MANILA, Philippines – Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said his filing of the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte is a battle meant to be fought in the name of all Filipinos.
“I want to emphasize that this is not my battle alone. This is the fight for all Filipinos. So I am just one [person]. I am just an instrument. I just provided a venue for expression,” said Alejano in a Rappler Talk interview on Thursday, March 16.
“Now, it is the responsibility of every Filipino and every member of this House to decide on their own and based on their conscience on what they’re seeing right now,” he added.
The opposition lawmaker accused Duterte of culpably violating the Constitution, engaging in bribery, betraying public trust, committing graft and corruption, and other high crimes. (READ: Gary Alejano, mutineer and ex-Marine, leads impeach bid vs Duterte)
Alejano, whose party led the botched Oakwood mutiny in 2003, cited in his complaint the bloody war on drugs, Duterte’s alleged involvement in the creation of the Davao Death Squad when he was mayor, and his supposed unexplained wealth in the form of bank deposits and undeclared properties, among others. (READ: Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte)
The opposition lawmaker urged his colleagues to assess the impeachment complaint while the 17th Congress is on a 6-week break.
“I am appealing to the members of the House to consider this impeachment complaint, considering the fact now that it seems that the system of checks and balances is being eroded by the kind of leadership of Duterte right now,” said Alejano.
“And we don’t want to see someday that Supreme Court and the legislature have been significantly diminished in such a way that we cannot anymore check on the excesses of the executive department.”
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez already called Alejano’s impeachment complaint a form of “stupidity,” while Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella said it seems to be part of a “consolidated” effort to discredit Duterte.
Alejano, however, denied trying to destabilize the government.
Getting more support
According to Alejano, Magdalo had long planned the impeachment complaint against Duterte. One of their members, Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, has repeatedly accused the President of having millions of pesos in unexplained wealth.
But Alejano also said that the ousting of 12 House leaders who did not vote yes to the death penalty bill was a factor in the timing of the complaint’s filing.
“I think it is a factor because those who feel that they don’t have the space anymore in this kind of leadership, I think they will find somebody else [to support them]. But again, I will respect the respective positions of those in the House, especially those ousted from their positions,” said Alejano.
He plans to “go around” in the next few weeks to rally more support for the impeachment complaint.
“But as of now, I’m happy I was able to file that finally. Then I will go around and talk to people. Yes, that is a logical consequence of this activity. I have to talk to civil society, to our supporters, so that they will further understand the reason behind why I filed this impeachment complaint.” – Rappler.com