Lagman: Fariñas ‘premature’ in tackling cause in impeachment complaints
Opposition lawmakers on Tuesday backed their colleague Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano after the House of Representatives leadership sermoned Alejano about his failed impeachment bid against President Rodrigo Duterte.
In a news conference, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman slammed Majority Leader Rudy Fariñas for grilling Alejano with questions about his personal knowledge of the alleged involvement of President Rodrigo Duterte in extrajudicial killings.
Alejano filed two impeachment complaints against Duterte for his alleged role in state-sponsored killings and the Davao Death Squad, his alleged hidden wealth, and his alleged inaction to uphold the country’s sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea, Panatag Shoal and Benham Rise amid the administration’s warming of ties with China.
READ: Solon files impeach rap vs Duterte over West PH Sea, Benham Rise | 1st impeachment complaint filed vs Duterte for killings, graft
But the House justice committee found no substance in the two complaints.
Lagman said it was “premature” for Fariñas to ask Alejano about the evidence when the committee was only tackling the form of the complaint.
“If you require personal knowledge of the extrajudicial killings, who would have personal knowledge among the members of the committee? Those who have personal knowledge are the victims and families, the officials who condoned the killings,” Lagman said.
“In other words, the majority leader was asking the impossible,” Lagman said.
Lagman said Fariñas went beyond bounds by grilling Alejano about the probable cause in the complaints ahead of the deliberation on their form.
“We are not in the stage of determining probable caus,” Lagman said. “Sufficiency of form and substance is limited within the confines of the complaint. We cannot meander outside the periphery of the complaint.”
“What the majority leader did was to have an excursion outside of the periphery of the complaint, which was premature,” he added.
For his part, Alejano said he had no regrets about filing the impeachment complaints even after he faced a battering from Fariñas and other lawmakers who questioned his personal knowledge on Duterte’s alleged impeachable offenses.
Fariñas had accused Alejano of committing perjury and an ethics violation when he alleged personal knowledge but failed to verify the allegations contained in his complaint.
But Alejano maintained he had personal knowledge based on the authentic records and affidavits of witnesses.
Following a sermon from House members who are lawyers about the nitty gritty of hearsay evidence, Alejano said he now realized the power play in the chamber where convenient political alliances matter more than principles.
“Wala tayong regret (I have no regrets). When we’re doing something, we should be ready for the consequences of our actions. As long as we know what we’re doing is right, then there’s nothing to be ashamed of,” Alejano said.
Alejano earlier said he would take it up to the International Criminal Court his failed complaints against the chief executive now that the House thumbed down an impeachment proceeding.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte’s bosom buddy in Congress, said Alejano was free to take up to a “mental hospital” his baseless complaint against the president.
Alejano said he was also ready to face any perjury or ethics case if only to stand up for his principles. /atm
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