Impeachment complaint against Duterte an exercise in futility

 

Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano showing his file of impeachment charges against Pres. Duterte.

The writing on the wall clearly points to Sen. Antonio Trillanes as the master mind in Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano’s impeachment complaint filed against Presdent Rodrigo Duterte.

Not only have the duo been together in the infamous Oakwood mutiny in 2003 that was intended to topple down the Arroyo presidency, but the three main charges in the complaint just sounds too familiar that it is simply irrational not to mention Trillanes as the one behind it.

The fact alone that the House has the exclusive power to initiate the impeachment process only shows that Trillanes has used a loyal yes-person in Alejano to file the following charges against Duterte accusing him of:

  • betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution, and other high crimes for his war on drugs which, according to the complaint, the President has used to “induce” policemen into killing alleged drug dealers and users without regard for the law, and making this as basis for their promotion in the police.
  • betrayal of public trust, bribery, graft and corruption, and culpable violation of the Constitution for allegedly creating the Davao Death Squad (DDS) when he was mayor of Davao, citing the testimonies of self-confessed DDS members retired policeman Arturo Lascañas and Edgar Matobato.
  • of graft and corruption and other high crimes for his alleged unexplained wealth and his hiring of contractual employees as mayor. Among the annexes in the complaint are the alleged bank accounts of Duterte and his family.

If these Madalo pair of lawmakers is not grandstanding and ego tripping for their own selfish agenda, I do not know how else to describe it since they know very well that the 1987 Philippine Constitution sets specific grounds for impeachment of the president which are treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes or betrayal of public trust.

What I am saying and asking is: Do this pair of former renegade soldiers have enough solid evidences that would substantiate their allegations/charges so that they could nail Duterte to the cross?

Or are these former comrades in arms solely dependent on what is more commonly used phrase now – the alternative facts – which in reality are false facts or what is bluntly called as lies, especially coming from questionable, if not unreliable, witnesses against Duterte?

I am not even asking if both Trillanes and Alejano have enough followers in the House to muster enough votes to make the case against Duterte prosper.

No wonder Sen. Panfilo Lacson wished them good luck!

But what we should be asking really are:

  • Was there treason, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and high crime committed by Duterte while still the mayor of Davao City?
  • How does Davao City now compare with other major cities in the country?
  • What does the Commission on Human Rights have to legally uphold Duterte’s human right violation?
  • Wasn’t the reason Duterte won overwhelmingly the presidential race is because the people want the country to be transformed the way he changed Davao city into a safe and livable place?

Thus, I would say that the impeachment complaint against Duterte is nothing but noise and an exercise in futility.

 

Lascañas and Matobato are ventriloquist dummies of Trillanes

 

Self-confessed killers Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas.

I wonder what impression the others have on self-confessed hitmen, former Special Police Officer 3 (SPO3) Arthur Lascañas and Edgar Matobato, but for me I see them all as Sen. Antonio Trillanes’ ventriloquist dummies.

In his ardent quest to oust Pres. Rodrigo Duterte from Malacañaang, Trillanes has been moving heaven and earth searching for testimonies  and smoking guns that will convince the populace that the man they have overwhelmingly voted for president is corrupt and a killer as well pretending to be a righteous person.

This of course coming from an ambitious man whose career in the military was cut short, thank goodness, because of his own narcissistic approach to life which can easily be observed glaringly the way he talks and carries himself.

Until Duterte came along, Trillanes thought that his notoriety coupled with his grandstanding in the Senate during the height of the corruption probe of the Binays would make him a shoo-in in the vice presidential election of 2016 placing him just a heart-beat away from the presidency if he wins.

Divine Providence made sure Trillanes won’t get his wish with Duterte’s entry in the presidential race and the rest is history.

Now Trillanes is and has been on the warpath against Duterte and for a reason – the spoiler of his political dreams and aspirations has to be avenged.

Not being able to prove that Duterte has billions of pesos in the bank as he alleged, Trillanes, with the assistance of Sen. Leila de Lima, made sure that he would go hammer and tongs after Duterte on the latter’s dark past with the much ballyhooed Davao Death Squad (DDS) when he was still the mayor of Davao City which reportedly killed over a thousand people.

This Trillanes made by coddling and using both Matobato and Lascañs as his main witnesses to nail Duterte on the cross.

Despite the questionable credibility and utter inconsistencies of both witnesses, killers in their own rights, Trillanes continues to believe they have the testimonies, the goods, the smoking gun that will finally unmask Duterte, as criminal.

But of course Trillanes has to believe and be convinced by the detailed account of his witnesses for after all both Matobato and Lascañas are his ventriloquist dummies, which means that he is the source of what needs to be heard by the public.

And it pleases no one’s ears but his!

Trillanes, de Lima and Lascañas

 

Senators Trillanes and de Lima.

Senators Trillanes and de Lima.

Senators Antonio Trillanes and Leila de Lima have been hogging the limelight lately for the obvious reason that both want President Rodrigo Duterte out of the presidency.

Like mad dogs both Trillanes and de Lima are going after Duterte with the former alleging that the president has hidden bank accounts, together with his family, that runs in billions of pesos and the latter calling the president murderer and sociopathic serial killer.

The noises that both senators are making are in the hope that their anger against Duterte will rub off on the Filipino people so that an uprising would ensue that could be the start of the president’s downfall.

But what is outrageous and sickening about the Trillanes and de Lima scheme is that both are also hinging their success on the come-backing, now retired police officer SPO3 Arthur Lascañas, who on October 3, 2016 appeared in the Senate that was investigating the alleged existence of the so-called Davao Death Squad (DDS) and, under oath, swore that he was never connected with the heinous organization because in the first place it never existed.

Self-confessed members of the DDS: Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas.

Self-confessed members of the DDS: Edgar Matobato and Arthur Lascañas.

This time, however, Lascañas resurfaced singing a different tune, to the delight of Trillanes and de Lima no doubt, and flanked by well known human right lawyers from the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) claimed, nay, confirmed that the DDS indeed existed under Duterte’s term as mayor of Davao City and confessing further that Duterte paid them between P20,000 to P100,000 for each kill.

Needless to say that, like Edgar Matobato who was Trillanes’ and de Lima’s ward, Lascañas has now joined his comrade in arms in accusing Duterte as the mastermind behind the killings in Davao.

But what does this make of Lascañas really?

And what does this speak of Trillanes and de Lima who are now coddling a retired policeman who has not only admitted having killed people but who has breached the sanctity of the Senate by lying after having been sworn to tell the truth?

Wasn’t Lascañas’ behavior an affront to the institution that its members were taken for a ride by a felon?

And yet we have now Trillanes and de Lima approving and defending Lascañas’ reappearance and confession simply because it provides something that both think will strengthen their cases in ousting Duterte from the presidency.

But how wrong can they be.

Even with Matobato and Lacañas as their aces against Duterte, Trillanes and de Lima don’t have a Chinaman’s chance in ousting the latter for it is not just about Duterte ordering/doing the killings, but it is more about proving that Duterte did the ordering/killing.

Worse still is that Trillanes and de Lima do not have the Filipino people behind them.

Much ado about Duterte’s criminal past

 

President Rodrigo Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte

Why are we making a big fuss now about President Rodrigo Duterte’s criminal past?

Just because Duterte confessed his crime-busting days, while still the mayor in Davao City, at the gathering of business executives at the Wallace Business Forum in Manila, saying, he just wanted to show to his policemen that if he can kill criminals that they, too, could do it, would it be reason enough for us to change our opinion of him?

Why, what is the difference between the Duterte today and the Duterte before, who as Davao City mayor had already been investigated for human rights violation by the Human Rights Commission and the Department of Justice, both coincidentally led by now Sen. Leila de Lima?

And what has de Lima proven? Nothing!

Yet Duterte never denied having killed criminals.

Even the illiterate self-confessed hitman of the Davao Death Squad Edgar Matobato alleged before senators during the hearing on extra-judicial killings that Duterte had ordered and participated in summary killings.

So why raise a furor about it now?

Just because de Lima has been harping abroad before international audience that Duterte’s action “is betrayal of public trust and that constitutes high crimes because mass murders certainly fall into the category of high crimes. And high crimes is a ground for impeachment under the constitution”, must we allow this hysteria to bother us?

Impeachment? De Lima must be dreaming!

What we know certainly is that de Lima has her own agenda against her most ardent nemesis, Duterte, and is simply inciting human rights organizations, like the Amnesty International, to create uproar in the country.

“By boasting about the blood on his own hands, President Duterte will further embolden police and vigilantes to blatantly violate laws and carry out more extrajudicial executions without fear of being held to account,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty’s director for South East Asia and the Pacific.

Only a misinformed and an ignorant person could come out with such a statement on Duterte’s war on illegal drugs, criminality and corruption.

The tightening of the noose around de Lima’s neck

 

Archenemies de Lima and Duterte

Archenemies de Lima and Duterte

It may be imaginary but what is happening to Sen. Leila de Lima these days seems to appear that she has this noose around her neck that is gradually tightening up.

De Lima probably thought that when she was chair of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) and went after former Mayor Rodrigo Duterte in Davao that she would succeed in hanging the latter for his alleged human rights violation or abuses that was highly publicized.

Alas, she failed but what she succeeded instead was putting Duterte in bad light by making the latter appear that he was behind the notorious and feared Davao Death Squad (DDS).

Needless to say that nothing came out of the investigation and no charges were filed against Duterte and Davao City continued to be the peaceful and livable place it is today, which is envied by other cities in the country.

But what de Lima did to Duterte – the indignity, shame and derision inflicted- has always left a bad taste in Duterte’s mouth and tore the very fabric of pride and decency inside his being.

There was nothing that Duterte could do in avenging the wrong that de Lima has done during those times especially that de Lima has become the high and mighty that she acted to be as DOJ Secretary.

It is very obvious however, in today’s events, that even as Secretary of Justice, de Lima continued to harbor displeasure and enmity against Duterte. The most glaring proof to this is secretly keeping the self-declared killer Edgar Matobato under the witness protection program (WPP), either for safe-keeping or to be used later as ‘lethal weapon’ against Duterte, if the time arises.

As we all know, de Lima, a popular DOJ secretary of the Aquino administration, especially when she spearheaded the raids in the luxurious kubols (living quarters) of drug lords inside the New Bilibid Prison (NBP), and a known stalwart member of the Liberal Party, ultimately became a senator during the presidential elections in 2016.

Yes, she was the 12th and last among those voted upon, but still a senator nevertheless. But never in de Lima’s wildest dream however would she have thought that Duterte will one day be president.

In fact she probably thought that the Filipino people will shun from voting to the presidency a man whom de Lima herself has disgraced by calling him vicious and deplorable, all but short of calling Duterte a killer.

How gravely wrong de Lima was and the rest is history.

Now de Lima is feeling the noose – the same imaginary noose that she once placed around the neck of Duterte – which, unknowingly, Duterte transferred to her neck.

The shocking difference now is that de Lima’s noose is starting to tighten all because of her greed and scandalous folly that has been exposed in Duterte’s relentless war on illegal drugs.

That she has used Matobato to testify against Duterte in an investigation that was suppose to shed light on extrajudicial killings (EJK) only proved her intense hatred against Duterte. This move and her malicious intentions, however, cost her the chairmanship of the justice committee which was tasked to investigate the EJK.

Matobato’s unreliability as witness in making it appear that Duterte was behind the DDS only help tighten slowly the noose around de Lima’s neck.

That the House of Representatives is conducting its own probe on de Lima’s involvement in drug-related activities inside the NBP also adds up to the further tightening of the noose around de Lima’s neck when it was revealed by the drug lords and other witnesses how she was accumulating money coming from them.

What could really hang de Lima for sure is when the Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) can provide Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre bank documents that could possibly link de Lima to the drug money from the NBP drug trade.

 

De Lima’s gambit against Duterte boomeranged on her

 

Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima

Embattled Sen. Leila de Lima

Senator Leila de Lima thought she had an ace in Edgar Matobato when she had the self-proclaimed assassin and former member of the dreaded Davao Death Squad (DDS) testifying in her former Justice committee investigating the alleged extra-judicial killings in the Duterte administration’s current war on drugs.

De Lima may have successfully restrained her euphoric emotions from being noticed by the public but deep inside her she surely was head over heels at what she was hearing when Matobato directly implicated President Rodrigo Duterte and to some extent his son Paolo, now vice mayor of Davao City, over the gruesome killings said to have been perpetrated by the DDS, most of which were allegedly ordered by former Davao City mayor and now President Duterte.

But it was very obvious, however, that the Senate inquiry, then chaired by de Lima, made an oblique turn by allowing Matobato to narrate his horrid and beastly experiences while a member of the DDS simply with the sinister purpose of putting the President Duterte in bad light.

What was disgusting about the whole proceedings was not that Sen. Antonio Trillanes showed his rotten ass-hole character against Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, but it was the senseless, idiotic and vengeful attitude of de Lima, as chair of the committee, to allow Matobato to proceed with his horrific tale knowing that in the process de Lima was no longer looking for flaws in aid of legislation but rather relishing at the verbal barbs directed personally at Duterte mainly for her self-satisfaction and political realization.

Apparently this gaffe did not pass unnoticed by most senators supporting Duterte and they were all saying that Matobato’s heinous DDS tale was a separate subject not covered by the resolution authorizing the inquiry, which was looking into alleged extra-judicial killings in the current war on drugs.

Thus, the result was that after the Senate next convened, Sen. Cayetano delivered a privilege speech denouncing how the Senate Justice committee had been used, not for an inquiry in aid of legislation but for an apparent “demolition job” on the President.

It was bad enough that Sen. Manny Pacquiao, a lesser star of a senator, removed a much heralded senator in de Lima from the chairmanship of the powerful Justice committee after the former moved to declare the chairmanship and the memberships vacant, but what is even worse is that Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre is preparing 12 high-profile inmates/drug lords from New Bilibid Prison (NBP) and other penal colonies to testify against de Lima in a hearing at the House of Representatives, which is scheduled to investigate the proliferation of illegal drugs at  NBP and how money was collected to allegedly bankroll de Lima’s senatorial run.

De Lima should have handled her boomerang intelligently and expertly. Now it is coming back hard at her.

Trillanes now Senate’s puffed-up member

 

Sen. Leila de Lima mediating at the warring Senators Trillanes and Cayetano.

Sen. Leila de Lima mediating at the warring Senators Trillanes and Cayetano.

It used to be that the Senate had undeniably two puffed-up members, namely, Senators Jinggoy Estrada and Ramon Revilla Jr.

Perhaps because of their years of prominence as top-grossing action movie stars they no longer could distinguish between reel and real appearance.

But almost always, unmindful or not, they try to project themselves as they have become – as actors.

Thus, whether campaigning for votes as politicians or crafting laws and conducting senate inquiries as senators you are likely to see them grandstanding or acting pompous.

In reality they were not cut to be senators of the realm but their popularity made them so. As if they were not filthy rich already both still got greedy and indulged in corruption and this is why they no longer belong to the august chamber of the senate but rather in the undignified place call the PNP detention center.

As is always the case anywhere and in whatever you do there is always somebody who takes over a person’s quirks.

Since we are talking about the senate, a glaring example is how Sen. Antonio Trillanes has taken over single handedly the pomposity exhibited by both Estrada and Revilla.

What is surprising however is how Trillanes got to be arrogant and overbearing when, unlike Estrada and Revilla, he was a soldier?

Well, everybody knows how he gained his popularity – by notoriety, when he lead a group of soldiers and tried to mount a coup against former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The rest is history.

What I am just bringing out here is how I wish Estrada was in the place of Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano in the hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on Justice chaired by Sen. Leila de Lima, when Trillanes tried silencing Cayetano from further questioning self-confessed assassin Edgar Matobato. He even had the gall to reach out and turn off Cayetano’s microphone!

Estrada said if Trillanes tried such move on him, he would have retaliated. “Sayang wala na ako diyan, dahil kung ako ang pinagsabihan mo ng ganyan, hindi kita sasantuhin!!” (Rough translation: It’s a pity I am no longer there, because if you have done that to me, you would have gotten it from me too!)

Bully against bully! What a despicable scene it would have been!

They may belong to the same ilk but at least Estrada has the decency of knowing the true meaning of respect.

It is very ironic that Estrada is the one reminding Trillanes on the time-honored Senate rules on respecting colleagues especially during congressional inquiries when Trillanes should have ingrained it in his mind having graduated from the prestigious Philippine Military Academy where proper human morality conduct and behavior is also taught.

Undoubtedly, this makes Trillanes the most puffed-up member of the senate now.