DOJ: Impeachment case filers vs Duterte can't be arrested

MANILA, Philippines – Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said on Tuesday, July 2, that individuals who file an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte will not be arrested because the act of filing a complaint is not a crime.

“Is filing a complaint for impeachment an unlawful act? And my answer to that question is certainly no,” Guevarra said on Tuesday.

Guevarra was reacting to the statement of top cop General Oscar Albayalde that the Philippine National Police was ready to arrest impeachment filers if Duterte would order it.

“If there is an order from the President and we see a violation of the law, why not?” Albayalde said on Monday, July 1, in response to questions.

Albayalde himself was reacting to Duterte’s own threat that he would jail individuals who would try to impeach him.

To this, Guevarra said, “From the DOJ’s point of view, of course we always follow the rules and the law of the matter, and unless somebody is caught in the act of committing a crime – you know, generally a warrant of arrest will be needed so there are only a few situations where a warrantless arrests are allowed or permitted under our rules – so in situations where an unlawful act is not being committed in the first place, there will be no legal basis for a arrest,” 

Filing an impeachment complaint is a constitutional exercise, and nowhere near a crime.

The impeachment talks against Duterte were spurred by statements of the President and  his officials that showed leniency towards China and its activities in Philippine waters. (READ: Duterte says he can't ban Chinese from fishing in PH waters)

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio had said that to allow China to fish in Philippine waters, as earlier stated by Duterte, was an unconstitutional act.

One ground for impeachment is culpable violation of the Constitution. – Rappler.com

Lian Buan

Lian Buan covers justice and corruption for Rappler. She is interested in decisions, pleadings, audits, contracts, and other documents that establish a trail. If you have leads, email lian.buan@rappler.com or tweet @lianbuan.

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