Commentary THE ICC PROBE Duterte's Drug war

Impeachment vs Duterte ‘in the larger scheme of things’


Rep. Gary Alejano of the Partylist Magdalo files the first impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.

There are things that you do knowing that its chance of success is not high but you do it because you know it’s the right thing.

Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano filed Thursday an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte. It’s the first against the President who was elected with 16 million votes and enjoys high trust and satisfaction rating nine months into his presidency.

The complaint alleged committed culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes.

“These actions constitute proper grounds for his impeachment pursuant to Sections 2 and 3, Article XI of the 1987Constitution, “Alejano said.

Specific crimes mentioned in the complaint are:

a. Duterte committed high crimes of bribery, multiple murder, and crimes against humanity when he adopted a state policy of inducing policemen, other law enforcement authorities, and vigilante groups into the extra-judicial killings of more than 8,000 persons who were merely suspected of being drug offenders;

b. His involvement in multiple murder as mastermind of the Davao Death Squad;

c. He committed graft and corruption with the hiring of 11,000 ghost employees when he was still a mayor of Davao City; and

d. His unexplained wealth amounting to more than Two Billion Pesos in deposits and credits that flowed into his numerous bank accounts.

“Panahon na para managot si Pres. Duterte sa mga kasalanan niya sa bayan,” said Alejano, a former Marine officer.

Expectedly, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a consistent critic of the President, welcomed Alejano’s filing of the complaint. “Being part of Magdalo, I welcome and support Cong. Gary Alejano’s filing of impeachment complaint against President Duterte. It is the last venue left for him to face the allegations against him.”

Trillanes and Alejano were among the more than 300 military officers and soldiers who made a stand against the government of Gloria Arroyo for corruption in the military in July 2003 in what is known as the “Oakwood Mutiny.”

They made another try against Arroyo in November 2007, who was by then exposed to have cheated in the 2004 elections, in what is known as the Manila Peninsula siege.

They were imprisoned for seven years. They were granted amnesty by President Benigno Aquino III in 2010.

Duterte’s allies belittled the complaint. House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez called it “plain and simple stupidity.”

Sen. JV Ejercito, whose father, former President Estrada, was also a subject of an impeachment complaint that preceded his civil-society-led ouster, said the timing is wrong. “ “Wala sa tamang panahon ang impeachment complaint na ito,” he said.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said an impeachment complaint is the “constitutional way of booting out a sitting president, so the Magdalo party list should not be criticized, much less mocked, for filing the impeachment complaint. At least this time they are not engaging in another Oakwood type of adventure.”

But Malacañang still see it as part of a destabilization plot against Duterte. Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella sees it as “part of a larger scheme of things.”

Solicitor General Jose Calida said the impeachment complaint won’t fly and mocked it: “It will crash like a rudderless plane flown by witless pilots.”

He may be right because impeachment is a numbers game and the voting in the restoration on the bill restoring the death penalty showed Duterte has the numbers.

But Abella is right in looking at it “in the larger scheme of things.”

Tony La Viña, an expert in international law, said a failed impeachment case against Duterte may provide the block that the planned suit against Duterte in the International Criminal Court for extra-judicial killings could use.

La Viña said the ICC rules provide that the court will only exercise jurisdiction over a crime, once national remedies have been exhausted.

You see, everything in this world has its purpose.