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Philippine House rejects Aquino impeachment

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MANILA, Philippines (AP) — The Philippine House of Representatives' justice committee on Tuesday rejected three impeachment complaints against President Benigno Aquino III, killing the challenges.

The committee, dominated by Aquino allies, voted 54-4 against each of the complaints, declaring them insufficient in substance.

The complaints were filed by mostly left-wing activists and sponsored by the House's left-wing bloc. They charged Aquino of culpable violation of the constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption.

The complaints cited Aquino's implementation of a major economic stimulus program declared partly unconstitutional by the Supreme Court and a defense cooperation agreement that gives American troops greater access to bases across the Philippines. Aquino has denied any wrongdoing.

The son of pro-democracy icons, Aquino won the presidency by a wide margin in 2010 on a promise to rid his nation of corruption and widespread poverty.

"Mr. Chair, this is really a terrible day for accountability, a terrible day for the congressional power over the purse, a terrible day for the Filipino people," said Rep. Neri Colmenares, one of the sponsors of the complaints, addressing Rep. Niel Tupas Jr., the committee chairman.

About a dozen youths who raised protest banners and chanted "Oust Noynoy!" had to be forcibly evicted from the room by security personnel. Noynoy is Aquino's nickname.

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