A WORD war has erupted between the Liberal Party and House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez after he tagged Vice President Leni Robredo as being behind the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte.
The LP hit back, saying Alvarez’s “orchestrated lies” about Robredo were baseless and meant to divide the country.
LP president Senator Francis Pangilinan reminded the President’s allies that Duterte himself last week declared that Robredo had nothing to do with what he called “destabilization efforts” against him.
“The President’s allies should take this cue from him and refrain from sowing lies, as this is infecting the nation instead of uniting us,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said this seems to be part of an orchestrated effort to spread lies.
“It is the same thing they did to Leila: Demonize and vilify with baseless accusations,” he said, referring to the President’s arch-critic, LP Senator Leila de Lima, who is now detained on drug trafficking charges.
LP secretary-general Quezon City Rep. Christopher Kit Belmonte said Robredo is not and will not be part of any destabilization moves.
“She was elected to serve the Filipinos and this she would do until the last day of her six-year term,” Belmonte said.
Alvarez, however, believed otherwise. The Speaker insisted Robredo had everything to do with the ouster plot since once the impeachment move succeeded, it would be Robredo who become president.
Alvarez said the LP and Robredo were behind the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano.
Key allies of the President have been attacking Robredo following her video message to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in which she talked about the victims of the administration’s brutal campaign against illegal drugs.
On Friday, Alvarez threatened Robredo of impeachment for betrayal of public trust for her pronouncements before the international body.
Belmonte pointed out that the video message narrated true stories of people who have approached the vice president to seek help.
“They said rogue policemen were involved in the killings. They approached VP because they have nowhere else to go,” Belmonte said.
The Speaker also accused Robredo of being behind the first impeachment complaint filed Thursday against Duterte by Alejano.
Alejano himself declared that the impeachment complaint was his initiative, and not anybody else’s.
Also on Friday, Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Duterte’s running-mate in the last elections, tagged the LP and its allies as behind a “coordinated effort” to discredit the administration.
Cayetano questioned how an impeachment complaint was filed against the President soon after a video criticizing the government’s war on drugs was played during a UN meeting.
Drug Reform Coordination Network, the international NGO that organized the UN event where Robredo’s video was shown, explained that the forum was set months earlier, and that she did not have anything to do with the schedule.
“As the organizer of the event at the UN, I can attest that the date of our forum was scheduled months ago by UN staff, and the vice president’s office did not make any requests of us as to timing or any other matters. We released it a few days before the session as a media strategy to draw attention to President Duterte’s atrocities,” said David Borden, executive director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network.
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.
The Speaker said Robredo was likely worried that a recount of ballots cast for vice president in the last elections would show she was not the real winner.
Robredo is facing an election protest lodged by her rival, former Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. before the Presidential Electoral Tribunal.
Alvarez said while Duterte himself declared during the graduation rites at the Philippine Military Academy that Robredo is not involved in the destabilization plots against the administration, he believes otherwise.
Pangilinan said Duterte’s allies were trying to spook themselves, creating political uncertainty.
“They should stop destabilizing the administration and focus instead on the gargantuan tasks of delivering on its campaign promises such as end ‘endo’ and create jobs, finish the traffic nightmare and ease commuters’ lives, and stop corruption and move the country forward,” the LP president said.