Buencamino is a fellow of Action for Economic Reforms. This was published in the March 23, 2011 edition of the Business Mirror, page A6.
The final score on the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez was 210 YES, 47 NO and 4 ABSTAIN. More than 2/3 of the members of the House voted to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
Who would have thought it possible that so many of the Members of the House would vote to impeach Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez? Not I. Especially not after reports surfaced that the Iglesia Ni Kristo was throwing its weight behind Gutierrez.
“But what about that text message that threatened to cut off the pork of those who would vote against impeachment, don’t you think that also scared some Batasan members?” my friend asked.
“I don’t believe Members of Congress were fooled by that text,” I replied. “Not even Rep. Danny Suarez who claimed it chilled him.”
“Because this administration does not have that kind of a reputation.”
“But the president gave marching orders to his party mates to vote for impeachment. The threatening text was meant to show he meant business,” he argued.
“A threat like that would have been credible if the party mates of the president received envelopes just like what happened when Gloria Arroyo called on her allies to force Speaker De Venecia to refer the Pulido impeachment complaint against her to the Justice Committee. Did you hear of any cash changing hands after President Aquino asked his party mates to impeach Gutierrez?”
I watched the interminable interpellation of the impeachment sponsors by the usual suspects. One after the other they stood up to raise the same points over and over. It was a filibuster, not an interpellation.
When the filibuster finally ended and the floor leader moved for voting to start, the minority leader stood up and insisted that every member should be allowed to explain his vote immediately after it was made. That was another attempt to prolong the process. But the majority leader pointed out that under the rules of this congress, explanations would be allowed only after all the votes had been counted. And so the House voted to bring Merci down.
A year ago, the impeachment would have been determined by money. “Pera-pera lang” was the catchphrase in the previous administration. Principle was spelled principal in those days. But now it appears that things are changing in the Lower House. That’s bad news for those who have profited from the lower of the House.
The good news for the lowlifes is that Merceditas Gutierrez has a good chance of being acquitted by the Senate. Sen. Joker Arroyo will man the ramparts for Merci because more than his love for Gloria Arroyo is his desire to get back at Cory Aquino through her son Noynoy. Sen. Miriam Santiago will also be there for Merci. Those two senators will provide cover for those who vote for Merci’s acquittal.
But here’s the thing. Malacañang has said that if Merci is acquitted it will wait until she retires before filing any cases against the Bonnie and Clyde gang. Merci will retire in 2012, right before the campaign for the 2013 mid-term elections starts. What better time is there for the Aquino administration to file plunder cases than right before the elections? So either way President Aquino wins—if he manages to stay alive that long.