Duterte faces impeachment complaint

USS Nimitz conducts an aerial demonstration. Flickr  U.S. Navy

An opposition lawmaker filed for President Rodrigo Duterte's impeachment at the Philippine Congress Thursday, citing a "conflict of interest." Former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo survived five impeachment complaints unscathed.

Alejano said in his impeachment complaint that Duterte is not fit for the presidency for his alleged involvement in multiple murder as the alleged mastermind of the Davao Death Squad.

"We are of the firm belief that President Duterte is unfit to hold the highest office of the land and that impeachment is the legal and constitutional remedy to this situation", said Alejano.

In Thailand, Duterte will meet with the more than 16,000 Filipinos living and working in the Kingdom.

Alejano said that he is aware that he might have difficulty in getting house support behind his impeachment bid.

Senate Majority Leader Vicente C. Sotto III refused to comment because, "in case it reaches the Senate, we will be an impeachment court and, therefore, should be impartial".

The complaint will be referred to the Speaker, who will refer it to a committee to determine whether the complaint has enough weight to be discussed in the house when it meets in May after the current break.

If approved, the House justice panel will have to come up with a report to be submitted to House leaders within 60 session days.

"It does not have any proper grounds to merit an impeachment because it is based exclusively on conjectures, supposition, hearsay and wild imagination". Mere allegations without proof are not evidence.

"This is a shotgun approach".

Nograles called the complaint a "shotgun approach", saying that the complaint's supporters "are pushing their luck".

The impeachment complaint also states that, as Davao City mayor, Duterte collected salaries of fictitious government employees and has up to $40 million in secret bank accounts. "Mere allegations without proof are not evidence". They are not even in the league of Don Quixote. Solicitor Jose Calida says the impeachment motion has no basis.

Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella earlier said there are no grounds for Duterte's impeachment.

He is also not discounting the possibility that Vice President Leni Robredo's video presentation before the United Nations Commission on Drugs in Geneva is part of this plot.

"Outside of it, we have the church ... civil society and the greater number of Filipinos who did not vote, do not support and are not in favour of President Duterte staying in power". "It just seems rather dramatic that everything seems to be so coordinated at this stage, with acts of trying to discredit the administration and trying to throw it in doubt".

Impeachment complaints have been filed against presidents in the Philippines before, with mixed results.

Other senators had a different view.

Fariñas said Alejano is the lone complainant, "yet, the "verification" uses both the singular and plural pronouns "I/We" and "my/our".

He is also scheduled to keynote a gathering of the Filipino community in Nay Pyi Taw, Mayanmar's capital.

"We swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution and as such we must respect our constitutional processes whether we agree with it or not, whether we like the outcome or not", he added.

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