MANILA (UPDATED) - Three lawmakers endorsed an impeachment complaint against President Aquino filed by militant group Bayan and 27 other complainants at the House of Representatives.
The complaint for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the constitution stems from President Aquino’s unconstitutional disbursement acceleration program (DAP).
The complaint is the first to be endorsed by a sitting congressman, a key requirement for any impeachment complaint to advance in the House, which is controlled by the President's allies.
Three Makabayan bloc congressmen endorsed the complaint. They are Bayan Muna party-list representatives Neri Colmenares and Carlos Zarate and Anakpawis Rep. Fernando Hicap.
In the complaint, the petitioners accused President Aquino of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.
The administration has invoked good faith even as it sought a reconsideration of the Supreme Court ruling against the DAP.
"On the good faith defense. President Aquino cannot invoke or feign good faith or regularity of his acts since he created, implemented, and defended the DAP and all unconstitutional acts under it. He approved, ordered and committed the acts and practices declared by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional. His 12 years of experience as part of the governmental branch with the sole power of appropriation negates any pretension that he does not know the legal implications of his actions," the complaint read.
The complainants include the petitioners in the Supreme Court case questioning the legality of the DAP led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC), Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE) and Atty. Jose Malvar Villegas, Jr., leaders of peoples’ organizations, church people and netizens. They are initiating the action as citizens and taxpayers.
Among the complainants is satirist and Aquino campaigner in 2010 Mae Paner a.k.a. Juana Change.
The complaint was filed exactly a week before the President's State of the Nation Address.
Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda declined to comment on the impeachment move, leaving the President's allies in Congress to decide on the complaint.
"This is a valid complaint, we will take this up," said Niel Tupas, head of the justice panel in the lower house of Congress and a close ally of the president.
"At the end of the day, it will be a numbers game because this is a purely political process."
On July 1, the Supreme Court ruled Aquino's administration had violated the constitution when it collected "savings" from executive offices and distributed them to lawmakers to fund projects not approved in the budget.
On Monday, court employees wore black and red shirts in protest after Aquino, the son of former president and democracy icon Corazon Aquino, warned top court judges of a possible constitutional crisis if they did not reverse their decision in his favor. With a report by Manny Mogato, Reuters