Vice President Maria Leonor G. Robredo could be facing another impeachment complaint, when the House of Representatives resumes sessions in May.
In a news conference, lawyers Bruce Rivera, Tom Berenguer and Trixie Angeles; Prof. Antonio Contreras and Interior Assistant Secretary Epimaco V. Densing III said they are now preparing a case against Robredo for her actions that are “inimical to the public interest and ruinous and prejudicial to the country’s economy”.
“Robredo has gone too far. We demand accountability. She needs to answer to us now. It is clear that in her determination to further her political stature, she is willing to bring the Filipino nation to perdition, even at the cost of Filipino integrity and self-determination,” Rivera said.
Rivera is one of the lawyers of alleged pork-barrel scam mastermind Janet Lim-Napoles.
According to Rivera, his group is now doing a case buildup against Robredo, which could take two to three weeks. He said they may file the case before session resumes on May 2.
“But we do not intend to do this alone. We have and are continuing to call for additional lawyers and volunteers in our ongoing case buildup. We need your help, because the fate of the nation lies not just in our shoulders,” he added. “We have decided to file for her impeachment. She can no longer be allowed to continue in this manner. Not anymore. Not at our expense.”
Citing a video message of Robredo to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Rivera said their grounds for impeachment are betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and other high crimes.
“We have long watched her, and done our duty by calling her out on social media, despite concerted means to silence us. Yet, it appears that not only has she continued unabated in her actions detrimental to the Filipino people, but she seems to be stepping up her ante using her position as vice president to peddle lies and distortions of reality. And despite public outcry, Robredo remains persistent, unrepentant and diabolical,” he added.
Angeles denied they are “agents of the President”, saying they are doing this for the Filipino people. On Monday lawyer Oliver Lozano and Cesar Chavez submitted a draft impeachment complaint against Robredo before the Office of the House Speaker.
“We respectfully request that you endorse the attached complaint for impeachment against Robredo. She is the termite of the government. Her unfaithfulness has extended to the betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution,” they said.
“She betrayed the people by shaming the nation with her dishonest message to the United Nation. [She] is duty-bound to act within the framework of the Constitution, but her acts of dishonesty and moral bankruptcy breached the bounds of the fundamental law,” they added.
Separation of powers
Meanwhile, Speaker Pantaleon D. Alvarez invoked the separation of powers between the Legislative and Executive in pushing for the impeachment complaint against Robredo.
This, after President Rodrigo discouraged politicians to impeach Robredo. “I am respecting the position of President Duterte. However, we cannot abandon our constitutional mandate to hear all impeachment complaints filed before us,” Alvarez said.
But Liberal Party Rep. Alfred D. Vargas of Quezon City said impeaching the country’s highest officials “is the last thing we need”. “We have more important things to do. Further polarization among our citizens will get us nowhere. It is my hope that we end this impeachment battle the soonest.”
Deputy Speaker and Liberal Party Rep. Romero S. Quimbo urged his colleagues to set aside the complaint against the Vice President.
“Aside from the complaint being baseless and practically a sham, we all know that we just had elections. Engaging in political partisanship this early is a disservice to the people who elected us. We need, instead, to focus our time and energy on laws needed by our people,” he said.
Quimbo also called on members and allies of the Duterte administration to follow the President’s lead in not supporting the impeachment complaint.
“I implore those who support the impeachment complaint against the Vice President and continue to believe in imaginary destabilization plots to focus, instead, on the very real problems of poverty and inequality. They are wasting their energy on no-existent threats. Even the President, supposed subject of said imagined destabilization plots, rejects the impeachment moves against VP Leni. Let’s hope they heed President Duterte’s call,” he said.
He also emphasized that an impeachment will have the effect of derailing the government and negatively affecting the economy.