Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lacson, Honasan supporters sign 5th impeach complaint


Various groups identified with opposition Sen. Panfilo Lacson and former Senator Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan yesterday joined the impeachment bandwagon by signing the fifth complaint against President Arroyo.

The latest signatories to the complaint, expected to be filed when Mrs. Arroyo delivers her State-of-the-Nation Address before a joint session of Congress on July 24, included leaders of the Be Not Afraid Movement (BNAM), Sinag ng Bayan Foundation, Guardian International Brotherhood Federation, and Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. (PGBI).

The Philippine Guardians Brotherhood, Inc. was founded by Honasan in the late 80s.

BNAM was launched by Senator Lacson at the height of the "Hello Garci" controversy last year while Sinag ng Bayan is headed by former House minority leader and Nueva Vizcaya congressman Carlos Padilla, who ran for senator in the 2004 elections under Lacson’s ticket.

Lawyer Ramon Pedrosa, chairman of BNAM, said he signed the complaint as "a first step to bring honor and sense of patriotism back to our country because the laws of this country have been prostituted by this administration."

"The country cannot move forward unless there’s truth and justice. This is the worst thing that happened in the political history of this country," Pedrosa added.

Abner Afuang, an official of Guardians Brotherhood, said they joined the impeachment bandwagon to search for the truth, particularly on the controversy surrounding the legitimacy of the Arroyo government.

"Masakit isipin na ang namumuno ay kwestiyonable ang legitimacy," said Afuang, a retired police officer and former mayor of Pagsanjan, Laguna.

Asked if Honasan, Guardians Brotherhood founder, influenced him into signing the complaint, Afuang said: "There’s no influence. Our loyalty is with the Constitution."

The Lacson-Honasan groups comprise the third batch of signatories to the fifth impeachment complaint against the President, succeeding the groups of human rights victims and advocates led by Fr. Rolly de Leon of Norzagaray, Bulacan and supporters of former President Joseph Estrada.

Other groups that signed the complaint yesterday included the Alternatibo, represented by Chit Vergel de Dios; Soldiers for Peace and Progress, Gen. Jaime Canatoy; People’s Alliance For Democracy and Reform Foundation, Inc. (PADER), Marcelino Notarte; and the Katipunan ng mga Nagmamahal sa Bayan (KANABA), Joel Tapia.

The Kanluran ng Barangay Tanod, Inc. (KABATA), Manuel Tolentino Jr.; Women’s Advocate for Peace and Progress (WAPP), Lilia Hao; Tau Gamma Fraternity, Efren Tausa; Sulong Masang Pilipino (SUMAPI), Susan Yanwario; Samahang Magtitinda sa Kalakhang Maynila (SAMASAKAMAY), Federico Dunca Jr.; and the Bagong Silang United Residence for Socio-Economic Development, Vic Jimenez also affixed their signatures to the complaint.

The Drugstore Association of the Philippines Romblon Chapter, Jumar Gregorio, Catanduanes Quorum, Sammy Besa; Samahang Tsuper at Operator sa Pampanga (STOP), Ace Dallo; Batangas Youth Organization (BYO), Bryant Padilla; PGBI Task Force Lawin — Punta Chapter, Juan Lopega; PGBI Task Force Lawin — Sta. Mesa Chapter, Ricky Oquendo; and the Katipunan ng mga Anak ng Bayan All Democratic Movement (KAAKBAY), represented by Cherry Cobarrubias, completed yesterday’s signatories.

Bishop Cruz: Church leaders only defended Iñiguez

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Oscar Cruz said the bishops would not have spoken about the impeachment complaint filed by Bishop Deogracias Iñiguez of Caloocan against President Arroyo had Malacañang not made a big deal of it.

"We were not supposed to talk about the issue but then Malacañang and administration allies reacted by saying that Iñiguez must be investigated and sanctioned by the CBCP. That’s the reason we had to speak," Cruz said.

"It’s such a small thing but they made a mountain out of a molehill," he added.

The former head of the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines issued the statement following the reported conflict between the bishops and the Palace on the impeachment issue.

The prelate said although Iniguez’s filing the impeachment charges was not normal for a bishop, Iñiguez remains a Filipino citizen and thus can still exercise his rights.

"If you want the bishops to shut up, the priests and nuns to shut up, then don’t do anything foolish," Cruz said. (Leslie Ann G. Aquino)

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