House formally drops Duterte impeachment bid

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The House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 30, officially junked the impeachment complaint filed against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.

With 217 affirmative votes, the House has adopted the Justice Committee’s Resolution 1015 which recommends the dismissal of the impeachment bid filed by Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano against the president.

Apart from Alejano, only three other lawmakers voted against the resolution. They were Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman, Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, and Akbayan Rep. Tom Villarin.

No lawmaker abstained from voting.

In March 16, Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte over the president’s alleged links to the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS), the massive killings in his war against illegal drugs, and his alleged undeclared wealth worth nearly P2.2 million.

A supplementary complaint against the president was also filed in March 30 for his alleged inaction over territorial issues concerning Benham Rise and the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).

Article 11, Sec. 2 of the 1987 Constitution states that the president “may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust.”

On Monday, May 29, the Justice Committee unanimously voted for the dismissal of the impeachment case against the president due to Alejano’s lack of “personal knowledge” in his allegations.

Lawmakers said that Alejano failed to procure “authentic records” and only based his supporting claims on “hearsay.”

“Now, be it resolved by the House of Representatives to dismiss the verified complaint and the supplemental complaint for the impeachment of President Duterte filed by Rep. Gary Alejano for the reason that the complaints, while defective yet sufficient in form, are not sufficient in substance,” the resolution read.

The Committee also recommended that “the Rules of Procedure in Impeachment Proceedings of the House of Representatives be amended to explicitly allow the dismissal of the impeachment complaint based on insufficiency in form.”

Alejano, for his part, expressed great dismay over the House panel’s decision to junk the bid.

“The members of this chamber have effectively provided a year of immunity to the President to hold him accountable to his actions,” he said.

Section 3, Article XI of the 1987 Constitution states that “no impeachment proceedings shall be initiated against the same official more than once within a period of one year.”

Alejano pointed out that the dropping of the impeachment case also showed the whole nation “how the rules were bent” and “how this institution became an accessory to the countless deaths in our streets.”

He went on to say, “By voting to dismiss, this institution effectively shied away from showing that it is independent, and is a trustworthy venue for its people to hold the President accountable to his actions and policies.”



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