SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez has declared that the impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte will be dismissed outright for lack of substance.
Alvarez, secretary general of President Duterte’s PDP-Laban, said the complaint filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano might have a chance to comply with the requirements of form but not on the requirement for sufficiency in substance.
“We all know that all these charges are fabricated, they seem to believe their own lies,” said Alvarez, who earlier dismissed Alejano’s complaint saying “we are all entitled to our own stupidity.”
“I do not think the complaint is sufficient in substance. I am sure about that,” Alvarez said.
The complaint accuses Duterte of culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and of responsibility for the killings related to the government’s war on illegal drugs.
“As a lawyer, I would say it is easy to draft a complaint pertaining to culpable violation of the Constitution but to prove it is another thing,” Alvarez said.
As to the other charges, Alvarez said they are simply baseless.
Alvarez also noted the fate of past impeachment complaints against previous presidents does not augur well for the Magdalo complaint against Duterte.
“We have yet to see any impeachment of any president except the Estrada impeachment. Impeachment is a hard thing to do,” Alvarez said, noting the burden of proof is with the complainant so the President has nothing to prove.
“When you allege something, you have to prove it, that’s the rule, that’s the law. I mean, you cannot accuse me of anything and yet you will shift the burden of proof on my part… that is pure and simple stupidity,” Alvarez said.
An impeachment complaint must gain the support of at least one-third of all members of the House of Representatives before it can be sent to the Senate for trial.
Administration allies are also convinced that the effort to unseat Duterte would be a futile exercise.
Rep. Rodolfo Albano of Isabela said that the “dream” of the Magdalo party-list to impeach Duterte “may turn into a nightmare.”
“I do not think it will prosper,” Albano said.
Eastern Samar Rep. Ben Evardone shared a similar view. “I think it will not prosper as the bases are not that solid.”
Parañaque Rep. Gus Tambunting added: “The President is very popular so it will not succeed.”
But Rep. Tom Villarin of Akbayan, a party-list group allied with the Liberal Party, said the Palace should not take the complaint lightly.
“The charges are serious enough to warrant the House leadership not to dismiss it outright,” Villarin said.
Villarin also said it was “unfortunate” that Alvarez described the complaint as stupid.
“It tarnishes the very institution he serves and lowers the level of discourse to gutter language,” he said.
Villarin said the Magdalo party-list’s group filing of an impeachment complaint against President Duterte “is well within the constitutional parameters of seeking redress and exacting accountability against a sitting President who wields enormous powers with impunity.”
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said the people behind the impeachment complaint against Duterte may not really be serious, but merely want media mileage.
“They filed the complaint after the break so they achieved their objective to create news. So I don’t think they really care whether or not they succeed in their impeachment,” Pimentel said, adding that the move shows their disrespect for voters’ “overwhelming mandate” to Duterte.
Also on Friday, lawyer Oliver Lozano filed a falsification and ethics complaint against Alejano for filing an impeachment complaint based on hearsay with no probative value.
“He has no personal knowledge. His allegations are based on unproven information,” Lozano said in the complaint he filed with the Ombudsman.
Lozano claimed Alejano’s impeachment complaint was only a move to oust Duterte and install Vice President Leni Robredo as president.
“I believe that the complaint for impeachment is part of sustained propaganda to eliminate [Duterte] and elevate Leni [Robredo] in order to usher the return of the yellow gang: plunderers, drug lords, gambling lords, smugglers, oligarchs, land grabbers, the vindictive, corrupt and incompetent,” his complaint read. With Sandy Araneta
COMMENT DISCLAIMER: Reader comments posted on this Web site are not in any way endorsed by Manila Standard. Comments are views by manilastandard.net readers who exercise their right to free expression and they do not necessarily represent or reflect the position or viewpoint of manilastandard.net. While reserving this publication’s right to delete comments that are deemed offensive, indecent or inconsistent with Manila Standard editorial standards, Manila Standard may not be held liable for any false information posted by readers in this comments section.