Miércoles, 20 Junio, 2018

Philippine parliamentary panel rejects impeachment move against Duterte

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Phnom Penh Impeachment complaint vs Duterte now with committee on justice
Eleena Tovar | 15 May, 2017, 19:52

Philippine lawmakers on Monday voted to throw out an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the grounds for the case were mere hearsay.

The failed proposal, filed by legislator Gary Alejano, called for Duterte's impeachement for "culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, engaging in bribery and other crimes".

The impeachment complaint against President Duterte was over before it even began, and just on the first day of deliberations. The lawmaker from Cebu then asked House committee on justice chairman Reynaldo Umali whether throwing out the complaint will not mean it will come back in amended form after one year.

The decision to stop the impeachment complaint, which also accused Duterte of murder, corruption and unexplained wealth, was expected.

The dismissal of the complaint, filed in March, bars any new impeachment case against Duterte until next March.

Police have reported killing about 2,700 people since Duterte took office at the end of June and immediately launched his war on drugs. The government refutes that, releasing data on May 2 showing almost 4,600 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and homicides found to be drug-related.

Justice panel committee members demanded that Alejano shows first-hand or "personal" knowledge of the crimes alleged in the complaint.

"I confirm that I am not the witness", he said while insisting that the allegations are "based on authentic records". His appeals to be allowed to explain were rejected.

Alejano had wanted to make an opening statement to present his case but the committee disallowed him, preferring instead that he answer Farinas' questions. "We will be violating the very essence on what is the truth and right in any impeachment proceedings", Castro said.

After an executive session, several lawmakers pointed to Alejano's lack of personal knowledge about the alleged crimes, calling his allegations hearsay.

A frustrated Alejano told reporters that he'll discuss with his colleagues from the Magdalo party whether they should file their own complaint before the ICC.

"So that we can be clear on how we will dispose of this particular issue", Umali said, responding to the motion of panel vice chair Henry Oaminal to suspend the hearing.

"Now that they have killed the impeachment, which is the only way for the people to hold the president accountable, where will we exact justice from him, he is immune to suits", Alejano said.

"We maintained that it was from rehashed, trumped up charges aimed at undermining the duly constituted government", Abella said.