The Mindanao Vote on the Impeachment: 48-10-6

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/23 March) – It’s 48-10-6 for Mindanao in favor of impeaching Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez for alleged betrayal of public trust.

Forty-eight of Mindanao’s 64 representatives – 56 district representatives and eight party-list members – voted for the impeachment of Gutierrez with only 10 voting against while six were absent.

All but one congressman representing city districts, voted in favor. Only Davao City’s Rep. Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, son of the Arroyo administration’s House Speaker Prospero Nograles, voted against impeachment. Cagayan de Oro’s Rep. Jose Benjamin Benaldo was absent.

The voting at the House of Representatives ended shortly after midnight Monday at 212 in favor, 46 against, 4 abstentions and 16 absent.

Only 95 votes are needed to send the articles of impeachment to the Senate.

Gutierrez will be tried, among others, for her alleged inaction on many corruption cases implicating officials of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo such as the ZTE-NBN, Euro Generals and fertilizer fund scandals.

The House of Representatives has not posted the vote on its website as of Wednesday afternoon. MindaNews based the Mindanao voting trend on ABS-CBNnews.com’s “Did your representative vote for or against Merci?” which featured a list of the names of representatives and their votes, in alphabetical order.

The 10 Mindanawon representatives who voted against impeachment are Nograles (1st dist), Davao City), Agusan del Norte Rep. Jose Aquino II (1st dist), Agusan del Sur’s lone district representative Ma. Valentina G. Plaza, Davao del Sur’s Marc Douglas Cagas (1st dist), Lanao del Norte’ Imelda Quibranza-Dimaporo (1st dist) and her daughter, Fatima Aliah (1st dist), Lanao del Sur’s Mohammed Hussein Pangandaman (1st dist), Maguindanao’s Simeon Datumanong (2nd dist), Surigao del Sur’s Philip Pichay (1st dist), and Solaiman Pangandaman (Kasosyo party list).

The 11th representative to vote No would have been boxer and Sarangani Rep. Emmanuel “Manny” Pacquiao who is presently on training in Baguio City for his May 7 fight against Shane Mosley.

Pacquiao deleted his Twitter account after having received a barrage of negative reactions for his nasty reactions to followers who questioned why he wasn’t in the voting and why he ran for congressman at all. Pacquiao was also criticized for unparliamentary behavior for sending his vote through Twitter. “I vote NO! and I can give my explanation thanks.” Pacquiao’s tweet said.

Among the 16 representatives who were absent, six were from Mindanao: Pacquiao, Cagayan de Oro City’s Benaldo (1st dist), Davao del Norte’s Antonio Rafael G. del Rosario (1st dist), Davao Oriental’s Nelson Dayanghirang (1st dist), Tawi-tawi’s Nur Jaafar and Dinagat Islands’ Ruben Ecleo, Jr. who was ordered arrested by the Sandiganbayan last month after he lost his appeal over the decision convicting him of three counts of graft and corrupt practices while serving as mayor of San Jose in Dinagat.

Here is the Mindanao Vote on the impeachment, classified per province, city and party-list represented:

PROVINCES
Agusan del Norte: Jose Aquino, NO. Angelica Amante-Matba, YES
Agusan del Sur: Ma. Valentina G. Plaza, NO
Basilan: Hadjiman S. Hattaman-Salliman, YES
Bukdinon: Jesus Emmanuel Paras, YES. Florencio Flores, Jr., YES. Jose Ma. Zubiri III, YES
Camiguin: Pedro Romualdo, YES
Compostela Valley: Maria Carmen Zamora-Apsay, YES. Rommel C. Amatong, YES
Davao del Norte: Antonio Rafael G. del Rosario, ABSENT. Antonio F. agdameo, Jr., YES
Davao del Sur: Marc Douglas Cagas IV, NO. Franklin P. Bautista, YES
Davao Oriental: Nelson L. Dayanghirang, ABSENT. Thelma Z. Almario, YES
Dinagat Islands: Ruben Ecleo, ABSENT
Lanao del Norte. Imelda Q. Dimaporo, NO. Fatima Aliah Q. Dimaporo, NO
Lanao del Sur: Mohammed Hussein P. Pangandaman, NO. Pangalian Balindong, YES
Maguindanao: Bai Sandra M. Sema, YES. Simeon A. Datumanong, NO
Misamis Occidental: Jorge T. Almonte, YES. Leo Loreto Ocampos, YES
Misamis Oriental: Peter M. Unabia, YES. Yevgeny Vicente B. Emano, YES
North Cotabato. Jesus N. Sacdalan, YES. Nancy A. Catamco, YES
Sarangani: Emmanuel D. Pacquiao, ABSENT
South Cotabato: Pedro B. Acharon, Jr. YES, Daisy Avance-Fuentes, YES
Sultan Kudarat: Raden C. Sakaluran, YES. Arnulfo F. Go, YES
Sulu: Tupay Loong, YES. Nur-ana I. Sahidulla, YES
Surigao del Norte: Francisco T. Matugas, YES. Guillermo A. Romarate, Jr., YES
Surigao del Sur: Philip A. Pichay, NO. Florencio C. Garay, YES
Tawi-tawi: Nur G. Jaafar, ABSENT
Zamboanga del Norte: Seth F. Jalosjos, YES. Rosendo S. Labadlabad, YES. Cesar G. Jalosjos, YES
Zamboanga del Sur: Victor J. Yu, YES. Aurora E. Cerilles, YES
Zamboanga Sibugay. Jonathan Cabilao Yambao, YES. Romeo M. Jalosjos, Jr., YES

CITIES
Cagayan de Oro City: Jose Benjamin A. Benaldo, ABSENT. Rufus B. Rodriguez, YES
Davao City: Karlo Alexei B. Nograles, NO. Mylene J. Garcia-Albano, YES. Isidro Ungab, YES
Iligan City: Vicente F. Belmonte, Jr., YES
Zamboanga City: Maria Isabelle L. Climaco, YES. Erico Basilio F. Fabian, YES

PARTY-LIST
Abante Mindanao: Maximo Rodriguez, YES
Agham: Angelo Palmones, YES
Akbayan: Arlene Bag-ao, YES
Alif: Acmad M. Tomawis, YES
A Teacher Mariano U. Piamonte, Jr. YES
Gabriela Women’s Party: Luzviminda C. Ilagan, YES
Kasosyo: Solaiman C. Pangandaman, NO
Yacap: Carol Jayne B. Lopez, YES

Aside from Nograles, those who voted no are known allies of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, now Pampanga representative. Datumanong was Public Works secretary and later Justice Secretary under the Arroyo administration. Pangandaman is the son of Arroyo’s Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman.

While those who voted no are identified to be allies of former President Arroyo, President Aquino has not been spared from criticisms of allegedly influencing the vote.

House Minority Leader Edcel Lagman, rising on a question of personal collective privilege, said the “partisan alacrity to doom the Ombudsman was started by the President himself when he unabashedly and publicly rallied the members of his party to impeach the Ombudsman – targeting the Ombudsman as public enemy number one, who is not even charged with graft and corruption, but with contrived sins of omission.”

Last Sunday, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told government-run Radyo ng Bayan that contrary to reports, President Aquino will not use pork barrel to get votes in favor of impeaching Gutierrez.

“It is not a policy of President Aquino to use pork barrel to sway in one way or another,” Valte said.

Zambales Rep. Maria Milagros Magsaysay on Saturday passed on to reporters a text message allegedly coming from Cavite Rep. Joseph Emilio Abaya, chair of the House Committee on Appropriations, warning “zero pork barrel” for colleagues who will vote against the impeachment. Abaya denied the allegation.

Only one Mindanawon is a member of the prosecution team for the Senate trial: Akbayan party list Rep. Arlene Bag-ao. The rest of the members are Justice Committee chair Niel Tupas, Jr. (Iloilo); Deputy Speaker for Luzon Lorenzo Tanada (Quezon), Deputy Speaker for Visayas Raul Daza (Samar), Rodolfo Farinas (Ilocos Norte), Reynaldo Umali (Oriental Mindoro), Abaya (Cavite), Magtanggol Gunigundo (Valenzuela), Elpidio Barzaga (Dasmarinas City), and Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna.

The Senate needs two-thirds vote to oust Gutierrez, the first female Ombudsman whose seven-year term ends in December 2012. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)

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