Disgruntled RP Opposition Lawmakers Walk Out From House Proceedings

November 12, 2007 at 5:03 pm | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment

MANILA, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Nov. 12, 2007) – Opposition lawmakers on Monday walked out from a committee proceedings on an impeachment case filed against President Gloria Arroyo.

“Using technicalities and legal hogwash, and manipulating the rules to their sole benefit, there is no denying the real agenda of the Committee on Justice. That is to shield Mrs. Arroyo from all accountability and in the process deny the people of the truth,” said Rep. Liza Maza, of the GABRIELA Women’s Party.

Maza said the outcome of deliberations on the complaint initially filed by lawyer Ruel Pulido is without doubt, tainted and without any credibility.

”It is a mockery and we refuse to be part of it,” she said. “The committee has shamelessly and repeatedly refused all attempts to add substance to the Pulido complaint and give this committee the opportunity to deliberate lengthily and thus properly decide on allegations of bribery lodged against Mrs. Arroyo,” Maza said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

”No different from the Pulido impeachment complaint, the impeachmentproceeding is a sham and the House of Representatives a shame,” she said.

Most members of the proceedings were allies of Arroyo.

The case stemmed from corruption allegations of Jose de Venecia III that resulted in the resignation of Elections chief Benjamin Abalos.

Jose de Venecia III, of the Amsterdam Holdings Incorporated, accused Abalos of offering him $10 million to back out from the broadband deal. Abalos has denied all accusations against him.

De Venecia, the son of House Speaker Jose de Venecia, was ZTE’s rival for the national broadband contract. Romulo Neri, former Director General of the National Economic and Development Authority, also accused Abalos of bribing him.

De Venecia said the broadband deal was probably worth only $130 million, but this suddenly ballooned to $329 million.

He said President Arroyo’s husband, Jose Miguel Arroyo, also told him to back off from the deal. Arroyo’s lawyers have denied the allegations.

Maza said Abalos’ resignation should not close down investigations on the national broadband scandal and that all those involved in the deal should be made accountable.

She said Abalos’ resignation could be a move to preempt further investigations into the anomalous contract that could implicate the President and her husband.

Arroyo suspended indefinitely the national broadband network project because of the controversy. Government spokesmen also denied all accusations against the President and her husband. (Mindanao Examiner)

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