It seems that the political game of impeachment is now an open season in the Philippines.
Just last week (March 16, 2017) an impeachment complaint against Pres. Rodrigo Duterte was filed before the Office of the Secretary-General in the the House of Representatives by Congressman Gary Alejano.
Now it is the turn of Vice-President Leni Robredo to be impeached. She is a known political opponent of Pres. Duterte. There were statements made by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez of the House of Representatives on March 18, 2017 or merely two days after the impeachment complaint against Pres. Duterte was filed, to that effect that he is studying the possibility of filing an impeachment complaint against Vice Pres. Leni Robredo.
Speaker Pantaleon Alvares is the political ally of Pres. Duterte. They have the majority control of both the House of Representatives and the Senate in the Philippine Congress.
Grounds of Impeachment against VP Robredo
The alleged possible ground arises from the fact that Vice-President Leni Robredo has sent a video before the United Nations Commission On Narcotics Drugs which criticizes Pres. Duterte’s war on drugs.
It is the opinion of Speaker Alvarez that such act of Vice-Pres. Robredo may constitute “betrayal of the public trust”, which is among the ground for impeachment provided for under Section 2, Article XI, on Accountability Of Public Officers, in the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Said section says among other things, that the Vice-President “may be removed from office, on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of the public trust.”
Impeachment Move As Simple Political Harassment
While it is highly probable that an impeachment complaint may be filed in the House of Representative and eventually an impeachment trial may ensue since Pres. Duterte’s political allies in the House of Representatives and the Senate has the “super majority control”, many Filipinos believes that this is a simple case of political harassment against the known political opponent of the Duterte Administration.
Will Vice-President Leni Robredo end up in jail just like Sen Leila de Lima, another known political opponent of Pres. Duterte if and when she’ll be impeach or remove from the Office of the Vice-President?
If she’ll be impeached from office, the effect is her removal from the office as Vice-President. However, it may not end there. There’s always the possibility that a criminal case might be filed against her just like what happened to Sen. Leila de Lima.
I don’t believed that the act of sending a video before the United Nation Commission On Drugs as constituting “betrayal of the public trust”.
In the first place, the Philippine Government is a member of the United Nation and as such under the United Nations Charter and other treaties and conventions.
Secondly, the act of sending video which is critical of Pres. Duterte’s war on drugs constitute a legitimate exercise of one’s Freedom of Expression, Freedom of Speech if not Freedom of the Press of Vice-Pres. Robredo, which is constitutionally recognized and constitutionally protected right under the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
Thirdly, it was sent by the Vice-President under her official capacity and was done in the exercise of her official duties per her oath under the 1987 Philippine Constitution (Sec. 5, Art. VII, Executive Department) which explicitly commands her to “faithfully and conscientiously fulfill my duties as Vice-President of the Philippines, preserve and defend its Constitution, execute its laws, do justice to every man, and consecrate myself to the service of the Nation.”
It seems to me that the political climate in the Philippines among the mighty and the powerful or the political elite are reaching its boiling point leading to political vengeance and political persecution to the disadvantaged of the people.
There are more urgent and pressing matters facing the country that the politicians ought to mind and attend to instead of engaging in such political circus.