Lawmaker readies impeach complaint vs Aquino

CEBU CITY -- Representative Pastor Alcover Jr. has prepared an impeachment complaint against President Benigno Aquino III. The Anad Party-list congressman accused the President of violating the Constitution and betraying public trust. Speaking before the Tapok-Tapok News Forum at NS Pension House on Thursday, Alcover said he will file the impeachment complaint against the President when Congress resumes session next week. He said he will also file a resolution in Congress, asking Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jessie Robredo and Malacañang to explain why they are giving P31 million to the Alex Bongcayao Brigade (ABB) and P5 million to the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF). The Central Command (CentCom), however, expressed support for President Aquino’s decision to give MILF funds. “He will always have our 101-percent backing,” said CentCom spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Tampus, adding the P5-million donation was for a good purpose. But Tampus said government should ensure that the funds will not be used by MILF to buy weapons. Leonen earlier sought for the accounting of the funds given to MILF. Tampus said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) does not feel slighted by the act as it is also interested in attaining peace in Mindanao. “Wala’y kalinaw kung wala’y pag-istoryahay (There can be no peace without negotiations),” he told reporters. Still, Tampus said, the AFP calls for justice for the 19 soldiers who died in an ambush carried out by the MILF in Basilan last October 18. Support Cebu City officials expressed support to Aquino’s call for “all-out justice” for the slain members of the AFP special force. Representatives Tomas Osmeña (Cebu City south) and Rachel del Mar (Cebu City north), as well as Cebu City Mayor Michael Rama, are in favor of Aquino’s decision not to pursue an “all-out war” policy in Mindanao, following the ambush. Alcover said that last August 5, Aquino went to Tokyo, Japan and met with MILF Chairman Murad Ebrahim. At the meeting, Aquino expressed support for the creation of the Bangsamoro Leadership and Management Institute and made a commitment to deliver P5 million. Alcover said Aquino had instructed the government peace panel to hand over a check worth P5 million to MILF. Constitution He said Marvic Leonen, head of the government peace panel, gave a P5 million check to the MILF during talks in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last August 22 to 23. He said Aquino allegedly violated Section 29 (1) of Article 6 of the Constitution, which states that “no money shall be paid out of the Treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation made by law.” Alcover said there is no doubt that the P5 million given by Aquino to MILF is part of public funds. He said the President cannot escape liability by saying he was merely fulfilling a commitment made by the previous administration, because he could have reviewed the promise. He pointed out that the MILF is a group that is fighting the government and has been unable to control its members who have terrorized civilians and military personnel. “It is even curious that despite the apparent obsession of President Aquino’s administration to investigate the allegedly anomalous transactions entered into by the previous administration, he readily complied with this commitment which is patently illegal,” read Alcover’s impeachment complaint, which is ready for filing. In a separate interview, Mayor Rama urged Muslim communities to continue helping the local government in maintaining peace and order in Cebu City. He said maintaining peace and order will make Cebu City more attractive to investors. (EOB/DSM/ETB/Sun.Star Cebu)

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