Rep. Fariñas: One Conviction Can Oust Belinguered Merci

LAOAG CITY, March 31 – It will take a conviction on only one article of impeachment to send Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez out of her office, according to Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas.

The House of Representatives will be sending six articles of impeachment to the Senate sitting as an impeachment court when it convenes on May 9.

The articles which the solons claimed to have constituted betrayal of public trust were her failure to act on the fertilizer fund scam, the Euro generals scandal, the Mega Pacific deal, the NBN-ZTE deal, Ensign Philip Pestaño case and by her dismal performance, as shown, among others, by her low conviction record.

Fariñas said there would be no need to prove all the other articles of impeachment if the congressmen-prosecutors are able to prove even one and the Senate decides that Gutierrez is guilty.

“The only purpose is to remove her. If she is convicted on one, then we can save time,” he said.

Farinas, the vice chair of the House committee on justice, said the impeachment trial would drag for months given the rules of impeachment laid down by the Senate.

He said Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile had advised the panel of prosecutors to present all the six articles and prove them one at a time.

“The presentation of evidence on one side and presentation of the defense would take maybe three to four months. The people might grow weary,” he added.

Asked how the Senate will decide on the articles, Fariñas said: “I cannot predict the outcome of the trial. But we have a strong evidence. Even on low conviction rate alone, we can prove she’s guilty.” (ANL/CCA-PIA 1 Ilocos Norte)