Opposition lawmakers threw the impeachment process against Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo into chaos Tuesday, claiming her backers were unjustly trying to quash the case.
Some members of the House justice committee walked away from their seats, throwing papers into the air, as committee chairman Rep. Simeon Datumanong tried to cut off debate for a vote on which of the three impeachment complaints should be considered, the AP informs.
Arroyo is the second Philippine president in five years to face impeachment. Pro-Arroyo legislators dominate the 236-member House, but opposition lawmakers have said they are confident they can get 79 members to support the charges against Arroyo and try her in the Senate.
Opposition lawmakers and left-wing groups warned of massive protests if pro-Arroyo legislators kill the impeachment charges on a technicality.
Dozens of left-wing activists, wearing monkey masks, rallied near the House's main gate, carrying placards that read: "Impeach Gloria! No more monkey business."
About 1,000 protesters, including opposition lawmakers and politicians, marched toward Congress, where they were joined by more than 2,000 other protesters as riot police stood by.
"If Mrs. Arroyo thinks she can secure the presidency if the impeachment complaint is thrashed, she's wrong," said Emmi de Jesus, a protest leader. "If she's not impeached now, she will risk ouster by 'people power'."