House panel approves dismissal of PRRD impeachment

MANILA — The House of Representatives’ justice committee on Monday unanimously approved its committee report on the dismissal of the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.

A total of 17 lawmakers present during the hearing voted to approve the 15-page report, which found the complaint filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano sufficient in form but insufficient in substance.

House justice committee chair Reynaldo Umali said this “formality” will effectively start the one year ban for any ouster try against the President.

“By unanimous vote, the committee report on resolution dismissing the verified complaint for impeachment and supplemental complaint affidavit filed by Rep. Gary Alejano against President Rodrigo Duterte, effectively putting a one year ban on any and all impeachment complaints that may be filed against the president, is hereby approved unanimously,” Umali said.

According to the committee report, the complaint was insufficient in substance because the recital of facts was “all mere hearsay” after Alejano admitted that he had no personal knowledge of the allegations he made in his complaint.

The committee report will be forwarded to the House plenary for approval.

The House justice committee last Monday voted to reject the impeachment complaint lodged against President Duterte for insufficiency in substance with a total of 42 votes.

Alejano sought the ouster of Duterte for his state policy on illegal drugs which resulted in a spate of summary executions and extrajudicial killings; his alleged links in the vigilante killings by the Davao Death Squad; and his alleged PHP2.2 billion hidden wealth.

Alejano also filed a supplemental complaint on Duterte’s alleged failure to assert the country’s sovereign and maritime rights over disputed territories with China including Benham Rise, Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea.

Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas raised the issue of verification in Alejano’s complaint, which reads: “I/We hereby confirm and affirm that the material allegations made therein are true and correct of my/our own personal knowledge and as culled from authentic records.”

Fariñas asked Alejano if he has personal knowledge over Duterte’s alleged hand in the extrajudicial killings and summary executions of more than 8,000 drug suspects as a result of the administration’s anti-drug campaign, as well as the 1,400 vigilante killings executed by the DDS.

Alejano admitted that he has not witnessed the killings, but insisted that he has personal knowledge based on authentic records from open sources, policy statements, and media pronouncements of the President.

“I have personal knowledge based on the testimonies and affidavits of witnesses,” Alejano said.

Fariñas said Alejano “clearly has no personal knowledge” on the material allegations he made in his complaint, noting that it is riddled with “complicated quadruple hearsay.”

“The material allegations, kung hearsay lang, sasayangin mo lang ang panahon namin dito (if these are hearsays, then you are just wasting our time)” said Fariñas.

The majority leader warned that Alejano might face an ethics complaint and a perjury case because of his hearsay allegations.

“You are producing statements under oath which are not your own, bawal po yan(This is unlawful),” Fariñas said.

“You are now coming to us and in fact i am warning you, you may be subjected to ethics case here,” he added. Filane Mikee Cervantes/

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