Solon optimistic Gutierrez will be impeached

By Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 28 2011 08:49 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2011 08:29 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares is optimistic that more than 94 congressmen will vote in favor of the impeachment complaint filed against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

He said Malacañang’s support for the impeachment would likely translate to votes for the President's allies in the Lower House.

Colmenares added that some lawamakers were disgusted with the plea bargain agreement that Gutierrez entered into with former Armed Forces comptroller Carlos Garcia.

He said, "94 votes is very possible. Kasi very reasonable ang impeachment… the only accountability nila sa mamamayan ay impeachment. ‘Pag di mo pa pinayagan iyan, ano na kalalabasan ng bansa natin?"

The complaint needs at least 94 votes or one-third of the total number of representatives, which is 283, to formally elevate the complaint to the Senate for the impeachment proper.

Under the existing impeachment complaints, Gutierrez will have to face charges of betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution, particularly the accountability provisions of Article 11.

The first impeachment complaint includes cases that were allegedly shelved by Gutierrez, or where the Ombudsman acted inappropriately such as the arrest of former Rep. Riza Hontiveros, the Pestaño case, the conviction rate of the Office of the Ombudsman, the Le Cirque New York dinner of the Arroyo contingent, and the NBN-ZTE broadband deal.

They added more cases in the second complaint, which includes the police “euro-generals,” the fertilizer fund scam, and the Mega Pacific automated election deal.

"No Ombudsman can stay in office after such record of deliberate inaction," Colmenares said.

Terry Ridon, one of the main proponents of the impeachment, said they are ready to present their witnesses and documents against Gutierrez.

He said, "Ipapakita testimonya at dokumento kung saan inupuan sa mahabang panahon mga high-profile cases, involved and mga cronies at tauhan ni Presidente Gloria Arroyo."

Ridon said they are hopeful that lawmakers would finally consider their complaint sufficient in grounds for impeachment after it was being declared sufficient in form.

He said this would mean a marathon hearing wherein they will present documents and witnesses within the week.

"Our position is we need to exact justice" he said.

Office of the Ombudsman media officer Ana Sanchez said they will issue a statement at the appropriate time.