Robredo impeachment will fly in House, says solon
A lawmaker in the House of Representatives believes an impeachment complaint mulled against Vice President Leni Robredo has more chances to prosper than one against President Rodrigo Duterte.
In the “Ugnayan sa Batasan” forum on Monday, 1-Ang Edukasyon Rep. Salvador Belaro said an impeachment case against Robredo is more probable than the one against Duterte.
He said the lower House, which is dominated by allies of the administration in the rainbow “super majority” coalition, is likely to kill an impeachment move against Duterte, but keep alive an impeachment try against Robredo, a vocal critic of the administration’s war on drugs.
“I think it will prosper,” Belaro said, citing the provision in the Constitution that an impeachment complaint needed one thirds of members of the lower House for the impeachment to proceed to the Senate for trial.
“Based on the numerical proportion of the ruling party, it is a foregone conclusion that it will prosper,” he added.
Belaro said an impeachment trial is mandated under the Constitution as a “political act” with the Senate acting as a court and the lower House as the prosecuting panel.
As in any act of the legislature, an impeachment proceeding is also a numbers game, Belaro said.
“It’s really a question of numbers. It’s a foregone conclusion that members of the committee, as well as members of the House of Representatives will vote in accordance with their loyalties of their political affiliations,” Belaro said.
Belaro also advised his colleagues to focus their attention on other more important matters instead of giving in to the political agenda of impeachment cases.
Belaro said the filing of impeachment complaints against impeachable officers is mandated in the 1987 Constitution as “democracy in action.”
Belaro said he still has reservations about signing a resolution supporting an impeachment complaint, which needed one third of all members of the House for the complaint to go directly to the Senate for trial.
“I cannot form judgement beyond reasonable doubt yet,” Belaro said.
Marcos loyalists Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez were the first ones to ask Speaker Alvarez to endorse their impeachment complaint against Robredo for betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.
For his part, Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon, a former customs chief and now vice chairman of the House committee on defense and security, begged off from commenting if he would support an impeachment bid against Robredo.
Biazon admitted however that he would want to hear congressional debates on the merits of the impeachment complaint.
“I would like to hear the debates, arguments for or against, why we should transmit it to the Senate,” Biazon said.
He urged his colleagues to preserve the integrity of the House and not make it a tool for political agenda.
It was Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, President Duterte’s close ally, who first mulled the idea of filing an impeachment complaint against Robredo just days after the filing of the first ouster try against the Chief Executive.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano last Thursday filed the complaint against the President for the latter’s alleged hand in the vigilante killings by the Davao Death Squad and the spate of extrajudicial killings at the height of his administration’s war on drugs, as well as his alleged P2.2 billion hidden wealth.
Alvarez then tagged Robredo as being behind the impeachment move against Duterte, noting that the filing of Magdalo’s impeachment complaint coincided with the Vice President’s message to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs critical of the government’s narcotics war.
Alvarez said Robredo may be impeached for betrayal of public trust for putting the country in a bad light before the international community.
“Ang pananaw ko dito, may betrayal of public trust… Kung ikaw, ipagpapalagay nating totoo ang pagkakahalal, sisiraan mo ang bayan sa international community nang walang pakundangan, ano ang magiging epekto nun? Economically, may impact po yun,” Alvarez said.
(My view here is there is betrayal of public trust.. If we assume that her election in office was legitimate and true, and then you put the country in a bad light before the international community, what would be the effect of that? Economically, there will be an impact.)
Alvarez also took a hit at the legitimacy of Vice President Robredo, who is facing an election protest filed by former senator Bongbong Marcos after the latter lost by a margin of 200,000 votes. Bongbong is the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In her six-minute video to the 60th United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs annual meeting in Vienna, Robredo criticized the administration’s drug war and exposed the police “palit ulo” scheme of allegedly rounding up the kin of drug suspects if the latter were missing.