Duterte impeachment complainant Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano yesterday ruled out “horse trading” that will free Vice President Leni Robredo from being hounded by a similar case by the President’s allies.
Alejano aired this stand as he filed a supplemental impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive, this time accusing him of failing to execute his mandate as President by not asserting the country’s exclusive sovereign rights over Benham Rise.
Aside from this, Alejano said Duterte’s refusal to protest China’s plan to construct an environmental monitoring station over disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea is an impeachment offense amounting to betrayal of public trust.
Alejano also decried Duterte’s refusal to take a strong stand in upholding the favorable ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the issue of the West Philippine Sea.
“President Duterte, through his actions and pronouncements, has continued to ignore our national interest and has refused to act on urgent security matters brought by the alarming activities of China in the West Philippine Sea and the Benham Rise, apparently, because he is afraid to offend his Chinese friends,” said Alejano, a former Philippine Marines officer who along with other Marine officers staged a mutiny in 2003 and 2007 in opposing the Arroyo administration.
“While no one is expecting Duterte to declare war with China over these territorial disputes, as President and Commander-in-Chief and Chief Diplomat of the country, he should condemn China’s aggressive actions and expansionism, and insist it to respect the exclusive sovereign rights, and maritime and territorial claims of the country through diplomatic and peaceful means,” said Alejano.
But as far as Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Salvador Panelo is concerned, the supplemental impeachment complaint is part of the “nonsense” propaganda to undermine him the President.
“It’s nonsense geared for propaganda and publicity for himself,” Panelo said in a statement.
“It may even be deemed to be a second impeachment complaint which is a prohibited complaint under the one year prohibition limiting the filing to only one complaint in a year,” Panelo added.
For Davao City 1st district Rep. Karlo Nograles, the filing of a supplemental impeachment complaint against Duterte was a planned thing.
“From day one when Magdalo Party-list filed their impeachment on the first day of the recess of Congress we already suspected that it would be a strip tease. True enough, they deliberately filed an incomplete complaint so they can pretend to ‘supplement’ it later on,” said Nograles, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
He said that those seeking Duterte’s ouster just wants to sustain the negative reports about the Chief Executive.
“The reason for this is to prolong their PR (public relations) campaign against the President with the malicious intent of generating dissent.”
“It would not come as a surprise if next week they will ‘supplement’ the complaint again by themselves or through another group or individual,” Nograles, Duterte’s nephew, sarcastically added.
Appearing in a press conference after filing the supplemental complaint to strengthen the impeachment case he earlier filed last week, Alejano said while nobody has directly negotiated for a horse trading over the Duterte impeachment case and the impending impeachment complaint against the Vice President, he vowed not to be part of the deal.
“May mga parinig pero walang lumapit ng diretso sa akin. (There were hints but nobody approached me to discuss the matter),” Alejano disclosed.
A leader of the so-called Oakwood Mutiny, Alejano said the filing of impeachment complaint against Duterte is “beyond politics” because it involves the interest and welfare of Filipinos.
Shortly after Alejano filed the impeachment case against Duterte, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez ordered his legal staff to study the filing of a similar complaint against Robredo over a video message assailing the government’s drug war.
Almost simultaneously, former Marcos lawyer Oliver Lozano sought Alvarez’s endorsement of an impeachment complaint against Robredo.
Aware that a huge majority bloc will likely reject the Duterte impeachment, Alejano said he and his partylist group are ready “to the scenario and will respect the rule of the majority.”
However, he insisted that the Duterte complaints stand a good chance of being supported by the required one third of the House membership who are reportedly disgruntled over the leadership style of Duterte and Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
Alejano said there is also the likelihood that the scandal between Alvarez and former ally, Davao Del Norte Rep. Antonio “Tonyboy” Floirendo, might cause disenchantment and eventually fracture the president’s political party, PDP-Laban.
He said such a scenario can favor the bid to oust Duterte via impeachment.