Monday July 23, 2018

Senators exchange barbs over Duterte impeachment

LIBERAL Party (LP) President Francis Pangilinan and Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III exchanged words on the impeachment complaint lodged against President Rodrigo Duterte and the plan to impeach Vice President Leni Robredo.

Pangilinan, a party mate of Robredo, said LP will never act like dogs that just follow and obey the wrong thing as he maintained that dignity of a person is the most important in his life.

"Who is he to tell us what to do? Hindi lang naman siya ang halal na senador. Hindi kami ang nasa likod nung impeachment complaint ngunit hindi rin kami mga tutang sunod-sunuran lang," Pangilinan said.

The LP earlier urged Pimentel to focus on the numbers that matter like the thousand of unresolved murders, the rising prices of basic goods, and the 13-million hectare undersea region, resource-rich Benham Rise.

Pangilinan said these are the numbers that elected officials should all be focusing on and not the 100 votes of congressmen on the impeachment case threatened by Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Solicitor General Jose Calida against Robredo.

But Pimentel shrugged off the statement of Pangilinan by saying politics is really a number game and the LP started the war by filing the impeachment case against the President.

"The question is who started it? Who took the first swing? I am sure they know, they know the answer," Pimentel said.

Pimentel said the failure of the LP to denounce the impeachment case filed against the Chief Executive raised suspicions that if they are no behind it, they are part of it.

Pimentel said the fact that LP is not denouncing is raising doubts on opposition.

Pangilinan said Pimentel and those supporting Duterte should really ask themselves on what is happening in this country.

The LP said instead of life and death issues that confront our people everyday like putting food on the table and our children's safety, security and future, politics is dominating the national discourse.

"Let us, the country's elected national leaders, all return the focus on what the people sent us to the Senate to do and that is to help them improve their lives," Pangilinan said.

Robredo who is the incumbent LP chair and is now being considered the symbolic head of the opposition had made controversial statement against the current administration, condemning the extrajudicial killings and many more issues against the Duterte leadership.

Pimentel said the possibility of Robredo being impeached cannot be discounted considering that the Speaker has at least 230 followers in the House of Representatives.

Pangilinan said they have been stripped of their committee chairmanships last February 27 because of their strong stand against the extrajudicial killings and the Marcos burial to name a few.

"Pimentel et al stripped us of our committee chairmanships for not toeing the admin line on EJK, the Marcos burial, the Lascanas hearing and the Bureau of Immigration hearing and then he expect us to denounce the impeachment proceedings to prove to him we are not behind the filing of complaint," he added

Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon also explained that those accusation hurled against the LP are foul saying they have worked hard in helping for the passage of important legislative agendas of the present government.

"The record will speak for itself. Five of the seven bills approved on third reading and two of the three Senate bills passed on second reading were sponsored and authored by members of the minority," Drilon said.

Senator Panfilo Lacson echoed Pimentel saying the LP's accomplishment were made while they were still aligned with the majority bloc.

But Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto said the country has gotten used to the political noise and does not see any adverse reaction to the impeachment. Noting however that this will be the first time that a sitting President and a sitting Vice President is under threat of impeachment.

"The first barometer will be the stock market where people vote with their money. So wala pa naman akong nakikitang indication na nakaka apekto sa ating ekonomiya, in the daily lives of our people," Recto said.

But Recto who refused to make any comment said this move against the two highest leaders might make the country look ridiculous in the eyes of the international community. (SunStar Philippines)