Articles of Impeachment Against Pres. Estrada
Impeachment Complaint Against President Estrada
HON. JOSEPH E. ESTRADA, respondent.
Complainants, by counsel, respectfully state:
NATURE OF COMPLAINT
This is a verified complaint for the impeachment of respondent Joseph E. Estrada, incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines, upon the grounds mentioned below. This complaint is filed pursuant to the provisions of Article XI (Accountability of Public Officers), Sections 2 and 3 of the Philippine Constitution.
This complaint, as far as private complainants are concerned, is endorsed by Congressmen Heherson T. Alvarez and Ernesto F. Herrera.
Complainants are Filipino citizens, of legal ages, and with addresses above mentioned and may be served with summons and other processes through their counsel, Atty. Ramon A. Gonzales at Rm. 508, J & T Building, R. Magsaysay Boulevard, Sta. Mesa, Manila and the Public Interest Law Center with address at Kaija Building, 7836 Makati Avenue, Makati City; while respondent is the incumbent President of the Republic of the Philippines and may be served with summons and other processes of this august body at the Office of the President, Malacañang, Manila.
STATEMENT OF FACTS
1. On June 30, 1998, respondent took his oath as the 13th President of the Republic of the Philippines, stating:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithful and conscientiously fulfill my duties as President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the nation. So help me God.”
2. On July 1, 1998, he assumed his duties and responsibilities as such. This complaint for impeachment is based on the following grounds:
I. THAT RESPONDENT COMMITTED BRIBERY;
II. THAT RESPONDENT COMMITTED GRAFT AND CORRUPT PRACTICES;
III. THAT RESPONDENT BETRAYED THE PUBLIC TRUST;
IV THAT RESPONDENT CULPABLY VIOLATED THE CONSTITUTION
pursuant to the Constitution which provides:
“Section 2. The President, the Vice President, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the constitutional commission, and the Ombudsman may be removed from office, on impeachment for and conviction of, culpable of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft, and corruption, other higher crimes or betrayal of public trust. (Article XI)
I. That respondent committed bribery.
Complaints accuse respondent of committing bribery committed as follows: “That from November 1998 to August 2000, respondent has received P10 million a month as bribery from jueteng lords as protection money channeled through Luis C. Singson, provincial governor of Ilocos Sur as may be seen from his affidavit dated September 14, 2000 (Annex “A” hereof).
II. That respondent committed graft and corrupt practices.
President Joseph E. Estrada violated the Constitution and stands guilty of graft and corruption when he directly requested or received for his personal benefit P130 million out of the P200 million released by Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Budget and Management allocated under R.A. 7171 in violation of Section 3(c) of R.A. 3019, as may be seen from the affidavit of Luis C. Singson, provincial governor of Ilocos Sur, dated September 25, 2000 (Annex “B” hereof).
President Joseph E. Estrada violated the Constitution and stands guilty of graft and corruption when he participated directly in the real estate business thru family-controlled corporation which constructed 36 townhouses in Vermont Park, Executive Village, Antipolo City, as shown in the PCIJ in the article on President Joseph E. Estrada’s family and financial interest. He also violated the Anti-Graft Law he is sworn to uphold. He filed his Statement of Assets and Liabilities for the year 1999, stating therein that he and his wife and children have business interests in only three (3) corporations. The President by that sworn statement also committed perjury and the offense of unexplained wealth because records show that he and his wife and mistresses and their children have other interests in other companies outside of the firms listed in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities. (Annex “C” hereof).
III. That respondent betrayed the public trust.
President Joseph E. Estrada betrayed public trust and violated his own oath of office when he unduly intervened in the Securities and Exchange Commission on behalf of a presidential crony.
Barely two months after assuming office in 1998, the President referred to the Philippine Gaming and Amusement Board (Pagcor) the application for an online bingo of Best World Gaming and Entertainment Corp. Despite absence of any bidding or notice to the public, Pagcor acted expeditiously and granted said corporation an exclusive franchise to operate online bingo nationwide on December 3, 1998 (Annex “D” hereof).
Therefore, in view of alleged stock manipulation on BW shares, the Securities and Exchange Commission started an investigation.
On or about November 1999, President Estrada called Chairman Perfecto Yasay Jr. of the Securities and Exchange Commission to intercede for BW, claiming that its principal and majority stockholder Dante Tan was not a manipulator but a victim of transactions which resulted in the rise and fall of BW shares, as shown by the affidavit of former Securities and Exchange Commissioner Perfecto Yasay Jr., which is hereto attached as Annex “E”.
The President called Chairman Yasay not once but five times. The act of the President violated his solemn oath of office to execute the law. He obstructed justice because he intervened with the duties of a public servant who was investigating transactions as a quasi judicial officer pursuant to the mandate of the law.
President Estrada betrayed public trust when he wantonly violated his official pronouncement during his inaugural speech, when he solemnly declared, “sa aking administrasyon, walang kamag-anak, walang kumpadre, walang kaibigan.”
The majority of the people cheered. They believed in him. They trusted him after having voted him into office the highest plurality in the election of May 1998.
He betrayed the people’s trust. When his son Jinggoy Estrada got into trouble with some doctors and personnel at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital in July 30, 1999, the President defended him instead of letting the law take its course (Annex “F” hereof). As a result, no one pursued the complaint. When another son, Jude Estrada, flew government plane to Cagayan de Oro at government expense, he also got into trouble, leaving the hotel where he stayed without paying the bills worth more than P60,000. Again, the President defended him instead of letting the law take its course.
He appointed Cecilia de Castro, a cousin, as presidential assistant, although he disclaimed knowing her in the wake of the textbooks scam in 1998 (Annex “G” hereof). He appointed a brother-in-law, Captain Rufino F. Pimentel, as director of Pagcor (Annex “H” hereof). He appointed another brother-in-law, Raul de Guzman, as member of the board of Regents of the University of the Philippines (Annex “I” hereof), and a nephew-in-law, the son of Mr. de Guzman, as presidential consultant on environment and water (Annex “J” hereof).
He appointed more than a hundred kumpadres and kaibigans as presidential assistants/consultants, extended franchises and favors such as the ones specified in Annex “K” hereof.
President Estrada has often proclaimed that his main program is to uplift the poor. But records show that during his tenure as President, he focused mainly on the participation in business for himself, his family and friends. The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism has revealed that there exist 66 corporate records wherein Estrada, his wife, mistresses and children are listed as incorporators or board members. Thirty-one of these companies were set up during Estrada’s vice-presidential tenure and one (1) since he assumed the presidency. Altogether they had an authorized capital of P893.4 million when they were registered.
The President and his family had shares of P121.5 million with a paid-up capital of P58 million when the companies were formed. Based on available 1998 and 1999 financial statements – 14 of the 66 companies alone have assets of over P600 million. He abetted gambling, tolerated excessive imports and smuggling to favor friends and relatives, to the prejudice of farmers, fishermen, and businessmen, as shown in the latest report of the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (Annexes “L,” “L-1″ and “L-2″ hereof).
President Estrada betrayed the public trust and his oath of office when he disobeyed the strict mandate of the Constitution that he sternly avoid conflict of interest in the conduct of his office.
On October 15, 1998, the First Lady, Mrs. Loi Ejercito, registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission her private foundation – the Partnership for the Poor Foundation, Inc. (Annex “M” hereof). Its primary purpose was to provide relief and livelihood to the poor. SEC records list its address at No. 1 Polk Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, which is also the legal residence of President Estrada.
The First lady signed the articles of incorporation and by-laws as one of its five incorporating directors, another one being Ramon Cardenas, deputy executive secretary in Malacañang.
A few months after its incorporation, the Foundation received a P100 million donation from the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office to fund its projects (Annex “N” hereof). Said donation exceeded the PCSO’s combined donation of P65 million to regular PCSO beneficiaries like orphanages and hospitals throughout the country.
The Constitution under Section 13, Article VII, expressly prohibits conflict of interest in the conduct of his office. When the President approves a P100 million donation of government funds to private foundation organized by his wife, deliverable to his address at No. 1 Polk Street, Greenhills, San Juan, Metro Manila, where the approving authority himself lives — that transaction violates the no-conflict rule mandated by the nation’s fundamental law.
IV. That respondent culpably violated the Constitution.
President Estrada violated the law and his own oath of office when he ordered the Commissioner of Customs to turn over 52 luxury vehicles to Malacañang for distribution to Cabinet members and other senior officials to give them more prestige and financial help – contrary to his oath to execute the law faithfully because said acts clearly contravened Section 3, Paragraph A of R.A. 3015, Anti-Graft Law, Section 2535, 2536, 2601, 2604 and 2610 of the Customs and Tariff Code.
President Estrada willfully violated the Constitution when he appointed certain members of his Cabinet, their deputies or assistants to another office or employment in direct contravention of Section 13, Article VII of the Constitution.
Said provision is a strict prohibition that has been interpreted no less by the Supreme Court in Civil Liberties vs. Executive Secretary, 94 SCRA 320, which declared that the prohibition stands, save only when the concerned official holds the other portion in ex-officio capacity or is otherwise allowed by the Constitution to do so. The reason for the prohibition, according to the Supreme Court, is to make the concerned officials give full attention to their jobs to maximize public benefit.
Despite said constitutional prohibition positively interpreted by the Supreme Court, President Estrada appointed the following to other offices or employment:
1. Senior Deputy Executive Secretary Ramon Cardenas as director of Manila economic and Cultural Office (MECO), chairman of the Philippine Coordinating Committee in the Asian Development Bank, chairman of Philippine Retirement Authority, and member of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board.
2. Chief Legal Presidential Counsel Magdangal Elma, who holds Cabinet rank – chairman of the Presidential Commission on Good Government.
3. Robert Aventajado, Secretary for Flagship Projects, garbage czar, head of solid waste management, and chief negotiator for hostages of the Abu Sayyaf.
4. Deputy Executive Secretary for Finance and Administration Ric Tan Legada – director of PNOC Shipping and Transport Corp. and diretcor of United Coconut Chemicals, Inc.
5. Asst Executive Secretary for Legal Affairs Gaudencio A. Mendoza, Jr. – director of Food Terminal, Inc. and director of Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority.
6. Presidential Adviser on Development Administration Raul de Guzman – director of San Miguel Corporation, regent of the University of the Philippines, and director of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company.
Public office is a public trust. When a teacher or government clerk commits a dishonest act. he or she is removed from the service. When the President no less commits bribery, commits graft and corruption and other high crimes, betrays the public trust, and culpably violates the Constitution and his own oath of office, he should also be removed.
No less than the people deserve faith and justice and honesty. No less than the Constitution mandates this. We therefore pray that Congress act favorably.
WHEREFORE, it is most respectfully prayed that this complaint after evaluation, be given due course.
Manila, for Quezon City Philippines 12 October 2000.