MANILA - For Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, requiring that complainants have personal knowledge of the allegations in an impeachment complaint is a double standard since the House of Representatives did not exercise the same rule during the impeachment of Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012.
In a phone call, Alejano said, "Kaya nga sa kanila double standard eh nag-walk in lang 'small lady.' Ginamit rin nila. Sila rin yun. Ginamit din nila yung information ng 'small lady,' na ngayon, sa akin, di pa ako binigyan ng chance na magpresenta ng ebidensiya."
"If it fits their objective, sabihin; pag hindi, kahit ginawa nila noon, babaliin rin nila sarili nila," he added.
Alejano's impeachment complaint against President Duterte was dismissed by the Justice Committee last week after he admitted he had no personal knowledge of his allegations on the extra judicial killings in the war on drugs, the alleged ill gotten wealth of the president and the president's positions on the West Philippine Sea and Benham Rise.
In 2011, 188 congressmen impeached Corona for misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth. Corona was convicted by the Senate after then-prosecutor Rey Umali, now chair of the Justice Committee, received documents on Corona's bank records allegedly from a mysterious "small lady" at the senate premises.
Umali said this was a learning curve for the House.
"I went through a lot also during my time when the 'small lady came out and I was investigated. Tiningnan yun kung saan binigay sa akin yun because whoever provides that information can be liable under the Bank Secrecy Law so hindi ganun ka-simple yun," he said.
Asked if Corona could have been convicted without evidence provided by the small lady, Umali instead advised Alejano to learn his lessons from that experience if he wants to file again next year.
"He can come back and lay the basis for all those things he wants us to appreciate now, even if it’s haphazardly. To my mind and to the mind of the many members, medyo frivolous yung complaint," he said.
Alejano had wanted the proceedings to look into the bank records of the president, as what happened during the Corona impeachment trial.
Umali's committee affirmed on Monday the dismissal of the complaint at their level so that it can be voted upon in plenary soon. The committee said the complaint had insufficient substance after Alejano admitted he had no personal knowledge of his allegations.
Umali recalled that he himself went through the same level of scrutiny when he was among the prosecutors of the Corona impeachment at the Senate in 2012.
"But here comes Congressman Alejano, presenting papers, actually matrix yun of the many so-called accounts or moneys of the Duterte family. Saan niya kinuha yun? And then he claims it is authenticated or authentic. How can that be authentic when the Bank Secrecy Law prohibits the divulging of those," he said.
Umali dispelled criticisms that the personal knowledge requirement makes impeachment practically impossible.
"Not necessarily because you know, what is important is that whoever will stand trial can really present his case with convincing evidence."
Speaking about the Corona trial, Umali's committee will submit its report and resolution to the Rules Committee which shall then include it in the agenda of the plenary.
"We will submit the report to the Committee on Rules and hopefully, probably at the earliest Wednesday. If not, by next week, Monday, we hope that this matter be tackled and/or approved in Plenary."