Sen. Teofisto Guingona III
The Arroyos’ nemesis
MANILA, Philippines – President Aquino’s ally in the Senate is a longtime Arroyo critic.
Guingona had pushed for the impeachment of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her supposed protector, former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez.
Guingona’s father, former Vice President and Sen. Teofisto Guingona, is best remembered for his “I accuse” privilege speech in 2000 that openly hit then President Joseph Estrada for corruption. Estrada was ousted a year after.
A first-termer in the Senate, Guingona served for 6 years as a representative of the second district of Bukidnon. In the House of Representatives, he was a member of the opposition and the minority during the Arroyo administration. He supported impeachment complaints against then President Arroyo.
Guingona led the probe into Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo’s alleged sale of two secondhand choppers to the Philippine National Police. He recommended the filing of charges against Arroyo for alleged violation of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act.
In August 2011, Guingona asked the justice department to put Mike Arroyo on the immigration watch list over the chopper controversy.
His committee is also investigating allegations of poll fraud and electoral sabotage in 2004 and 2007.
Education: Bachelor of Laws, Ateneo de Manila University; AB Economics, Ateneo de Manila University
Professional background: Lawyer
Senate committee: Chairperson, Committee on Accountability of Public Officers and Investigations (Blue Ribbon)
Current term: 2010 to 2016
Eligible for reelection? Yes, in 2016. Guingona is currently serving his first 6-year term in the Senate. He served as Bukidnon representative from 2004 to 2010.
Political Party: Liberal Party (LP)
Published or aired position on Corona or on issues contained in the Articles of Impeachment:
As a senatorial candidate, Guingona opposed Arroyo’s appointment of a Chief Justice, saying the Constitution is clear that the judiciary is covered by the ban on midnight appointments. He said Arroyo’s insistence to appoint a Chief Justice reinforced speculations that was she bent on having a sympathetic judiciary.
In a statement, he said, “What it (SC decision allowing the appointment) was is a circumvention of the Constitution and surely it is the Filipino who will suffer because of GMA’s insistence to manipulate the laws in her favor.”
Guingona called for the impeachment and resignation of Gutierrez over the plea bargain deal with former military comptroller Major Gen. Carlos Garcia. Guingona, who led a probe into the deal, said the agreement was disadvantageous to the government. Gutierrez approved the deal.
He said, “She has betrayed the public trust. There is also another alternative that is open to Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez and that alternative is resignation. We appeal to Madame Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez: please spare the country this conflict.”
Before the SC issued the TRO that lifted the travel ban on the Arroyos, Guingona said he believed Arroyo’s medical condition was not urgent and life-threatening. The Manila Times quoted him as saying that the statement of her doctors showed she would be fully recovered in 6 to 8 months.
On the so-called “Arroyo court,” even before Corona’s appointment as Chief Justice, Guingona already warned against an Arroyo court. In a statement, he said, “What we have now is a Supreme Court whose magistrates are all Arroyo appointees, and when she appoints the next chief justice … we will soon have Arroyo’s Supreme Court. We all know what this means and it’s not good.” – Rappler.com
Sources: Senate website, Website of Sen. Guingona, Press statements of Sen. Guingona, www.manilatimes.net, www.inquirer.net, www.abs-cbnnews.com
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