Impeach bid ‘doomed to fail’ — Opposition solon

PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE — THE spokesman of the House minority bloc yesterday urged his opposition colleagues to focus their attention on the scheduled 2010 presidential elections instead of wasting time on the impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, which he said “is doomed to fail.”

During the weekly Ayes and Nays News Forum in Quezon City, Parañaque Rep. Roilo Golez, spokesman of the House minority, said opposition must not venture in what he described as a losing fight despite the endorsement made by former Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr.

“Ang tingin ko is 2010 is the going to be the main battle, the main fight. The opposition should focus its resources, its energy, its political goodwill on 2010 instead of fighting something that you cannot win, because I could not see how this impeachment complaint can be won,” Golez said.

When asked about the impact of de Venecia’s endorsement, Golez replied: “Now what is the impact of this (JDV’s endorsement) ? Well, frankly I don’t know.”

Golez recalled that it was de Venecia who led the dismissal of the impeachment complaints against President Arroyo since 2005.

“I look at JDV as the one who quarterbacked the blocking of the 2005 impeachment complaint where I participated, the blocking of the 2006 impeachment complaint, where I also participated very actively.

“Now he’s on the other side of the fence. I would like to see him quarterback the effort for an impeachment complaint instead of blocking. I would like to see him do this,” Golez said.

However, Golez admitted that it would be hard for de Venecia to push the impeachment because of the cool sentiments among the supposed loyal allies of the ousted Speaker towards his endorsement.

“But the problem is who is going to join him from his camp, so far, wala akong naririnig na nagsasalita na identified with Speaker JDV based on the votes that he got during last February’s speakership election,” said Golez.

During the same forum, Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo said they are asking the House leadership to let the impeachment complaint pass through the normal process and avoid railroading.

“Basta ang habol lang namin eh ‘wag nilang i-summarily dismiss, na i-railroad yung dismissal ng impeachment complaint,” said Ocampo. “Iyung member of the opposition, kanya kanya ang posisyon sa bagay na ito, tama rin from the point of view …unless JDV can produce numbers from his own party…test din kay JDV kung mayroon pa ba s’yang clout sa party n’ya?”

Meanwhile, Deputy Speaker for Mindanao and Maguindanao Rep. Simeon Datumanong, a former chairman of the House committee on justice, said de Venecia’s testimony in the impeachment proceedings against President Arroyo may be unnecessary and even unlikely if the complaint fails to meet the test of sufficiency.

“Any testimony, oral and written will be accepted by the committee. But this is only after the determination of sufficiency in substance of the complaint. If the committee finds the impeachment complaint sufficient, it will go to the presentation of evidence,” Datumanong said.