CONGRESS DISMISSES TANCANGCO IMPEACH RAPS

Quezon City, Feb. 4, 2003 - The House voted last night to dismiss the impeachment complaint against Election Commissioner Luzviminda Tancangco.

The House sustained the finding of the committee on justice that Tancangco's alleged "sins" did not meet the standards of impeachable offenses.

There were 128 members who answered the roll call at 7 p.m. last night, the first time the House mustered a quorum since last week when the report was submitted for voting.

A one-third vote of the total House members was needed to overturn the justice committee's report.

As of 10 last night, the vote was 69 to 54 in favor of sustaining the committee report. That left only five members still to vote, not enough to reach the 73 votes needed to overturn the report.

The House members also found it "unfair" that Tancangco was singled out for decisions made by the seven-man collegial Comelec.

The impeachment complaint alleged that Tancangco, as head of the Comelec modernization panel, approved the P6.6 billion contract for computerization despite an approved appropriation of only P1.2 billion.

Biliran Rep. Gerardo Espina said Tancangco's alleged offenses were "mere administrative offenses" and did not call for impeachment.

Rep. Harlin Abayon (Samar) said Tancangco should instead be commended for "doing her job well."

Rep. Didagen Dilangalen (Maguindanao) said the House should not play into hands of the members of "perfumed set" who sought to punish Tancangco for not caving in to their "insatiable desire to enrich themselves." (By DENNIS GADIL, Malaya)


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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