Opposition legislators formally called for the impeachment of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos today on corruption charges principally connected to his family's alleged acquisition of overseas property said to be worth more than $400 million.
Members of Marcos' ruling party quickly killed the impeachment effort in an extraordinary parliamentary committee session tonight and filed a counterresolution amid signs of great distress over the issue in government ranks.
Today's submission marked the first time that a legal impeachment resolution and supporting "verified complaint" have been filed against any Philippine president.
While the governing party succeeded in bottling the resolution up in a committee and then killing it after opposition members walked out, senior government officials said the impeachment resolution increased the likelihood that Marcos will call an early presidential election to seek a new mandate before his current six-year term expires in 1987.
The impeachment measure expanded on a draft resolution distributed by opposition legislators on July 22, when Marcos opened the current parliamentary session. The legislators stopped short of formally filing the initial resolution then in favor of gathering further documentary evidence against Marcos and collecting more signatures.
The resolution, signed by 56 members of the 200-seat National Assembly, accused Marcos of "graft and corruption, culpable violation of the constitution, gross violation of his oath of office and other high crimes."
An accompanying complaint charged that during his 20 years in power, Marcos has enriched himself, members of his family, high-ranking government officials and trusted "cronies" through use of his "authoritarian powers." It said much of this "ill-gotten wealth" was channeled into investments overseas in violation of Philippine foreign-exchange laws.
The complaint listed 17 properties in the United States and Europe allegedly owned or controlled by Marcos and his wife, Imelda.
A presidential spokesman denied that Marcos owned any of the properties and said that none of the overseas investments mentioned were in his name. But he declined to comment on a number of properties that the impeachment complaint said were owned or controlled by Imelda Marcos.
Members of Marcos' New Society Movement party immediately filed a counterresolution, sponsored by 109 assembly members, condemning the impeachment move as "nothing more than a product of unsubstantiated news reports, irresponsible speculations and gossips and baseless conclusions motivated by petty partisan intentions."