Duterte thinks Robredo, De Lima, or Trillanes behind 'ouster try'
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte said only 3 names come to mind on who could be behind the alleged ouster plot against him: Vice President Leni Robredo, detained Senator Leila de Lima, and Senator Antonio Trillanes IV.
"Who's behind it? Itong si Trillanes. Sino pa ang isa? Si De Lima, gusto niya na akong paalisin... Pangatlo, si Leni, natural – bakit pa siya maghihintay kung nandiyan na ang opportunity?" Duterte said during his spontaneous speech at the 16th National Convention of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) on Thursday, March 23.
(Who's behind it? Trillanes. Who else? De Lima, who wants to oust me... Third, Leni, naturally – why would she wait if the opportunity is already there?)
Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, a staunch ally of the President, earlier accused Robredo of having a hand in the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano against Duterte. Alejano already said Robredo had nothing to do with the complaint.
Alvarez is also considering an impeachment complaint against Robredo, claiming that she betrayed public trust by criticizing the Duterte administration's bloody drug war in a video message sent to a non-governmental organization. That video was shown at a side event in Vienna, Austria, not at a United Nations meeting as initially reported.
Even so, Duterte reiterated that impeachment complaints should not be filed at this stage, whether it's against him or against Robredo.
"We just finished the elections, it's too early to be ousting people... Si Leni hayaan 'nyo siya (Let Leni be), she also has to take a stand, I understand that," Duterte said. (READ: Impeachment complaints vs Duterte, Robredo 'doomed,' says LP leader)
Earlier on Thursday, a group of Duterte supporters calling themselves the "Impeach VP Leni Team" said they are now working on an impeachment complaint against the Vice President, which will include an investigation into Robredo's wealth.
The group is composed mostly of lawyers, plus an official from the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing III.
Before Duterte, Robredo also spoke at the IBP event on Thursday afternoon.
In her speech, Robredo called on lawyers to defend Filipinos' right to express dissent. The Vice President also lamented what she described as "false security" in the country.
"People cannot point to deserted streets and say that's peace when we know better. At best, that is false security. The challenge is to reclaim the narrative of genuine security. To iterate that it is not one-dimensional, only concerned with the absence of crimes. The challenge is about upholding the quality of life which is realized by the protection of our freedoms," Robredo said. – Rappler.com