The impeachment complaints filed against President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo will most likely be junked because most members of the House of Representatives believe that the filing of the cases was ill-timed, Deputy Speaker Romero Quimbo of Marikina said on Tuesday.
Quimbo said lawmakers do not want the chamber to be used “for political infighting.”
“The filing of impeachment complaint at this time is ill-timed. Most of us in the Liberal Party (LP) believe that we really need to give the President, the Vice President and all duly elected officers at least a year to be able to carry out their promises,” he added.
“I am not saying that we should all be quiet. We just have to give them opportunity to succeed because their success is also our success. Besides, I have seen the complaint against Vice President Leni, and it is really baseless. It’s a sham,” Quimbo said.
Robredo is the interim chairman of the LP.
“Those who are filing an impeachment case against the Vice President are Marcos loyalists. They want us to think the election is fraud marred,” the lawmaker added.
Oliver Lozano filed the impeachment complaint against Robredo on Monday.
Quimbo stressed that the House has other more important matters to attend to.
“The Speaker is a mature leader and we are confident that he will take a position that is going to be healthy for the House, meaning he won’t let the House be used as a political tool,” Quimbo said, referring to Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
“We have so many more important things to discuss which have greater chance of success like tax reform which would remove income taxes for those earning P250,000 and below, criminal justice reform and amending the economic provisions of our Constitution which will result in more jobs. Impeachment will just be a political sideshow,” Quimbo added.
Party-list Reps. Rodel Batocabe of Ako Bicol and Sherwin Tugna of Citizens’ Battle Against Corruption echoed Quimbo’s sentiments.
“An impeachment proceeding is a highly divisive process. If not done properly, it weakens institutions, rather than strengthen them. It is precisely because of the far reaching consequences of impeachment, including disenfranchising the vote of millions, that it should be used sparingly and for the most compelling reasons based on the grounds provided under the Constitution,” Batocabe told The Manila Times.
Under the Constitution, impeachable offenses include culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes and/or betrayal of public trust.
“Less than a year after elections, an impeachment won’t do our country any good. This is still a period to build, unite and galvanize the country. As public officials, we are always subject to criticisms and accusations. But these should not result in impeachment. We will become a pitiful country if what we want to do is impeach our two highest elected officials,” Batocabe said.
“Impeachment is a constitutional process that is reserved and should be used only against the basest and gravest act of an impeachable official. Absent any of these elements and factual basis, the time of Congress can be spent on more productive issues like the issue of revenue generation through taxation, job creation and improving social services through legislation,” Tugna said.
Reps. Teddy Baguilat and Tom Villarin of Akbayan warned Alvarez against endorsing Lozano’s impeachment complaint.
“This is a highly political move and as head of the lower chamber, he should try to insulate himself from the bitter political fray that will ensue from this,” Baguilat said.
“Oliver Lozano is an ambulance chaser and opportunist. If Speaker endorses it, he will be a laughing stock as nobody believes Lozano anyway. Filipinos are not that dumb as they want us to believe,” Villarin said.