“DISSENT does not mean destabilization.”
Thus said Senator Francisco “Kiko” Pangilinan in response to an earlier accusation of the allies of President Rodrigo Duterte claiming that the Liberal Party (LP) is involved in a destabilization plot against the government.
“We are in a democracy, not a dictatorship. Dissent to ensure checks and balance is a constitutional duty,” said Pangilinan, LP president and member of the minority bloc in the Senate.
In fact, should there be governmental excesses or abuses in the executive department. It is our constitutional duty in the legislative branch to act as a check and balance on the executive branch,” said Pangilinan.
He cited the following controversies that recently rocked the Duterte administration: DoJ-BID Jack Lam P50 million corruption scandal, Espinosa rubout case, PNP Tokhang for Ransom Jee Ick Joo Murder case, DFA OSEC (Office of the Secretary) American Citizenship issue, and the 5,000 unsolved vigilante killings, etc.”
The expose of some of these issues to the international community by LP members like Vice President Leni Robredo led some Duterte allies, which includes House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, to threaten her with impeachment.
Alvarez, for instance, wants to impeach Vice Pres. Robredo for allegedly “damaging” the image of the country in the international community when she sent a videotaped message to the United Nations forum on drugs criticizing the Duterte administration’s all-out war against illegal drugs.
This despite Pres. Rodrigo’s recent pleas to his allies not to pursue the impeachment complaint against Robredo, a move seen by members of the opposition bloc as an exculpating gesture from the possible political blow back that the impeachment entails.
Asked to comment on the President’s move, Senate President Koko Pimentel said:”Good. That’s a very good sentiment expressed by the President.”
“Impeachment is serious business. You don’t it lightly for any reason. You do it for grave reasons when you are convinced that there is a good reason to subject to impeachment a high ranking public official,” said Pimentel.
“Si President kasi narinig ko sabi niya it’s too early. But ako kasi hindi ako sa time nakatingin. If there’s really a ground, kami sa Senate, I will say this again, in the impeachment proceedings we act as the court,” he said.
He added:”Look at the RTCs (regional trial courts), ordinary courts. They do not encourage the filing of cases with them. But once the case is filed with them. Kailangan nilang trabahuhin ‘yung kaso.”