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Over 50 Filipino lawmakers agree to impeach Arroyo: opposition
www.chinaview.cn 2005-07-21 23:09:12

    MANILA, July 21 (Xinhuanet) -- More than 50 Filipino lawmakers at the House of Representatives have expressed their intention to endorse an impeachment complaint against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, a local newspaper reported.

    Philippine Daily Inquirer reported on its website Thursday evening that opposition lawmaker Joel Villanueva said the pro-impeachment lawmakers at the House "have reached the 50 plus mark."

    At least 79 votes are needed from the 236-member House for the complaint to be extended to the Senate for hearing.

    Arroyo was accused by the opposition of vote rigging in last year's presidential election, which she has repeatedly denied. Arroyo's family has also been accused of getting payoffs from illegal gambling business.

    Some other representatives have confirmed Villanueva's statement, but they could not ascertain if all these lawmakers actually signed the complaint, first filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano, according to the report.

    Lozano was reportedly a firm supporter of former President Ferdinand Marcos, who was toppled in 1986 in a military-backed popular revolt.

    The complaint is still being supplemented by the pro-impeachment bloc in the House and is due to be formally filed on Monday, the day when Arroyo will make her annual State of the National Address to a joint session of Congress.

    The opposition's legal team met with 20 to 30 lawmakers Thursday night in an undisclosed place in Makati City to brief them about the contents of the complaint, according to the report.

    The complaint, which is about 70 pages long, contains five impeachable offenses: betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, graft and corruption, bribery and treason, according to opposition lawmakers.

    The Philippine Daily Inquirer, which has made itself a pro-opposition daily supporting the ouster of Arroyo in the on-going political crisis, estimated that up to 60 legislators at the Housecould sign the complaint, and about a dozen lawmakers are still wavering and keeping their decision open.

    Arroyo has invited the opposition to file their impeachment complaint against her rather than organizing mass rallies in the street calling for her resignation. Enditem 

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