Danilo Suarez

Merci resign grows louder

The Ombudsman, Merceditas Gutierrez is being urged to resign, as the House of Representatives is poised to impeach her.

Senator Teofisto Guingona III revealed that the Senate Blue Ribbon Committee recommended that Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez be impeached for betrayal of public trust. This comes from the Committee after the Ombudsman allegedly bungling the plunder case against former General and Armed Forces controller, Carlos Garcia.

According to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, 13 senators signed the committee report:

“Guingona, Senators Franklin Drilon, Francis “Chiz” Escudero, Serge Osmena, Ralph Recto, Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes IV, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Pia Cayetano, Loren Legarda, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, Manny Villar, Alan Cayateno, and Joker Arroyo.”

Over at the House of Representatives, Congressman Niel Tupas, Jr., who will lead the prosecuting team should the Impeachment case against Ombudsman Gutierrez goes to the Senate for trial said that they now have 150 votes to impeach the Ombudsman.

President Aquino’s liberal party according to Congressman Danilo Suarez will not be hard pressed to get the 94 votes needed to impeach the Ombudsman, but said Gutierrez would stand a better chance at the Senate, where she would need only 8 senators to foil to win.

No honor among thieves

Thieves stole P37K from the pork barrel of Rep. Daniel Suarez. A member of the House of Representathieves, Suarez became famous for having footed the bill for one of the two known lavish dinners that Gloria Arroyo ate during her last trip to America as an unelected president.

    Solon bares pork theft
    By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
    Filed Under: Crime, Robbery and theft
    MANILA, Philippines – Even the lawmakers’ pork barrel or Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF) was not spared by thieves.

    Pulling a fast one on Quezon Representative Danilo Suarez, a person or group of persons was able to cart away P37,000 in just two days from his pork barrel funds allotted to the Philippines Heart Center (PHC).

    Suarez, one of the wealthiest members of the House of Representatives, said the thieves forged his signature, copied his official letterhead and faked his office’s seal to come up with six guarantee letters purportedly endorsing to the PHC the use of his pork barrel for medical assistance.

    “I’m happy because the patients who need the medical assistance were able to use the money, but I’m also sad because is this really how desperate these people are, they do not spare even the congressmen’s pork barrel?”

The irony of a congressman crying over the theft of his pork.

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Belmonte brings together much bigger House coalition

Belmonte brings together much bigger House coalition
By Gil C. Cabacungan Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer

MANILA, Philippines — A runaway winner in the battle for speakership, Quezon City Representative Feliciano Belmonte Jr. has forged an alliance in the House of Representatives much bigger than the “rainbow coalition” of then Speaker Jose de Venecia.

Unlike in the Senate where the battle for the presidency of that chamber went almost down the wire, the race for the speakership was settled fairly early—just days after the May 10 elections, when it was clear that Benigno S. Aquino III would emerge as the new President.

The only question then was how many would vote for Belmonte as the top honcho in the chamber, according to Mandaluyong City Rep. Neptali Gonzales II, who is set to be named as House majority leader and chairman of the House committee on rules.

Belmonte is expected to be formally elected Speaker when the 15th Congress holds its inaugural session on Monday.

About 220 to 230 representatives from the Liberal Party, Lakas-Kampi-Christian-Muslim Democrats, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Nacionalista Party, Pwersa ng Masang Pilipino and other parties and party-list groups were expected to vote for Belmonte. His colleagues said this was a reflection of Mr. Aquino’s current popularity.

“This is much bigger than former House Speaker Jose de Venecia’s much vaunted rainbow coalition,” Gonzales said.

Gonzales has yet to come up with a name for the Belmonte coalition after some members rejected his initial proposal to call it the “Coalition for Conscience and Reform.”

Belmonte was also the Speaker in the 11th Congress, before he served three straight terms as Quezon City mayor from 2001.

In an interview during a “show of force” meeting at Edsa Shangri-La Hotel on Friday, Belmonte refused to be caught up in the euphoria over his imminent election as Speaker, declining to talk about his plans before Monday’s voting.

Backed by Mr. Aquino’s mass support, Belmonte is expected to move bills much faster into laws, especially after the minority Lakas-Kampi-CMD party declared that it would not be a “contravida” in the 15th Congress, even though its leader is Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, whom Aquino had opposed when she was president.

“We will not be obstructionists. We will cooperate with the new administration to ensure that reforms promised by the new administration and which our party believes in will be implemented,” said Quezon Rep. Danilo Suarez.

Suarez has agreed to a term-sharing with Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, who was likely to be elected minority leader on Monday. Suarez said he would take over the post after one and a half years.

Although the Liberal Party has only 70 members in the House—second to Lakas-Kampi’s 80—the party of Mr. Aquino expects to corner much of the spoils given to the ruling party.

Named deputies of incoming Speaker Belmonte, whose number has increased from four to six, are Quezon Rep. Lorenzo “Erin” Tañada, Northern Samar Rep. Raul Daza and Zamboanga City Rep. Maria Isabelle Climaco from the Liberal Party; Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla from the Nacionalista Party; Camarines Sur Rep. Arnulfo Fuentebella from the Nationalist People’s Coalition; and Cebu Rep. Pablo Garcia from Lakas-Kampi-CMD.