President too is accountable.
PICS: aljazeera and Freeimages.com
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The Representative from Magdalo, Gary Alejano, who had earlier threatened to file a complaint for impeachment, did so today. This fulfills the initial requirement of a complaint to Secretary General of the House of Representative for impeaching the President.
Now, the Secretary General will scrutinize and assess the complaint, to determine whether a case exists. He will also consult various authorities on several legal clarifications that may be required.
The Secretary General will then assess the magnitude of the offences and whether the allegations will stand. They have to be strong and provable to warrant the impeachment of the President of the Philippines.
Moreover, there are guidelines in the constitution to decide which offenses qualify for forming a basis for impeachment.
Therefore, the Secretary General needs to confirm whether the allegations confirm to the dictates of the Constitution of the Philippines.
The Constitution prescribes the offenses that are the prerequisites for impeaching a President. They are:
2. Graft and corruption,
3. Culpable violations of the constitution,
4. Betrayal of Public Trust, and
5. Other high crimes.
The first test of the impeachment motion, if allowed by the Secretary General, will be the lower house. This house will be real test for the since it is loaded with super allies of the President and his party.
The allegations of Alejano pertain to the period when he was the Mayor of Davao City. He addressed a press conference demanding the impeachment of the President due to bribery which is a reason for impeachment.
Consequently, he alleged that Duterte bribed vigilantes of the Davao Death Squads to eliminate drug users and peddlers. That was when he was the Mayor of Davao City and in the thick of his war on drugs.
Therefore, he demanded the impeachment of the President though I would beg to differ with him.
The Secretary General may reject this allegation on two counts:
1. Secret funds are an administrative tool with security agencies to lure witnesses and agents working in the field. The terminology of bribe may not be applicable, in this case, and
2. When the constitution speaks of bribery, it probably says that the President should not take bribe. When it is only administrative disbursal of funds, the clause does not apply.
His main grouse is that the democratic process did not allow arbitrary killing of Filipinos. We need to observe the processes that the justice machinery has laid down.
The second allegation seems to be a bit serious and in the realm of possibility, if Alejano’s claims are found true. It concerns graft and corruption to which he claims to have the documentary evidence.
Furthermore, Alejano alleged that Duterte had amassed an illegal income of P 2.2 billion as Mayor of Duterte. In fact, he had made appointments in fictitious names and pocketed the salaries paid, he charged.
This illegal wealth is available in bank accounts and proof existed for that. Moreover, Duterte had not declared this wealth declared in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities Networth (SALN).
Thus, he not only indulged in corruption but also committed perjury by concealing his ill-gotten wealth, he said.
These proofs would arm the Filipino with ammunition to fight the corrupt ways of the President, Alejano claimed.
The complaint for impeachment blamed Duterte for over 8000 deaths in his administration’s anti-narcotics drives “Oplan Tokhang” and “Oplan Double Barrel”.
By publicly endorsing the killings of users and peddlers of drugs, Duterte had committed murder. Duterte launched this anti-narcotics drive at the height of his reign in Davao City; the killings were extrajudicial.
In addition, the complaint contained the records of Arturo Lascanas and Edgar Matobato self-confessed killers. They claimed to have murdered drug pushers on the orders of Duterte when they were members of Davao Death Squads.
The complainant requested the authorities to take appropriate action for the misdeeds of the President when he was Mayor.
That period saw the death of more than 1400 persons, the complaint read.
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Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson
FRIDAY, 10 MARCH 2017