Philippine President Is Impeached
M A N I L A, Philippines, Nov. 13 -- Philippine President JosephEstrada was impeached by the country’s House of Representativestoday and will face trial in the country’s Senate oncharges of bribery and corruption.
But voting patterns in the Senate, or upper house, later inthe day indicated Estrada could survive the impeachment.
Lawmakers raised clenched fists and shouted “Erap Resign”as House Speaker Manuel Villar announced the impeachment at thestart of the day’s session. Erap is Estrada’s nickname and itwas the first time in Philippine history that a president hasbeen impeached.
Opposition concerns that Estrada supporters would attemptto delay the proceedings were pre-empted by Villar, who readout a resolution approving the impeachment as soon as he hadfinished regular prayers at the start of the day’s proceedings.
Senate Support for Estrada
“The resolution is being endorsed to the Senate in the samemanner as prescribed in the rules of procedure,” he said, assome lawmakers protested and others cheered.
The opposition has said 115 congressmen have endorsed themotion, more than the required 1/3 of the 218-member House.
“I did not want to be stopped on a technicality,” Villarlater told local television, adding he deliberately did notallow the matter to come up for discussion since the requirednumber had already signed assent.
“A vote was not necessary.”
Villar and 45 other congressmen defected from the rulingcoalition earlier this month after charges emerged allegingEstrada had taken bribes worth millions of dollars fromillegal gambling syndicates. The desertions pushed thegovernment into a minority in the House.
Trial This Month
The 22-seat Senate, meanwhile, voted 12-7 to replace SenatePresident Franklin Drilon — who defected from Estrada’scoalition at the same time as Villar — with Senator AquilinoPimentel, who is viewed as being independent.