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WATCH | Duterte faces impeach raps; Palace calm, Solgen says it won't fly

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano shows the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte. (Michael Varcas/Philstar/InterAksyon.com)

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

(UPDATE 15 - 9:06 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Thursday filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte accusing the chief of executive of culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes. 

Among the specific allegations in the complaint are: 

1. Culpably violating his constitutional oath to faithfully execute the laws of the land and willfully committing the high crimes of bribery, multiple murder and other crimes against humanity particularly by adopting a state policy of inducing policemen, other law enforcement officers and/or other members of vigilante groups into the extra-judicial killings of more than 8,000 persons who were merely suspected of being drug pushers, drug users and/or committing other crimes including other petty criminals, without benefit of trial and without due process of law

2. Betrayal of public trust, bribery, graft nd corruption and other high crimes for organizing the Davao Death Squad when Duterte was still mayor, which resulted in the extra-judicial killings, assassinations and/or executions of over 1,400 people as testified by self-confessed hit man and DDS member Edgar Matobato and retired Davao senior police officer Arturo Lascanas

3. Betrayal of public trust by acting in a manner "subversive of the rule of law and justice to the manifest injury of the people of the Republic of the Philippines." 

4. Graft and corruption and other high crimes in connection with the hiring in 2014 of 11,000 ghost employees and DDS members, whose total salaries amounted to P708 million, based on a report from the Commission on Audit

5. Unexplained wealth for allegedly having numerous secret bank accounts worth P2.207 billion and properties that he failed to declare in his Statements of Assets, Liabilities and Net Worth

Alejano said the complaint did not yet include the issue on Benham Rise. 

No cause for panic, it won't fly

At the Palace, presidential spokesperson Ernesto Abella said the filing of the impeachment complaint was no cause for panic. He said that amid the noise from the sides, the Duterte administration would continue its effort towards nation-building. 

"Hindi naman cause of concern na natataranta ang mga tao...Nakikita lang, napapansin. Tutuloy po tayo sa nation-building. Marami po talagang ingay na nanggagaling mula sa gilid...[But as the President had said], I have built a city and I will build a nation," said Abella. 

Abella also urged Filipinos to "strengthen their backbone and start doing nation-building."

Asked by reporters if the complaint would prosper, Abella said, "We cannot speculate." 

Asked if the President would rally his allies at the House and the Senate to block the move, Abella said Duterte "has never manipulated in that sense" and "respects the independence of his so-called colleagues." 

Meanwhile, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that he wasn't suprised with Magdalo's move. 

"What can you  expect? Rep. Alejano is a toady of his braggart patron -- Sen. Trillanes. They must be dreaming," Calida said. 

"They are not even in the league of Don Quixote. Impeachment won't fly. It will crash like a rudderless plane flown by witless pilots," he added. 

Filing of complaint is proof there's no destab plot vs Duterte

In a press conference Thursday morning, Alejano said his group was hoping that the complaint would serve as a vehicle for the people to voice out their opposition to Duterte's alleged abuses and crimes. 

"Layon namin na maging behikulo ito upang magkaroon ng boses...para sa pagtutol sa mga abuso at krimen ni Presidente Duterte," said Alejano. 

"Kami ay naniniwala na dapat siyang managot sa krimen na kanyang ginawa. Ayaw namin na tanggapin ng taumbayan na legal ang pagpatay sa bansang ito."

He stressed that the filing of the complaint was a proof that there was no destabilization plot against Duterte.

Alejano said Magdalo would not do anything outside the law to oppose Duterte's presidency.

"Wala kaming plano na iniisip na labas sa batas." 

"Wala kaming extra-legal dito, walang other means to oust the President," added Alejano. 

He urged Filipinos not to wait for the killings to reach 20,000 or 50,000 before they air their opposition against Duterte's leadership, saying the filing of the complaint would be the "opportunity for frustrated" Filipinos to reject his presidency. 

This was the first impeachment complaint filed against Duterte nine months since he took his oath of office in June 2016.

Alejano is one of the seven lawmakers at the House who make up the opposition bloc. He rose to prominence after joining the group of junior military officers, collectively known as Magdalo, who launched a short-lived mutiny against President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, the leader of Magdalo, is a vocal critic of Duterte.

Alejano has been a voice of dissent at the House on the spate of extra judicial killings linked to the Duterte administration's war on illegal drugs.

In a statement this week, Alejano also raised the question of the President committing treason when the latter said he allowed the Chinese to enter Benham Rise.

"The fact that the president is making arrangements with a foreign nation who is known to grab islands in the South China Sea without the knowledge of the Secretary of nNational Defense and the Filipino people could be tantamount to sell out or treason itself. At what cost? For a few billion dollars in loans and grants?" he said.

Allegations are just hearsays

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said on Thursday that “it has turned out that the Senate hearing on the alleged DDS was a preview or dry run of the Impeachment complaint.”

“I cannot imagine how Rep. Alejano can state under oath in paragraph 3 of the "Verification" of his complaint that "I/We hereby confirm and affirm that the material allegations made therein are true of my/our own knowledge and as culled from authentic records,” he said.

“First, he is the lone complainant, yet the "Verification" uses both the singular and plural pronouns "I/We" and "my/our,” the lawmaker said.

“Which goes to the second and most important observation: the allegations made in the complaint are obviously not of his own knowledge since most of them are palpably hearsay either from what he read or saw on the news or from tales of Sen. Trillanes.”

Fariñas said most of the allegations were allegedly committed when Duterte was mayor or vice mayor but “an official is impeached for acts committed in his present office.”

“Since the allegations made while he was mayor were widely publicized and known by the voters when they elected him as President, the clear mandate given to him by the people has to be respected. This is the jurisprudence even with respect to elected or reelected local officials,” he said. 

'At least Magdalo is not doing an Oakwood' 

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the complaint against Duterte "is the constitutional way of booting out a sitting president, so Magdalo party-list  should not be criticized much less mocked for filing the impeachment complaint" 

"At least this time they are not doing an Oakwood. Now, whether or not the move will get the one-third votes of congressmen required to impeach the President is another matter," said Lacson in a text message to reporters. 

He said another hurdle would be the Senate where at least 16 of 24 sitting senators must vote to convict.

"All I can say is, without necessarily associating myself with them in the matter of impeaching PRRD, my simple message is, good luck to them," said Lacson.

Se. Ana Theresia "Risa" Hontiveros also said that "impeachment is part of our democratic process of exacting accountability."

"Any citizen has the right to file a petition if they believe they have a valid case against any impeachable public official," she said. 

"I have not yet read the petition. In the meantime, as a senator who is constitutionally-obliged to sit as judge in the event that this process prospers, I will leave it to our colleagues in the House of Representatives to determine the merit of the petition," added Hontiveros.

Meanwhile, Sen. Francis "Chiz" Escudero said he could not yet comment on the filing of the complaint "as it may constitute pre-judgement in case it reaches the Senate."

Nevertheless, Escudero said filing an impeachment complaint "is the prerogative of every congressman and rests within the sole jurisdiction and discretion of the House of Representatives."

"Inter-chamber courtesy dictates nothing less," he added. 

For for his part, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said “the process of impeachment is enshrined in our Constitution as a mechanism of public accountability.”

“Whether we agree or disagree with the filing of the complaint we must respect the process as part of our constitutional democracy,” he said. 

Click and watch the video report of Zony Esguerra below:

 

 

 

 

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