3rd impeach case vs PNoy to be filed Monday

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 18 2014 02:34 PM | Updated as of Jul 18 2014 10:34 PM

MANILA - The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan will lead groups in filing an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III on Monday, July 21.

Bayan secretary-general Renato Reyes said the complaint accuses the President of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust in the matter of the disbursement acceleration program (DAP). He said more than 20 individuals have signed as complainants, including previous DAP petitioners at the Supreme Court, bishops, netizens and professionals.

The filing will be at the office of the House of Representatives secretary-general at 10:30 a.m.

Once filed this will be the third impeachment complaint against Aquino. Just recently, impeachment complaints were also filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano and former congressman Augusto Syjuco also over the DAP.

However, none of these have been endorsed by any congressman, a key requirement for any complaint to progress to the plenary.

Once filed, a complaint, if endorsed by a congressman, will be referred to the plenary for referral to the justice committee. The justice committee will then deliberate on it to determine sufficiency in form, substance and probable cause. The respondent will be allowed to respond.

If it hurdles all these tests, the complaint will be sponsored in plenary. If it garners the votes of 97 congressmen or a third of the 290-member House, the complaint will transmitted to the Senate for trial.

A shorter route however is to have the 1/3 vote at the time of filing in which case the complaint will be automatically referred to the Senate for trial, and the prosecutors will be elected.

Only the President, Vice President, the 15 justices of the Supreme Court, the Ombudsman and the heads of the constitutional commissions are impeachable.

Impeachment advocates concede Aquino's allies could give them a hard time with the impeachment. Aquino allies dominate the majority of both houses of Congress.

If ever, Aquino will be the 3rd president subjected to impeachment proceedings after Joseph Estrada and Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

One Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez, and two chief justices, Hilario Davide and Renato Corona, were also subjected to impeachment.

Only the Estrada and Corona impeachment cases went to trial before the Senate. Davide's impeachment complaint did not muster enough votes in the Lower House while Gutierrez resigned before trial.

Aquino’s allies are expected to use their numbers to crush the impeachment, the way they did in the impeachment cases against Arroyo.