Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during the change of command for the new Armed Forces chief at a military camp in Quezon city, Metro Manila, December 7, 2016. REUTERS/Erik De Castro
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte risks impeachment after he admitted “personally” killing criminals when he was the mayor of Davao City, said two Philippine senators.
The firebrand leader boasted to business leaders on Monday that as Davao City mayor he used to prowl the streets on a big motorcycle looking for “an encounter to kill” just to show to local law enforcers he can do it.
“I used to do it personally,” Duterte said. “If I can do it why can’t you?”
More than 2,000 people have been killed in police anti-drug operations since Duterte became president in July. Almost all were shot when they resisted arrest.
Another 3,000 deaths are under investigation, with critics calling them vigilante killings.
Senator Leila de Lima, a staunch critic of Duterte, said the president’s admission could be a ground for impeachment.
“That 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,” de Lima told CNN on Thursday.
Senator Richard Gordon, who heads the senate justice committee, also said Duterte opened himself to possible impeachment proceedings following his controversial comments.
“When he says that, he’s opening himself up, so what’s the legal way, then go ahead and impeach him,” he told reporters, adding he was not surprised by the statement.
Duterte’s allies in Congress dared the president’s opponents and critics to file an impeachment motion, saying removing the leader through a political process is a numbers game.
There are less than 50 opposition lawmakers in the 293-member lower house of Congress. A two-thirds vote is needed to impeach a president.
Peter Wallace, who organized the business forum where Duterte spoke, thought the president’s statement was his “usual bravado.”
“He talked as he often does about drugs, and killings and criminality. And we had expected that he would but we were there not to listen to that,” Wallace told Reuters by phone.
“We were there to talk to him or listen to him about business issues and I was pleased that…he moved on to those subjects,” he said.
Justice Minister Vitaliano Aguirre dismissed Duterte’s statement as an exaggeration.
“It’s like a hyperbole, that’s the president, he is used to exaggerate just to put his message across,” Aguirre was quoted in radio reports as saying on Thursday.
Even if that were true, Aquirre said it did not necessarily mean that he violated the law.
“It could be done with a justifiable cause and justified circumstances as a public officer in order to arrest but if they resisted. He must have been forced,” Aquirre said, referring to Duterte. — Reuters
SC: Ombudsman Morales is entitled to full 7-year term
Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales
The Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales is entitled to a full seven-year term.
Voting unanimously, the Court dismissed the consolidated petitions challenging Morales’ stay in the position.
Citing Article 11, Section 11 of the 1987 Constitution And Republic Act 6770 Or The Ombudsman Act, the court stated that the Ombudsman is appointed to a full term of seven years without reappointment and not simply the unexpired portion of the predecessor.
The petitioners are claiming that Morales, who was appointed in 2011 following the resignation of Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierez, should only serve until 2015 or remaining years of Gutierrez’ term. – Roderic Mendoza | UNTV News & Rescue
Palace: Trump’s support on Duterte’s war on drugs, more important vs. reports
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang has refused to pay attention to the latest report of US State Department that expresses alarm over President Rodrigo Duterte’s “war on drugs”.
Based on the report, the cases of extrajudicial killings are the “chief human rights concern” in the Philippines which shows “a sharp rise with the onset of the anti-drug campaign in 2016”.
But Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the report directly contradicts US President Donald Trump’s statements which support the anti-drug war.
“Given what we heard from President Trump, let’s just say it exists but we prefer to hold on to the words of President Trump. He is, after all, the president,” Roque said. — UNTV News & Rescue
Duterte wants pursuit of ‘labor-only contracting’ firms
FILE PHOTO: PHL President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (Cerilo Ebrano / Photoville International)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte has directed Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III to submit a report on companies engaged in labor-only contracting.
These are companies that implement repeated short-term employment contracts better known as “cabo” and 5-5-5 schemes.
The president gave the labor department 30 days to submit the report to the Office of the President.
The National Labor Relations Commission (NLRC) was also ordered to coordinate with the labor secretary in relation to the order.
According to Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, this is still part of the president’s promise.
“To crack down on them because the promise was to end 555 — end. Ang promise ng Pangulo, habang ganiyan ang depinisyon ng contractualization na hindi lahat ay bawal, kung hindi iyong mga cabo lamang, sisiguraduhin ni Presidente wala talagang 555 at wala talagang cabo,” said the presidential spokesperson.
(To crack down on them because the promise was to end 555 — end. The president promised, while the definition of contractualization says not everything is prohibited but only “cabo”, the president will ensure that there will be no more 555 and cabo schemes.)
On Thursday, Malacañang said the president will no longer sign an executive order banning contractualization of workers.
Roque said it is the duty of the Congress to enact laws that will ban all types of contract labor in the country.
Duterte, however, will possibly certify the proposed bill as urgent to speed up its progress in Congress. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News & Rescue