Philippine lawmakers kill impeachment case against Duterte

The complaint alleged Duterte had adopted a state policy of extrajudicial killings that led to more than 8,000 deaths in his first eight months as president, and was involved in mass murder as well as widespread corruption in his previous stint as a mayor of a southern city.

Alejano accused Duterte of high crimes and betrayal of public trust by concealing assets, supporting summary executions of thousands of Filipinos in his war on drugs, and having a "defeatist" approach towards Beijing's assertiveness in the South China Sea.

A Congressional panel of Philippine lawmakers on Monday found an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte lacked substance and should go no further, a widely expected outcome underlining the maverick leader's steadfast legislative support.

The motion filed by Alejano, whose party comprises military officers who staged a failed coup in 2003, is the first attempt to start impeachment proceedings against Duterte since he assumed office at the end of June past year.

"He can go ahead". He is free to do it.

Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo said the junking of the complaint was expected because it was built on falsehoods and meant to "besmirch the reputation" of Duterte. "How can you proceed if the complaint has no basis?" said committee chairman Reynaldo Umali, a member of Duterte's ruling party.

The President reminded that he was investigated by the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Justice, when Senator Leila De Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, headed those agencies. "But this is not in the character and kind that was dished out - that I ordered the killing of innocents, including children", he added.

The impeachment complaint against President Duterte was over before it even began, and just on the first day of deliberations.

An official of the Philippine National Police (PNP) said many countries are supporting Duterte's drug war. The government refutes that, releasing data on May 2 showing almost 4,600 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and homicides found to be drug-related.

House majority leader, Rudy Farinas, who defended the President in the hearing session, said that the impeachment complaints were based on media reports and testimonies of other people, and not the complainant himself.

Presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said that Alejano's complaint "was from rehashed, trumped-up charges aimed at undermining the duly constituted government". Several lawmakers pointed to that distinction to say Alejano's allegations were hearsay.

But the House of Representatives Committee on Justice has junked on Monday the impeachment complaint against Duterte after it ruled that the rap was "insufficient in substance".

He said it was clear that the procedure "was railroaded" and that the House "is not independent".

  • Essie Rivera