Arroyo impeachment likely not to prosper, according to minority leader

House minority leader expects impeachment’s defeat | 11/26/2008 8:28 AM

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House minority leader Ronaldo Zamora admitted Wednesday that the impeachment complaint filed against President Arroyo has no chance of being declared sufficient in substance in the administration-dominated committee on justice.

“I’m not hoping that we’re going to win here because we are outnumbered five to one,” Zamora said in an interview over ABS-CBN’s morning show, “Umagang Kay Ganda,” hours before the House committee on justice decides on the complaint’s sufficiency in substance.

The justice committee, headed by Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor, was expected to endorse the complaint for plenary debates.

Zamora said the complaint has better chances once brought to plenary, but admitted that getting the support of at least 80 congressmen or one-third of the total number of House members is a daunting task.

“We have better chances in plenary. We need to get one-third at the plenary, which is very difficult,” he said.

With the expected loss, Zamora said his group is hoping to at least be given a chance to show their evidence at the plenary. He is also counting on the House to let the complainants themselves present the case to congressmen.

Jose “Joey” de Venecia III, son of former speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., and missing activists mother Editha Burgos are among the impeachment complainants.

The young de Venecia’s complaint was based on the botched broadband deal between the government and China’s ZTE Corp while Burgos represents the victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances.

The justice committee found the complaint sufficient in form last Tuesday and will vote on its sufficiency in substance today (Wednesday).

Falsified complaint

Pro-impeachment lawmakers threatened to withdraw from the proceedings after Defensor refused to decide on the allegation of Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. that the complaint was a falsified document.

Barzaga said the impeachment complaint was a falsified document because it was notarized on Oct. 10, 2008 but was executed on Oct.11, 2008.

Rep. Manuel Zamora then asked Defensor to act on the accusation of Barzaga. “The complainants have been here for the past two days trying to make a case,” he said.

Defensor, however, said the committee has no jurisdiction to determine if it is falsified or not. This prompted former Speaker Jose de Venecia and Rep. Teofisto Guingona III to walk out of the session.

Barzaga agreed to withdraw his statement to allow the proceeding to continue. The session resumed and the remaining pro-impeachment lawmakers agreed to stay.

Zamora said that the committee should have raised the issue when the committee determined the complaint’s “sufficiency in form” last week.

“They should have raised it before and not now,” said Zamora.

Defensor, however, said that he was surprised that the issue was raised.

The justice committee found the complaint “sufficient in form” last Tuesday and is now determining its “sufficiency in substance”. A summation of arguments is expected tomorrow.

SOURCE: ABS-CBN News Online, house-minority-leader-expects-impeachments-defeat


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