MANILA, Philippines – The impeachment complaint against Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo has been brought to the House of Representatives but no one from among the 292 congressmen has endorsed it yet.
Lawyer Bruce Rivera, one of the complainants, said his group delivered a copy of the complaint to the office of one congressman, the potential endorser, but this legislator asked for more time to study it.
An impeachment complaint needs at least one endorser from the House membership to be considered a valid complaint.
In March, an impeachment complaint against Robredo was also delivered by Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez to the office of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, but, as with this recent complaint, it, too is waiting for an endorser.
“The intention was to file the complaint with the Office of the Secretary General, but we were instructed to send it to a congressman’s office, and that congressman is to forward it to the Sec. Gen.,” Rivera said in a news conference.
“It’s a delicate matter and they have to discuss what to do,” he added.
Reports swirled early in the day that PBA partylist Representative Jericho Nograles, a member of the majority bloc, would endorse the complaint, but the congressman denied it.
“It’s not true. I’m actually shocked that my name is being dragged into this. I have nothing to do with any impeachment complaint,” he said.
The complaint, which is about 30 pages, accuses Robredo of betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and graft and corruption, which are grounds for impeachment under the 1987 Constitution.
Rivera cited the following acts of the Vice President, which can be used as grounds to impeach her:
- Robredo caused the “degradation of the country’s integrity” with her video message at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in which she spoke about the thousands of lives claimed by the Duterte administration’s war on drugs. She gave out questionable data such as palit-ulo scheme and the number of cases of human rights violations purportedly not acted by the government.
- She used PAGIBIG [housing] funds to sponsor a convention in the United States on social empowerment, which was not connected to housing.
- She has shares of stocks of the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) that were not stated as business interest” and without any amount cited in her State of Assets Liabilities and Net worth. This is case of misdeclaration, Rivera said.
Asked if a copy of the complaint was made available to the office of Speaker Alvarez, Rivera said, “I don’t want to confirm or deny because he might have been given a copy.”
“We know he is supportive of that, but of course, we don’t want to put it in his hands because he is the Speaker, so we left him alone,” he said.
Rivera said his group had also met with President Rodrigo Duterte and conveyed to him their plan to file the complaint.
Duterte had earlier stated he was not supportive of any impeachment complaint against Robredo. He said the Vice President has a right to air her views, including her criticism of the campaign against illegal drugs.
An impeachment complaint was also filed in March against President Duterte. It was endorsed by Magdalo partylist Representative Gary Alejano.
Majority Floor Leader Rodolfo Fariñas said any impeachment complaint will be “a scrap of paper” without any endorser.
He said that valid impeachment cases will be referred to the committee on justice and given priority. The justice panel will determine whether the complaint is sufficient in form and in substance.
“We will tackle this, to have it done away with or get it moving, as the case may be,” he said.
Congress had reconvened Monday after a summer break of close to two months.