Release of video to UN unrelated to impeachment - VP and private foundation
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MANILA, Philippines -- Vice President Leni Robredo and a foundation that helped organize a United Nations anti-drug conference denied that the release of a video she made criticizing the Duterte administration’s war on drugs was part of a destabilization campaign or an impeachment complaint against the President.
The separate denials by Robredo and the Drug Reform Coordination Network were made a day after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he intended to spearhead the filing of an impeachment complaint against the Vice President for “betrayal of public trust” for her supposed in the perceived destabilization effort.
He claimed Robredo’s video message, shown to the annual meeting of the UN Commission on Drugs in Geneva, in which she decried the growing death toll from the war on drugs, placed the country in a bad light and could have adverse economic implications and thus betrayed the public trust.
Alvarez also linked Robredo’s video to the impeachment complaint against Duterte filed by Magdalo party-list Representative Gary Alejano, saying the two could be construed as part of effort to destabilize the government.
But in a chance interview with reporters in Naga City, Robredo, saying she had no idea what basis Alvarez had to file a complaint against her, also noted that Duterte himself had “repeatedly” cleared her of any links to perceived destabilization efforts.
“If (Alvarez’s) basis is the impeachment complaint filed by the Magdalo, the Magdalo themselves say I am not part of it,” she added.
As for the video, she said she made it in February but the organizers of the UN conference showed it only during the event this month, indicating that it was mere coincidence that both the complaint and news reports on the video came out at the same time.
Nevertheless, she maintained that the statement she made was “factual” and was based on the stories reaching her office.
She also said they had asked for data from the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Philippine National Police as early as January but these were unanswered even as “people approached us seeking protection. We could not remain idle.”
In a separate statement, David Borden, executive director of DRCNet, which helped organize the UN anti-drugs conference, said Robredo’s office “did not make any requests of us as to timing or any other matters” regarding her video, which he said was released “a few days before the session as a made strategy to draw attention to President Duterte’s atrocities.”
He also quoted a statement from US Representative Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), who said: "What’s been happening in the Philippines is horrifying.”
“Instead of escalating this violence through chilling episodes like those on display in the Philippines, we need a just and compassionate approach to drug policy that focuses on public health and harm reduction,” Blumenauer said. “The international community must prioritize these changes. Our goal should be to put an end to mindless military action and hard-edged policies that have proven to fail, and replace them with more effective regulation and treatment."
Founded in 1993, DRCNet describes itself as “a major national and global network including parents, educators, students, lawyers, health care professionals, academics, and others working for drug policy reform from a variety of perspectives, including harm reduction, reform of sentencing and forfeiture laws, medicalization of currently schedule I drugs, and promotion of an open debate on drug prohibition.”