Alvarez tags impeachment complaint vs Duterte as ‘stupidity’

Mara Cepeda
Alvarez tags impeachment complaint vs Duterte as ‘stupidity’
(UPDATED) Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez doubts the substance of the first impeachment complaint filed against the President, saying it will likely be rejected by the House

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez belittled the impeachment complaint slapped against President Rodrigo Duterte by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano on Thursday, March 16. 

“We are all entitled to our own stupidity. Hehehe,” said Alvarez in a text message to Rappler. 

Alejano, an opposition lawmaker, accused Duterte of culpably violating the Constitution, engaging in bribery, betraying public trust, committing graft and corruption, and other high crimes. (READ: First impeachment complaint filed vs Duterte

The impeachment complaint cited the President’s alleged involvement in the creation of the Davao Death Squad when he was mayor; his war on drugs since he became president, which has led to the alleged summary killing of thousands of Filipinos; and his supposed unexplained wealth in the form of bank deposits and undeclared properties, among others. (READ: Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte)

The 1987 Constitution sets specific grounds for impeachment of the president – treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust. 

All impeachment complaints must also emanate from the House, where at least 267 lawmakers are allied with Duterte. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?)

Lack of substance? 

Alvarez, however, doubts the substance of the complaint. 

“Huwag na po tayo makarating doon sa numbers. Pag-usapan na lang po natin ‘yung substance. I don’t think na doon sa substance po ay papasa iyan,” Alvarez said in a GMA News To Go interview. 

(Let’s not even talk about numbers. Let’s talk about the substance. I don’t think it will be passed based on its substance.) 

“Kasi kailangan po kasi, impeachment complaint, para umusad iyan, kailangan sufficient in form and substance bago po iyan pumunta sa plenaryo. Ang sinasabi ko po na maaring ‘yung form ay ma-comply, pero ‘yung substance, malabo po, na ‘yung mga in-enumerate nila na grounds for impeachment,” said Alvarez.  

(For an impeachment complaint to prosper, it needs to be sufficient in form and substance before it goes to the plenary. What I’m saying is that the form may comply, but the substance they enumerated for the grounds for impeachment is weak.)

The Constitution mandates that any impeachment complaint must be included in the House’s order of business within 10 session days after the filing of the complaint. The complaint must then be referred to the proper committee within 3 session days. 

At least 1/3 of all members of the House is needed to “either to affirm a favorable resolution with the Articles of Impeachment of the Committee, or override its contrary resolution.”

‘Unfortunate remark’

In a Rappler Talk interview, Alejano said he hopes Alvarez would show respect to his colleagues in Congress. 

“He is the Speaker and he should exemplify the professionalism and the maturity as a leader, as one of the leaders of the country. I’m saddened by that comment because what I did is based on a constitutional provision. That is legal. That is not illegal,” said Alejano.

“To say that I am stupid, that is an unfortunate remark from a Speaker. But again, I hope he will afford the same respect not only to me but also to my constituents and to the other people and the members of this House. Because I myself, I respect his position as a Speaker of this House,” he added.

In another press conference with reporters, Alejano conceded that the odds are against him.

“Kung numbers ang pag-uusapan, nakita natin sa death penalty bill kung paano nabraso ng liderato ng Kongreso ang death penalty… So it will be an uphill battle,” he told reporters in a press conference. 

(If you look at the numbers in the death penalty vote and how the House leadership maneuvered for its approval, then [impeachment] is an uphill battle.)

He said several lawmakers have signified support for him, but refused to disclose their names or how many they are for now. – Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.