Press Release
July 17, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the impeachment case against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is still worth pursuing despite the stand of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) that it is not inclined to support this constitutionally-mandated process.

Pimentel said there is no reason why the pro-impeachment congressmen should be discouraged from pursuing this course of action, that was motivated out of their patriotic duty and moral conviction, especially in the light of revelations about the despicable manner Malacañang tried to influence the decision of members of the CBCP.

The minority leader frowned on the CBCPs explanation that they hesitated to support the impeachment process due to apprehension that it may turn out to be an unproductive exercise as what happened to a similar attempt last year.

I am not too sure that it was prudent for the bishops to say outright that it is not going to be a productive undertaking, he said.

Pimentel admitted that he himself has been skeptical about the moves to impeach the President because of his fear that it would simply mean another round of vote-buying on the part of the President in her bid for political survival.

But he said if the impeachment process is not pursued, this may drive disenchanted citizens to take violent, extra-constitutional means of removing the President.

Impeachment is a recognized constitutional way of addressing the problem with a President. At least the minority congressmen and women in the House of Representative think it should be done, Pimentel, adding that he respects their decision.

Pimentel said that the unfavorable CBCPs attitude toward the impeachment process may be a temporary setback, but this would be overcome if the House members will decide on the impeachment charges based on their merits and elementary rule of justice, and will resist bribery attempts by the administration.

I can only hope that the congressmen and women concerned do not allow Gloria to buy them off as some of them had turned around after she unleashed her financial clout over them during the impeachment proceedings last year, the senator from Mindanao said.

Pimentel said a better option is for President Arroyo to resign and call a snap election to spare the country from the trauma and divisive effects of the impeachment process.

He said Vice President Noli de Castro will have to resign together with Mrs. Arroyo in order to create a vacancy in Office of the President.

Based on the proposal, Mrs. Arroyo will not run in the special presidential election because of the constitutional ban against reelection. But he said De Castro may run for president.

Pimentel debunked the criticisms that the special election is intended to enable the opposition to wrest the presidency and advance the political ambition of its leaders.

I dont care whether the opposition can put up a candidate or not. That is not important to me. What is important is people are given a chance to elect a president freely.

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