MANILA, Philippines – For Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, the impeachment complaint he filed against President Rodrigo Duterte is “graver” compared to the once faced by ousted president and now Manila Mayor Joseph “Erap” Estrada.
“Actually, when you see the complaint, there are different bases. In the case of Erap before, it was only because of jueteng. It was only because of jueteng! He did not kill anybody! He did not use public funds actually. It was actually betrayal of public trust,” said Alejano.
“Now, if we compare the gravity of the offense, I think this is far more grave compared with that of Erap Estrada,” he added.
Alejano is accusing Duterte of culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, betrayal of the public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes. (READ: Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte)
In his complaint, the lawmaker cited the President’s alleged involvement in the creation of the Davao Death Squad when he was mayor, the bloody war on drugs, and Duterte’s alleged unexplained wealth in the form of bank deposits and undeclared properties, among others.
Alejano also cited similarities in the impeachment complaints filed against Duterte and Estrada. He said both presidents enjoyed strong public support at the time of the filing. (READ: Alejano ‘ready to face consequences’ after impeachment complaint)
“Erap at that time was popular – I think more popular than Duterte right now. And in the case of Erap, he was close with the Armed Forces of the Philippines at the time. I should know because I was one of the Armed Forces as well,” said Alejano.
Estrada’s impeachment complaint in 2000 stemmed from the P10 million he supposedly received monthly from November 1998 to August 2000 from jueteng lords as protection money.
He also allegedly received P130 million worth of kickbacks out of the P200 million released by then Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno for tobacco farmers.
Estrada, who was also supported by the poor like Duterte, faced trial starting December 7, 2000 to January 16, 2001.
His impeachment trial was aborted on January 16, 2001 after House private prosecutors walked out of the proceedings in protest of the alleged bias of the senator-judges. This triggered the EDSA People Power Revolution II, which led to Estrada’s ouster.
Alejano, however, knows he will have to fight an “uphill battle” for his impeachment complaint against Duterte. The President is allied with at least 267 lawmakers, a possible indication of how strong Duterte’s legislative shield will be against any impeachment attempts. – Rappler.com