Former ally of Philippine leader backs impeachment

A former key ally of Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo endorsed an impeachment complaint against her on Saturday.
Former House Speaker Jose de Venecia said not endorsing the complaint "would in itself constitute a crime against the Filipino people."
"As a matter of personal conscience, of public duty to our people, and in consideration of the highest national interest, I am endorsing this impeachment complaint without reservation," he said in a statement.
De Venecia told reporters he was willing to testify against Arroyo in the complaint filed last week by the president's opponents, including his son, Jose de Venecia III.
It was unclear what effect de Venecia's support would have on the complaint, which accuses Arroyo of corruption, abuse of power, violating the constitution and perpetrating human rights abuses. It has not yet been sent to the full house for a vote.
Arroyo political adviser Gabriel Claudio downplayed de Venecia's support for the impeachment bid.
"The administration is confident of being able to defend itself and the president from any issue raised," Claudio said.
Arroyo, who was swept to power in 2001 after then President Joseph Estrada was ousted by a nonviolent "people power" revolt, has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. She won a six-year term in a presidential election in 2004.
She has survived four attempted power grabs and three earlier impeachment bids that included allegations she cheated in the 2004 elections.
De Venecia led the House of Representatives in blocking two of the three earlier impeachment complaints.
But he fell out of favor with Arroyo after his son testified last year in Senate hearings into allegations of bribery during the bidding process for a government contract. Arroyo's husband was implicated in the scandal, although the president has denied he was involved in any wrongdoing.
"This fight is not my son's fight alone. The complainants represent a wide segment of national society," de Venecia said. "Their fight is part of the nation's search for truth and justice."

Updated : 2021-01-28 20:39 GMT+08:00