Alvarez urged to endorse impeachment complaint vs Robredo

Mara Cepeda
Alvarez urged to endorse impeachment complaint vs Robredo
Marcos loyalists Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez, the complainants, accuse Vice President Leni Robredo of betraying public trust. But LP stalwart and Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo slams the complaint as 'baseless'.

MANILA, Philippines – Two members of the Volunteers for Good Government asked Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to endorse an impeachment complaint they drafted against Vice President Leni Robredo. 

In their letter to Alvarez on Monday, March 20, lawyer Oliver Lozano and broadcaster Melchor Chavez called Robredo “the termite of the government.”

“Her faithfulness has etended [sic] to the betrayal of the public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution,” said Lozano and Chavez. 

Alvarez is mulling filing an impeachment complaint against Robredo after he accused her of being behind the first impeachment complaint against Duterte, the Speaker’s longtime friend and political ally. 

The Davao del Norte 1st District Representative said the complaint could be about Robredo’s “betrayal of public trust” for her criticism of the drug war in a video sent to the United Nations (UN).

In their 6-page complaint against Robredo, Lozano and Chavez accused the Vice President of culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust over the same UN video. 

They hit Robredo for saying “more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions” because of Duterte’s ongoing war against drugs. Lozano and Chavez also hit Rappler for using the same figure.

“This number is false, a fake news. This 7,000 figure as the total number of extrajudicial killings that Robredo has disseminated to the world is one maliciously fabricated by a low-level biased or incompetent researcher, and posted by the yellow and lazy editors of the rappler.com newsite on March 13, 2017,” read the complaint.

Rappler, however, based the figure on official data from the Philippine National Police.  

The two complainants also said Robredo failed to present “any iota of evidence” when she claimed that residents are told they do not have the right to demand search warrants “as they are squatters.”

“It gets worse though. Robredo, in her message to the UN, made it appear that the rule of law in our country has so totally broken down [that] victims of human rights violations are given no recourse,” said Lozano and Chavez.

Alvarez said on Monday that he has not seen the complaint yet. The Speaker is currently inspecting tourism facilities around the country together with other House leaders. 

Lozano used to be the lawyer of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos, while Chavez was a member of the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, a party associated with Marcos. 

Lozano also filed 5 impeachment complaints against former president and now Pampanga 2nd District Representative Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and tried to seek the impeachment of former president Benigno Aquino III twice. 

Chavez, meanwhile, repeatedly ran but lost for senator from the 2001 elections up to the 2016 midterm and national polls.  

‘Baseless complaint by recidivist impeachers’

For Liberal Party (LP) stalwart and Marikina City 2nd District Representative Miro Quimbo, the impeachment complaint drafted against their party chairperson Robredo is a “baseless complaint.”

“The House of Representatives should not spend a single second on this baseless complaint. It’s a mere scrap of paper that is supported not by any evidence but by mere erroneous conclusions of law,” said Quimbo.

As Deputy Speaker, Quimbo is the highest ranking member in the House among the 32 LP lawmakers.

“Congress should not allow itself to be used by these ‘recidivist impeachers’ who trivialize this deeply sacred accountability measure enshrined in our Constitution. We must not allow Congress and its members to be dragged into their petty political charades,” said Quimbo.

He added that Congress is better off spending time on “much needed legislation” including those on tax reform, overhauling the criminal justice system, addressing traffic “as well as those that seek to make economic gains more inclusive.”

“Ginagawa nilang dalawa singko ang impeachment (They’re cheapening the process of impeachment). It’s a travesty to our political institutions if we are to allow these people to cheapen this process,” said Quimbo.

Read a full copy of the letter and complaint sent to the Speaker by Lozano and Chavez below:

– Rappler.com

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Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda specializes in stories about politics and local governance. She covers the Office of the Vice President, the Senate, and the Philippine opposition. She is a 2021 fellow of the Asia Journalism Fellowship and the Reham al-Farra Memorial Journalism Fellowship of the UN. Got tips? Email her at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or tweet @maracepeda.