Palace washes hands of impeach vote

Posted at 09/02/14 7:40 PM

MANILA - Malacanang on Tuesday said it did not influence the vote of congressmen who decided to junk three impeachment complaints against President Aquino for being insufficient in substance.

Voting 4 in favor against 54 who voted for insufficiency of substance, the House of Representatives virtually handed down the death sentence on the impeachment complaints.

"Unang-una, sa simula't sapul ay kinilala natin ang tungkulin at karapatan ng Camara de Representantes ayon sa Saligang Batas natin na magsagawa ng proseso sa pagtanggap at pagdinig sa mga impeachment complaints katulad niyan. Ikalawa, sa kanyang interview noong isang linggo lamang, sinabi ng Pangulo na nananalig siya na iiral ang katarungan. Kaya 'yan ang aming posisyon hinggil sa bagay na 'yan," Communications Secretary Sonny Coloma said.

He acknowledged that the decision will eventually lead to protests but he said that the Aquino administration is ready to face peaceful and orderly protests from the people.

Lawmakers allied with President Aquino on Tuesday threw out three impeachment motions in the House of Representatives, the first political challenge to the popular leader in four years.

The impeachment motions stemmed from Aquino's controversial economic stimulus fund, which the Supreme Court declared partly illegal in July, and a new military agreement with the United States.

"This is a terrible day for the Filipino people," said Neri Colmenares, a left-wing member of Congress. "We only had two meetings, are you rushing these proceedings?"

It will now go before a plenary session of the 290-member legislature, where Aquino's opponents number only 40 in total. To overturn the justice panel decision, 97 votes are needed.

Aquino's predecessor, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo survived five impeachment motions in as many years because her allies also dominated Congress.