House refers Duterte impeachment case to justice committee

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 10 2017 01:01 AM

MANILA - Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday formally referred the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano against President Rodrigo Duterte to its Justice Committee. 

This paves the way for the panel to hold hearings as early as next week.

In his complaint, Alejano alleged that Duterte committed betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and graft and corruption.

This is in connection with allegations of state-sanctioned killings in the war on drugs, Duterte's policy in the West Philippine Sea, and his alleged ill-gotten wealth.

The referral was one of the last issues taken up before Tuesday's short plenary session was adjourned.

House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas earlier said the complaint filed by Alejano had already been referred by the Speaker's office to the Rules Committee so that it can be referred to the Justice Committee, the panel tasked to handle impeachment cases.

"The timetable I'm looking at is that it will be included in the Order of Business on Tuesday, with Plenary referring it to the Committee on Justice on the same day. By Wednesday, the Committee on Justice can schedule it anytime for hearing on May 15 and/or thereafter. We will give priority to it considering that the highest official of the land is the subject of the complaint," Fariñas explained.

The Justice Committee is tasked under the rules to determine sufficiency in form, substance, grounds and probable cause so that it can recommend appropriate action to the plenary. 

If at least one-third of the plenary votes in favor of the complaint, it can be tried at the Senate.