MANILA-- Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito on Thursday said that there is no "compelling reason" to file an impeachment complaint against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, at least at this time.
Ejercito, an ally of Pres. Duterte, made this remark after Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against the President before the Office of Secretary General at the House of Representatives.
Alejano's five grounds for impeachment are violation of constitution, bribery, betrayal of public trust, graft and corruption, and other high crimes
This is the first impeachment case filed against Duterte, eight months after his assumption to office as President.
"(There is) no compelling reason to file an impeachment complaint against the President at this time. Wala sa tamang panahon ang impeachment complaint (It is not the right time to file an impeachment complaint)," Ejercito said.
Ejercito, who described the complaint as "destructive," said that people should instead try to be progressive.
"My bloc in the Senate, the "Seatmates" are pro-progress and development. Instead of being destructive, why not try to be progressive?" he said, referring to a newly-formed bloc that consists of senators seated together.
Aside from Ejercito, other members of the Seatmate bloc are Senators Juan Edgardo Angara, Sherwin Gatchalian, Joel Villanueva and Juan Miguel Zubiri.
Ejercito, meanwhile, compared the impeachment complaint filed against Pres. Duterte to the complaint filed against former President and now Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
"GMA's legitimacy was in question then, while Pres. Duterte was given the mandate by the Filipino people. Entirely different situation," he added.
Unlike Ejercito, other senators, however, believed that the impeachment complaint was merely part of public accountability.
"The process of impeachment is enshrined in our Constitution as a mechanism of public accountability," acting Liberal Party (LP) President Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
"Whether we agree or disagree with the filing of the complaint we must respect the process as part of our constitutional democracy," he added.
Sen. Paolo Benigno Aquino IV said that it is the "right" of anyone to utilize constitutionally-mandated processes to hold their leaders accountable.
"Dispensation of an impeachment complaint is a process -- one which the House of Representatives will have to undertake when they resume in May," Aquino said.
"These processes laid out in our laws need to be followed and we call for a transparent and just resolution of this matter," he added.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV, a member of the Magdalo Partylist, meanwhile welcomed the filing of the impeachment complaint.
"Being part of Magdalo, I welcome and support Cong. Gary Alejano's filing of impeachment complaint against President Duterte. It is the last venue left for him to face the allegations against him," Trillanes said.
Source: Philippines News Agency