Majority-aligned LP House members won’t back impeach moves vs Duterte, Robredo

April 21, 2017 - 10:37 AM
BusinessWorld file photo of Deputy Speaker Romero Federico Quimbo

MANILA, Philippines – Majority bloc-aligned Liberal Party (LP) congressmen have affirmed that they will not back any impeachment moves against President Rodrigo Duterte, Vice President Leni Robredo or any impeachable officials.

The position was reached after a meeting of some 15 LP congressmen with Robredo on Thursday, April 20, according to Deputy Speaker Romero Federico Quimbo, the highest-ranking LP member at the House of Representatives.

“We came to a common consensus on the following matters: We strongly believe that the taking up by the HOR of any impeachment complaint today will only be divisive as well as polarizing. It will only serve to distract us from the many important matters that Congress should give priority to,” he said.

“For these very imperative reasons, the LP House majority caucus members present categorically took a position that we will not support any of the impeachment complaints filed against the leaders of the land,” Quimbo added.

Quimbo said the LP lawmakers also reiterated their support for Robredo, the current LP chairperson, who was being threatened by impeachment by a group allied with the President.

A complaint against the Vice President was also filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez, but no House member has so far endorsed it.

Last month, Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte, accusing the chief executive of committing culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust.

Congress is still on break and will resume session on May 2.

Of the 32 LP members at the House, 27 are with the majority bloc, and five are independent.

The five lawmakers – Edcel Lagman, Teddy Baguilat, Raul Daza, Emmanuel Billiones, and Edgar Erice — were joined by partylist lawmakers Gary Alejano and Tom Villarin.

Baguilat said their group had yet to meet and discuss the complaint filed by Alejano.

“If and when some of us will support the impeachment against the president, I believe it will not be a group decision,” he told InterAksyon.

“In principle, we find the reasons for the complaint valid, but not all are in agreement that now is the time to impeach the president,” Baguilat added.

He said the LP consensus during the meeting to thwart moves to impeach Robredo was consistent with the earlier position of the party.

“It’s also expected that those who will stay with the majority will not support the Duterte complaint,” he added.