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National

OLIVER LOZANO DID IT AGAIN | Marcos loyalist lawyer submits to House draft impeach raps vs Leni

InterAksyon.com file photo of Vice President Leni Robredo

InterAksyon.com
The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – Barely a week after Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez issued a threat to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo, a draft complaint was submitted to the House of Representatives, seeking endorsement from the House leader.

Lawyer Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez, the complainants, asked Alvarez to endorse the six-page complaint, saying Robredo should be impeached because “she is the termite of the government.”

The two cited culpable violation of the Constitution and betrayal of public trust as grounds to impeach Robredo.

“She betrayed the people by shaming the nation with her dishonest message to the United Nations,” they said.

“The respondent is duty-bound to act within the framework of the Constitution but her act of dishonesty and moral bankruptcy breached the bounds of Fundamental Law,” they added.

On Thursday, Alvarez indicated as basis for impeachment Robredo’s six-minute video message that she sent to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs criticizing the Duterte administration's brutal campaign on illegal drugs, which has reportedly claimed the lives of over 8,000 people.

Alvarez considered Robredo's message before the international body a betrayal of public trust, one of the impeachable offenses under the Constitution.

The House leader said he would file the complaint when he is done with his research.

Lozano is a perennial filer of impeachment complaints against past presidents.  In 2014, he filed a complaint against then President Benigno Aquino III over the Disbursement Acceleration program. 

During the administration of Aquino's predecessor, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Lozano often filed an impeachment complaint, which several groups said was meant to immunize Arroyo from more serious impeachment charges.

Under the internal rules adopted by the House that time, only the first impeachment complaint could be entertained.  The rules were changed during the 15th Congress in 2010, which required the consolidation of the complaints.

The rules also state that an impeachment complaint against any impeachable official is filed at the Office of the Secretary General at the House of Representatives.  It needs an endorsement by just one House member.

According to said rules, an impeachment shall be initiated by the filing and subsequent referral to the House Committee on Justice of the following:

  • verified complaint for impeachment filed by any Member of the House of Representatives; or
  • verified complaint filed by any citizen upon a resolution of endorsement by any Member thereof; or
  • verified complaint or resolution of impeachment filed by at least one-third (1/3) of all Members of the House

The complaint of Lozano and Chavez is not considered a verified complaint because it has no endorser yet.

Chavez previously identified himself as a broadcast journalist and, like Lozano, a Marcos loyalist.  He had run for senator for several times, but lost. 

In a statement, Deputy Speaker Romero Federcio Quimbo branded the complaint as baseless, and said Congress should not spend a single second on it.

“It’s a mere scrap of paper that is supported not by any evidence, but by mere erroneous conclusions of law,” he said.

“Congress should not allow itself to be used by these recidivist impeachers who trivialize this deeply sacred accountability measure enshrined in our constitution. We must not allow Congress and its members to be dragged into their petty political charades,” he added.

Ginagawa nilang dalawa singko ang impeachment. It’s a travesty to our political institutions if we are to allow these people to cheapen this process,” Quimbo also said.

He said Congress will only end up wasting time better spent on much needed legislation including those on tax reform, traffic crisis act, as well as those that seek to make economic gains more inclusive.  

 

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