Alvarez: De Lima 'stupid' for raising Duterte impeachment
MANILA, Philippines – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez did not mince words against Senator Leila de Lima, who said that President Rodrigo Duterte can be impeached for admitting he had personally killed criminals.
"Hahaha hindi lang siya sinungaling, tanga din pala (she's not just a liar but she's also stupid). You cannot just impeach an official for mere words," said Alvarez in a text message to reporters on Thursday, December 15.
"You have to prove the offense. What if the President will say, 'I was only joking?'" he added.
Duterte had previously admitted killing criminals in Davao City when he was still mayor. Self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad Edgar Matobato alleged before senators that Duterte had ordered and participated in summary killings.
In an interview with CNN International, De Lima said "mass murders certainly fall under the category of high crimes and high crimes is a ground for impeachment under our Constitution."
De Lima, the fiercest critic of Duterte, also called him an "unfit President."
Like Alvarez, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas believes Duterte cannot be impeached based on his statement on killing criminals.
"The President said that such happened when he was a mayor patrolling the streets of Davao to keep them drug- or crime-free," Fariñas told reporters.
He added that when De Lima was justice secretary, the Department of Justice (DOJ) had investigated allegations that Duterte was behind killings, but nothing had been proven.
"In fact, then DOJ Sec De Lima had investigated such cases and came up with no actionable offenses. The President could only be impeached by acts or omissions committed as President!" said Fariñas.
Alvarez and Fariñas are Duterte's party mates at the Partido Demokratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan.
They said De Lima violated Article 150 of the Revised Penal Code when she advised her former security aide and alleged bagman Ronnie Dayan to snub the House probe into the narcotics trade inside the New Bilibid Prison.
Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II also said there is nothing wrong with Duterte killing suspects because such acts could be done "under justifiable circumstances." – Rappler.com