Marathon hearings set for 1st impeach case vs Duterte
MANILA — The House of Representatives will prioritize and devote marathon hearings to the first impeachment case against President Duterte, similar to its inquiry on Sen. Leila de Lima’s alleged drug links in the national penitentiary.
“Like the [Ronnie] Dayan investigation, it took us 10 hours just to tackle. This will be given the same treatment, just to get away with it and to get it moving, as the case may be,” Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said, referring to De Lima’s bodyguard who was among the witnesses heard at the congressional investigation on drug payoffs at the New Bilibid Prison in 2016.
He said the case would be referred to the committee on justice chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, which would “give it priority.”
In March, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint, accusing Mr. Duterte of the mass murder of more than 8,000 drug suspects, and amassing P2.2 billion in unexplained wealth.
He later filed a supplemental complaint alleging that the President had absconded on his duty to defend Philippine territory against China by refusing to take the Asian superpower to task for its incursions.
Fariñas explained that pursuant to House rules, the Speaker would refer the impeachment complaint filed against Mr. Duterte to the justice committee.
“Then the committee will schedule it and first determine if it is sufficient in form. Now if it passes the test of sufficiency of form, it will now go through the test of sufficiency of substance,” he said.
“There will be voting. One member can say ‘I move that we find the complaint sufficient in form.’ Or they may file a motion that ‘I move that we find the complaint insufficient in form’,” he added.
Fariñas said he didn’t believe the Alejano complaint would gain any traction in the 292-seat House.
“There’s only one of him… I read reports that even the Liberal Party will not support the complaint,” he said.
As for the two impeachment complaints prepared against Vice President Leni Robredo, Fariñas said it would depend on whether a House member would endorse either of them.
Under the Constitution, an impeachment complaint may be filed by a House member or any other citizen provided it is endorsed by a House member.
“If those who file later do not get an endorsement, then it’s just a scrap of paper,” Fariñas said. SFM/rga
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