Suarez-led House minority won’t back Duterte impeachment

MANILA, Philippines – The 18 members of the House bloc led by Minority Leader Danilo Suarez will not back the impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte.

Suarez told Rappler on Wednesday, April 26, that the minority lawmakers will be voting as a bloc. 

“That issue was discussed during the last days, last week of the session and we’ve decided not to support because there are some members of the minority that sit in the justice [panel]. And I don’t think it will fly,” said Suarez.  

Impeachment complaints are referred to the House justice committee, which will determine whether the complaint is sufficient in form and substance. (READ: FAST FACTS: How does impeachment work?)

Suarez said the impeachment complaint filed by Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano does not stand a chance in Congress given Duterte’s popularity and high trust rating. (READ: Highlights: Impeachment complaint vs Duterte)

“In a political point of view, you cannot impeach someone with that high popularity and trust rating. You’re just wasting your time. And he’s doing good. Not to the level of my expectation, but he exceeded in some areas where I didn’t expect him to exceed like drugs,” said Suarez.

Alejano wants Duterte impeached over his alleged involvement in the Davao Death Squad, the bloody war on drugs, the ghost employees  in Davao City when Duterte was mayor, his alleged unexplained wealth, and his approach in dealing with the dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he was mulling filing an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo because she criticized the drug war in a video played at the sidelines of a United Nations Commission on Narcotics Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Suarez leads the minority bloc which opposition lawmaker and Albay 1st District Representative Edcel Lagman had described as “subservient” to the majority.

Duterte counts at least 267 lawmakers as his House allies.

No decision on Robredo impeachment

Suarez said once his bloc decides on the looming impeachment complaint against Robredo, it will "vote as one."

“Our decision is we will vote as one. Hindi kami boboto nang separately (We will not be voting separately). The minority will have one vote on whether we will support or not support the impeachment of the Vice President,” said Suarez.

Baguilat, Robredo’s party mate at the Liberal Party, earlier said the Suarez-led minority bloc’s decision on the possible impeachment complaint against the Vice President will show its true colors. 

“I have this suspicion that the coopted minority will do the dirty job for the super coalition in pushing the VP Robredo impeachment," Baguilat tweeted on April 23.

“But they will be quiet on the Duterte impeachment kasi nga... company union sila (because they are a company union),” added the lawmaker, correctly predicting the minority bloc’s stand on the President’s impeachment complaint.  – Rappler.com

Mara Cepeda

Mara Cepeda writes about politics and women’s rights for Rappler. She covers the House of Representatives and the Office of the Vice President. Got tips? Send her an email at mara.cepeda@rappler.com or shoot her a tweet @maracepeda.

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