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Rody faces more impeach raps over Panatag, Benham

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives. Philstar.com/File photo

MANILA, Philippines - A supplemental impeachment complaint will be filed against President Duterte for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution when he allowed the continued Chinese encroachment in the country’s territorial waters, Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said yesterday.

Trillanes said the supplemental complaint will be attached to the first complaint filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano last week at the House of Representatives.

Alejano filed the impeachment complaint accusing Duterte of masterminding extrajudicial killings of thousands of people since he was mayor of Davao City and until now as President in his war against illegal drugs.

Trillanes said Duterte himself publicly admitted that he allowed Chinese vessels to explore the resource-rich Benham Rise in the Philippine Sea, and conceded he cannot stop China from its plans to put up structures at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, just 125 nautical miles from Zambales.

“If you read the different articles of our Constitution, even the oath of the President, he swears to push the interests of the country and the faithful execution of the law and the Constitution, including protecting our territorial integrity. In this case, he specifically committed dereliction of duty,” Trillanes said in a press conference.

“He’s slowly giving away our country to China,” he said.

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Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Monday expressed his opinion that proponents cannot file a supplemental impeachment complaint on a totally different subject matter from the original charges.

Pimentel also predicted the impeachment complaint will be trashed as the House is dominated by Duterte’s allies.

He, however, stressed he was not prejudging the case but merely counting the numbers in the House.

Trillanes rebuked Pimentel, saying the Senate President should “review jurisprudence” that allows the filing of a supplemental impeachment complaint if the first one is not yet initiated, as in the case of that filed by Alejano.

Trillanes warned Pimentel and other allies of Duterte in both chambers that they should not be so smug about their numbers, saying “intervening events” until May when Congress resumes session can lead to surprising political developments in the country.

He cited the testimony of retired police officer Arthur Lascañas tagging Duterte in the assassination of broadcaster Jun Pala in 2003, and a certain journalist name Fred Sotto, as well as the extrajudicial killings of hundreds of criminal suspects and innocent victims. 

He also cited the alleged billions of pesos that passed through the bank accounts of Duterte and his family during the electoral campaign in 2015 and 2016 that have yet to be clarified by the President.

The senator also said Duterte must be held accountable for the nearly 8,000 people killed since he took office on June 30 and waged his war on drugs.

Trillanes claimed there is brewing discontent not only among members of the House, but also among the people, as “Duterte has not achieved anything since he became President.”

Alejano, for his part, claimed he is not alone in filing the impeachment complaint against Duterte.

He told journalists in Bacolod City that there are some House members who signified their intention to join him.

However, he was told that they have to see and read the impeachment complaint first.

While he did not divulge their numbers, Alejano said he would give them time to speak on whether to support the impeachment complaint.

Lawmaker allies expressed confidence that the impeachment complaint will not prosper.

“If they are confident of their number to kill the impeachment complaint, why they are panicking?” Alejano remarked.

He said the super majority coalition is not cast in stone.

“They are a coalition of convenience. If you offend them and will not serve the interest of a party, then you can expect a change of mind and realignment,” Alejano said.

“It will figure differently in the impeachment case. I think come May 2, we will see the landscape,” he added.

Alejano also disclosed attempts to convince him to withdraw the impeachment complaint, in exchange for their withdrawal of the impeachment complaint filed against Vice President Leni Robredo.

“Vice President Robredo has nothing to do with it, while the Liberal Party and even members of the minority bloc are not aware of it,” Alejano maintained.  –  With Gilbert Bayoran

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