Speaker: No reason to oust GMA from Congress

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2012 09:04 PM | Updated as of Jul 19 2012 10:21 PM

MANILA, Philippines - House Speaker Sonny Belmonte said Wednesday there is no basis to drop former President Gloria Arroyo from the rolls of the House now.

This is after Mrs. Arroyo was charged before the Sandiganbayan for plunder for the alleged misuse of some P366 million in Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) funds.

"It’s not enough to have a case. What’s important is to have a decision on it," Belmonte said.

He added: "I see no reason to remove her from the House especially considering the next election is just a year from now. No basis to drop her."

The Speaker said former Dinagat Islands Rep. Ruben Ecleo was not dropped from the House rolls till his conviction for a graft case as mayor of San Jose town was handed out with finality.

House Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II earlier said Mrs. Arroyo cannot be taken off their roster until she is convicted for the cases lodged against her. He said Mrs. Arroyo is free to run in the 2013 election.