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VACC to file impeachment complaint vs Ombudsman when Alvarez returns

Mara Cepeda
VACC to file impeachment complaint vs Ombudsman when Alvarez returns

AFP

VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio clarifies Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is not behind the complaint and is merely one of the lawmakers they are seeking an endorsement from

MANILA, Philippines – The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is set to file an impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, but it will only do so once Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is back in the country. 

VACC lawyer Ferdinand Topacio said on Sunday, May 7, that they initially wanted to file the complaint by Monday morning, May 8, but this may be delayed.

“The short answer is ‘no,'” said Topacio in a text message when asked if the filing will push through on Monday morning. “Speaker Alvarez, who is in Tokyo right now, requested us to await his return.”

Topacio said the filing may happen instead on Monday afternoon or next week at the latest. 

But the lawyer clarified that the impeachment complaint against Morales was not initiated by Alvarez. 

Topacio said Alvarez is merely one of several lawmakers they are seeking an endorsement from. Members of the VACC met with these legislators at the House of Representatives on May 3.

Any Filipino citizen may initiate an impeachment complaint against a public official, but he or she must first get an endorsement from a lawmaker for the document to be considered officially filed at the House. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?)

The VACC has long been planning to file an impeachment complaint against Morales for the delay in resolving cases, particularly the homicide charges they filed against former president Benigno Aquino III over the botched police operations in Mamasapano, Maguindanao, in 2015.

Former Manila City councilor Greco Belgica earlier wanted the Supreme Court (SC) to disbar Morales for dismissing all criminal and administrative complaints against Aquino over the Disbursement Acceleration Program.

But just 4 days after the filing, the SC dismissed the disbarment case for lack of merit. 

Morales told her critics at the time: “Anyway, everyone is at liberty to file a complaint. Being charged is part of the territory. I am ready to meet head-on any complaint, anytime, anywhere. Wish them luck.”

If the VACC will push through with its plan against the Ombudsman, it will be the second impeachment complaint to be officially filed under the 17th Congress. 

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano already filed the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.  

Two groups – the tandem of Marcos loyalists Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez as well as the Impeach Leni Movement – separately drafted impeachment complaints against Vice President Leni Robredo. 

As of posting, no lawmaker has endorsed the planned impeachment complaints against the Vice President. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.