Trillanes sees ‘game-changer’ in impeach bid
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV scoffed at the way some presidential allies had dismissed the impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo party-list group against President Rodrigo Duterte, warning that the current political environment could change in the next two months when Congress returns to deliberate on it.
He said “intervening events” could be a “game-changer” in the fate of the impeachment complaint, mainly the continued blunders of the Duterte administration.
Trillanes expressed the belief the President was panicking himself given the way his allies had become “aggressive and vicious” in putting down the impeachment complaint against the Chief Executive.
“If the President is cool about it, why are his people panicking … they’re trying to project they are still in control and confident but on the contrary, that is not what is coming out,” Trillanes said in a phone interview on Sunday.
The Palace and the President’s congressional allies have cast doubt on the capability of the Magdalo group to gather support for its impeachment complaint in the House of Representatives given the big support for Mr. Duterte there.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano filed the complaint against Mr. Duterte for betrayal of public trust in his war on drugs and his alleged hidden wealth.
In a radio interview on Sunday, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said that he believed the impeachment complaint was for publicity purposes and that it had succeeded there.
Pimentel said he had doubts Alejano’s Magdalo group would be able to get the required one-third vote in the 292-member House given the popularity of the President. A one-third vote would automatically send the complaint to the Senate for trial.
“So what they got was publicity. In my belief, that was their target and they succeeded because this was given publicity,” he said.
But Trillanes said the situation now “may be much more different in May” when Congress returns from its almost two-month recess.
He said the continued blunders of both the President and his allies “now done on a frequent basis” could help impeachment complaint gain support.
This included the constant “flip-flopping” in the policy of the government, according to the senator, who cited as example Mr. Duterte’s statement that he would “flatten the mountains” in search for the communist rebels who had killed policemen recently but after a few days, a Palace announcement was made that peace talks with communist rebels would resume.
He said the President and his officials had conflicting statements on Chinese ships plying Benham Rise, with Mr. Duterte saying that he had allowed China to go there while his foreign and defense officials claimed they were unaware of the presidential order.
On the second intervening event, Trillanes said this could “supplement” the impeachment complaint. But he did not elaborate.
“Things will come to a head,” he said, adding that this was brought about by the “headless chicken governance” of the Duterte administration.