Sunday, March 19, 2017

Koko Pimentel: Impeach Rap vs. VP Robredo has big chance to prosper

 Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III on Sunday said there is a big chance that Vice President Leni Robredo will be impeached by the House of Representatives.

"This has a chance of passing the [House of Representatives], malaki ang tsansa," Pimentel said in an interview over radio dzBB.

Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Friday said he was studying the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint against Robredo for "betrayal of public trust."

Pimentel said an impeachment complaint needs only at least 100 votes of House members and Alvarez has the solid support of at least 230 congressmen.

"'Pag ginamit ang imagination sa political, kung si Speaker Alvarez ang magli-lead [ng impeachment laban kay Robredo], ilan ang followers niyan? Two hundred thirty. So 100 ang kailangan doon na suportahan siya doon, so lulusot iyon," the Senate president said.

Pimentel declined to comment on the possible grounds for Robredo's impeachment, saying senators should not comment on the form and substance of the complaint because they will sit as impeachment judges.

If the impeachment complaint is filed against Robredo and it passes the House of Representatives, it will be transmitted to the Senate whose members will sit as judges during the impeachment trial.

Pimentel, as Senate president, will preside over the impeachment trial.

"Pagdating sa possible impeachment ni VP Robredo mabuti pa kaming mga senador, no comment kasi nga sa aking political assessment may chance talaga na lumusot iyan, given the number," he added.

On Saturday, Solicitor General Jose Calida said that Robredo should be impeached because her "palit-ulo" video statement played during a United Nations (UN) forum was "treasonous."

Calida said his office was willing to provide help to Alvarez in pursuing Robredo's impeachment.

Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing also revealed on Saturday that a group of volunteer lawyers are building an impeachment case against Robredo for "economic sabotage" for her "unverified statements in the international community intended to discredit the Duterte administration in its anti-illegal drugs."

On Friday, Alvarez also accused Robredo of being involved in moves to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

Robredo had denied that she part part of the group that planned the impeachment complaint against Duterte and that her video statement had nothing to do with Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano's move.

In a separate radio dzBB interview, Magdalo member Sen. Antonio Trillanes denied Robredo's supposed role in the impeachment move against the President.

Trillanes said he previously met Robredo during the May 2016 campaign.

"Wala siyang kinalaman dito. Ito magdalo ang gumawa nito. Inisyatibo ito at aksyon ng Magdalo... Wala hong nasa likod namin, kami lang ito," he said.

Publicity stunt

Meanwhile, Pimentel said that the possible purpose of Alejano's impeachment complaint against Duterte is propaganda or publicity.

"Hindi nila makukuha kahit isa sa mga requirements, kahit 100 na congressman. Ang nakuha nila balita, publicity. So ang paniniwala ko baka iyon naman talaga ang target nila," the Senate leader said.

During the interview, Pimentel said that using the Davao Death Squad's alleged killings on Duterte's orders could not be used as a ground for the President's impeachment.

He said that Duterte was not an impeachable official during the time of the supposed death squad's crimes were committed.

Alejano said Saturday that they are also planning to file a supplemental complaint against Duterte for his remarks that he allowed the Chinese survey on Benham Rise.

Pimentel said that the supplemental complaint may be perceived by Congress ay a separate complaint, which is against the one-year ban on the filing of an impeachment complaint.

Trillanes, for his part, denied that his group is only seeking publicity.

"Itong pag-file ni Congressman Alejano ng impeachment complaint, ito ay dahil ito ang tamang gawin. Ngayon we will take it from there," the senator said, adding that they may go to other venues if the impeachment complaint against Duterte fails to prosper.

Trillanes, meanwhile, said that Duterte's allies in Congress should not be overconfident because "a lot of things may happen within the next month."



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