Philippine House rejects Aquino impeachment

AP News
Posted: Sep 02, 2014 7:37 AM

MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine House of Representatives' justice committee on Tuesday rejected three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III, killing the challenges.

The committee, dominated by Aquino allies, voted 54-4 against each of the complaints, declaring them insufficient in substance.

The complaints were filed by mostly left-wing activists and sponsored by the House's left-wing bloc. They charged Aquino of culpable violation of the constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption.

The complaints cited Aquino's implementation of a major economic stimulus program declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and a defense cooperation agreement that gives American troops greater access to bases across the Philippines. Aquino has denied any wrongdoing.

The son of pro-democracy icons, Aquino won the presidency by a wide margin in 2010 on a promise to rid his nation of corruption and widespread poverty.

"Mr. Chair, this is really a terrible day for accountability, a terrible day for the congressional power over the purse, a terrible day for the Filipino people," said Rep. Neri Colmenares, one of the sponsors of the complaints, addressing Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., the committee chairman.

About a dozen youths who raised protest banners and chanted "Oust Noynoy!" had to be forcibly evicted from the room by security personnel. Noynoy is Aquino's nickname.

A spokesman for Aquino, Herminio Coloma Jr., expressed satisfaction with the result. "Just as the president said in an interview last week, he was confident that justice will prevail, and that is our position in this," he said.