MANILA–A leader of the House of Representatives on Monday said the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte is not only an issue of sufficiency in form and substance, but also a matter of protecting public interest and upholding the will of the people.
In a statement, House appropriations committee chair Karlo Alexei Nograles said impeachment “only applies to officials who have obviously lost the trust and confidence of the people”.
Nograles noted that Duterte, who has garnered 16.6 million votes in the presidential race, cannot be impeached as it tramples the will of the people and the “essence” of democracy.
“The impeachment as a political process was provided as an instrument to remove someone who has lost the trust and confidence of his constituents and his mandate to govern. You cannot impeach someone who has the full backing the people,” said Nograles.
Nograles said the lower chamber can now focus on its legislative agenda after it dismissed the impeachment complaint against the President for lack of substance.
“I’m just happy that this is over and the House of Representatives can finally attend to other more important issues. There is no wisdom in this impeachment complaint which was obviously a haphazard effort to malign and discredit the president. The House of Representatives should never be part of this,” he said.
The House leader said the Congress is the deciding power in an impeachment process, considering that the representatives of the people embody in their decision the sentiment of their constituents.
“This (impeachment) is purely a political exercise and the members of the Justice Committee is right to throw away the impeachment complaint because this would be going against public good and the will of our people,” he added.
The House justice committee on Monday voted to reject the impeachment complaint lodged against President Rodrigo Duterte for insufficiency in substance.
While the justice panel found the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano sufficient in form, Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon and Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro moved to declare the complaint “insufficient in substance”.
Leachon and Castro’s motion was approved with a total of 42 votes.
The panel, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, will then submit its report to the House within 60 session days, and the House calendars it within 10 session days.
Alejano sought the ouster of Duterte for his state policy on illegal drugs which resulted in a spate of summary executions and extrajudicial killings; his alleged links in the vigilante killings by the Davao Death Squad; and his alleged PHP2.2 billion hidden wealth.
Alejano also filed a supplemental complaint regarding Duterte’s failure to assert the country’s sovereign and maritime rights over disputed territories with China including Benham Rise, Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea.