ONE by one, as if in a chorus line, allies of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in the House of Representatives on Tuesday took turns undermining the fourth impeachment complaint filed against her, prompting pro-impeachment lawmakers to nearly walk out of the proceedings of the House Justice Committee over supposedly “insulting” claims that the complaint was falsified.

In defense of Mrs. Arroyo, five lawmakers led by Deputy Speaker Pablo Garcia rendered their assessment of the charges against the President, and asked the committee to dismiss the complaint for being insufficient in substance.

The administration-dominated panel is expected to junk the complaint on Wednesday, declaring the complaint insufficient in substance after finding it sufficient in form a week ago.

“The complaint has been weighed in the balance and found wanting…The allegations are not allegations of facts…they are conclusions of opinions and inferences,” said Garcia.

He likened the complaint to what he claimed was a popular opinion survey that unjustly led to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

“Our Lord Jesus Christ lost in the survey so he was crucified. And that is how we are going to to judge the President? Through an opinion survey?” said the Cebu lawmaker.

At 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, pro-impeachment lawmakers led by House Minority Leader and San Juan Rep. Ronaldo Zamora nearly walked out of the Andaya Hall where the impeachment hearing was taking place.

Zamora lost his cool and threatened to leave the hall after Cavite Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr. claimed that the complaint was falsified, adding that this was in violation of Article 172 of the Revised Penal Code.

During his assessment of the complaint’s recital of facts on bribery, Barzaga asserted that the complaint was notarized even before it had been completed.

“How can the complainants read, verify, and affirm the impeachment complaint on October 10, 2008 before Notary Public (Michael) Daguinod when the impeachment complaint was executed only on October 11, 2008 or one day after the appearance of the complainants before Notary Public Daguinod,” said Barzaga.

Zamora balked at Barzaga’s statement, saying that the impeachment move “is a matter of highest ethical standards” and thus should not be subjected to “insult.”

He asked committee chairman and Quezon City Rep. Matias Defensor whether Barzaga’s accusation would be used as basis in filing falsification charges against the complainants.

Defensor said the committee “has no jurisdiction to decide on the falsification” charges and that he as panel chairman “is not competent to rule” on the issue.

Defensor’s reply did not satisfy Zamora, prompting other pro-impeachment lawmakers led by party-list representatives Teodoro Casino, Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Rafael Mariano, and Luzviminda Ilagan to leave their seats nearly walking out of the hall.

It was former Speaker and Pangasinan Rep. Jose de Venecia and Bukidnon Rep. Teofisto Guingona III who left the hall in protest over Barzaga’s statement.

Malaking insulto naman sa (It’s a big insult to the) members of the minority and the complainants and endorsers of the impeachment complaint. We are all congressmen here. We are all equal here. Kaya kung hindi nila ko-correct-in ‘yon ay talagang hindi magkakatuluyan itong impeachment complaint na ito (Thus if they are not going to correct it, the impeachment complaint won’t push through),” said de Venecia.

De Venecia surmised that Barzaga’s statement could be part of a plan to hasten the “junking” of the complaint.

Anti-impeachment lawmakers denied the accusation. Barzaga said it was only last Monday night that he found out about the discrepancy in the notarization and execution of the complaint.

The hearing continued at 2 p.m., after the committee leadership was able to pacify the protesting lawmakers. Barzaga withdrew his statement. Defensor announced that the same was stricken from the records.

But in an interview with reporters, Barzaga said that even if the committee or the House of Representatives has no jurisdiction on the alleged falsified impeachment complaint, the issue could still be questioned before the courts.

“No other committees would be given authority to look into the matter. But anybody can file a case in court for falsification of documents,” said Barzaga.

Neri Javier Colmenares, one of the lawyers who executed the complaint dismissed Barzaga’s accusation.

He said October 11 was the “target date” that the complaint would be filed. “There was no falsification there. Siempre, ipanotaryo mo (Of course you should have it notarized) the day before you file. Normally, ang mga
abogado, pinapa
-notarize ‘yan (lawyers have them notarized) at least two to three days before so that in the actual date of filing you would no longer have a problem.”

Colmenares echoed Zamora’s observation that Barzaga’s statement was “an insult” to the complainants especially to the families of those who were victims of extra-judicial killings.

He also said the alleged falsification was a question of sufficiency in form and not of substance. “Questions on form were already finished. It was a belated observation. It was nitpicking.”

For his part, Casino claimed that pro-administration lawmakers were assailing the complaint’s recital of facts and sufficiency in form “because they are preventing the complainants to present evidence and witnesses.”

In their assessment, anti-impeachment lawmakers claimed that the complaint’s recital of ultimate facts failed to prove that the the allegations hurled against President Arroyo constituted “overt and personal

3 Responses to Allies to the rescue: ‘Don’t crucify Arroyo’


ed ebreo

November 26th, 2008 at 6:34 pm

The impeachment complaint has been junked again for insufficiency in substance. It looks to me like it is this congress and the Gloria Arroyo government that’s lacking in substance. The news is getting more and more unbearable. I wonder when the Filipinos are going to be angry enough at this government.


Huseng Bulag

December 4th, 2008 at 2:17 pm

Joe dV created a monster he cannot control. Now, he is feeling the pain and the ruthlessness of each bite, of every tooth that sinks deep into his new-found moral and ethical sensibilities. We just got the government we deserve. Shame on us all.



December 14th, 2008 at 2:33 pm

yep…dont crucify arroyo…its not her fault…only the Filipino people should be crucified.

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