Philippine lawmaker files impeachment case against President Rodrigo Duterte
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte reacts during a news conference at the presidential palace in Manila, Philippines March 13, 2017. Reuters

Philippine President Rodrigo on Monday survived two impeachment charges filed against him, filed by House member Gary Alejano, during a hearing session at the Committee on Justice at the House of Congress. The charges were dismissed due to insufficiency in substance after hours of heated exchanges of words.

The charges

Congressman Alejano filed the complaint and alleged that Duterte has a role behind the state-sponsored killing of suspected drug users. He also pointed out at the president's inability to claim sovereignty rights over the South China Sea and Panatag Shoal.

The committee was tasked to determine whether the complaint can be qualified in its form and substance, but after several hours of heated arguments, the committee voted the complaint has sufficient in form but insufficient in substance.

Positive verdict

House majority leader, Rudy Farinas, who defended the President in the hearing session, said that the impeachment complaints were based on media reports and testimonies of other people, and not the complainant himself.

Farinas further said that Alejano's allegations are based on hearsays and he does not have any personal knowledge if 8,000 suspected drug users were killed as part of the president's campaign against drugs dubbed as "Tokhang" (which means knock a door in the Southern Philippine dialect).

"Clearly, it's not in his personal knowledge. That is the defect here. You are introducing statements under oath, these are not your own," Farinas was quoted by the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Farinas was also supported by fellow legislator, Rodante Marcoleta, who said that the complaint shall be dismissed because it was sourced from electronic media.

Alejano fights back

After the impeaching hearing's failure to get a favourable endorsement, Alejano called a press conference and announced that they would find ways that the families of the victims of reported extrajudicial killings can find justice.

He also announced that his group would also join the other groups to file a separate complaint in the International Criminal Court (ICC)

Congress has a total of 293 lawmakers and 267 of them are publicly known allies of Duterte while 121 are members of the President's Partido Demoktratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).