House plenary unlikely to revive 'dead' Duterte impeach rap: lawmakers


Posted at May 16 2017 11:13 AM

Congressman Gary Alejano defends his impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Congress in Quezon City, Monday. Erik De Castro, Reuters

MANILA - A plenary of the House of Representatives is unlikely to revive the "virtually dead" impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, two lawmakers said Tuesday.

"The committee has already junked or dismissed the complaint on the alleged insufficiency of substance. It's virtually dead. The plenary would preside over the funeral rites," Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman told ANC's "Headstart."

The House justice committee on Monday declared the impeachment raps insufficient in substance due to the supposed failure of complainant Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano to back his allegations with personal knowledge.

The panel is now set to forward its decision to the House plenary, which could either uphold it or overturn it with the votes of 98 congressmen.

House justice panel vice-chairperson Salvador Leachon surmised that "not even 10 or 20" congressmen will vote to oppose the dismissal of the complaint.

"You must accept the reality that, well, it's political...Congressmen are also human beings. They have the conscience, they have the heart," Leachon said in the same ANC interview.

Leachon said Alejano's complaint was "prepared haphazardly" and had only cited hearsay evidence like online media reports and unauthenticated documents.

Lagman however claimed that the panel was only supposed to look at the complaint's form and substance, and that the examination of evidence and annexes should have come later.

Alejano, he said, was "deprived of a proper hearing" because of lawmakers' political interests.

"The complaint of Congressman Alejano was summarily and precipitately dismissed. It signaled the requiem for due process, fairness and judiciousness, and hallelujah to inordinate partisanship," he said.

Alejano himself has slammed the House panel for being "unwilling and unable" to hear his complaints due to Duterte's popularity.

He said he might now convince his allies to put their weight behind the International Criminal Court case, because there were no Philippine institutions able to hold Duterte to account.