‘Robredo connection not surprising’
DAVAO CITY—President Rodrigo Duterte on Sunday said he would not be surprised if Vice President Leni Robredo were behind last week’s impeachment complaint against him, but said he welcomed the move initiated by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, saying it was part of democracy.
“I welcome the development. They can do their worst or better my performance as a worker in the government. This is a democracy,” he said.
On Thursday, Alejano filed the impeachment complaint against Duterte, accusing him of adopting the killing of drug offenders as state policy, and of corruption.
Duterte said that it is now up to destiny if he will keep his post for only two years or if he will finish it.
Asked if he thought Robredo were behind the impeachment bid, he said he would not be surprised.
“But I will not also speculate that she is behind it. I don’t interfere with her life,” Duterte said.
Duterte also said he never asked any government official to move against Robredo, nor was he behind any move to impeach her.
“I am beyond politics right now, I do not want to tinker with it. I just want to focus on the job given to me by the people,” Duterte said.
He said that he will only focus on his work and what he promised to the Filipino people, such as putting a stop to corruption, criminality and illegal drugs.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said Sunday the impeachment bid against Duterte would not prosper, saying the House committee on justice would not support or endorse the complaint.
But Alejano said Alvarez must not be overconfident.
I would want to emphasize that any coalition in this country, since time immemorial, is based on the interest of the parties. It is based on convenience,” he said.
“The moment that the interest of a party is not served, the coalition could break up. They should not be complacent that their coalition is that strong. Anytime, it may break up.”
Alvarez said there was no need for a loyalty check among members of the supermajority to kill the impeachment complaint against the President.
He also ruled out another purging of allies to prevent the President’s ouster.
Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III said he believed the impeachment complaint was filed not to oust Duterte but to gain publicity in the propaganda war against the administration.
“They were in the news, they got publicity. If that’s their target, they were already victorious,” said Pimentel in an interview over radio dzBB.
Pimentel said any impeachment complaint against Duterte would not prosper because is is not only popular among the people, but also among congressmen. This meant the impeachment complaint would not be able to gain any support from members of Congress.
For the complaint to reach the Senate for trial, one-third of the members of the House of Representatives must support it. Pimentel said this was an impossibility.
Pimentel also pointed to the recent vote on the death penalty as an indication of the President’s support in the House, where only 54 members voted against the bill.
Pimentel also pointed out that some of the acts the complaint accused Duterte of doing were allegedly committed before he became President.
“Can you impeach an impeachable officials on acts committed before they became impeachable officials? My answer here is no,” Pimentel said.
Pimentel said he was inclined to believe that the complaint was filed to create more noise and to gain publicity—and could be part of a bigger plan.
“Let us see if this in preparation for another move outside the country,” he said.