MANILA, Philippines — A former lawyer of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos filed on Monday an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo accusing her of violating the Constitution and betraying public trust.
Lozano and fellow complainant Melchor Chavez asked House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez to endorse the first impeachment complaint against Robredo, whose camp has expressed readiness to face any attempt to remove her from office at the lower chamber.
Lozano and Chavez have in the past run for public office under the Kilusang Bagong Lipunan, former President Marcos' party.
Lozano, who copied heavily from a newspaper column by Rigoberto Tiglao in his complaint, cited what Robredo said in her video message sent to a United Nations event in moving to have the vice president impeached.
He said that Robredo’s message was an act of injustice prejudicial to the nation and to public welfare. This, he said was what constituted a culpable violation of the Constitution.
Lozano, copying the Tiglao's column verbatim, said that the 7,000 deaths Robredo mentioned in the video were “false or fake news.” He said this figure was a “malicious fabrication” disseminated by a “low-level biased or incompetent researcher” and posted by “the lazy editors” of a news website.
“This number has been repeated again and again by the yellow cult, and even by uninformed media abroad,” Lozano said.
Lozano said that another list by another news organization listed only around 2,166 killed in the anti-drug war which included those killed in police operations as well as those killed by unknown gunmen.
“The 2,166 figure is obviously so different, three times smaller than the 7,000 figure Robredo told the UN body, which would drastically change an assessment of Duterte’s anti-drug war,” the complaint, which was riddled with typographical errors, said.
Lozano also alleged that Robredo did not present evidence of her claims that people were searched and denied their right to demand search warrants.
“But Robredo doesn’t present any iota of evidence for her claims, not even a single instance of the human rights violations she alleges, not even newspaper reports on these; nor does she refer to any report detailing her accusations,” Lozano, still heavily quoting the newspaper article, said.
Lozano also questioned the vice president’s claim that 500 cases filed at the Commission on Human Rights were allegedly recommended to the Department of Justice for the filing of the charges.
“This is a lie. I was told by insiders that there are no such '500 cases' filed regarding human rights violations in the course of Duterte’s administration at the commission. This is simply because the commission has never even bothered to list and count such complaints. The 500 figure is clearly one pulled out of the air by Robredo’s speech writer,” he said.
Robredo also betrayed the people by shaming the nation with her dishonest message to the UN, Lozano, who has previously tried to impeach presidents Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino III, said.
He said that Robredo’s act of “dishonesty and moral bankrupty (sic) breached the bounds of the Fundamental Law.”
Barry Gutierrez, the vice president’s legal adviser, earlier criticized Speaker Alvarez for prejudging the possible impeachment complaint against Robredo.
He said that the fact that the leader of the House, which is supposed to hear the complaint and assess its merits, had already prejudged the case was a worrying development.
“Hindi ka ba mababahala in the absence of a formal impeachment complaint, ang unang nagbukas ng issue ng statement ay yung lider ng House of Representatives,” he said. “Pero hindi pa nagsisimula ang proseso and lider ng House ay meron nang prejudgment.”
Gutierrez said that this was the first time that the speaker was prejudging an impeachment complaint that had not yet been filed. He said that hopefully his real intention would come out as the process unfolded.
“In all past impeachments ngayon lang tayo nakakita ng speaker na pinangunahan yung proseso, pinangunahan yung pag-present ng evidence, meron na agad paghusga. Mahirap isipin other than ito ay political harassment. Hopefully, habang umaandar yung prosesong ito ay maing klaro kung ano ba talaga yung agenda niya rito,” he said.
Gutierrez said that Alvarez’ threat to have Robredo impeached was just political harassment even as they expressed readiness to face such a case once it was filed.
“Kung kapalit nun e may mga taong sa tingin nila ay dapat siya i-harass politically kahit walang batayan wala naman kaming option kundi harapin yun,” he said in a news conference on Monday afternoon.
He also defended Robredo’s message, saying that the video and its contents could not be used as a basis for an impeachment charge.
“Ang klarong lumalabas so far balak nilang gamiting basis if ever e yung statements ni VP Robredo with regard to extrajudicial killings. Klarong-klaron na hindi yun basis for any kind of impeachment. Ang pagsasabi ng katotohanan, ang pag-reiterate ng isang statistic na binanggit ng hindi lang ng local media natin kung ng lahat ng major news agencies sa mundo ay hindi isan impeachable offense. Telling the truth is not an impeachable offense,” Gutierrez said.
He said that the vice president despite the political pressures would continue performing her duties and serving the public.
He said: “Basta sa dulo malinis ang aming konsensya, malinaw sa kanyang responsibilidad na ginagawa, malinaw sa kanya ang kanyang publiko na pinaglilingkuran at handa siyang harapin anoman ang consequences ng paglilingkod na yun.”