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POLITICAL CEASE-FIRE | Roque urges both camps in impeachment season to hold fire

Rep. Harry Roque: a call for political cease-fire as Lenten season is marred by impeachment calls. INTERAKSYON.COM FILE
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – In time for the Lenten season, a party-list lawmaker on Monday called on all political forces to observe sobriety as impeachment charges are being poised against President Rodrigo Duterte and Vice President Leni Robredo.

 “At the outset, I would like to appeal to all political forces for Lenten meditation and reflection, especially in the wake of impeachment charges being hurled against the President and the Vice President by their respective supporters,” Kabayan Rep. Harry Roque said.

Roque issued a call to Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano to withdraw the impeachment complaint he filed against the President “to prevent an avoidable political turmoil that would paralyze law-making in the House.”

Asked to react, Alejano said in a text message, “This is just a diversion.  It’s unfortunate that he has not recognized the brazen and deliberate violation of our Constitution by Duterte.”

Roque, who is also a lawyer, believes the complaint against Duterte was bound to fail. At the same time, he said the impeachment threat against Vice President Leni Robredo on the basis of her statement before the United Nations body was also not sufficient ground to remove her from office.

“I reiterate my previous statement that the impeachment complaint against President Duterte is bound to fail, as I believe more case building is needed for it to prosper, particularly on extralegal killings,” he said.

“I do appreciate, however, the fact that Representative Alejano and Magdalo have resorted to constitutional means this time to unseat the sitting president and are no longer threatening to blow up buildings like they did in the past,” he added.

While the administration has the numbers at the House to impeach Robredo, should Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez makes good his threat to file a complaint, Roque said that the Vice President’s pronouncements before the UN body were “insufficient by themselves to prove betrayal of public trust.”

“For the impeachment complaint against her to succeed in the Senate, the complainants must have other evidence to show that she intends to remove the President from office in order to succeed him,” he said.

“The evidentiary challenge to convict the Vice President in the Senate is to link her with the Magdalo impeachment complaint against the President and Atty. Sabio’s complaint to be filed at the International Criminal Court,” Roque added.

Impeaching and convicting public officials entails case building, he stressed.