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Alejano: Leni impeach bid used as bargaining chip vs Duterte ouster

/ 03:35 PM May 17, 2017
Gary Lejano - House of Representatives - 15 May 2017

Rep. Gary Alejano gestures before a justice committee hearing on Monday, May 15, 2017, on the impeachment complaint that he filed against President Rodrigo Duterte at the House of Representatives. Philippine lawmakers killed an impeachment complaint accusing Duterte of crimes against humanity for the thousands of people who have died in his anti-drug crackdown. (Photo by AARON FAVILA / AP)

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday said President Rodrigo Duterte’s allies in the House of Representatives used as a “bargaining chip” the impeachment threat against Vice President Leni Robredo to convince their colleagues not to support the impeachment complaint that he had filed against the Chief Executive.

In an INQ&A interview, Alejano alleged that members of the so-called supermajority in the lower chamber could have negotiated with Robredo’s allies and possibly offered not to pursue the impeachment threat against the Vice President in exchange of not backing his complaint against Duterte.

READ: House committee kills impeach rap vs Duterte

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“Ang nakikita ko dito, ginamit nilang bargaining chips itong possible impeachment complaint against the Vice President and even the Ombudsman para ‘yung mga supporters and allies of the Vice President ay hindi po magsusuporta sa impeachment complaint against the President. Parang nagkaroon ng, huwag kayong magsusupport diyan, hindi rin kami magfa-file ng impeachment complaint. Parang nagkaroon na ng palit-ulo ba,” Alejano said.

The House justice committee on Monday declared the impeachment complaint sufficient in form but insufficient in substance, with most members noting that Alejano did not have “personal knowledge” of the accusations against Duterte. Alejano has accused the President of high crimes, including alleged hidden wealth, ordering police to kill criminals, and mishandling of the South China Sea case.

Lawmakers from Robredo’s Liberal Party earlier vowed not to support any impeachment complaint against the two highest officials of the land.

READ: Palace welcomes LP stance against impeachment bid

Alejano said the junking of his impeachment complaint was aimed to send a message to lawmakers that those who opposed the President and his policies would face backlash, adding that some of his colleagues feared for the wellbeing of their constituents.

“Kung sino ang nagsasalita in the open against the policies of the President, talagang ginagantihan at binabalikan, lalong lalo na kapag meron silang distritong inaalagaan, they don’t want their constituents to suffer for their stand against the President,” Alejano said.

“Merong nag-signify dati na pipirma, meron ding nagsabi na kailangang magconsult before supporting the impeachment complaint sa kanilang consitutents at mga partido. I understand that the fear that is created by the war on drugs is real,” he added.

Alejano went on: “This is a message to the politicians that if you go against the policies of the President, this is what will precisely happen to you. Naiintindihan ko po, nakakabahala lang. Kung patuloy ang atmosphere na hindi, I don’t know kung may Kongreso pa tayo sa susunod na taon o kung may eleksyon pa, dahil nawawalan na tayo ng depense para sa demokrasya.”

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The complaint would have been subjected to a plenary vote had the committee found it sufficient in substance. A one-third vote of the 292-member House is needed to automatically send the complaint to the Senate for trial.

Malacañang has welcomed the dismissal of the complaint, calling the allegations “rehashed, trumped-up charges aimed at undermining the duly constituted government.” JE

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TAGS: Alejano, duterte, impeach, Impeachment, Leni Robredo, robredo, Rodrigo Duterte
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