Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Jaraula to critics: Dissociate fertilizer funds, impeachment

CAGAYAN de Oro Rep. Constantino Jaraula has called on a group that is pushing for the ouster of President Arroyo to dissociate the impeachment complaint from the alleged fertilizer scam.

"The complaint will be treated on its merits independent from the fertilizer (issue)," said Jaraula in reaction to the local Black and White Movement’s call for him and Rep. Augusto Baculio of Misamis Oriental to inhibit from the impeachment proceedings.

Earlier, ex-vice mayor and local Black and White leade convenor Antonio Soriano criticized Jaraula and Baculio and said the two congressmen should inhibit from committee discussions for the sake of delicadeza. Soriano said Jaraula, Baculio and over 30 other congressmen were recipients of the controversial fertilizer fund.

"The issue is understandable, I have nothing to do to those who don’t understand," said Jaraula.
Jaraula said the justice committee "does not have the power and authority to require any member to inhibit..."

To do this, he said, would be to "disenfranchise our constituents," Jaraula said.
The 8th and last complaint was filed by some 60 people. Forty-four of the complainants are from Cagayan de Oro, including Soriano.

Jaraula also said he wanted the impeachment complaint dismissed because it is "against the interest of the national leadership and the President."

But he said the justice committee, chaired by Rep. Simeon Datumanong, would not railroad the proceedings.

He said Soriano’s group and other opposition groups should rely on the "intellect and wisdom" of the members of the House committee on justice.

Jaraula said congressmen whose districts reportedly benefited from the P728-million fertilizer fund, would refuse to inhibit because the ‘‘fertilizers issue is much different from the impeachment.’’

"Soriano should ask first the three of the four endorsers of the 8th complaint if they would inhibit or not," Jaraula.

He said at least three endorsers of the complaint also received fertilizer funds for their respective districts. He identified them: Reps. Nereus Acosta of Bukidnon, Henedina Abad of Batanes and Manuel Mamba of Cagayan.

Jaraula said Bukidnon’s first district received P3 million based on documents.
"The motion to inhibit is not proper," Jaraula said adding if this would be the rule, then no one would be left to endorse the 8th complaint .

Jaraula also appealed to his critics to be patient enough. "If we accept the argument to inhibit, meaning is this an admission of guilt? It’s unfair to them (Acosta, Mamba, Abad). That’s wrong."
Jaraula added: "More than 100 congressional districts benefited from the funds and I believe it is purely a support to the local governments, and not to ensure President Arroyo’s victory in the 2004 elections."

That can be read at Gold Star Daily

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