MANILA - The impeachment process against President Aquino is expected to start moving next week.
Rep. Terry Ridon of party-list group Kabataan said yesterday they received information that the leadership of the House of Representatives is scheduled to refer the three impeachment complaints against Aquino to the committee on justice possibly tomorrow or Tuesday.
He said Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has transmitted the complaints to Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales for inclusion in the House order of business and referral to the justice panel.
The two House leaders have nine session days to get the process moving.
“We in Makabayan are ready to discuss and defend the merits of the impeachment complaints,” Ridon said.
He and other Makabayan bloc members are endorsers of the complaints, which are based largely on the Supreme Court decision declaring parts of Aquino’s controversial Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) unconstitutional.
Besides DAP, one complaint questions the constitutionality of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement the government has signed with the United States.
“These past weeks, we have prepared for the upcoming impeachment hearings. Even if there are some quarters that blindly seek to block the impeachment proceedings without first hearing the merits of the cases, we remain unflustered. We believe that the complaints against Aquino are strong,” Ridon said.
“Let justice be done though the heavens fall. I urge my colleagues sitting in the House justice committee to listen and consider the arguments we will present during the impeachment proceedings,” he said.
Various pro-administration political groups and regional blocs in the House have vowed to fight the impeachment campaign of seven militant party-list representatives belonging to Makabayan.
The latest to support the anti-impeachment effort are the Visayan bloc, led by Negros Occidental Rep. Alfredo Benitez, and more than 30 party-list lawmakers led by Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol.
“We believe in the programs of President Aquino that gave life to his vision of engaging the national government in sound fiscal management, which empowered government agencies and instrumentalities to implement key projects and to deliver urgently needed aid to the people,” the Visayan bloc said.
Batocabe said congressmen who would vote on Aquino’s impeachment should not listen to sectors that did not want him to succeed in the first place since day one of his presidency.
For his part, Isabela Rep. Rodolfo Albano III said the House should not impeach a popular President.
“P-Noy still enjoys the support of majority of our people. Let us remember that impeachment is largely a political process,” he said.
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez, president of Centrist Democratic Party of the Philippines, said the President could not be impeached on the basis of DAP.
“DAP had sufficient legal bases. Besides, P-Noy and his officials conceived and implemented DAP in good faith,” he said.