Manila (AsiaNews) – After just nine months in office, Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte already faces a first attempt at impeachment.
Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano, a former Marine captain, filed a complaint against Duterte at the Office of the Secretary General accusing the president of violating the constitution, graft, breach of public trust, and other serious crimes.
At a press conference, Gary Alejano filed the 16-page application in support of his allegations and explained the reasons for his action.
“We are of the firm belief that President Duterte is unfit to hold the highest office of the land and that impeachment is the legal and constitutional remedy to this situation,” Alejano told reporters.
Gary Alejano is a former Marine captain who took part, along with other young officers, in two failed coup attempts in 2003 and 2007 led by Lieutenant Antonio Trillanes IV, now a senator, against then-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Sources told AsiaNews that the soldiers tried to overthrow the Arroyo, after she managed to avoid the three impeachment attempts, because of their opposition to the widespread corruption and social inequalities at a time of strong economic growth.
“There is nothing extra-legal here. We are not staging a coup d’état or any other means to oust Duterte,” Alejano said, bristling at suggestions that his move might be seen as an attempt to destabilise the Duterte administration.
The complaint slams the President for his “state policy” of inducing policemen, other law enforcement authorities, and vigilante groups to kill more than 8,000 people “who were merely suspected of being drug offenders.”
Alejano argues that Mr Duterte is the mastermind behind the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) when he was mayor there. The group has been blamed for the death of 1,400 drug users based on testimonies before the Senate of confessed assassins Edgar Matobato and Arturo Lascañas.
Alejano also accuses Mr Duterte of graft and corruption in the hiring of 11,000 “ghost employees” when he was mayor as well as of amassing P2.2 billion (US$ 44 million) in “deposits and credits that flowed into his numerous bank accounts,” based on copies of transactions that were attached to the complaint. Trillanes first raised the issue during the presidential campaign.
A vote of at least one-third of the 292-member House of Representatives is needed to impeach the President. However, with more than 260 of the lawmakers belonging to a pro-Duterte bloc, Alejano acknowledged that he was facing an “uphill climb.”