Even congressmen allied with the administration think Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos is “just a hair away” from getting impeached, but acknowledge that the beleaguered official might just have time in his favor.
BY ACE ALEGRE
Contributed to Bulatlat
Vol. VII, No. 34, September 30-October 6, 2007
BAGUIO CITY (246 kms north of Manila) – Even congressmen allied with the administration think Commission on Elections (Comelec) chairman Benjamin Abalos is “just a hair away” from getting impeached, but acknowledge that the beleaguered official might just have time in his favor.
Rep. Eric Singson of the second district of Ilocos Sur, House deputy speaker for Luzon, said “there are movements that they can feel in the House going to the direction of impeaching Abalos, although it is too early to tell.”
Singson, a powerful leader among the 40 or so congressmen belonging to the informal House group of Ilocano congressmen known as the Northern Alliance, said they will have to see next week what the pulse of the congressmen on the matter is.
But Singson too is convinced that the testimony of former National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) director-general Romulo Neri and whistleblower Jose de Venecia III, “makes the (report of) bribe offer(s) credible.” He explained that such “can be the basis for impeachment (as) the claim was made under oath.”
“They can always go back to Megapacific computerization scandal which the Supreme Court ruled there is prima facie evidence, though dismissed by the Ombudsman,” Singson also said.
The prior scandal on the computerization of Comelec, the Ilocos Sur congressman further added, “can be revived through impeachment.”
Baguio City Rep. Mauricio Domogan, Lakas-CMD regional party chairperson in the Cordillera and a leading figure supporting the administration, also said that since the testimonies are coming out there might be possible ground for Abalos’ impeachment. However, the Igorot solon said, “we do not have time.”
Abalos is set to retire in February next year.
Nueva Vizcaya Rep. Carlos Padilla, also a vocal member of the Northern Alliance though allied with the opposition, and who filed corruption charges against Transportation and Communication Secretary Leandro Mendoza in connection to the ZTE scandal also said that “time is now of the essence” (in the impeachment complaint). He claims though that a good number of congressmen are inclined to support the complaint.
Kalinga Rep. Manuel Agyao, a former Department of Public Works and Highways (DPWH) assistant secretary, however has a different view. “Better if Abalos resigns,” he said. “This (probe) is only an unnecessary expense of the government.”
Agyao believes nothing good might come out of the Senate hearings. “It is just an inquiry,” he said.
Agyao, obviously irked by the “time-consuming” hearings, also has a piece of advise to the senators. “The presiding chairman should take note all questions or inquiries asked by the Senators so that not the same questions be asked again,” he said. Contributed to Bulatlat