House to decide Tuesday on Merci impeachment

THE House Committee on Justice will vote on Tuesday if the impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez has probable cause.

Rep. Niel Tupas Jr. (5th District, Iloilo), chair of the House body, said the proceedings will push through to determine if there is probable cause based on the evidences which were presented by the complainants against Gutierrez.

“If the Ombudsman will appear on Tuesday, we will be very liberal with her.  If she appears personally then she will be given a chance to present her case.  If not then we will vote on the determination of probable cause,” Tupas said.

Tupas said Gutierrez will lose her rights to defend herself if she will not appear during the proceedings tomorrow.

This developed as lawmakers brushed aside charges of Gutierrez that the impeachment proceeding is a farce and a moro-moro”.

Tupas disputed the charges of Gutierrez that the whole proceeding is a “moro-moro” and a political move to remove her (Gutierrez) from office.

“The charge is uncalled for because she was represented by her lawyers during the proceedings and she submitted her answers to the complaints which were hurled against her before the body,” Tupas said.

Rep. Teddy Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said even if the Ombudsman will not attend the proceedings, the body will decide on the issue of probable cause.

“It is her fault. We already bent backwards to accommodate her during the proceedings. That is her choice. Anyway she will have her day in court in the Senate,” Casiño said.

Rep. Neri Colmenares (Party-list, Bayan Muna) said using foul words against the members of the Justice Committee will not reverse the situation.

“Her pronouncement that the proceeding is a farce and a moro-moro is demeaning to the Moro people. She must apologize to the Moro people for the use of the term,” Colmenares said.

Colmenares said Gutierrez has been given time to defend herself by the committee, but the ombudsman chose to ignore the proceedings.

“The impeachment proceedings against Gutierrez is not a farce because as records would attest the House Committee on Justice had even bent the rules of the House and had been liberal to her so as to accommodate her and so she can air her side,” Colmenares said.

“The statement of Ombudsman Gutierrez is highly derogatory. It is politically incorrect and thoughtless. The Moro people should condemn her statement. She is just being consistently insensitive,” said Rep. Luz Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela).

Rep. Emi de Jesus (Party-list, Gabriela) said Gutierrez should appear before the Justice Committee instead and answer the charges against her.

“The allegation that the proceeding is a moro-moro is uncalled for. The impeachment case against her should be taken seriously,” de Jesus said.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez said she will only take part in the impeachment trial in the Senate should the chamber approve the complaints, since she believes she will get fair treatment from the senators.

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