March 24, 2017, 12:18 pm
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Impeach complaint filed against Duterte

REP. Gary Alejano of the Magdalo party-list group yesterday filed an impeachment complaint against President Duterte, saying he cannot allow the people “to just accept that murder is legal in this country.”

Alejano, a fellow former rebel soldier of Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, one of Duterte’s arch critics, accused Duterte of culpable violation of the Constitution, bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes, in the 16-page complaint he filed before the office of House Secretary General Cesar Pareja.

“He has also undermined the integrity if the Office of the President, has brought disrepute on the Presidency and has acted in a manner subversive of the rule of law and justice to the manifest injury of the people of Republic of the Philippines,” the complaint, the first against Duterte, said.

Duterte has been fast consolidating power in Congress and Alejano’s impeachment bid may not get much traction. He submitted it on the first day of Congress’ Lenten break. Session will resume on May 2.

Alejano said he wants the complaint to embolden the Church, civil society, academia and Filipinos who did not vote for Duterte or favor his policies to know they can take on the President.

“We know the numbers are against us, and we are facing a big challenge,” he said.

Alejano, a former Marine captain, accused Duterte of committing betrayal of public trust, bribery, multiple murder and crimes against humanity “when he adopted a state policy of inducing policemen, other law enforcement authorities and vigilante groups into the extrajudicial killings of more than 8,000 persons who were merely suspected of being drug offenders.”

He alleged that Duterte organized and maintained liquidation squads “under the guise of ‘Anti-Crime Task Forces,’ special police units like Davao’s Heinous Crimes Unit and/or vigilante groups like the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS) and/or providing funds to the said groups…”

The same charges were leveled against Duterte for the DDS’ activities which allegedly led to the execution in Davao City of more than 1,400 persons suspected to be drug pushers and addicts during his terms as mayor, vice mayor, and congressman of the city.

“Mr. Duterte’s group espoused and pursued a policy of killings crime suspects, political and personal enemies and even innocent civilians, including women and children, sans any trial and/or due process of law, as testified to by both Mr. Edgar B. Matobato and SPO4 Arthur Lascañas at the Senate,” the complaint said referring to the two self-proclaimed former death squad members.

Alejano said the Duterte is guilty of graft and corruption and other high crimes for acts he allegedly committed when he was mayor of Davao City.

This involves the hiring of alleged 11,000 “ghost employes” when he was mayor, citing a 2015 Commission on Audit report questioning the hiring of the contractual workers in 2014 under the then city mayor, which cost some P708 million.

It said the President is guilty of graft, malversation of public funds and plunder since the funds derived from the ghost employes “have apparently been transacted and/or laundered through the subject bank accounts of respondent and/or his children.”

Duterte started as OIC vice mayor in 1986 and served as mayor from 1988 to 1998, 2001 to 2010, and 2013 to 2016. When he was not mayor, Duterte served as representative of the city and vice mayor to his daughter Sara Z. Duterte-Carpio.

The complaint quoted COA as saying in its report that the “city has no written policy or manual on the hiring of employees, particularly under contract of services and job orders.”

“Identification of persons to be hired for such nature rests directly upon the recommendation of the department heads and other officials of the city,” COA said in the report.

The same report said such conditions “cast doubt that entries in the daily time record of these employees are manipulated, thus regularity and validity of the related expenditures could not be ascertained.”

The complaint also zeroed in on Duterte’s alleged secret bank accounts worth at least P2.2 billion and properties “reportedly held by President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and/or his minor child Veronica Duterte, which the latter failed to report even in his latest statement of assets, liabilities and net worth (SALN).”

It noted that copies of the subject documents showing the bank accounts in the name of Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Sara Zimmerman Duterte with the Bank of Philippine Islands Julia Vargas Avenue branch in Pasig City and Edsa Greenhills branch, and at the Banco de Oro Unibank in Mandaluyong City were previously revealed by Trillanes.

“Sen. Trillanes asked the help of accountants and finance specialists to tally and figure out how much money was actually deposited and/or transferred into the subject bank accounts. Their final tally shows that P2.207 billion, more or less, flowed into the subject bank accounts from 2006 to 2015,” the complaint said.

The complaint also cited that 40 properties, which included houses, condominiums and lots, allegedly in the names of Duterte’s children, and another 10 properties “publicly known to be owned and/or occupied by respondent Rodrigo Roa Duterte and/or his children.”

It said these properties are separate and distinct from the 12 other properties that Duterte reported in his Dec. 31, 2014 SALN, four of which are in the names of Veronica who was only 10 at the time.

The properties, the complaint pointed out, “are clearly grossly disproportionate to the salaries and wages and other legitimate means of the former mayor and his family.”

Alejano said a supplemental complaint may be filed to include the impeachable offense that Duterte may have committed when he allowed Chinese presence in the 13-million hectare Benham Rise, an undersea region off the coast of eastern Luzon over which the Philippines has sovereign rights. – With Reuters

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