MANILA, Philippines – The former soldier who filed the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte said he is willing to face the consequences of going against the highest official of the land.
Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano said in a Rappler Talk interview Thursday, March 16, that while he may have fears, he will not be backing down from the fight.
“Well as a normal being, I don’t want to have troubles in life. I have my fears in life, but I have a duty to make. I have a duty to respond to [this]… And I should muster my courage in order to do this because this is not about me. This is about our country,” said Alejano on Thursday, March 16. (READ: Duterte impeachment complaint ‘a fight for all Filipinos,’ says Alejano)
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)
Alejano is also aware that the odds are against him since Duterte is allied with at least 267 lawmakers.
Former soldier continues to fight
“As I’ve said, I was once a soldier and every time we go out of our detachment, there is already a possibility of you being dead. So every time we go out, we’re ready, I’m ready to face the consequences,” said the lawmaker.
He recalled the time he joined the Oakwood mutiny against then-president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
“When we staged a protest against the past administration of Arroyo, we were ready with the consequences. We were detained actually for 7 years. And we faced that consequence! Our families have suffered,” said Alejano.
“Now, we are responsible citizens of this country. Every time we do something, we should be ready to face the consequences of our actions,” he added.
Alejano and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV were among the former soldiers who were jailed to face court martial and rebellion charges following their failed coup against Arroyo in 2003. (READ: Gary Alejano, mutineer and ex-Marine, leads impeach bid vs Duterte)
In 2007, the same year Trillanes won a Senate seat, Alejano again marched with Trillanes out of a Makati court that was hearing rebellion charges against them, to call for Arroyo’s ouster.
The mutiny failed again and Arroyo, despite her unpopularity by then, kept her hold on the military up to her last day in office.
In 2008, the armed forces dismissed Alejano and his fellow officers after a court martial found them guilty of violating the Articles of War.
Arroyo’s successor, then president Benigno Aquino III, granted the Oakwood mutineers amnesty soon after he won the presidency in 2010. – with reports from Carmela Fonbuena/Rappler