De Lima, Trillanes slam House panel for junking Duterte impeachment
MANILA, Philippines – Two of the fiercest critics of President Rodrigo Duterte slammed members of the House of Representatives for junking the impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive.
Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV questioned the House justice committee's decision to scrap the complaint just because the complainant, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, has no "personal knowledge" of the accusations.
De Lima, former justice secretary and a lawyer by profession, said nowhere in the 1987 Constitution (Article 11, Section 3) requires that a member of Congress who filed the complaint must personally know the articles of impeachment.
"Had it been otherwise, past impeachment complaints, such as those against then president Joseph Estrada and former chief justice Renato Corona, would have likewise failed because no member of the House who ever filed or endorsed an impeachment complaint had any personal knowledge of the grounds constituting the complaints against the concerned impeachable officials," De Lima said in a statement on Tuesday, May 16.
The House justice committee, filled with the President's allies, found Alejano's complaint sufficient in form but insufficient in substance.
But De Lima said the complaint is substantial, citing the House's rules of impeachment procedures. It states that a complaint has substance "if there is a recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the committee."
"What is clear to us now is that the President's allies in the House of Representatives are willing to ignore the rule of law, the bounds of fair play, and any semblance of professional decency in order to protect, however irrationally, their principal," De Lima said.
"The dismissal of the impeachment complaint by the committee on justice in the House of Representatives is a testament to the failure of the House to perform its duty to keep the executive powers in check, when congressmen prevented a legitimate effort to hold the President accountable for his actions," she added.
Despite this, De Lima said she hopes the plenary would still overturn the panel's dismissal. (READ: Alejano slams House as Duterte puppet after losing impeachment bid)
Other 'modes' to reveal the truth
Trillanes shared De Lima's view that a complainant is not required to have "personal knowledge" of the accusations.
"Baluktot 'yung pangangatwiran nitong mga nag-aabogado kay Duterte. Hindi ako nagtataka kung bakit nawiwindang ang justice system dahil 'yung mga abogado natin it's either walang alam or baluktot 'yung pag-interpret ng batas," Trillanes said in an interview.
(Those lawyering for Duterte have crooked ways of reasoning. I am not surprised why we have a faulty justice system because our lawyers are either not knowledgeable or have crooked ways of interpreting the law.)
But Trillanes said there are still other ways to reveal the truth against Duterte.
"Maraming paraan. Abangan na lang nila kung ano man 'yun. Alam 'nyo noong inimpeach si President Erap napakababaw ng basis, gano'n din kay Corona. Ito, buong mundo na 'yung nakakapuna – bukod sa mga pagpatay ng libo-libo, pagnakaw ng bilyon-bilyon, at secret dealings with China. Mabibigat ito," the senator said.
(There are other ways. Just wait and see. You know, President Erap was impeached based on a shallow reason, same with Corona. Here, the whole world has noticed the killings of thousands of people, the stealing of billions of pesos, and secret dealings with China. These are heavy accusations.)
Referring to lawmakers who junked the complaint, Trillanes said: "It's either natatakot sila or talagang gusto nilang, or nakikinabang sila sa administrasyon or worse, naniniwala sila na tama 'yung pinaggagagawa ni Duterte."
(It's either they are afraid or they are benefiting from the administration, or worse, they believe that what Duterte is doing is right.) – Rappler.com