Alejano mulls filing case vs Duterte before ICC
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Monday said he is considering going to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to hold President Rodrigo Duterte accountable after his impeachment complaints against the Chief Executive were dismissed due to lack of substance.
An exasperated Alejano faced the media and slammed the House of Representatives leadership for refusing to allow him to sponsor his complaints during the initial hearing of the justice committee that later found lack of substance in his two complaints.
After the committee held an executive session, 42 members of the committee unanimously voted and found the impeachment complaint insufficient in substance. This after the committee found it sufficient in form.
During the press briefing, Alejano turned emotional and said he would even be willing to lose his seat in Congress if an ethics complaint was filed against him for sponsoring the complaints deemed by the committee as defective.
“Pilit kong maniwala sa proseso ng Kongreso pero nakita natin ang nangyari… With what happened right now, pinag-iisipan ko po, nakikipagdiscuss sa grupo, na sasama na kaming magreklamo sa ICC,” Alejano said.
(I am forcing myself to believe in the processes of Congress, but from what we that had happened, I am considering during discussions with others groups to join the complainants in the ICC.)
Alejano said he was compelled to go to the ICC because he had nowhere else to go now that Congress junked the impeachment complaint, adding that it was impossible to seek the help of the Department of Justice headed by Duterte’s ally Vitaliano Aguirre III.
The ICC, of which the Philippines is a state party, is the court of last resort, and a petitioner may only file a case before the ICC after exhausting all legal remedies in the home country.
“Saan tayo pupunta? Wala tayong pupuntahan. Hahanapan natin ng paraan para makahanap tayo ng hustisya,” Alejano said.
(Where will we go? We have nowhere else to go. We will look for ways to seek justice.)
Alejano said he would be willing to lose his seat in Congress if a perjury and ethics complaint was filed against him.
Alejano reacted to majority leader Rudy Fariñas’ earlier statement during the hearing that Alejano may be liable for a perjury and ethics complaint for sponsoring a defective impeachment complaint.
Fariñas said Alejano may face a perjury and ethics complaint for endorsing the impeachment complaints to be true under oath when in fact it only contained hearsay evidence without his personal knowledge.
“You are coming to us and in fact, you may be subjected to an ethics case here. Because you are stating under oath. Now you are saying hindi pala totoo verification niyo (that the verification is not true) that that this is your personal knowledge,” Fariñas said.
Fariñas led the discussion into questioning Alejano’s personal knowledge of the impeachable offenses when in fact the Magdalo lawmaker did not verify the allegations stated in his two impeachment complaints.
Fariñas also called Alejano’s impeachment complaints “propaganda” and defective because these were based on hearsay evidence such as online news reports and the testimonies of other witnesses such as self-confessed Davao Death Squad members Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas in holding Duterte accountable over the spate of extrajudicial killings in the administration’s war on drugs.
“Clearly, it’s not in his personal knowledge. That is the defect here… You are introducing statements under oath, these are not your own. Lalabas hearsay po ito,” Fariñas said in a heated debate with Alejano during the hearing.
Alejano however maintained that he had personal knowledge based on authentic records, and that he would present the evidence during the proper time the substance of the complaint would be tackled.
Alejano said he was ready to face a perjury and ethics complaint, but maintained that he had personal knowledge based on the authentic records.
“Kung file-an ako sa ethics committee, karapatan nila i-file po nila. I’m not challenging them, but if they feel na mayroon akong kaso sa ethics committee, then do it. Wala namang problema sa akin,” Alejano said during the press briefing.
(If they file a complaint against me before the ethics committee, it’s their right. I’m not challenging them, but if they feel that I have a case before the ethics committee, then do it. I have no problem with that.)
“Kung tatanggalin nila ako dito sa Kongreso, then mangyari ang dapat mangyari,” he added.
(If they want to remove me from Congress, then whatever happens happens.)
It was self-confessed Davao Death Squad member Edgar Matobato’s counsel Jude Sabio who went to the ICC to file a complaint against Duterte.
In his 77-page complaint, Sabio cited the “continuing mass murder” in the Philippines due to the thousands of Filipinos killed in Duterte’s anti-drug campaign that started when he was Davao City mayor and continues now that he is President.
“Your favorable action on this matter would not only serve the noble ends of international criminal justice, but would also be the beginning of the end of this dark, obscene, murderous and evil era in the Philippines,” Sabio said.
Sabio said the 7,000 drug-related killings in the Philippines in the past seven months have surpassed the 3,000 killings during the two decade martial law regime of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
The police have contested the 7,000 figure, noting that only around 2,600 drug pushers and users were killed in legitimate police operations.
Sabio in filing the ICC complaint represented Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed member of the Davao Death Squad who admitted killing drug suspects in Davao city upon Duterte’s orders.
Matobato testified in a Senate inquiry about Duterte’s alleged order for the vigilante group Davao Death Squad to kill drug criminals in Davao city when Duterte was still mayor. JE/rga
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