MANILA -- President Benigno Aquino III is facing a fourth impeachment complaint, the latest development as the Justice committee prepares to start the proceedings this week.
In a statement, ACT Teachers Rep. Antonio Tinio said: "We have strong evidence to show that Pres. Aquino is responsible for perpetuating Congressional pork despite the Supreme Court prohibition.”
Two of the impeachment complaints filed previously tackled the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), several acts under which were declared unconstitutional by the high court.
As a lawmaker, Tinio endorsed the third complaint, which dealt on the supposedly “blatant sellout of Philippine sovereignty to the United States through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA)."
"This time I am a direct complainant," Tinio said.
He said the complaint will be anchored on the use of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), which the SC also pronounced unconstitutional. The complaint alleges that Aquino violated his oath of office by supposedly perpetuating the pork barrel.
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, one of those who filed and endorsed a complaint, said he received information that the complaints may finally be referred to the Justice committee either on Monday or Tuesday this week.
Despite these developments, Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said President Benigno Aquino III is not bothered by the start of the impeachment proceedings against him.
In an interview with radio dzRB, Coloma said Aquino is confident he has not done anything that would warrant an impeachment and removal from office.
“Hindi po nababahala ang Pangulo doon sa mga proceedings na ‘yan dahil panatag naman po siya na wala siyang nagawang ano mang impeachable offense,” he said.
According to Coloma, it would be best to leave the process to the House of Representatives, which is mandated under the Constitution to assess and eventually proceed with impeaches cases with merits.
“Meron pong sinusunod na patakaran hinggil diyan at meron pong proseso ang ating Kamara sa pagturing sa ganyang mga usapin. Mas mainam po siguro na hintayin na lang natin ang iba pang mga kaganapang maaaring maganap hinggil diyan dahil iginagalang po ng ehekutibo ‘yung pagiging hiwalay at kapantay na sangay ng pamahalaan ng ating Kongreso o batasan,” he said.
Coloma reminded lawmakers, however, that the passage of the 2015 budget is paramount.
“Malinaw namang nakasaad ‘yung mga prayoridad ng pamahalaan. At katulad ng iniulat natin dito sa ating programa, nakipagpulong na si Executive Secretary Paquito Ochoa, Jr. sa mga lider ng Kongreso kung saan ay ipinaalam niya ‘yung mga priority legislative measures ng ating pamahalaan, unang-una na nga diyan ‘yung pambansang budget para sa 2015 at ‘yung ihahain na Bangsamoro Basic Law, at ‘yun pang ibang mga priority measures na naunang inilahad na natin sa ating palatuntunan,” he added.
Aquino’s popularity took a hit when the SC issued its decision on the DAP.
Allies, however, moved to protect Aquino and said any impeachment complaint will not prosper.
Meanwhile, several Aquino allies also started probing into the Judiciary Development Fund, which they said was SC’s own pork.
A campaign seeking another term for Aquino also made the rounds on social media.