Alejano denies impeach bid part of destabilization plot

Mara Cepeda
Alejano denies impeach bid part of destabilization plot
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano also clarifies that his party is the only group responsible for the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, who filed the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, March 16, denied he is trying to destabilize the government. 

“Well it’s unfortunate that every time you utter criticism against this administration, they attribute this to destabilization. That is why I asked what is the definition of destabilization. If you [criticizing] this government is already a destabilization move, then there is destabilization all around!” Alejano said in a Rappler Talk interview.  (READ: Gary Alejano, mutineer and ex-Marine, leads impeach bid vs Duterte

The opposition lawmaker is accusing 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?)

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, however, tagged Alejano’s impeachment complaint as a form of “stupidity.” Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella also said the complaint seems to be part of a “larger scheme of things” allegedly designed to discredit the Duterte administration. 

But for Alejano, it is the President’s allies who are destabilizing their own government.

“So I believe that it is my duty and my responsibility in spite of the perceived support of the President or the popularity of the President. Even if how popular you are as a President, it does not mean you are exempted from being accountable to the violation of this Constitution,” said Alejano.

He also emphasized that only the Magdalo party was responsible for the drafting of the impeachment complaint. 

“I would like to state, this is solely the decision of the Magdalo. There’s no other group behind this,” said Alejano.

“Even the Liberal Party that they (Duterte’s allies) have been demonizing for so long are not part of this activity. The Vice President whom they have been hating so far is not aware of this. Even media are not aware of this! So it is my responsibility to inform concerned stakeholders about this complaint,” he added. 

Alejano said several lawmakers have expressed support for the impeachment complaint, but he 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.