House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez scoffed at Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano’s plan to elevate to the International Criminal Court his botched impeachment complaint against President Duterte.
on Monday, Alejano argued that the Justice Committee’s virtual dismissal of the complaint at their level proves that the government is unwilling and unable to hold Duterte accountable—a key requirement before the ICC assumes jursidiction.
Alvarez however said, “alam niyo hindi naman ibig sabihin na pag finile niya eh tama siya sinasabi nila na unwilling alam mo meron tayong rules to follow ngayon kungdi naman siya nagcocomply di ibig sabihin siya yung nagfile ay tama na siya kailangan observe din niya yung pruseso sang ayon sa rules at sang ayon sa ating batas di ibig sabihin yung kanilang reklamo ay di naaddress ay pwede na silang pumunta sa ICC pagkatapos doon pag di pa rin sila dininig baka sa langit na sila mag appeal doon na sila magreklamo”
Alvarez himself was impleaded in the ICC case filed by lawyer Jude Sabio. ALejano’s impeachment case also tackles the matter of extrajudicial killings which Sabio raised before the ICC.
Alvarez said he wasnt bothered. “no because in the first place walang jurisdiction ang ICC doon dapat sa mental hospital finile yun may jurisdiction ang mental hospital doon para sa akin baseless. baseless so i dont know if yung ICC extension na ng mental hospital
pwede nilang dinggin yun. “
Alvarez added that the ICC has better things to deal with and should stay out of an internal matter of the Philippines. “its an internal matter which i dont think in the first place makialam dapat yung icc mas maraming malalaking kaso ang dapat nilang pakialaman hindi itong internal matter na inaddress natin yung sariling prublema”
Alejano however fired back, “siguro di proper sa kaniya that only shows that he really deserves the respondence of the ICC case pag ganun yung mga statement niya nagpapakita lang na tinatabunan ang pangulo and that he is one of the enablers of this EJK now regardless of their opinion the ICC will proceed regardless of the opinion of the members of the House or any lawyers in the country so now we will see yun kasi di nila kuntrolado yun eh walang supermajority sa ICC mabigyan sila ng real opprotuntiy na mapresent ang ebdiensiya at makita di lang ng taumbayang filipino ng buong mundo ano nangyayari sa pilipinas”
Likewise Alvarez throws shade at Alejano a day after the House Justice Committee ruled that his impeachment complaint against President Duterte was insufficient in substance.
Asked if he already has a decided to endorse the impeachment complaints against Vice-President Leni Robredo and Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, Alvarez stressed he is still studying the matter because it needs to stand in court.
” oo kasi pag aaralan pa natin mabuti yun nga sinasabi natin di lang basta basta ka magendorse ng impeachment complaint tignan natin kung kaya ba natin pandindigan yan can it stand in an impeachment court kasi pag hindi eh nakakahiya naman… well in the performance of our mandate kailangan natin bigyan ng panahon pero kaya nga kailangan pagaralan mabuti bago tayo pumasok doon hindi yung magmukha tayong gago sa committee na mag endorse tayo tapos di naman pala natin kayang mapanindigan yan walang substance walang form.”
Alejano and his opposition ally, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman disagreed with the speaker.
During the hearing, the Alejano admitted he had no personal knowledge when Majority Leader Rodolfo Farinas asked him to affirm his oath in the verification portion of the complaint where he said he has personal knowledge.
Lagman stresses the personal knowledge requirement is not in the rules as it would make impeachment almost impossible. “even the present rules would not require personal knowledge exclusively of the complainant let me read to you a portion of the rules. it says that under sec 13 of rule 4 that the contents are true of our own knowledge and belief on the basis of our reading and appreciation of documents and other records pertinent thereto that was exactly what rep. alejano was saying to the committee that it was based on his good faith appreciation of what the records shwoed which he invetsigated and assed he said culled from authentic records because if you require personal knowledge of the EJk’s who would have personal knowledge among the members of the committee and among the members of the House those who have personal knowledge are the culprit the families of the victims and the official who instigated and condoned the killings. in other words the Majority leader was asking the impossible. “
Under the rules of impeachment, impeachment maybe initiated by the filing and subsequent referral to the Committee on Justice of a verified complaint for impeachment filed by any member of the House, or a verified complaint filed by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any member or a verified complaint or resolution of impeachment filed by at least one 3 of the all the members of the House.
Part of verification is swearing under oath that he has personal knowledge of his allegations.
However Lagman said that The summary and precipitate dismissal of Rep. Gary Alejano’s impeachment complaint signaled the death for due process, judiciousness and fairness and incanted an alleluia to inordinate partisan importuning. ” The dismissed complaint verily satisfied the minimum standard of “recital of facts constituting the offense charged and determinative of the jurisdiction of the committee” as required by the House Rules on Impeachment.”
Lagman maintained that In determining whether the complaint is sufficient in form and substance, the Committee on Justice is limited to the contents of the verification and the averments of the complaint. “Meandering outside the periphery of the complaint is not allowed in the resolving sufficiency of form and substance like what Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas did when he prematurely raised the issues on hearsay evidence.Questions on hearsay are relevant in finding probable cause, which would be a subsequent phase of the proceedings, not during the determination of sufficiency of substance, which, again, is confined to the basic allegations of the verification and complaint.”
Alejano maintained however that this was not made an issue in the Estrada impeachment.
“gaya ng sinabi ko rin kahapon id like to cite as an example the case of president erap estrada certain impeachment complaint was filed against the president and according to the resolution im having now in the 11th congress HR of enrdorsement of the impeachment complaint of the rpesident there were only 13 complainants plus 2 endorsers now wala ho dito si chavit singson he was the witness on the issue of bribery of giving jueteng money to the president sinabi ba dito ng complainants na they have personal and direct knowledge of the jueteng money? no but they have witnesses they presneted 30 witnesses and the key witness was gov chavit singson yun po yung in my case i am the complainant i am the endorser and i have witnesses at the proper time i will present my witnesses and other documentary evidence because lumabas kahapon premature po yung questionning because that quetsion should have ben asked in the determination of probabale cause stage eh tinanong na kaagad sa form pa lang”
Alejano maintained that the committee took shortcuts in what should be a long drawn out process. “pag sinabi nating totoO ba o hindi alam ba o hindi malalaman na lang yun based on the documents submitted based on the testimonies of the witnesses based on the records that could be subpoenaed by the body without those documents di mo masasabi kung totoo yung sinasabi ko dahil doon sa substance is just a recital of facts siansabi mo lang ano ba inoofense it was even recited by the chairman rey umali in his opening remarks andoon na po ang ingreditent hindi ito sustansiya yung term na sustansiya laman ito its just a recital of facts nakalagay yung basis determiantion of probable cause which should depend on the availability of evidence the appreciation of the committee on the available evidence doon pa lang malalamn kung may probabale cause or not kasi ang lumalabas kahapon laman na eh merito na ng kaso maliwanag naman po na i was not given the opportunity to explain”
Alvarez also said he has not idea yet of an ethics case against Alejano will proceed. the impeachment was junked by the committee after Alejano admitted he did not have personal knowledge of his allegations. “i do not know i do not know. hindi ko pa kasi we have to look into the elements of yung whatever offense he committed” Farinas had warned Alejano he risks the ethics casse because he appears to have lied under oath.
as far as Alvarez is concerned, the impeachment is dead. though the Justice Committee still has to subvmit a committee report on its findings to the plenary which can decide to affirm or dismiss the case. a vote of 1/3 or about 98 sends the complaint to the senate for trial. “yung dismissal na yun patay na talaga yun baka nacremate na nga yun today…wala na yun. dinismiss na ng committee, wala na yun. wala na yun”
Alvarez also dismissed Alejano’s criticism that the House lost its independence.”opinion niya yun at entitled naman siya doon pero ang irony eh mukha siya lang ang nagsasabi noon”
Alvarez is not relieved that Duterte is now innoculated from another impeachment case for a year,”wala naman akong worry doon sa mga impeachment impeachment na yan well as long as the president is doing his job and the filipino people continuously appreciates that the president is doing his job as a president theres nothing to worry about.”
Lagman however said that While the impeachment procedure is a political process, it is not a partisan enterprise and that A political process entails an exposition of values, advocacies and judiciousness, while partisanship is the direct opposite. Lagman added that Partisanship is blind adherence to the dictates of a party. For Lagman, It is an injudicious allegiance to a commanding figure or a potent group and Due process must never be sacrificed to imprudent haste and partisan subservience. ” At the end of the day, while it is true that impeachment is a veritable numbers game, it would be better if there were a confluence of superiority of numbers and ascendancy of reason and arguments, which was not allowed to happen in yesterday’s proceedings because Alejano was denied a proper hearing as mandated by Section 3(2) of Article XI of the Constitution.”
Lagman added that under he rules on criminal procedure that would be applicable to impeachment proceedings, there is no requirement that the fiscal or prosecuting officer should alreday invlude his evdeince and annexes all that is required is a statement of the offense and the facts cosntituting the offense yun din ang requirement sa impeachment complaint.
Alejano for his part held out the possibility of filing another complaint. “matagal pa yun and marami pang pwede mangyari again that quetsion is premature malalaman po natin i hope may kongreso pa din so may opprotunity pa rin tayo”
Lagman echoed this. “the one year ban will start from the impeachment were refrred to the COJ that is the startup of the one year period so you better kep counting because after one year most probably there will be another impeachment complaint well yung one year ban is a matter of computation which the SC has jursidiction to say no the filing is premature or the filing is seasonable but with respect to what happened yesterday the proceedings how the cmte conducted itself that is beyond the jursidiction of the SC because that will go into the doctrine of a political question””
despite the disagreement, even Lagman concedes they cannot do anything about it anymore. “there is no more remedy because their fatal mistake is not correctable even by the SC the remedy belongs to the people. wala. no they will always say thats political question which the SC will not touch but the remedy is with the people”
Lagman says the remedy is upto the people. “the remedy is not with the court because that is a political questions the SC will simply jettison any petition quetsionning the procedings so is there a void in the remedy no i think the remedy is for the people to voice out their opinion on this matter as far as they could go no im not im just saying there should be a collective voice of the poeple to really demand judiciousness and fairness in the proceedings all that we wanted was for them to give cong alejano the opprountiy to be heard to have a proper hearing as mandated by the constitution.”
Lagman explained this matter cannot be elevated to the Supreme Court. “dO not egg us to file an SC petition whcih we feel is going to be thrown away it was the call of the house it could have been a bad call but just the same it was the call of the committee on justice. the Sc will not enetrain a cosntitutional issue wherein the jursidiction of the COJ and the House would be a political nature.