Vice President Maria Leonor Robredo has vowed to leave no stone unturned in helping victims of alleged drug-related killings amid impeachment threats against her.
Robredo made the statement after at least eight organizations paid her a visit on Thursday morning to assure her of their support in light of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez’s threat of filing an impeachment complaint against the Vice President.
She is under fire for her comments in a recent United Nations meeting where she criticized the drug-related killings, which, according to her, already reached at least 7,000 cases and marred by family members of drug suspects being arrested if the drug addict that authorities are looking for cannot be found under a “palit ulo” scheme.
“We tried to seek help, but it is not that easy. And I thank you for telling me your stories, at pinapanindigan natin na gagawin natin ang lahat kahit po bugbog na tayo [and we will stand that we will seek help for you, even if we’re bruised]. We will do everything to ensure that you won’t live in fear,” Robredo said.
“You are right, there’s chaos nowadays, but this demands sobriety. During these dark times, we need to be brave. Many of you told me about your experience on extrajudicial killings. You experienced these violations of human rights, and you came to me because you want me to be your voice because you fear that the institutions won’t protect you,” she added.
Robredo’s supporters from urban poor and people’s organizations described moves to impeach the Vice President as baseless and reek of politics.
“We are one in staunchly opposing any plan to impeach Vice President Robredo. This is just done out of politics. We know Vice President Robredo is ethical, principled and fair, especially to us poor. We believe that she is a responsible and honest leader,” Jose Morales of the Ugnayang Lakas ng mga Apektadong Pamilya sa Tabing Ilog (ULAP) Confederation said in a Filipino.
“It is no secret that the people behind plans to impeach her have ill motives, selfish ambitions and are not after the benefit of the people. We see things but we seem to be silent witnesses to what is happening to our country. That’s why we are standing up to support the Vice President,” Morales added.
ULAP’s stance is a joint statement with Koalisyon ng mga Organisadong Samahan sa Maynila.
Change Politics Movement noted that Robredo’s message during the UN meeting is just being consistent with her campaign promise of speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves or have been forced to be silent, including the victims of the anti-drug war.
“Vice President Robredo is not a traitor, but a hero who fights for the poor and the powerless despite these odds. We continue to stand with her in seeking truth and justice for the marginalized and poor sector and for all,” it said in a statement.
National women’s organization Pilipina, on the other hand, called on public officials, especially lawmakers, to judiciously exercise their power to legislate, discern right from wrong and respect the spirit of the Constitution instead of blindly following the dictates of their political parties and alliances.
“Superior number alone does not bestow on the super majority the right to shove the country down a perilous path without regard to due process. In these fractious times when ranking officials themselves threaten our democratic ideals with their wanton disregard for facts, Pilipinas calls anew on the women and men who fought hard to restore the rights denied to us by martial law,” Elizabeth Yang of Pilipina pointed out.
Others who also issued statements of support included CO Multiversity, Ateneo de Manila University, Social Democratic Caucus, Akbayan, Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka and People Power Volunteers for Reform.
Robredo assured her supporters them that their kind words mean a lot to her.
“Your statement of support is big boost. This shows that I am fighting a good fight. There are times when we stop and think, do we still have anything to fight for when everyone is already faint-hearted? But all of you who are here, you know me well, and I have worked with most of you in various chapters in my life… way back when I was still an alternative lawyer, and you have worked with my husband. That’s why I am thankful for this,” she said in Filipino.
“In everything that we do, we have nothing to fear because we are are doing the right think. Fear is only for people who don’t tell the truth, those who have ill motives. We will continue to stand on our dissent, even when it’s tough,” Robredo added. LLANESCA T. PANTI