Lawyer asks Ombudsman to probe possible impeachment rap vs Aquino on DAP-A A +A
Thursday, October 3, 2013
A LAWYER asked Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales on Thursday to investigate President Benigno Aquino III for his use of government funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP).
Specifically, lawyer Oliver Lozano said Morales should look into reports that Aquino used part of DAP to bribe senators and congressmen to impeach then Chief Justice Renato Corona.
Bribery is an impeachment offense.
"Pursuant to Section 22, paragraph 1, Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman should investigate the alleged culpable violation of the Constitution that is prejudicial to the government employees in particular and the people in general," Lozano said.
Aquino earlier admitted having appropriated P72 billion worth of savings of different government agencies to fund infrastructure projects to perk up the economy.
Lozano questioned the DAP, saying it had no clearance from Congress.
"The President asserted the legality and constitutionality of the questioned appropriation and dared anyone to impeach him for proper resolution of the subject controversy in a fair trial in lieu of prejudgment that is against presumption of innocence," Lozano said.
Section 22 of the Ombudsman Act authorizes the anti-graft body to probe "any serious misconduct in office" allegedly committed by impeachable officials for the purpose of filing a verified impeachment complaint.
Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the sole power to initiate all impeachment cases. At least a third of the chamber's membership is needed to forward the case to the Senate for trial.
Aquino has since dismissed the threats to unseat him. Lawmakers allied with Aquino laughed off the impeachment case filed by Lozada, even doubting the seriousness of the move.
In a brief reply, House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said "seriously?" when asked to comment on the issue.
Cavite Representative Elpidio Barzaga Jr. admitted that with the ruling Liberal Party (LP) in control of Congress, any impeachment complaint against President Aquino will be an "exercise in futility."
"That’s not news. He is already making a mockery of the legal process in pursuit of cheap publicity. Was there an endorser? What would happen to it when we have a very popular president despite the issues? The LP is in control of the House, and the many other political parties support the administration," Barzaga, a stalwart of the National Unity Party (NUP), said.
NUP is a member of the House majority bloc.
Akbayan party-list Representative Walden Bello also downplayed the filing of the impeachment case.
"I would have been surprised if he did not file an impeachment case. His act is as predictable as the fact that the sun will rise in the east tomorrow. Some people will do anything for a moment of fleeting fame," Bello said.
Ako-Bicol party-list Representative Rodel Batocabe meanwhile called the initiative as a "joke" which has no other purpose but to gain publicity. (Sunnex)