‘Leni in on impeach bid’
Alvarez says VP will gain from Duterte ouster
SPEAKER Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday accused Vice President Leni Robredo of being directly involved in the filing of the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Thursday.
“Definitely yes. Who else will benefit from Duterte’s ouster but Robredo?” Alvarez told a television interview to clarify his statement on the possible involvement of Robredo in the impeachment move.
Alvarez noted that the filing of the impeachment complaint came on the heels of a video message Robredo sent to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs where she criticized the conduct of the administration’s war against illegal drugs.
Robredo is likely worried that a recount of the ballots cast for vice president in the last elections would reveal she is not the real winner, Alvarez added.
Robredo is facing an election protest lodged by her rival, former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal, which recently decided to proceed with the hearing of the case.
“Maybe she is scared of the recount because it may turn out she really lost the elections,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez said that while President Duterte himself said during the graduation rites at the Philippine Military Academy that Robredo is not involved in the destabilization plots against the administration, he believes otherwise.
A spokeswoman for Robredo, Georgina Hernandez, denied the vice president’s involvement in the impeachment complaint.
“The Vice President and many of us know that the accusation was not true. Even the one who filed the complaint clearly said the vice president knew nothing about it,” she told a radio interview.
She said Robredo would just ignore the issue.
“She has not even seen the complaint so why should she take any move?” she added.
Alvarez on Friday said he wasn’t calling Alejano stupid when he said Thursday that “we are all entitled to our stupidity.”
“By stupidity I meant it would only be a waste of time to file an impeachment complaint that is lacking in substance,” Alvarez said, noting that the Magdalo impeachment complaint will be thrown out.
Alvarez also dismissed the claim of Alejano that a few allies of President Duterte are supporting the impeachment complaint.
Instead of wasting the time of Congress, Alvarez urged Alejano and his group to focus on their legislative mandate as members of Congress.
Malacañang on Friday said the filing of an impeachment complaint before the House of Representatives on the last day of congressional session and Robredo’s UN video message “seem too neat to be written off as mere coincidence.”
“While the President previously ruled out the Vice President’s involvement in any destabilization attempt, the release of her UN video message lambasting the administration’s war on drugs before an international audience and the filing of an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives which happened on the same day, seems too neat to be written off as mere coincidence,” said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
“If it is not her personal intent, she may have played into the hands of those who wish to use her as a political animal,” said Abella.
“Either way it is a pathetic state of affairs for her,” said Abella.
Abella said Alejano’s impeachment filing is only the latest in an orchestrated effort of a well-funded destabilization campaign against President Duterte.
“That Alejano filed his case on the last day of the congressional session, secures him a whole month and a half to malign President Duterte without being challenged by fellow legislators,” said Abella.
“The instigators of this cynical campaign include senators and higher officials who attack the very institutions fighting the crime and contraband that tripled during their term,” he said.
“These are apparently desperate acts to protect their threatened vested interests,” said Abella.
Robredo criticized the priorities in Duterte’s war on drugs, which has caused the deaths of thousands of Filipinos since its conception in July 2016.
In a recent video addressed to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Robredo said drug problem is a complex issue that cannot be solved “with bullets alone.”
“It must be regarded as it truly is, a complex public health issue, linked ultimately with poverty and social inequality,” Robredo said.
Opposition senators assailed Alvarez for linking Robredo to the filing of the impeachment complaint against Duterte.
Senator Francis Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, branded Alvarez’s claim as “baseless and unfounded.”
Robredo is the highest elected LP official.
Pangilinan had repeatedly denied that the LP was behind the destabilization and ouster plots against Duterte so that Robredo could take over the presidency.
Senator Antonio Trillanes IV also said Robredo had nothing to do with the filing of the impeachment complaint.
Trillanes was part of the Magdalo group, whose party-list congressman, Rep. Gary Alejano, filed the complaint.
“It was the sole decision of Magdalo to file it,” said Trillanes in a text message to reporters.
“They were always asking whose behind because they cannot stand for who’s in front of them,” Trillanes said.