Capt. Joenel Pogoy, the Air Force captain who was detained for two years after he exposed the corruption in the military, also attended the plenary session to show his support to the impeachment complaint against Gutierrez. In an interview with Bulatlat, Pogoy said the impeachment of Gutierrez will pave the way to exposing the corruption that happened in the previous government.
The Long Battle
Since the filing of the first impeachment complaint against Gutierrez last year, Ombudsman Gutierrez exhausted all legal remedies to stop it from progressing.
The quorum. 212 out of 284 lawmakers were present for the impeachment of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierres. (Photo by Anne Marxze D. Umil / bulatlat.com)
On Aug. 11, 2010, the impeachment complaints filed by Akbayan and Bayan et al were both referred to the House justice committee. Gutierrez then filed a motion for certiorari, prohibition and mandamus to the Supreme Court, which issued a status quo ante order to the House justice committee on Sept. 14, 2010.
“Gutierrez argued that there could be no two impeachment complaint filed against a public official. This argument was also used by Arroyo during her term when impeachment complaints were filed against her. This is a worn out excuse. But the filing of complaint is just one step in the impeachment process,” Gaite said.
But five months after the oral argument in the Supreme Court, on Feb. 15, the high court lifted the status quo ante order and allowed the House justice committee to proceed with the impeachment, citing that there was no violation of due process.
On Feb. 22, in a vote of 21-5 the justice committee resumed with the impeachment hearings.
On Feb. 28, the committee decided that the two complaints were sufficient in substance to impeach Gutierrez for betrayal of public trust. Gutierrez then filed a motion for reconsideration before the Supreme Court but was later rejected saying that the ruling is final and executory.
On March 8, the justice committee found probable cause on the two impeachment complaints.
According to Tupas, the Ombudsman was given a chance to answer the allegations against her but she has chosen not to appear. Gutierrez said the subpoena given to her was aggressive and called the impeachment proceedings as farcical.
On March 15, the House Resolution 1087 was filed and on March 21, House Resolution was brought in the plenary for voting.
Now that the ball is in the Senate, Bayan said, the fight gets harder. “We will help the public prosecutors from the House of Representatives prepare the witnesses and evidences. In the Senate, we have more time to present evidences and witnesses, unlike in the committee hearings at the Lower House.”