Alvarez on impeachment complaints: We are just doing our job
The House of Representatives was just doing its job when it processed the impeachment complaints against officials seen to be critical of President Rodrigo Duterte, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said on Friday amid criticisms that the chamber was targetting opposition voices.
“Wait a minute. These impeachment complaints don’t emanate from us. It was filed by a Filipino citizen. Under the Constitution, we are mandated to process any impeachment complaint,” Alvarez told a press conference in Makati City.
“We cannot just ignore them,” he added.
The latest impeachment complaint was filed by lawyer Larry Gadon against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
“We hope the impeachment process will not be abused,” Vice President Leni Robredo said Thursday when asked about the impeachment case against Sereno.
“Impeachment is one of the processes in a democracy, so let us listen. But in my view, it should not be used to incite fear. It should not be used to punish people who are boldly making their voices heard against the government,” said Robredo, who was herself the subject of an impeachment complaint that however failed to get any endorsement from a House member.
Aside from Sereno and Robredo, an impeachment complaint had also been filed against Commission on Elections chair Andres Bautista while Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales had been threatened with impeachment.
“When someone files an impeachment complaint, what are we supposed to do?” Alvarez said. “It’s not like we can just ignore it.”
He added: “Now if people are complaining, that’s just PR (public relations) work. They are trying to give it another angle…They muddle the issue,” he said.
The Speaker compared the criticisms against the House to the controversy hounding the Bureau of Customs.
“In the beginning we wanted to investigate the [P6.4 billion] drug shipment but they tried to divert it to other issues,” Alvarez said, alluding to his run-in with former Customs Commissioner Nicanor Faeldon’s chief of staff Mandy Anderson, who accused him of influence-peddling.
“But the House did not allow itself to be distracted,” he said.
“We continued and finished the investigation. We had recommendations in a committee report. And from there, the truth came out. That is what will happen as well (in the impeachment cases),” Alvarez said.
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