By Ellson Quismorio
Opposition lawmaker, Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano doesn’t sound keen on filing another impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Speaking to House reporters in a press conference today, Alejano said lodging an ouster complaint against the populist leader would be “futile” if he won’t have enough support from the chamber’s members.
“Unless na may bago, ibig sabihin ng bago, may malaking portion ng miyembro ng Kongreso ay talagang sasanib sa pag-file ng impeachment complaint ay bago yan. Pero kung hindi, hindi magbabago (Unless there’s something new, as in there’s a huge portion of Congress members who would join the filing…if not, nothing will change). I think that will be futile,” he said.
Today, May 8, marked the end of Duterte’s one-year immunity from impeachment complaints filed at the House of Representatives.
This means that anybody can now file an impeachment rap against Duterte before the Office of the Secretary-General at the House for as long as it is endorsed by at least one congressman.
It should be noted that Alejano holds the distinction of being the first solon to file and endorse an impeachment complaint against Duterte in March last year. The committee on justice took up the case on May 8, 2017, thus kicking off the yearlong immunity from other such cases.
The law only allows one impeachment rap against the President per year so as not to derail the state’s affairs.
Alejano, in a 16-page complaint, sought Duterte’s removal from office on five grounds: culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, bribery, graft and high crimes.
One could argue that Alejano’s experience last year at the hands of the committee–which was chock-full of Duterte allies–is dissuading him from filing another impeachment complaint. The Justice panel, headed by Oriental Mindoro 2nd district Rep. Reynaldo Umali, dismissed the Marine captain-turned-congressman’s complaint for lack of substance after just one week of deliberations.
Some two-thirds of the 292-strong House is part of the vast Partido Demokratiko Pilipino–Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) coalition in the legislature. Duterte serves as party chairman.
This notwithstanding, Alejano said Magdalo is still studying the possibility of seeking Duterte’s impeachment anew now that the ban has lapsed.
He stressed that the objective of having Duterte impeached is to strip him of his immunity from suit, which he enjoys as Chief Executive.
“Well yung pagpa-file ng impeachment complaint ay isang bagay na pinag-uusapan ng grupo (The filing of an impeachment complaint is being discussed by the group)…If we have the kind of makeup right now in the House of Representatives, we will go through the same process.”