Philippine impeachment unlikely to succeed

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.

A Philippine congressional committee has voted to turn down all impeachment petitions against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The opposition to the president, on boycott, was not present. The vote seems to have greatly undermined any chance of an impeachment of Arroyo.

Arroyo's critics say that she committed fraud during last year's presidential election. She has also been accused of bribing lawmakers in order to stop them from supporting complaints against her.

Edmundo Reyes, a pro-impeachment congressman, revealed that only six more signatures are needed to trigger a trial in the Philippine Senate. One-third of the legislative body - 79 members - must consent to the president's impeachment in order for a trial to occur. Currently, 73 lawmakers side with the opposition.

"Is there no one else?" asked an emotional Reyes. "Is there anyone else signing this for truth?"

The opposition has threatened to organize citizen protests demanding the president's removal. But Arroyo's Congress allies appear confident that they have destroyed the impeachment bid.