MANILA – A new impeachment complaint was filed Monday against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo even as public satisfaction with her performance showed some improvement.
The latest impeachment case against Arroyo, the fourth in four years, was filed by Jose “Joey”’ de Venecia III, the son of the former House Speaker, and two others. The complaint accused Arroyo, among others, of betrayal of public trust. This developed as the independent polling outfit Social Weather Stations (SWS) disclosed Monday that Arroyo’s public satisfaction rating recovered from a “very bad net -50” last July 2008 to a “poor yet improved net rating of -27.” Net satisfaction rating is the percent of respondents satisfied minus the percent dissatisfied.
The SWS said “dissatisfaction with President...lessened in all socio-economic classes.” It attributed the improvement in Arroyo’s net rating to the “lessening dissatisfaction in Mindanao and Visayas.”
As doubts mounted on whether the opposition in the House of Representatives had the numbers to impeach Arroyo, De Venecia himself said he is concerned that the impeachment proceedings may not push through given the increasing number of congressmen who support the move for Charter change to extend Arroyo’s presidential term.
Nevertheless, De Venecia said the more than 100-page complaint will “stand on its own merit” and is backed by evidence. He said the impeachment complaint is also part of the Filipinos’ battle against corruption and poverty.
The impeachment complaint accuses Arroyo of betrayal of public trust after she approved the National Broadband Network (NBN) telecommunications deal with China’s ZTE Corp., saying that the deal was overpriced by at least $130 million.
For his part, Prof. Harry Roque of the UP College of Law said even if previous impeachment complaints against Arroyo have not been successful, they felt it was their civic duty to still file a new one.
Roque said the new complaint is different from the ones filed in 2005, 2006 and 2007 since the cases on Northrail, swine scam, and fertilizer scam have all been documented by the Commission on Audit. “All of these have COA reports... These reports are conclusive,” he said.
Roque said the human rights complaint against Arroyo is supported by the investigation conducted by a UN special envoy who found out that the Arroyo government had fallen short in its obligation to protect the rights of Filipino citizens in cases of extra-judicial killings and involuntary disappearances.
He said they have been told by the leadership of the House of Representatives that their complaint was the first valid one to be accepted by the lower house.
Thus, he said, if the House of Representatives decides to reject the complaint, it will have to do so on the basis of merit and not on technicalities as what happened in 2005 when the impeachment complaint filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano was defeated basically due to technical deficiency rather than on merit.