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Ombudsman Gutierrez faces 6 impeach charges

March 13, 2011 8:42pm
Members of the justice committee at the House of Representatives are in the final stages of crafting the report and the articles of impeachment against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.

The report is expected to be submitted for plenary discussions on Tuesday, lawmakers said Sunday.

Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas, committee vice-chairperson, said the eight-member prosecution team formed by the panel last week will meet at 2 p.m. Monday to finish all documents needed to elevate the impeachment case to the plenary.

“They [the documents] will be sufficient to secure a House vote to impeach the Ombudsman, leading to her conviction by the Senate," he said in a text message to GMA News Online on Sunday night.

The draft committee report, a copy of which was leaked to the media Sunday, summarizes the panel’s entire proceedings on the impeachment complaints against Gutierrez.

Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares said the report formally identifies the following six allegations against Gutierrez, which will constitute the articles of impeachment against her:

(1) the Office of the Ombudsman has performed dismally as shown by the low conviction rate achieved by the office;

(2) the unreasonable failure to take prompt and immediate action on complaints filed against various public officials, including former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and (husband) Jose Miguel Arroyo regarding the NBN-ZTE broadband project;

(3) the inexcusable delay of the Ombudsman in conducting and concluding its investigation into the wrongful death of Ensign Philip Andrew Pestaño aboard a Philippine navy vessel;

(4) inaction in the matter of the Fertilizer Fund Scam;

(5) inaction in the matter of the Mega Pacific deal; and

(6) inaction in the matter of the “Euro Generals" issue

The allegations stemmed from two impeachment complaints filed by former Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros-Baraquiel and BAYAN secretary general Renato Reyes last year.

Last Tuesday, the House justice panel found probable cause to impeach Gutierrez based on the two complaints, paving the way for House plenary discussions and voting on the case.

Under Section 3, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution, the impeachment complaint against the Ombudsman will have to get a one-third vote of all House members— in this case, 94 affirmative votes— before it can be transmitted to the Senate for trial.

Other members of the prosecution team include House justice committee head Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., Deputy Speaker Quezon Rep. Lorenzo Tanada III, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza, Dasmarinas Rep. Elpidio Barzaga Jr., and Akbayan party-list Rep. Kaka Bag-ao.

Another member of the House justice panel, Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, will join the prosecution team after being appointed by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. last week, according to Colmenares. - KBK, GMA News
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