SoCot?s Pingoy backing out on impeachment?

Pingoy, a member of the original minority bloc in the House of Representatives that supported the failed impeachment move against the President a year ago, gave this clarification amid reports that he is no longer keen on signing the impeachment case due to its possible negative repercussions.

“I’m still studying the case and the pulse of my constituents. Rest assured that at the end of the day, I will present before Congress the real sentiment and the decision of the majority of the people here in South Cotabato,” he told reporters this morning.

South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes earlier revealed that Pingoy is in a bind on whether or not to sign the new impeachment case, which is now being deliberated by the House committee on justice.

Both politicians were members of the opposition Nationalist People’s Coalition but campaigned for Ms Arroyo in the 2004 national elections

They eventually withdrew their support to the President and openly endorsed her impeachment when the controversy broke out last year about the President and her family’s alleged links to massive corruption and electoral fraud.

Fuentes said the congressman is already feeling the pressure from Malacañang not to endorse the impeachment case.

“He is worried that he might not get any funding for the projects that he promised for his district if he would decide against the wishes of the (Arroyo) administration. That would not be a good scenario since the (2007) election is drawing near,” she said.

Fuentes was unceremoniously removed from her post as chair of the Regional Development Council of Region 12 by President Arroyo last January, a move which the governor described as a form of reprisal for openly supporting the impeachment case last year.

Lawyer Sylvie Blanche Tandog, a close aide of Pingoy, said the congressman’s previous decision had cost the district some important projects, including those already funded and lined up for implementation.

She did not specify the proposed projects but claimed that the national government even withdrew the funding and implementation of those that already have their special allotment release orders (SARO) from the Department of Budget and Management.

Pingoy, who represents the province’s second district, said he has thought about the opportunities missed by his constituents when he supported the impeachment case last year but stressed that he would not mind a repeat of such scenario “if that’s what the people really want.”

“I don’t want to make a rush decision on this matter because I want it to be firm and solid,” he said.

He urged his constituents not to believe in speculations and at the same time called on some local politicians not to preempt his decision.

Pingoy was among the last few signatories of the impeachment case last year, making it a week before it was sent to the House plenary for voting. (Allen V. Estabillo / MindaNews)