House minority still unsure whether or not to back Leni impeachment

April 27, 2017 - 9:09 AM
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Vice Pres. Leni Robredo

MANILA, Philippines — While decidedly not supporting the impeachment complaint filed against President Rodrigo Duterte, the minority bloc in the House of Representatives has yet to make up its mind about a complaint expected to be filed against Vice President Leni Robredo on May 2.

The 18-member House minority, led by Representative Danilo Suarez, is different from the seven-member opposition bloc. Unlike the opposition, the minority is considered pro-administration.

Parties advocating Robredo’s impeachment have set Saturday, April 29, to be the “Day of Signing he Impeachment Complaint,” professor Antonio Contreras, one of the possible complainants, said.

The event was also announced on the Facebook page of the “Impeach Leni Movement.”

Lawyer Bruce Rivera said the documents for the complaint against Robredo are being finalized for submission.

Trixie Angeles, who is also supporting the Vice President’s impeachment, said the complaint will be endorsed by a House member who she did not identify.

Contreras, Rivera, Angeles were among those who announced last month their plans to impeach Robredo for alleged acts “inimical to public interest” and her supposed betrayal of the public trust with a video message aired before a meeting at the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs in which she spoke of the thousands of lives claimed by the Duterte administration’s war on drugs.

Explaining why the House minority has yet to decide on the Robredo impeachment, Suarez said: “We decided to vote as one.”

But he said they were firm about not supporting the complaint filed against Duterte by Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano for betrayal of public trust, culpable violation of the Constitution and other high crimes, mainly over the drug war killings.

For its part, members of the Liberal Party in the House, most of who belong to the administration coalition, have said they will not support any of the impeachment complaints.

In the last meeting of the minority bloc, Suarez said they watched Robredo’s video message. He noted in particular Robredo’s mention of the more than 7,000 deaths attributed to the war on drugs.

“The version of other people is that the figure is speculative, and that there is no actual basis to prove those were extra judicial killings,” he said. “It looks like our decision will hinge on that, if there is loss of trust and confidence.”