Malacañang, President’s allies shrug off complaint, defend Chief Executive

 

MANILA – A Philippine party-list representative has sought the impeachment of President Rodrigo Duterte for the deaths of more than 8,000 drug suspects, for allegedly amassing 2.2 billion in unexplained wealth, and for other high crimes.

Congressman Gary Alejano of the Magdalo party-list group filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte at the office of the House of Representatives secretary-general yesterday.

Malacañang Presidential Palace and allies of the President however shrugged off the complaint.




Under the rules of the House of Representatives, an impeachment complaint that is filed against an incumbent president will be referred to the justice committee, which will determine if the case is sufficient in form and in substance. If the two requirements are met, the complaint is endorsed to the plenary for a vote.

The complaint should garner a one-third vote of the 292-member Lower House before it is endorsed to the Senate, which will hold an impeachment trial. A vote of 16 of the 24 senators is needed to impeach the President.

After filing the 16-page complaint, Alejano, a former mutineer, told journalists, “we are of the firm belief that President Duterte is unfit to hold the highest office of the land and that impeachment is the legal and constitutional remedy to this situation.”

Alejano was part of the Magdalo group, which staged a failed coup attempt in 2003 and in 2007 led by then Navy officer now Senator Antonio Trillanes, against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

This time, Alejano said they are following the legal method provided in the 1987 Constitution in removing the President, adding that there is nothing extra-legal about filing the impeachment complaint.

Alejano admitted that he faces an “uphill climb” in seeking to impeach Duterte as most of the congressmen are allies of the President.

The complaint cited culpable violations of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, and graft and corruption as grounds for the impeachment of Duterte.

Alejano accused Duterte of abetting and inducing the police and vigilantes to kill drug suspects in its war on drugs called Oplan Tokhang (Double Barrel).

He also linked Duterte to the Davao Death Squad (DDS), which carried out the killings of criminals during Duterte’s stint as mayor, based on the testimonies of self-confessed DDS hitman Edgar Matobato and former police officer Arturo Lascañas.

Alejano also accused Duterte of allegedly committing graft and corruption by hiring 11,000 ghost employes when he was mayor and for amassing P2.2 billion in unexplained wealth deposited In varios bank accounts.

House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, an ally of Duterte, shrugged off the impeachment complaint saying, “we are all entitled to our own stupidity” while House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said the impeachment complaint is flawed when it cited alleged acts committed by the President when he was still Davao mayor.

A President can only be impeached for charges committing while in office, Fariñas pointed out.

At Malacañang, Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said he considers the filing of the impeachment complaint as part of a bigger strategy to destabilize the administration.

Abella said “everything seems to be so coordinated at this stage”, pointing out that Alejano and Trillanes are allies and the impeachment complaint was filed just aftef Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo gave a video message to the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs where she criticized the drug war of the Duterte administration.

“Events like these seem to be too well-coordinated as to just be coincidental,” he said. GAC/Expat Media

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