All set for Aquino impeachment hearings

All set for Aquino impeachment hearings
Philippine President Benigno Aquino gestures as he speaks to reporters on the sidelines of an Asia-Europe meeting in Manila on June 5, 2014.

Minority lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Saturday expressed readiness to defend the three impeachment complaints they endorsed against President Benigno Aquino III in spite of avowals by administration allies to block them.

The House leadership is poised to refer the impeachment complaints against Mr. Aquino over the voided Disbursement Acceleration Program (DAP) and the Enhanced Defence Cooperation Agreement (Edca) to the justice committee at the plenary session on Monday.

"Presently, we in Makabayan are as ready as we can be to discuss and defend the merits of the impeachment complaints at the House justice committee deliberations," said Kabataan Party-list Rep. Terry Ridon, who endorsed the second complaint against Aquino filed by youth groups.

"These past weeks, we have carefully prepared for the upcoming impeachment hearing," he said in a statement.

But Malacañang on Friday remained unperturbed over the impeachment complaint filed against President Aquino.

"We will find out what their allegations are and how the Committee on Justice would look at them. Let's see how it will progress because we have always said from the beginning that it's really the truth that should come out when it comes to matters of impeachment," deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte said on Friday over government-run Radio ng Bayan.

Speaker Feliciano Belmonte reportedly transmitted the impeachment proceedings against the President to Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales III, chair of the Committee on Rules, for inclusion of the complaints in the order of business and subsequent referral to the Justice Committee.

Ridon said the impeachment proceedings "are expected to begin shortly after" the complaints are referred to the committee.

Ridon said the Makabayan bloc remained "unflustered" by declarations from ruling coalition leaders that any impeachment complaint would be quashed.

"Even if there are some quarters who blindly seek to block the impeachment proceedings without first hearing the merits of the case, I and my colleagues in Makabayan remain unflustered. We believe that the case against Aquino is strong," Ridon said.

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