Makabayan bloc to initiate Duterte impeachment
“At some point, I think it will happen,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. Antonio Tinio told radio station dzMM when asked if their group was ready to file an impeachment complaint against Duterte.
Boy Santos

Makabayan bloc to initiate Duterte impeachment

Jess Diaz (The Philippine Star) - June 29, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Makabayan bloc of six leftist party-list representatives is willing to initiate the impeachment of President Duterte by the House of Representatives.

“At some point, I think it will happen,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. Antonio Tinio told radio station dzMM when asked if their group was ready to file an impeachment complaint against Duterte.

But the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) does not see any opportunity for the move to prosper.

“Not because there are not enough reasons behind it, but rather because aDuterte’s minions in his rubberstamp Congress will not allow it,” the CPP said yesterday. “Just to make sure they won’t even think about it, Duterte has made overt threats of throwing into jail anyone who will try to impeach him.”

Tinio said the President’s statement allowing Chinese fishermen to fish inside the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is a “very clear” violation of the Constitution.

“Senior Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio himself says so,” he added.

Carpio was part of the Philippine legal team that won for the country a favorable ruling from the United Nations Permanent Court of Arbitration in a petition questioning China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

Under the House impeachment rules, a member of the chamber may file a complaint, in which case the petition won’t need an endorser. In case a complainant is a private citizen, he would need a House member as an endorser.

In the event one-third of all congressmen sign a complaint, the House is required to dispense with committee hearings and to send the case directly to the Senate for trial.

President Duterte has threatened to jail those who would impeach him.

While the Makabayan is willing to endorse or initiate the President’s impeachment, Tinio also noted that the success of such process “is highly doubtful at this time,” since the Chief Executive controls both the Senate and the House.

“We have to have the right timing, and one factor for that is public opinion. As we have seen before, what will happen is it will barely get off the ground… it will be thrown into the trash can by the committee on justice,” he added.

The President has so far faced only one impeachment complaint in the House. Outgoing Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo filed it in early 2017 in connection with the Duterte family’s alleged ill-gotten wealth amounting to more than P2 billion, which the family has denied.

The committee on justice later killed the petition for lack of merit, a decision the House sustained. Despite the lapse of one year last year, during which the President was constitutionally protected from another impeachment complaint, Alejano did not file a second petition.

While the chances of Duterte getting impeached are dim, the CPP believed that “he can definitely be kicked out by the Filipino people.”  – With Artemio Dumlao

 

ANTONIO TINIO
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