Published: Tue, May 16, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

'This is a democracy': Int'l court may be next for Duterte

'This is a democracy': Int'l court may be next for Duterte

In March, Gary Alejano, a member of the right-wing Magdalo Party, filed a complaint against Duterte on the grounds of allegations of betrayal of public trust, violation of the constitution in relation to the mass killings during anti-drug operations, the failure to protect country's sovereign rights in the South China Sea dispute and the failure to declare a personal wealth of $40 million.

Rep. Gary Alejano, fourth from right, watches as members of the Justice Committee stand up to be counted as they vote during a hearing on the impeachment complaint that he filed against Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte at t.

The minority bloc of the House urged the committee on justice to conduct hearings on the impeachment complaint against the President and not to fast-track the proceedings owing to the "superiority of numbers".

MANILA - Lawmakers in the Philippines on Monday threw out an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte that accused him of orchestrating the mass murder of thousands of people in his crackdown on drug use.

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"Yeah, he can go ahead".

Alejano said he might now convince his allies to put their weight behind the ICC case, because there were no Philippine institutions able to hold Duterte to account.

"I am not a witness of the killings, of the victims of the war on drugs". But not in the character and kind that I was dished out to order [the killings, even of] the child. But the president's critics hope the procedure could bolster a lawsuit filed against him by a Filipino lawyer before the ICC for alleged extrajudicial killings by showing that domestic efforts to stop Duterte have failed.

The House of Representatives has the exclusive power to initiate cases of impeachment, which could be filed by any member of the lower chamber or citizen.

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Since he took office in June previous year, police have reported killing about 2,700 drug suspects. The government refutes that, releasing data on May 2 showing almost 4,600 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations and homicides found to be drug-related. "These are complicated hearsay", House Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas of Ilocos Norte said. He said his complaint was based on official records, affidavits of witnesses and Mr Duterte's own public pronouncements.

After an executive session, several lawmakers pointed to Alejano's lack of personal knowledge about the alleged crimes, calling his allegations hearsay.

The Justice Committee of the House of Representatives, which is controlled by Duterte backers, reviewed the complaint and declared it insufficient.

Representative Harry Roque said "at best it's a misrepresentation, at worst it's a falsity", while deputy house speaker Fredenil Castro said Alejano was trying to oust a president with hearsay and proceedings should be terminated.

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