MANILA, Philippines – Stopping short of saying Vice President Leni Robredo is behind the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte, the Palace said it's more than coincidence that her video message critical of the administration was released around the same time as the filing of the complaint.
"The release of her UN video message lambasting the administration's war on drugs before an international audience and the filing of an impeachment complaint at the House of Representatives which happened on the same day, seems too neat to be written off as mere coincidence," said Presidential Spokesman Ernesto Abella.
His message was sent to reporters on Friday, March 17. The day before, Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano filed the first impeachment complaint against Duterte.
March 16 was also the day Robredo's video message was aired during a United Nations meeting on extrajudicial killings held in Austria.
Abella acknowledged that Duterte himself "previously ruled out" Robredo's involvement in any destabilization plot.
But he said, if Robredo has no intentions of ousting Duterte, it's possible she is being used by others with such motives.
"If it is not her personal intent, she may have played into the hands of those who wish to use her as a political animal," said Abella.
Whether Robredo is being used or not, Duterte's spokesman said the situation is a "pathetic state of affairs" for the Vice President.
Unlike the Palace, House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez is already convinced Robredo is behind the impeachment complaint.
The Palace has insisted there is no basis to impeach Duterte as it denied he is guilty of culpably violating the Constituton, engaging in bribery, betraying public trust, committing graft and corruption and other high crimes.
On Friday, Abella called the filed impeachment complaint the latest move in an "orchestrated effort of a well-funded destabilization campaign."
He also claimed those behind the plot are "senators and higher officials" out to "protect their threatened vested interests." – Rappler.com
Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at email@example.com.