Press Release
May 29, 2006


Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Nene Q. Pimentel, Jr. (PDP-Laban) today said the pork barrel releases for voting against the impeachment of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo last year show not only the futility of the efforts to unseat the Chief Executive but also the abominable manner by which she has corrupted the impeachment process for her political survival.

Pimentel said Presidents shameless use of taxpayers money to buy the support of congressmen administration and opposition alike and the vulnerability of some lawmakers to such bribery attempt have convinced him that no impeachment case against her will prosper no matter how grave the offenses committed and how strong the evidence gathered.

The impeachment case against Mrs. Arroyo last year was dismissed not because it was weak or baseless but because Malacañang dangled money, pork barrel projects, government positions and other juicy incentives which proved irresistible to the unscrupulous congressmen, he said.

Allegations of bribery were confirmed when Iloilo Rep. Rolex Suplico found out that congressmen who voted against the impeachment case in September, 2005 received P35 million each P20 million from the Department of Public Works and Highways, P10 million from the proceeds of road users tax and P5 million in Christmas bonus.

All told, each Palace-friendly solon got a total of P75 million each for 2005 which is P35 million more than what was received by the solons who voted for the Presidents impeachment, Suplico said.

It would be recalled that the congressmen had been complaining of the reduction of their pork barrel from P70 million to P40 million each and they were badgering Malacañang to restore the cuts.

According to Suplico, some congressmen who backed the Palaces kill-impeachment plot received the pork barrel windfall only after making a lot of noise.

Pimentel decried that some congressmen made a mockery of the constitutional process when they dismissed the impeachment case against the President based on flimsy, technical grounds. He said the members of Congress who succumbed to the blandishments of Malacañang sacrificed principles and adherence to the rule of law when they allowed themselves to be bought by the Palace in the same manner that Judas betrayed Jesus Christ in exchange for 30 pieces of silver.

The required 79 signatures one-third of membership of the House of Representatives was not reached because some congressmen reneged on their promise to sign the impeachment resolution, some withdrew their signatures while others did not show up at the session hall during the voting on the resolution.

If the President resorted to vote-buying to kill the impeachment case last year, Im quite sure that she will employ the same vile tactic to quash a new impeachment case this year, Pimentel said.

He said the so-called savings from unimplemented projects as a result of the delayed approval of the 2006 national budget and automatic reenactment of 2005 budget will again be diverted to buy off some legislators who could be bought.

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