Philippine Daily Inquirer

LP slammed for ‘playing it safe’ on impeachmen­t

- By DJ Yap @deejayapIN­Q

Aminority congressma­n on Saturday taunted the Liberal Party (LP) lawmakers who declared they would not support any impeachmen­t complaint against both Vice President Leni Robredo and President Duterte, saying it was a case of the Liberals “waving the white flag.”

ABS Rep. Eugene de Vera said the 15 LP lawmakers led by Deputy Speaker Miro Quimbo were only playing it safe, knowing LP did not have the numbers should the Duterte-controlled supermajor­ity decide to impeach Robredo, LP’s nominal leader.

“The stand of the Liberal Party not to support impeachmen­t cases either against President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo is a safe political strategy on the part of the LP to let VP Robredo stay in office,” said De Vera, a deputy minority leader.

An impeachmen­t complaint would require at least one-third votes, or 98 votes in the 292-seat House of Representa­tives, before it is transmitte­d to the Senate, where the respondent would be tried by the senators sitting as judges.

“It will be next to impossible that the LP can amass the said required votes with only 32 membership­s and half of it aligned with the majority,” he said.

On the other hand, the President’s ruling Partido Demokratik­o Pilipino-Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban) and its allies “can easily muster the onethird votes for the impeachmen­t of Vice-President Robredo,” De Vera said.

“Both PDP-Laban and LP are not blind to these sentiments in the lower chamber. With LP adopting this stance, it appears to wave the white flag,” he said.

Quimbo on Friday said 15 Liberals belonging to the majority coalition met with Robredo on Thursday, during which they reached a consensus to block the attempts to impeach the “leaders of the land.”

The Liberals also reassured Robredo of their support after she came under fire from Mr. Duterte’s allies following her submission of a video clip to a United Nations side meeting criticizin­g the government’s drug war last month.

Administra­tion allies, including Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, were incensed by Robredo’s move, setting in motion at least two bids to impeach her.

Mr. Duterte meanwhile is facing an impeachmen­t complaint over the drug war and the alleged mishandlin­g of the South China Sea dispute.

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