WATCH | Duterte allies on impeachment raps: Too well coordinated, it will crash, it's stupid
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(UPDATE 4 - 9:24 p.m.) MANILA, Philippines - The impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte filed Thursday by Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano was “too well coordinated as to seem coincidental” and “part of a larger scheme of things,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.
At a press briefing soon after Alejano filed the complaint at the House of Representatives, Abella maintained that Duterte had not committed any of the offenses he is accused of, including sanctioning the thousands of extrajudicial killings that have marked his war on drugs.
Alejano’s complaint cited five grounds: culpable violation of the Constitution, engaging in bribery, graft and corruption, betrayal of public trust and “other high crimes.”
“What can you expect? Representative Alejano is a toady of his braggart patron – Senator (Antonio IV) Trillanes,” Solicitor General Jose Calida said. “They must be dreaming. 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.”
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, who leads the pro-administration “super majority” in the House of Representatives, initially greeted the filing of the complaint with a dismissive text message: “We are all entitled to our own stupidity hehehe.”
He later sent another message saying: “All charges are fabricated, they seem to believe their own lies.”
House Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas belittled the complaint, claiming the allegations raised by Alejano “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 Senator Trillanes.”
Farinas also said pointed out that the complaint erred in including alleged extrajudicial killings in Davao City when Duterte was mayor there.
“An official is impeached for acts committed in his present office,” he said, noting that despite the allegations against him, Duterte was elected president, thus “the clear mandate given to him by the people has to be respected. This is the jurisprudence even with respect to elected or re-elected local officials.”
Senator JV Ejercito was equally dismissive of the complaint saying there was “no compelling reason” to impeach Duterte and calling the move “destructive.”
But Senator Panfilo Lacson said the 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,” he added, referring to the short-lived mutiny by junior military officers, who included Alejano and Trillanes, against then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo in 2003.
“All I can say is, without necessarily associating myself with them in the matter of impeaching PRRD (Duterte), my simple message is, good luck to them,” Lacson added.
Trillanes expectedly expressed support for the complaint.
“I welcome and support Congressman Gary Alejano's filing of (the) impeachment complaint against President Duterte. It is the last venue left for him to face the allegations against him,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Vicente Sotto III refused to comment because “in case it reaches the Senate, we will be an impeachment court and therefore should be impartial.”
“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,” Senator Francis Pangilinan said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros said “any citizen has the right to file a petition if they believe they have a valid case against any impeachable public official.”
Senator Paolo Benigno Aquino IV called for "a transparent and just resolution" of the complaint. (with a report from JV Arcena, News5 and Ernie Reyes, InterAksyon.com)
Click and watch the video report of News5's Maricel Halili below: