MANILA, March 23 (PNA) — Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez on Thursday said the House of Representatives will stand by its constitutional duty to hear impeachment complaints against high-ranking officials, even as President Rodrigo Duterte called for an end to any ouster moves against Vice President Leni Robredo.
In a text message sent to reporters, Alvarez said that while he respects the position of President Duterte, he said the lower chamber should still do its mandate under the Constitution.
“We respect the President, but we have to do our duty as mandated by the Constitution,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez, in a separate media interview, further cited the separation of powers in government in pushing through with the impeachment of Robredo.
“Mayroon po tayong separation of powers at kami po sa House of Representatives ay kinakailangan namin ‘yung kahit anong complaint or impeachment, kailangan namin i-proseso iyan,” Alvarez stressed.
This after President Duterte thumbed down the “divisive” impeachment process against Robredo, whom he said was just exercising her freedom of expression in criticizing the administration’s narcotics crackdown.
Alvarez said that he is still studying the impeachment complaint against Robredo, noting that it should be sufficient in substance to stand trial in the Senate.
“Pinag-aaralan naming mabuti iyan ngayon, kasi hindi lang po ito laro ng numero. Kailangan po rito yung substance –meaning to say na yung complain na iyan ay kumpleto po sa ebidensiya at it can stand trial in an impeachment court,” Alvarez said.
Alvarez also slammed Robredo for her “shameless” and “irresponsible” act of putting the country in a bad light before the international community by sending a video message to the United Nations, where she criticised the Duterte administration’s anti-drug campaign.
“Freedom of speech, mayroon tayo niyan. But it does not exempt any official from an irresponsible act. At yung nakita ko po, napanood ko, ay it was so irresponsible na alam niyo po, kauna-unahan sa kasaysayan ng Pilipinas na mayroon isang napaka-kapal ng mukha na isang official ng gobyerno ay nagpadala ng clip sa United Nations, para sirain ang ating bansa,” Alvarez said.
On Monday, the first impeachment complaint against the Vice President was filed by lawyer Oliver Lozano and perennial senatorial candidate Melchor Chavez, requesting Alvarez for proper endorsement.
A group of volunteer lawyers and professors are also mulling to file a second impeachment complaint against Robredo.