EDITORIAL: Impeaching VP Leni Robredo

WHEN Vice President Leni Robredo’s video message to the United Nations’ Narcotics Commission was released to the media this month, the camp of President Duterte and his allies, including followers of defeated vice presidential candidate Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., unsurprisingly raised their voices to condemn the second highest elected official in the land for imputing bad image of the Philippines and the present administration which they readily claimed as tantamount to an impeachment offense. One after the other, Mr. Duterte’s allies in Congress, groups of supporters and social media trolls demand the impeachment of Vice President Leni Robredo, taking cue from Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez who assessed her video message as “betrayal of public trust.” Not to be outdone amidst the call to impeach Vice President Robredo that had grown louder as if to get the attention of their idol and boss in Malacañang, Bicolano personalities lent their voices that included Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) founder Dante Jimenez and former Naga City Mayor and Camarines Sur congressman Sulpicio Roco Jr. Jimenez raised further the level of the supposed errors committed by Robredo to “treason” and later, after Vice President Robredo refused to apologize for and “correct” the statements she gave the UN commission, he considered the filing of disbarment case against the only public official from Bicol who achieved the feat of being elected as the Vice President of the Republic. And for Roco, who had lost his political ground after series of political defeats in the elections, publicized his disgust in a post in his Facebook timeline on March 17: “I have carefully avoided commenting on the vice president’s exploits but this once I will: Leni nakakasopog an guinibo mo!!!” As if what Vice President Robredo’s video message has become synonymous with what Mocha Uson had done in the past and said in her expletive-laden commentaries, Roco has the gall to cringe in embarrassment about the video message even though there is nothing really embarrassing in its content. Talking about crab mentality of the Bicolanos. But the loud condemnation and extreme reactions against VP Leni’s video message are actually inversely proportional to what she actually said. (Please refer to the video message transcript on page 12 of this issue) Except for the mention of palit-ulo tactic the police employ, which Director General Ronald “Bato” De la Rosa acknowledged though interpreted differently, the rest of what she said about the anti-drug war of the Duterte administration had already been discussed in the national and international media. So, what’s the catch in this deafening sound and fury against Vice President Robredo, when much graver statements that compromised the patrimony and sovereignty of the nation had been said by no less than President Duterte himself with regard to China’s intrusion at the Benham Rise and the plan to build structure at the Scarborough Shoals that the United Nation’s International Court of Arbitration awarded in a territorial dispute in favor of the Philippines last year. Why are the supporters and allies of President Duterte ignoring his treacherous passivity and statement of surrender when China’s intrusion into Philippine territory has been very loud and clear? It is amusing and baffling how President Duterte’s camp try hard to connect Vice President Robredo to the impeachment case filed by Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano, since the media release of the video message coincided with its filing, even though the recording of the video message had been done last February while Alejano categorically denied the participation of Robredo to his move. Since it is said that any impeachment case is political and a numbers game in a Congress dominated by President Duterte’s allies and opportunist turncoats, what good will it bring to the nation should the impeachment case filed by Marcos loyalist Oliver Lozano against Vice President Robredo succeed? The move to impeach Vice President Robredo is presently glossing over the more important national issue regarding China’s emboldened moves on the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea and intrusion at the UN-awarded Benham Rise; the European Union’s and United Nation’s grave concern regarding human rights violations in the anti-drug war; the falling value of the peso against the dollar; the growing number of unemployed; the military’s bombing of communities suspected to be lairs of the communist rebels; and other concerns like the unstoppable terroristic acts and kidnappings of the Abu Sayyaf. And who will benefit if Vice President Robredo is impeached? It will be President Duterte’s allies, especially Senate President Aquilino Pimentel Jr. It will also be a success on the part of the present administration in eliminating an opposition against a government with its fascist tendencies emerging each day as trolls and blind followers brainlessly applaud.