Speaker eases up on Robredo impeachment

May 9, 2017 - 5:17 PM
Vice President Leni Robredo (Reuters)

MANILA – Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez appeared to have softened his stance on impeaching Vice President Leni Robredo over her video message to the United Nations criticizing the administration’s drug war.

In March, Alvarez said he believes Robredo’s message before an international audience was a betrayal of public trust, one of the grounds for impeachment under the 1987 Constitution.

He said he was studying the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint if he could find sufficient evidence to pursue a case.

In an interview Tuesday, Alvarez said when asked if he would push through with the impeachment, “Wala naman akong sinasabi na talagang magpa-file ako. Di ba, kaya sabi ko noon pag-aaralan ko. Ngayon kung meron namang substance, bakit hindi [I never said I’ll definitely file. Didn’t I say I’ll study it? Now, if there’s substance, why not?]”

Kagaya yan ng sinabi ko noon [As I said before], if there is substance and it can definitely stand in an impeachment trial, so [it may be] consider[ed],” he added.

Two impeachment complaints against Robredo have been submitted at the House, but no congressman has endorsed it yet.

Alvarez said the Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) has asked him to endorse a separate impeachment complaint against Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales, but he is still studying the document.

“I said I referred it to the Committee on Justice so it can also evaluate whether or not it’s something we can endorse. It’s quite hard if I’m the only one pushing this, right? I don’t think that’s possible,” Alvarez said, speaking mostly in Filipino.

Alejano vs Duterte

Meanwhile, the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte filed by Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano has been referred to the Justice Committee for a hearing.

In a separate news conference, Albay Rep. Edcel Lagman said the complaint should be heard by the Justice panel.
Section 3 (2) of Article XI of the Constitution on Accountability of Public Officers provides: “The Committee, after hearing, and by a majority vote of all its Members, shall submit its report to the House within sixty working days from such referral, together with the corresponding resolution.”

“The hearing envisioned by the Constitution partakes of two phases: first, a preliminary hearing on the sufficiency of form and substance of the complaint; and second, a full-blown hearing to determine the absence or existence of probable cause to impeach the respondent, after finding that the complaint is sufficient in form and substance,” he said.

“The allegations in the complaint must aver ultimate facts, not mere conclusions of fact and law, constituting the impeachable offense charged. The determination of sufficiency of form and substance is limited within the confines of the complaint and its annexes,” Lagman added.