Philippine lawmakers kill impeachment case against Duterte


Allies of President Duterte in the House Justice Committee voted down the impeachment complaints filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.

The Justice Committee of the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Duterte backers, reviewed the complaint and declared it insufficient. Beside him is the committee chairman, Rep. Reynaldo Umali of Oriental Mindoro.

The early rejection of the complaint demonstrates the challenges faced by opponents in using democratic mechanisms to take on Duterte, who enjoys a public approval rating of 82 percent, and a massive social media support base. "How can we proceed with that?" Where will you complain? A complaint is verified if the complainant can attest that the allegations are true of the complainant's personal knowledge. The two also repeatedly barred Alejano from making a statement.

"That shows he really deserves to be a respondent of one of the ICC cases, that shows [they are covering up the] crimes [of the President]", said Alejano, referring to the Speaker. "Witness ako to the affidavits, to the testimonies", he said, citing the testimonies of self-proclaimed Davao Death Squad members Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas.

Alejano, a former Marine captain, accused Duterte of bribery, murder, and crimes against humanity. "If Alejano goes to the ICC as a court of last resort against the President, then let him be", he said. They control the ethics committee.

"What do they want?"

"I culled from important records including the news reports regarding the authentic records".

"I am not elected in Congress to play around".

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The President reminded that he was investigated by the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice, when Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, headed those agencies. It's about the victims of this extrajudicial killing policy. Here, the whole world has noticed the killings of thousands of people, the stealing of billions of pesos, and secret dealings with China.

Alejano also filed a supplemental complaint regarding Duterte's alleged failure to assert the country's sovereign and maritime rights over disputed territories with China, including Benham Rise, Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea.

"As I have repeatedly said in my interviews, the impeachment complaint will not reach first base because the allegations are based on hearsay".

Lagman said he believes the justice committee violated the constitutional requirements on due process by dismissing the Alejano complaint outright.

Fariñas, considered a legal luminary (finished his law degree in Ateneo in 1978 and topped the bar the following year), was in his elements when he zeroed in on the supposed weakness of the complaint, which is the lack of a personal knowledge by the complainant on the accusations brought against the President.

"The president respects a co-equal branch of government and does not interfere in the political exercise", he added in a statement. "Neither is he beholden to any group and he remains focused on governance", Abella said.

But Trillanes said there are still other ways to reveal the truth against Duterte.

"As we know, we've witnessed it before, I'm not a lawyer thus they discredit my person", he noted.