The first but not the only one

Since 1935, impeachment complaints have been filed against eight (8) Philippine presidents—half of the total roster of country’s Chief Executives.

On March 16, 2017, a day before the Congress adjourns for a recess, Magdalo Party List Representative Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (PRRD). In establishing his charges, Representative Alejano cited the President’s war on drugs, alleged promotion of extra-judicial killings, and purportedly unexplained wealth, along with the existence of the Davao Death Squad (DDS), and other administrative actions allegedly committed by the President while he was Mayor, Vice-Mayor, and Congressman of Davao City.

While PRRD is the only Philippine president thus far to have been charged with impeachment less than a year in office (i.e., eight months into his term), he is certainly not the only once to face such complaints. Eight presidents have had to respond to impeachment charges since 1935. Excluding the recent case against PRRD, the complaint against former President Elpidio Quirino was filed the “soonest,” having been submitted by Representative Juan Rodriguez on April 28, 1949 or just 10 days after President Quirino’s first year in office.