Robredo's 'UN statement' not an impeachable offense – Nene Pimentel
MANILA, Philippines – Former Senate president and PDP-Laban founder Aquilino "Nene" Pimentel Jr said the impeachment threats against Vice President Leni Robredo have no solid basis.
For the veteran senator who has now resigned from party affairs, Robredo's video message aired at an event in Vienna, Austria does not constitute an impeachable offense.
"I'm sorry, natawa ako (I laughed). Since when has appealing or reporting to the UN become an impeachable offense?" Pimentel Jr told Rappler on Wednesday, March 22, when asked for comment.
Robredo is facing a potential impeachment complaint for her video message aired at a side event of a non-governmental organization, which happened alongside a UN meeting. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has since clarified that Robredo's video was not shown at the UN meeting.
In the video, the Vice President criticized the administration's drug war that has left more than 7,000 people dead.
Allies of President Rodrigo Duterte also accused Robredo of leading the 1st impeachment complaint filed against the Chief Executive. The Vice President and her allies denied such accusations. (READ: Robredo only stated facts in UN video, says spokesperson)
House Speaker and PDP-Laban member Pantaleon Alvarez said he is considering filing an impeachment complaint against Robredo for her remarks on the ground of "betrayal of public trust."
But for the former Senate president, criticism isn't basis for impeachment. "Moreover, dapat siguro tignan nila ano nagawa ni Leni na labag sa Saligang Batas, hindi labag sa kanilang pag-iisip," he said.
(Moreover, maybe they should look into what violations of the Constitution Leni committed, not her remarks that are contrary to their views.)
The elder Pimentel's son, Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III, earlier defended Alvarez's threats against Robredo, saying the Liberal Party roused Alvarez, "the sleeping giant."
"Sino ba ang naunang nanuntok? So parang napa-react tuloy si Speaker and he has the numbers, that's the problem. Ang ginising 'nyo, sleeping giant. Reaction na lang 'yun dahil may nag-file kasi against our party chairman," Pimentel III said in an earlier interview, referring to Duterte as PDP-Laban's chairman.
(Who threw the first punch? It was just a reaction from the Speaker and he has the numbers, that's the problem. You awakened a sleeping giant. That's his reaction because you filed an impeachment complaint against our party chairman.)
As for the complaint against Duterte, Pimentel Jr said it would not prosper, as the President has the strong support of the House of Representatives.
Even in the Senate where there is a clear divide between majority and minority, he said many senators have already expressed support for the President.
"Malayong malayo 'yun (That is far from happening) for the simple reason that it will have to go through the House, that is near impossible to do that. In the Senate, it will have to pass through a lot of discussion but only because a good majority of members of the Senate have expressed support for the administration of President Duterte. I'm not sure if it will stand the test of the Constitution," he said. – Rappler.com