House expected to throw out Alejano's complaint, but has numbers to impeach Robredo

Sunday March 19, 2017 ()
Solicitor General Jose Calida

Solicitor General Jose Calida on Sunday, March 19,2017, backed Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez's plan to impeach Vice President Leni Robredo for treason by slandering President Rodrigo Duterte and the government before a United Nations event. Calida described as a "treasonous act" Robredo's video message, which criticized President Duterte's war on drugs and claimed that over 7,000 fell prey to extrajudicial killings by policemen and vigilantes. He said:

"VP [vice president] Robredo debased her office and herself by betraying the trust of our people. Worse, she shamelessly pandered to the desperate desire of Yellow Cult to depose President Duterte, which if successful, will immensely benefit her. Obviously, the carping VP Robredo has joined the ranks of the destabilizers."

Calida said he agreed with Alvarez that Robredo "should be rightfully condemned for slandering and selling out our country and its leaders before the UN", and vowed to lend the legal services of his office to help in the proposed impeachment of the vice president, saying it is "unfortunate" that Robredo now "will reap the people's wrath and contempt."

Alvarez though said, he would have Robredo impeached after he linked her to the impeachment complaint filed last Thursday by Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo against President Duterte.

Both Robredo and Alejano quickly denied this allegation.

The super majority coalition in the House is expected to throw out Alejano's complaint, but the coalition has the numbers to impeach Robredo.

Duterte's allies also enjoy a majority in the Senate, which will try Robredo in case she is impeached by the House.

The speaker said the vice president might have betrayed public trust in her video message to the UN that destroyed the image of the country before the international community.

Betrayal of public trust is one of the grounds under the Constitution for impeachment of an official, which law and political experts both consider as a numbers game.

Robredo's video message, posted by the DRCNet Foundation on YouTube last March 13, was played at the "Human Rights Challenge: Responding to Extrajudicial Killings in the Drug War," a side session for the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs annual meeting on March 16 at the Vienna International Center.

The Palace said an impeachment complaint against Robredo was within the purview of the speaker. Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella said Saturday night:

"The evaluation of the possible grounds for impeachment and the decision to file the complaint are the prerogative of the House of Representatives.

"The President is focused on governance and public welfare, especially the building of an inclusive and progressive nation free from crime, drugs and corruption.

"He is leaving for Myanmar and Thailand tomorrow [Monday] to enhance ties with two of our Southeast Asian neighbors, as our country hosts the Asean Conference this year."

Alvarez, a close Duterte ally, revealed on Friday that he was considering filing an impeachment complaint against Robredo.

Alvarez earlier linked her to a plot to unseat Duterte.

The House Speaker believed that Robredo should be impeached for "betrayal of public trust."

Senator Panfilo Lacson on Sunday said Robredo should correct the figures she mentioned in her video stating that "more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions" since the drug war started in July 2016.

Data from the Philippine National Police said there were only 2,582 killed in legitimate drug operations while the remaining 4,049 were deaths under investigation.

He further said that she did not bother to mention that there were police personnel killed and injured in the same drug war. Lacson said on his Twitter account:

"She reported to the UN that 7,000 were summarily executed. Fact is, government side suffered 38 casualties in 2,000 police operations. She should correct it."

"I've no agenda except fairness based on facts. We owe it to the 28 PNP and AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] personnel killed and 86 wounded in action as of Jan 28, 2017."

The senator, meanwhile, pointed out that Robredo's party mates in the Liberal Party were apparently using her and leading her to her downfall:

"They are leading her to the quicksand to advance their own political interests. I hope she realizes it sooner than later…What a waste."

Earlier, former delegate to the United Nations General Assembly Francis Acebedo Lopez also hit Robredo for "misrepresenting" millions of Filipinos in her video.

Lopez said:

"Robredo wantonly painted an impossibly grim image of the Philippine situation if only to attract international attention and action with unfounded claims and unsubstantiated allegations. She has not only embarrassed our country, she has betrayed the public trust and committed economic sabotage, both punishable under Philippine laws."

Sources:

  1. Various online news outlets

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