Robredo: Don't use impeachment to scare critics
MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Wednesday, September 6, said impeachment complaints should not be used as a way to scare critics in politics.
Robredo was asked to comment on the valid impeachment complaints filed at the House of Representatives against Commission on Elections Chairman Andres Bautista and Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
"Kung talagang impeachable offense, i-file kasi bahagi naman talaga ito ng ating democratic process. Pero sana hindi siya ginagamit na panakot... dahil hindi naman ito iyong intensyon ng ating Konstitusyon," said Robredo in an interview with reporters after visiting a slum area in Barangay 181 in Pasay City for her Metro Laylayan program.
(If it involves an impeachable offense, then file it because that is part of our democratic process. But I hope impeachment complaints will not be used to scare people... because that is not the intention of our Constitution.)
"Parang nalulusaw iyong intensyon ng Konstitusyon na dapat ito ay last resort (It's like the intention of the Constitution is being watered down because impeachment is supposed to be a last resort)," said the Vice President. (READ: The misuse of impeachment)
Two valid impeachment complaints have been filed against Sereno over her alleged tax misdeclarations, unauthorized expenses, and failure to be truthful in her Statement of Assets, Liabilities, and Net Worth (SALN).
Both complaints have been endorsed by lawmakers – 25 in one complaint and 16 in another. Malacañang already said President Rodrigo Duterte will not interfere with the impeachment proceedings against the Chief Justice.
The impeachment complaint against Bautista, meanwhile, was endorsed by Deputy Speaker Gwendolyn Garcia, Kabayan Representative Harry Roque, and Cavite 7th District Representative Abraham Tolentino.
Bautista is facing impeachment for failing to stop a cyberattack during the 2016 polls and allegedly not being truthful in his SALN.
The 1987 Constitution allows an impeachment complaint to be filed against the President, Vice President, members of the Supreme Court, members of constitutional commissions, and the Ombudsman. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?)
Any member of the House can initiate a verified impeachment complaint. Any Filipino citizen may also file a complaint, but it has to be endorsed by a lawmaker.
Two impeachment complaints had been drafted against Robredo herself – one by Marcos loyalists Oliver Lozano and broadcaster Melchor Chavez and another by the Impeach VP Leni Movement, led by bloggers and lawyers supporting Duterte.
No lawmaker has endorsed the impeachment complaints against Robredo so far. (READ: Still no endorsers for Robredo impeachment complaint)
On Wednesday, the Vice President reminded those concerned that impeachment proceedings do not just hurt the officials involved, but the rest of the nation as well.
"Nagdaan na din sa atin iyong ilang impeachment proceedings at alam natin na masakit ito. Hindi lang masakit para doon sa akusado, pero masakit ito para sa buong bansa dahil iyong lahat na sangay ng gobyerno ay nahahalughog," said Robredo.
(We already went through impeachment proceedings and we know how painful they are. They are not just hurtful for the accused, but also for the rest of the country because all branches of government are being scrutinized.) – Rappler.com