tiptrot.com June 26, 2017

Take impeachment case to ICC, says Duterte

17 May 2017, 11:21 | Gerardo Harmon

Impeachment complaint vs Duterte now with committee on justice

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte attends the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Phnom Penh

On March 30, Alejano filed a 12-page supplemental complaint against President Duterte following his failure to assert the country's exclusive sovereign rights over Benham Rise and Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal).

Philippine lawmakers on Monday voted to throw out an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, saying the grounds for the case were mere hearsay.

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

The complaint was turned down by all 42 members of the lower house's justice committee due to its lack of substance, while the justice committee told Alejano that he may himself face prosecution for perjury, according to The Manila Times newspaper.

Senators Leila de Lima and Antonio Trillanes IV questioned the House justice committee's decision to scrap the complaint just because the complainant, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, has no "personal knowledge" of the accusations.

The ruling came after intensive questioning of Alejano by Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas.

Alejano said he and his advisers were considering joining the case at The Hague.

"Out of liberality, the committee finds the complaint sufficient in form despite its defect..."

The committee members noted that Representative Gary Alejano, who filed the complaint, did not have personal knowledge of the offences alleged 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.

Mr Duterte's allies tore through Mr Alejano's complaint, insisting that it is supported by testimonies that congressional panels have already determined to be mere "hearsays", as well as by unverified reports.

"I affirm the contents of the verification that i have personal knowledge based on facts culled from authentic records".

But for Alejano, what he argued about can not be considered hearsay because he said he verified them. A complaint is verified if the complainant can attest that the allegations are true of the complainant's personal knowledge.

The test of form is the first real battleground in any impeachment proceeding. He even advised Alejano not to use the panel for his "own propaganda". Duterte will also not be required to submit an answer.

The ICC can only assume jurisdiction over a case if local courts are unwilling and unable to assume jurisdiction. "Baka na-cremate na nga iyon today", he said in jest.

The committee will next recommend the complaint's dismissal by the 292-seat Congress, where Mr Duterte enjoys a super-majority.

Duterte's spokesman Ernesto Abella has said that any act to remove Duterte from office would be "an attempt to subvert the people's will".

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