House seen nixing impeach rap vs Duterte ‘out of respect’ to voters—solon
The expected dismissal of the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte next week will show that the House of Representatives respects the will of the people, who elected him with 16.6 million votes, according to Assistant Majority Leader Salvador Belaro Jr.
The House, dominated by the President’s allies, is set to hold a hearing on the impeachment complaint against him on Monday, and is seen to reject the case.
“The people are also very aware that it has only been less than a year since President Duterte assumed office on June 30, 2016. All those 16.6 million voted not just for him but also for the full-year term for the President,” said Belaro, who is also the 1-Ang Edukasyon party list representative.
“We in the majority are here to respect that and that means rejecting the impeachment complaint,” he added.
Mr. Duterte got 16.6 million out of the 42.6 million votes cast for President during the 2016 elections.
The impeachment complaint against Mr. Duterte, filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, accuses the chief executive of being responsible for the killings of thousands of drug suspects and of amassing P2 billion in unexplained wealth.
In a supplemental complaint, Alejano also accused the President of turning his back on his duty to protect Philippine territory from Chinese incursions.
Belaro also said any move to impeach Vice President Leni Robredo would not fly.
“By the same measure and reasoning, and as expressed clearly by no less than President Duterte himself in the past months, the impeachment complaint against Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo will also not prosper,” he said.
Impeachment complaints had been prepared against Robredo, but no lawmaker has formally endorsed these. Robredo won with 14.4 million votes out of 41.1 million votes cast for the vice presidency.
Belaro said impeachment should not be taken lightly, as he noted that his recourse had been “abused.”
He indicated that the country has had enough of the exercise with the impeachment of President Joseph Estrada and Chief Justice Renato Corona.
“There is a reason impeachment is a difficult process and considered as a weapon of last resort against the highest public officials who abuse their power, go against the will of the people, or cast aside the rule of law,” he said.
“Impeachment should not be a whimsical exercise. Impeachment saps away political energy our constitutional institutions need to get our country on to the path of progress,” he added.
Meanwhile, to better ensure political stability, Belaro also pushed for changes in the way the country elects the President and Vice President when moves to amend the constitution begin.
One is requiring a run-off phase between the two candidates who got the most votes to ensure that the elected President would have a mandate from majority of voters.
“This majority mandate is needed to counter any residual post-election efforts meant to undermine the new leadership,” said Belaro.
The President and Vice President must also come from the same party, because any rift between the two would be counterproductive as it would just initiate a new election cycle just after another ended, he said.
“That is ridiculous. What we have now is ridiculous,” he added.
He also does not support a parliamentary system because of the tumult that could arise from frequent changes of prime ministers.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.