For Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, requiring that complainants have personal knowledge of the allegations in an impeachment complaint is a double standard since the House of Representatives did not exercise that during the impeachment of Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona in 2012. in a phone call, Alejano said, “kaya nga sa kanila double standard eh nagwalk in lang small lady. ginamit rin nila. sila rin yun. ginamit din nila yung information ng small lady na ngayon sa akin di pa ako binigyan ng chance na magpresenta ng ebidensiya, if it fits their objective sabihin pag hindi kahit ginawa nila noon babaliin rin nila sarili nila.”
Alejano’s impeachment complaint against President Duterte was dismissed by the Justice Committee last week after he admitted he had no personal knowledge of his allegations on the extra judicial killings in the war on drugs, the alleged ill gotten wealth of the president and the president’s positions on the west philippine sea and benham rise.
In 2011, 188 congressmen impeached corona for misdeclaration in his statement of assets, liabilities and net worth, and he was convicted by the senate after then prosecutor Rey Umali, now chair of the Justice Committee, received documents on Corona’s bank records allegedly from a mysterious “small lady” at the senate premises.
Umali however now say that’s exactly a learning curve for the House. “you know I went through a lot also during my time when the “small lady” came out and I was investigated. Tiningnan yun kung saan binigay sa akin yun because whoever provides that information can be liable under the Bank Secrecy Law so hindi ganun ka-simple yun.”
asked if Corona could have been convicted without the small lady, Umali instead advised Alejano to learn his lessons from that experience. “Kaya nga kung may sustansiya yung pina-file nya and he has one year to prepare for it. Because the one-year ban rule started on May 9 when we started our impeachment proceedings. Now he can come back and lay the basis for all those things he wants us to appreciate now, even if it’s haphazardly. To my mind and to the mind of the many members, medyo frivolous yung complaint.”
Umali added, “yung kay Justice Corona naman, iba naman ang nangyari dun. One hundred eighty eight of us filed it and so we dispensed with the hearings in the Committee on Justice and went straight to Senate for the impeachment trial and that was quite a difficult task because it was only during that time na yung ebidensiya namin ay pino-produce namin. But we had a lot and we had interviewed a lot of people who were willing to testify. Pero impeachment court na ito. Hindi na ito yung parang preliminary investigation, the way we do it in the Committee on Justice. So, ito yung difference ng situation dito.”
Alejano had wanted the proceedings to look into the bank records of the president.
Umali’s committee affirmed this morning the dismissal of the complaint at their level so that it can be voted upon in plenary soon. The committee held it had insufficient substance after Alejano admitted he had no personal knowledge of his allegations. Umali recalled that he himself had went through the same level of scrutiny when he was among the prosecutors of the Corona impeachment at the Senate in 2012.
Umali said, “Anong sustansiya nung pina-file niya ngayon? Kanya all hearsay and so we cannot move no, we cannot even ask him. In fact, tinatanong siya, may personal knowledge ka ba? you know I went through a lot also during my time when the “small lady” came out and I was investigated. Tiningnan yun kung saan binigay sa akin yun because whoever provides that information can be liable under the Bank Secrecy Law so hindi ganun ka-simple yun. But here comes Cong. Alejano, presenting papers, actually matrix yun of the many so-called accounts or moneys of the Duterte family. Saan nya kinuha yun? And then he claims it is authenticated or authentic. How can that be authentic when the Bank Secrecy Law prohibits the divulging of those The one year bar against multiple impeachment complaints against the same official took effect for President Duterte last May 9, when the complaint was referred to the committee.
Umali dispelled criticisms that the personal knowledge requirement makes impeachment practically impossible. ” Not necessarily because you know, what is important is that whoever will stand trial can really present his case with convincing evidence.” Speaking about the Corona trial, Umali’s committee will submit its report and resolution to the Rules Committee which shall then include it in the agenda of the plenary. “We will submit the report to the Committee on Rules and hopefully, probably at the earliest Wednesday. If not, by next week, Monday, we hope that this matter be tackled and/or approved in Plenary.”