Does LP have the numbers to impeach Gutierrez?

By RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 23 2011 05:08 PM | Updated as of Feb 24 2011 01:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A key ally of former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo in the House of Representatives said the administration Liberal Party may not have the numbers to speed up the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

"That's always a possibility considering [that] on its own, the LP may not have the numbers. But this is not a foregone conclusion...We should not prejudge the proceedings. That is why there is a process,” he said.
The LP has about 80 members of the 283 congressmen. The rest are divided among the Lakas-Kampi-CMD, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party and other smaller parties.

Lagman admitted the minority has not made any political mapping as to who and how many will vote for or against the impeachment.

He said it will also be a conscience vote on the part of the minority.

He stressed, however, that "as far as the minority is concerned, we’re not taking a minority position… this partakes of judicial process. It shouldn't be a partisan vote."

As this developed, Lagman also reiterated the minority's call on pro-impeachment lawmakers to wait for a final decision on the appeal of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez before proceeding with the impeachment process.

He earlier said the right to file a motion for reconsideration is integral to due process. The Supreme Court last week denied Gutierrez’s petition, but a motion for reconsideration has yet to be filed.

Nonetheless, the House Justice committee decided to already proceed.

Lagman said such a decision is rash, imprudent and regrettable.

He also reminded the House leadership that it had submitted to the authority of the high court when it intervened in the case.