

“Based on my initial assessment, these complaints are baseless. While they may pass the initial test on the determination of form, they are unlikely to pass though when it comes to substance,” Rep. Ben Evardone of Eastern Samar said.

But for Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Luz Ilagan, the success of the impeachment complaints does not only rely on Congress but crucially, on how the public will respond to them during the proceedings.

“The President should be concerned because this is one of the people’s initiatives to expose his bad governance. More than efforts inside Congress are the people’s actions against his policies,” de Jesus argued in a text message.

“These impeachment raps have strong basis. His trust ratings plummeted because people are already alarmed at the creeping dictatorship of this administration,” Ilagan said.

Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr. of Iloilo assured that there would be no stifling of evidence against the President during the impeachment proceedings.

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