“WHO is he to tell us what to do?”
Thus quipped Liberal Party stalwart Senator Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan in reaction to the “public demand” of Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III on his political party to denounce the impeachment complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte by Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano.
“Hindi lang siya ang halal na senador. Hindi kami ang nasa likod nung impeachment complaint ngunit hindi rin kami mga tutang sunod-sunuran,” said Pangilinan who is the LP president.
Pangilinan noted that “Pimentel et al stripped us of our committee chairmanships for not toeing the admin line on extrajudicial killings, the Marcos burial, the Lascañas hearing and the BI hearings and then he expects us to denounce the impeachment proceedings to prove to him we aren’t behind the filing of the complaint?”
Pimentel, on Monday, expressed belief that the LP, particularly Vice President Leni Robredo, is involved in the move to impeach the President because they “failed” to denounce Alejano’s move.
Both the LP and the Magdalo group had denied that Robredo had a hand in the move to oust Mr. Duterte. The LP is the political party of former President Benigno Simeon Aquino III while the Partido ng Demoktratiko Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) is the political organization that Pres. Duterte is affiliated with.
In response, the sitting LP senators urged Pimentel to focus on the numbers “that matter” to Filipinos such as the rising prices of basic goods and not on the expected 100 votes of lawmakers in the lower house needed to impeach Robredo. They insist that Pimentel must address the “thousands of unresolved murder” or extrajudicial killings (EJKs) of suspected drug dealers and drug addicts and the protection of the 13-million hectare mineral-rich Benham Rise off Aurora from foreign incursion.
Pangilinan said these are the numbers that the government “should all be focusing on” not the 100 votes of congressmen on the impeachment case that House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Solicitor General Jose Calida intend to file against Robredo.
Alvarez and Calida had accused Robredo of violating public trust, a ground for impeachment, for sending a videotaped message to a United Nations forum on human rights criticizing the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
“Vice President Leni Robredo’s video message to a United Nations event is within her prerogative as an elective official and citizen of the country. The video message showed the world that the Philippines enjoys democracy where dissent is respected,” said Pangilinan in Robredo’s defense.