House hearing on Duterte impeachment complaint eyed on May 15

Mara Cepeda
House hearing on Duterte impeachment complaint eyed on May 15
Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas shares his target timetable for the impeachment complaint after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez moved to have it included in the order of business

MANILA, Philippines – Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said on Thursday, May 4, that he is targeting May 15, at the earliest, for the committee on justice to begin reviewing the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte. 

Fariñas said Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez already referred the document to the committee on rules, the panel tasked to include the impeachment complaint in the order of business of the House plenary.  

“Yes, it was referred to the committee on rules yesterday, and I had it included in our agenda for Tuesday, May 9. If the committee on rules decides to have it included in the order of business for Tuesday or Wednesday, it will then be referred to the committee of justice,” said Fariñas, chairman of the rules panel.

He then shared the timetable he is considering for the impeachment complaint against Duterte.  

“The timetable I’m looking at is that it will be included in the order of business on Tuesday, with plenary referring it to the committee on justice on the same day. By Wednesday, the committee on justice can schedule it anytime for hearing on May 15 and/or thereafter,” said Farinas.

The justice panel will determine whether or not the impeachment complaint is sufficient in form and substance.

If at least a third of the House affirms the complaint, it will be forwarded to the Senate for an impeachment trial presided by the Chief Justice. A two-thirds vote of all members of the Senate would convict the President and remove him from office. 

Opposition lawmaker and Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano filed the first impeachment complaint against the President in March. (READ: Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte

He wants Duterte impeached over the latter’s alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad, the ongoing bloody war against drugs, the “ghost” employees at the Davao City local government when Duterte was mayor, the President’s alleged unexplained wealth, and his approach to reported Chinese incursions on Benham Rise and the  West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) dispute with China.

The odds are against Alejano, as Duterte counts at least 267 out of 293 lawmakers as his allies in the House.

Fariñas reiterated the House “will give priority” to the impeachment complaint “considering that the highest official of the land is the subject.” (READ: House to ‘prioritize’ reviewing Duterte impeachment complaint– 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.