DOJ, SolGen say impeachment plaint vs President baseless

The first impeachment complaint against President Duterte was filed before the Office of the Secretary General in the House of Representatives on Thursday, March 16, by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano .

Alejano  cited in his complaint on five grounds,  including alleged violation of the constitution, bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes.

However, the Department of Justice and the Office of the Solicitor General said that the impeachment complaint has no legal basis. (Separate story on  page 2.)

In a press conference that followed  the filing, Rep. Alejano told reporters that high crimes allegedly committed by the President Duterte involved the killing of over 8,000 drug offenders and the reported 1,400 killings by the Davao Death Squad when the President was still the mayor of Davao City.

The killings of said drug defenders, Alejano pointed out, did not pass through the instituted democratic process in the country.

On the alleged corruption, the Magdalo solon said President Duterte should be impeached for amassing P2.2 billion in undeclared wealth.

He said the graft and corruption charges are supported by records of transactions and bank accounts.

He alleged that the President, when he was the mayor of Davao City, employed more than 11,000 ghost employees.

Alejano also told reporters that a supplementary complaint regarding the President Duterte’s alleged secret arrangement with China over the ownership of Benham Rise, an act that he said was  tantamount to culpable violation of the Constitution will also be filed in Congress.

Complaint build on lies

But for House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, the impeachment complaint against President Duterte will not prosper.

Alvarez told reporters on Thursday that Alejano’s complaint lacks sufficiency in substance and is built on lies.

He also described the move as “stupid” as the complaint is baseless.

The accusations of state killings, graft and corruption are all fabricated, he added.

“That is stupidity, you know? We know that all these charges are fabricated. They seem to believe their own lies,” the speaker told reporters.

He also expressed confidence the impeachment complaint will not fly in the House of Representatives.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas also told reporters that a public official can only be impeached on acts committed while holding his present office.

Fariñas said most of the allegations in the impeachment complaint took place when President Duterte was still the chief executive of Davao City.

“Since the allegations made while President Duterte was mayor were widely publicized and known by the voters when they elected him as President, the clear mandate given to him by the people has to be respected,” the majority leader pointed out.

Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre also gave his comment to the media on the filing of impeachment complaint, saying that it has no factual and legal basis.

The allegations, Aguirre added, are not based on concrete and solid evidence that will support the five grounds the complainant enumerated.

“Mere allegations without proof are not evidence,” Aguirre said.

He added that the complaint is part of the plot to destabilize the administration of President Duterte.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, for his part hit Alejano, saying that the Magdalo solon is a “puppet” of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.

Trillanes is a staunch critic of President Duterte.

Both Alejano and Trillanes were part of the Oakwood mutiny and the siege of Manila Peninsula in that attempted to topple the administration of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Calida added.

In a statement to the media, Calida said: “The mischiefs of the Magdalo outcasts, Senator Trillanes and his acolyte, Representative Alejano, are afoot again. Obviously, they have not learned their lessons in the Oakwood and Manila Pen foolish misadventures to topple the government of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, they want a reprise of their failed dreams by filing an impeachment petition against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte.”