NegOcc lawmakers to vote vs Aquino impeachment

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014


QUEZON CITY -- Legislators from Negros Occidental assured President Benigno Aquino IIII of their support, as they declared they will vote against his impeachment.

This was revealed Monday by third district Representative Alfredo Abelardo Benitez, who along with 33 other members of the Visayas bloc, wore a yellow ribbon as a show of support to Aquino during his State of the Nation Address (Sona) before the joint session of the House of Senate and the House of Representatives at the Batasang Pambansa here.

Benitez said he believes that the President will be able to survive the controversy on the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), key portions of which were declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, and that he would finish his full term in 2016.

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"As of this time, the President enjoys the support of the majority of the members of the lower House and only 28 solons belong to the minority. A total of 97 votes is needed to impeach the President," he said.

Three impeachment complaints were filed against the President on the issue of DAP and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).

"Impeachment is nothing. It's not the right time, there is no more time as there are only two years left for the PNoy administration. PNoy still enjoys the support of the majority," Benitez said.

He added: "As far as the Executive is concerned, they have done it legally based on existing law. If they continue to disburse the funds from DAP, that would already be a violation."

Representative Stephen Paduano of Abang Lingkod party-list said lump sum funds must not be tolerated.

"We should start fresh moving forward. Everything must be appropriated approved by Congress like the local government unit operation that they pass a Supplemental Budget if they need additional budget. We will vote against the impeachment because it is clear that DAP was used in good faith," he pointed out.

Sixth district Representative Mercedes Alvarez, for her part, said, "We should wait first for the decision of the Supreme Court after Malacañang filed the motion for reconsideration."

"As one of the members of the committee on justice, I will have to review the impeachment complaints filed against the President to determine if it has substance," she said.

Fourth district Representative Jeffrey Ferrer said the SC's declaration of DAP as unconstitutional is not enough basis to impeach the President.

He added that the people benefitted from the projects funded by the DAP.

Published in the Sun.Star Bacolod newspaper on July 29, 2014.

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