Complaint vs Arroyo attacker mulled

08/10/2010 - FIVE opposition party congressmen are set to file an ethics complaint against Akbayan Representative Walden Bello for his “unparliamentary" remarks against former President and now Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (second district, Pampanga).

The five congressmen include Representatives Simeon Datumanong (second district, Maguindanao), Ignacio Arroyo (fifth district, Negros Occidental), Marc Cagas IV (first district, Davao del Sur), Jose Aquino III (first district, Agusan del Norte), and Aurelio Gonzales Jr. (third district, Pampanga).

The chairmanship of the ethics committee is the only one that was allocated to the minority party in the House of Representatives.

“We are waiting for the constitution of the ethics committee. There is no committee yet. Maybe even members of the majority would like to join (in the complaint),” said House Minority Leader and Representative Edcel Lagamn (first district, Albay).

Lagman said the complaint will push through despite the ruling of the majority that the unparliamentary remarks of Bello be stricken off the record.

“What has to be stricken does not mean to say it was not said,” Lagman said.

Bello earlier welcomed the threat of minority congressmen after he condemned Arroyo for the pervasive corruption during her administration and even referred to her allies and officials as pigs.

Bello said the Congress should not lose sight of the higher ethical question: "Tama bang maupo si Gng. Arroyo sa Kongreso sa kabila ng pagwawaldas niya ng pera ng taong bayan at pag-aabuso niya sa kapangyarihan?"

"It is not me who will be on trial in the Ethics Committee, it will be Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo," he continued, saying Akbayan will even use the ethics committee to further expose the anomalies of Arroyo's administration.

Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino also delivered a similar speech in the privilege hour at the lower chamber of Congress.

Casino earlier contested the request to remove the remarks of Bello from the records, saying it would set a precedent and in effect, will limit the right of expression of a lawmaker.

Son hits mother's critics

Meanwhile, no less than the son of the former President, Representative Dato Arroyo (second district, Camarines Sur), defended the former chief executive against her critics in the Lower House.

"Walang ginawang pakikipagtunggali ang ating dating pangulo sa kasalukuyang pamunuan upang gawan siya ng ganoong pambabastos ng mga kapwa miyembro sa kongreso," said the former presidential son.

The younger Arroyo said he did not expect leaders of underprivileged sectors to take the floor and embarrass another colleague, especially a former President.

"Hindi ako makapaniwala at nabigla ako na sa pinakaunang mga araw sa pagbukas ng kongreso isang kasuklam suklam na ehemplo para sa aming mga mas nakababatang miyembro at sa mga baguhan kongresista ang ipinamalas ng ilan na patuloy ko pa ring ginagalang na miyembro ng kamara," said Dato, a two-termer lawmaker.

He added that his mother did not deserve such kind of criticisms after she fulfilled all of her duties well as President.

After stepping down as President, Arroyo even kept quiet and continued to avoid questions from the media.

"Walang ginawang pakikipagtunggali ang ating dating pangulo sa kasalukuyang pamunuan upang gawan siya ng ganoong pambabastos ng mga kapwa miyembro sa kongreso," Dato added.

He also took the chance to defend his mother and her allies after President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III reported incorrect data in relation to the calamity funds and budget, among others.

The former President, wearing a peach dress, stayed inside the plenary hall throughout the delivery of Dato's speech and immediately left when Bayan Muna Representative Teddy Casino was about to address the Congress.

In response to Dato's speech, Casino said allies of Arroyo in the Lower House should remain open to the truth.

"The truth has to be told and sometimes the truth has to be heard. Ang plenaryong ito ay dapat pakingan ang pagtingin sa katotohanan whether we agree or not," the militant solon added.

Filipino boxing icon and Sarangani Representative Manny Pacquiao, meanwhile, told his colleagues to move on from the controversial speech to focus on legislative work.

"Hindi natin kailangan magsalita ng hindi magandang words sa ating kapwa congressmen eh. Dapat in proper forum like the Truth Commission, pero dito masyadong naantala, nadedelay sa ating mga pinag-uusapan dahil sa mga issue na yan. I think we have to move on," Pacquiao said.

The House minority is now set to submit a complaint against Bello once the ethics committee is formed. (Sun Star)

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