The recent filing of the impeachment complaint against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte is the headlines of most newspaper in the Philippines and in the TV and radio news as well.
It’s not every day that someone files or lodges a complaint against the incumbent or sitting President.
The question in the mind of most people is: Will Congress impeached Pres. Duterte?
The last impeachment proceeding tried by Congress was the impeachment case against Pres. Joseph Estrada, who is now the Mayor of the City of Manila. In that case, the trial was not concluded and no verdict was issued because the opposition at that time had walked out from the proceedings. This has resulted in the People Power II or “Edsa Dos”, which eventually ousted Pres. Estrada and replaced by the then Vice Pres. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Present Impeachment Case Against Duterte
The impeachment complaint was filed yesterday March 16, 2017 by Magdalo Party-List Representative Gary Alejano before the Office of the Secretary-General of the House of Representatives.
The grounds relied upon by the complainant against Pres. Duterte are culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, betrayal of the public trust, graft and corruption and other high crimes.
It is alleged that Pres. Duterte was engaged in bribery when he gave bribe money to the members of the Davao Death Squad (DDS) during the time that he was still the mayor of Davao City in order to kill people which are his personal and political enemies. It is also alleged in the impeachment complaint that bribery is also involved in order to kill drug lords and drug users in connection with President Duterte’s war on illegal drugs.
There was also an allegation of Pres. Duterte’s hidden wealth believed to be in the amount of 2.207 billion pesos. These amount were allegedly deposited in different branches of the Bank of the Philippines Islands (BPI) at Julia Vargas Avenue, Pasig City and Edsa Greenhills as well as in Banco de Oro Unibank Branch in Mandaluyong City.
Another allegation is the existence of more than 11,000 contractual employees who are in truth “ghost employees” in Davao City while Pres. Duterte was still a mayor which results in the loss of around 708 million pesos to the government.
There was also an allegation of non-reporting of more than 50 properties in his Statement of Assets and Liabilities and Net Worth. (SALN)
Prospect of Eventual Impeachment Proceedings
Many people are doubtful if the present impeachment complaint against Pres. Duterte will ever prosper in the House of Representative which has the exclusive power to initiate all cases of impeachment for the simple reason that majority of the Members of the House of Representatives are political allies of Duterte.
It is possible that the complaint will be dismiss at the level of the Judiciary Committee of the House of Representative.
While the prospect of Pres. Duterte being impeach is less likely, the filing of the impeachment complaint itself is part of the democratic and legal processes provided for under the 1987 Philippine Constitution. It is a wake-up call indeed.
If there will be a whitewash or stonewalling on the part of the political allies in the House of Representatives of Pres. Duterte, then it is possible that there would be an Edsa People Power Part III or “Edsa Tres” lead by the people themselves.
Image source: http://www.manilatimes.net/duterte-faces-impeach-rap/317635/