Belmonte: Merci can take care of herself

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 07 2011 12:33 PM | Updated as of Mar 08 2011 01:08 AM

MANILA, Philippines - Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Jr. on Monday denied that he is supporting embattled Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez in her impeachment cases in the House of Representatives.

Belmonte issued the denial after a national daily posted the headline "Belmonte backs Gutierrez."

The Speaker said he merely responded to a question via text of whether he will urge Gutierrez to submit herself to the process. His exact reply was “No siya bahala sa defense niya”.

The surprised House leader said he was “taken completely out of context” and that the story itself was devoid of any concrete statement supporting the headline.

“That’s (his text message) not supporting her.  That’s simply saying I’m not lawyering or advising her on what to do.  She should look out for her own interest,” Belmonte pointed out.

Gutierrez has filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Supreme Court on the decision allowing the House to proceed with the impeachment case.

Meanwhile, the House Committee on Justice chaired by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, Jr., is expected to vote on Tuesday to determine whether the impeachment case against Gutierrez has probable cause, and is scheduled to proceed whether or not the Ombudsman makes an appearance.