Junked impeachment complaints

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014


THE committee on justice of the House of Representatives has, as expected, junked the three impeachment complaints against President Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III. The vote was 54 lawmakers favoring the junking of the complaints and four lawmakers opposing their dismissal. The complainants belonging to the Makabayan bloc naturally “fumed.”

I would say they “fumed” not because the impeachment complaints were junked but because of the speed of the junking.

Everybody knows that most of the members of the justice committee, headed by Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, either belong to the administration Liberal Party (LP) or are allies of the Aquino administration. Makabayan bloc reps know that. So why would one expect the impeachment complaints to sail through the House and reach the Senate?

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Or why were the impeachment complaints filed in the first place?

Actually impeaching PNoy obviously wasn’t the goal. Using the impeachment process was.

Since the first impeachment proceeding against a sitting president rolled--remember former president Joseph Estrada?—the impeachment process has become an attention getter. Filing an impeachment complaint ensures that the issues raised would get public attention.

Apparently, PNoy’s party mates and their allies in Congress knew that. While they went through the motion of entertaining the complaints, they made sure to make a short work of it. The justice committee ruled last week that the complaints were sufficient in form. No way would they allow the discussion on sufficiency in substance to linger long.

“Noong panahon ni (Presidente Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo), the impeachment complaints against her reached three to four hearings. Kay President Aquino, two hearings. Are you rushing this?” Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares reportedly told Tupas after the complaints were junked.

I listened to the radio yesterday when the complainants tackled the substance of their complaints and administration allies defended the President.

My mind eventually drifted somewhere because there really was no thrill following a process whose outcome one already knew.

It turned out that pro-administration lawmakers eventually moved to end the debate and divide the house. The complaints got trashed. Now the Makabayan bloc will have to look for another platform from where they could launch another successful campaign to demonize PNoy.

***

Government Sunday night foiled an attempt by four military reservists to set off bombs at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (Naia) Terminal 3, a nearby mall and the main office of a real estate developer in Makati City. The “bombs” to be exploded were improvised explosive devices that included big firecrackers wrapped in round bottles filled with gasoline.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima said that the reservists belonged to a group frustrated with the way the Aquino administration handled the country’s row with China over an area in the West Philippine Sea. The detonation of the bombs was supposed to send a message to the President that he should toughen up his stance against China.

Government should go deeper into the matter, though. In the past, bombings were part of the overall effort to destabilize the government and soften it for an assault against the sitting president. It might not just be mere coincidence that the bombing plot was implemented when PNoy is being bedeviled by criticisms of his policies, protest actions and the filing of impeachment complaints against him.

Or to put it in another way, this didn’t happen when PNoy’s approval rating in surveys were high. That rating has dropped recently.

(khanwens@gmail.com)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on September 03, 2014.

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