Opposition lawmakers are bent on filing an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino 3rd but they will not use the one prepared by Oliver Lozano because they found it “insufficient in form and substance.”
Two days after the Supreme Court (SC) declared the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional, Lozano personally delivered a copy of the impeachment complaint to Kabataan party-list Rep. Terry Ridon’s office for the latter’s endorsement. But the group said the complaint will not stand scrutiny.
“As far as I know, other party-list lawmakers under Makabayan [bloc]are also not keen on endorsing Atty. Lozano’s complaint,” Ridon said.
Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares on Sunday confirmed that they will not endorse the complaint.
“We will not endorse Lozano’s complaint. Like his usual impeachment complaints before, which preempted legitimate impeachment complaints, it has no substance. We will endorse the Bayan complaint,” Colmenares told The Manila Times in a text message.
Lozano’s complaint was based on Aquino’s alleged involvement in the DAP, his failure to address the incident in Zamboanga that escalated into days of clashes between soldiers and members of the Moro National Liberation Front and the problems brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda.
“While we appreciate Atty. Lozano’s effort in producing an impeachment complaint ahead of everyone, we believe his five-page verified complaint contains weak arguments and failed to meet the stringent standards set by the Constitution,” Ridon said in a statement also on Sunday.
He added that the complaint will not stand even a cursory review of the House Committee on Justice since it does not even mention why Aquino committed culpable violation of the Constitution through the DAP.
“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.
He added that his group will file a separate impeachment complaint next week.
Under Congress rules, individual impeachment complaints need to be consolidated before an impeachment proceeding. The Constitution allows citizens to file complaints, provided they get a lawmaker’s endorsement.
Meanwhile, Ridon disclosed that his group is “nearly done” with the malversation complaint that they will lodge against Budget Secretary Florencio “Butch” Abad at the Office of the Ombudsman.
He claimed that Aquino and Abad violated Article 220 of the Revised Penal Code that pertains to “illegal use of public funds or property” but Samar Rep. Mel Senen Sarmiento argued last week that the SC ruling cannot be used as basis for impeaching the President because there was a presumption of regularity on the use of the DAP.
Sarmiento, also the secretary general of the ruling Liberal Party, said an impeachment complaint against the President would not fly because it will not get enough support in Congress.
Leaders in the Visayan and Muslim blocs also said last week that they will block efforts to impeach Aquino on the basis of the SC decision.