Fariñas doubts supplemental to Duterte impeachment rap allowed

Filing a supplemental to the impeachment complaint, like the one filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano against President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, may not even be allowed under House rules, Majority Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said.

Fariñas, who heads the House Committee on Rules, said he “seriously” doubts that impeachment procedures give way for follow-ups.

“I seriously doubt that a supplemental complaint is allowed in impeachment cases,” he told reporters in a message, after Alejano filed the supplemental on Thursday morning.

The majority leader noted that there are certain differences between how an ordinary court handles a case and how the House of Representatives takes on impeachment cases.

He noted that a court may allow an amended complaint once the respondent answers the initial one, but such may not happen under an impeachment court.

On the other hand, a respondent to an impeachment complaint will only be made to answer after the House justice committee finds the rap sufficient in form or substance, after which it is approved by the plenary.

“Thus, it would be unfair to allow a supplemental or amended complaint to add another cause of action to the original complaint or make such sufficient in form or substance,” he said.

“Otherwise, Rep. Alejano, or any complainant in an impeachment case, will have a field day in filing as many supplemental complaints as he desires,” he added.

Alejano, a former mutineer and a vocal critic of Duterte at the lower chamber, filed his supplemental complaint-affidavit two weeks after he filed the impeachment rap against Duterte.

In his supplemental affidavit, he scored the President for “failing or refusing” to assert the country’s rights over disputed territories with China, including Benham Rise, Panatag Shoal, and other areas in the West Philippine Sea.

Before this, Alejano said Duterte must be impeached over the following:

  • Culpable violation of the Constitution
  • Engaging in bribery
  • Betrayal of public trust
  • Graft and corruption
  • Other high crimes

In the said initial complaint, he raised as grounds against Duterte several factors within his presidency and during his time as Davao City mayor.

These included the spate of killings related to the war against drugs, killings carried out by the so-called Davao Death Squad, alleged hidden accounts amounting to more than P2 billion, and the hiring of some 11,000 ghost employees during his term as mayor.

Fariñas also noted that filing a supplemental complaint requires the court’s approval and is “not a matter of right.”

Moreover, he said a supplemental compliant “should cover supervening events that did not exist at the time” when the original complaint was filed.

“A simple reading of the supplemental affidavit of Rep. Alejano clearly shows that the events alleged therein already existed at the time of the filing of his original complaint on March 16,” he said.

READ: Duterte faces additional impeachment rap over China ties

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