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House panel junks Duterte impeach rap

The House Committee on Justice yesterday junked the impeachment complaint against President Duterte, declaring it as “insufficient in substance.”

The panel, chaired by Oriental Mindoro Rep. Reynaldo Umali, voted unanimously against complaint filed by Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano who admitted that he has “no personal knowledge” of the accusations hurled against the Chief Executive.

“We have nothing to hear here. The recital of facts is purely hearsay,” said Oriental Mindoro Rep. Doy Leachon, who, along with House Deputy Speaker Rep. Fredenil Castro, moved for the dismissal of the complaint.

Leachon said the requirements for the complaint to be declared as sufficient in substance have not been met.

He maintained that the impeachment complaint is “constitutionally infringed” and “warrants outright dismissal.”

“If the committee will proceed hearing the complaint, we will be promoting hearsay evidence. We will be violating the very essence on what is the truth and right in any impeachment proceedings,” Leachon said.

All 42 members of the panel stood up to junk the complaint.

However, the House panel, voting 41-1, declared the complaint as sufficient in form.

During the hearing, Alejano admitted that he has no personal knowledge of the 1,424 killings by the so-called Davao Death Squad when Duterte was still a mayor of Davao City and of the Chief Executive’s unexplained wealth.

It was House Majority Leader and Ilocos Norte Rep. Rodolfo Fariñas who questioned him whether he has personal knowledge on the accusations he hurled against the President.

“I confirm that I am not the witness,” he said while insisting that the allegations are “based on authentic records.”

“We will present the authenticated records at the proper time,” he told the panel.

Even as he barred Alejano from making an opening statement, Fariñas chided Alejano for his failure to personally substantiate his claims.

“Kung hearsay, you will be wasting our time. Get your records, first, get everything para di sayang ang trabaho natin,” he said.

Farinas said Alejano may be slapped with perjury as well as ethics case after failing to prove his allegations.

“I am warning you that you may be subjected to ethics case here because you are stating under oath na hindi naman pala totoo ang verification niyo,” he said.

He chided Alejano not to use the panel for his “own propaganda.”

“I stand by my statement. All of the allegations are based on authentic records,” Alejano maintained.

During the hearing, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman was allowed to speak even if he’s not a member of the panel.

“Rep. Gary Alejano deserves to be heard and the Committee on Justice, as well as the Filipino public, are entitled to hear the complainant in the instant impeachment proceeding,” Lagman said.

He even reminded his colleagues that an impeachment proceeding is not a “partisan enterprise.”

“While it is true that an impeachment proceeding is a political exercise, it is not a partisan enterprise. A political process entails an exercise of values, advocacies, and judiciousness. Partisanship is the direct opposite.

It is the blind adherence to the dictates of a party or an agrrupation. It is an injudicious allegiance to a figure or a group,” he said. (CHARISSA L. ATIENZA)