House panel says 3 impeach raps vs. PNoy ‘sufficient in form’
(Updated 4:17 p.m.) All three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III have been declared sufficient in form by the House Committee on Justice on Tuesday, radio dzBB reported on Tuesday.
53 solons say 1st impeach complaint vs. PNoy sufficient in form. Fifty-three members of the House committee on justice declared on Tuesday, August 26, the first impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III as sufficient in form. Sherie Ann Torres
The committee initially voted 51-1-1 to amend the first impeachment complaint before it was approved. Iloilo Rep. Niel Tupas, the head of the panel, said minor details "won't affect the validity of complaint as of form."
The panel eventually approved it via a 53-1-1 vote.
The second impeachment complaint, which was also filed in connection with Aquino's implementation of the Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP), was deemed sufficient in form, with the panel voting 42-7 with 4 abstentions, the report said.
The third impeachment complaint, which was filed on July 24 in connection with the Philippines-United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), was declared sufficient in form without any objection.
The complaints were filed against Aquino for alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, among other charges.
The Supreme Court in July declared the administration's economic stimulus program DAP partially unconstitutional. The EDCA, which allows increased US military presence in the country, is also being questioned in the high tribunal.
Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez tried to bar the approval of the second complaint, saying there were problems in the identification of the complainants, a similar problem pointed out in the endorsement resolution of the first impeachment complaint.
Deliberations over the sufficiency in substance of all three complaints will be held on September 2, Tuesday.
Later in the day, Malacañang said it respects the House panel's decision to move forward with the three impeachment complaints against the President.
Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the Palace is prepared to face whatever decision will be reached by the House justice panel regarding the substance of the impeachment complaints.
Under the rules, a simple majority of the committee membership will be enough to find each complaint sufficient in substance. With 54 committee members, each complaint will need 28 votes.
Tupas in an earlier interview said he would meet with the endorsers and petitioners of the complaints to discuss how they plan to present the pieces of evidence related to their individual impeachment suits.
If the justice committee finds probable cause to impeach the President on the basis of the evidence presented, the panel will be required to submit, along with its report, a resolution setting forth the Articles of Impeachment.
Otherwise, the complaint shall be dismissed.
The Justice committee has 60 session days from the time the complaints were referred to submit a report containing its findings and recommendations regarding the impeachment complaints, according to the House Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings.
A vote of at least one-third of all the House members—equivalent to 97 lawmakers— is necessary for the approval of the resolution setting forth the Articles of Impeachment. If the resolution is approved by the required vote, it shall then be endorsed to the Senate.
The House plenary is required to act on the report within 60 session days from its submission by the Committee on Justice. —Rose-An Jessica Dioquino/RSJ/KBK/NB, GMA News