2nd impeachment case doomed from the start — Pingoy


Pingoy, who was among the 57 congressmen who endorsed the first impeachment case against the President last year but decided to back  out in the second case, said a number of minority congressmen have lost interest in supporting the new impeachment case since they don't have the numbers to make it prosper.

"A lot of us find it a lost cause since it would really be impossible to convince 78 congressmen to endorse it and go against the present administration," said Pingoy, who voted to throw out the impeachment case at the House plenary session on Thursday.

Pingoy, a member of the opposition Nationalist People's Coalition (NPC), said leaders of the House minority bloc already realized the waning support to the new impeachment move several weeks before the impeachments were actually filed by various civil society and religious groups.

During an earlier trip to China, he said the minority group discussed their plans about the impeachment and found out that they could only count on the commitment of at least 30 minority congressmen.

Only 32 minority congressmen showed up and voted to oppose the trashing of the second impeachment while the rest either abstained or voted in favor.

In backing out from the impeachment bid, Pingoy said he based his decision on the sentiment of the majority of his constituents in the province's second district.

But former South Cotabato Rep. Lualhati Antonino, who heads the NPC in Southwestern Mindanao, claimed that some of the supposed allies of the minority bloc backed out of the second impeachment case due to pressures from Malacañang.

She cited that her daughter, Rep. Darlene Antonino-Custodio of South Cotabato's first district, was pressured several times to back out of her support to the impeachment move or the priority development assistance fund for her district would be cut.

"But it had been cut a long time ago so despite all the odds and consequences, she still remained solid behind the impeachment move," she said.

Antonino said she was deeply saddened by Pingoy's decision to reject the impeachment case.

"The elections are coming so we expected some repositioning among members of the minority," said Antonino, who was present at the gallery of the House session hall when the impeachment case was brought to the plenary for a decision.
But Councilor Roberto Sunga, chair of Koronadal City's association of barangay councils, said most of them wanted Pingoy to back out from the new impeachment case.

"Let's face it, we can't just go against those in power and get a pat on the back afterwards," he said.

Before deciding on the issue, he said Pingoy conducted a series of  consultations among barangay officials in his district. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)