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Published - Merci trying to weaken impeachment case

Merci trying to weaken impeachment case

By Delon Porcalla (The Philippine Star)

MANILA, Philippines –  Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday impeached Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez might be trying to weaken the impeachment charges against her.

Belmonte told reporters that the recommendation of the Ombudsman’s office for the filing of criminal charges against certain former lawmakers who are related to incumbent House members is not a retaliatory move against his chamber for its overwhelming vote to impeach Gutierrez.

“The members of the House are already out of this already, since we have voted on it. I look at it as a move to defang one of the impeachment charges, which is related to the fertilizer scam,” he said.

However, the Speaker pointed out the fact that the Ombudsman’s office is recommending charges against former lawmakers and agriculture officials seven years after the 2004 fertilizer scam “only proves that there was prolonged delay of action.”

“I am surprised that it has taken the Ombudsman all this time to resolve this thing. The very basis of the impeachment is lack of expeditious action,” he said.

He also urged Gutierrez to identify lawmakers whom her office is investigating in connection with the fertilizer scam.

“I would say, go ahead, complete their investigation and not do it in trickles so that people can speak out,” Belmonte said.

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