Liberal Party senators on Monday criticized Senate President Aquilino Pimentel III for focusing on the planned impeachment of Vice President Leni Robredo and said that he should turn his attention to more pressing issues.
In a statement, the LP senators said that Pimentel should devote his energy to addressing more important matters such as the rising number of unresolved killings, the increasing prices of basic goods and the reported presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters in the Benham Rise region.
The comments from LP senators came after Pimentel said over the weekend that there was a bigger chance for Robredo to be impeached than President Rodrigo Duterte, whose congressional allies dominate the House of Representatives where impeachment complaints are filed.
“I’m sure the prospects are higher for the vice president to be impeached,” Pimentel, president of Duterte’s PDP-Laban party, told a radio station.
“We urge Senate President Koko Pimentel to focus on the numbers that matter: the thousands of unresolved murders, the rising prices of basic goods, and the 13-million hectare undersea region rich in minerals and biodiversity of Benham Rise,” the LP senators said. “These are the numbers that we should all be focusing on, not the 100 votes of congressmen on the impeachment case threatened by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez and Solicitor General Jose Calida on Vice President Robredo.”
The senators said that politics has dominated the country’s discourse instead of “life and death issues” such as putting food on the table and the safety, security and future of children.
“Let us, the country’s elected national leaders, all return the focus on what the people sent us to the Senate to do: to improve their and their children’s lives,” they said.
LP has five senators at the Senate, four of whom are with the minority. These are Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Sens. Francis Pangilinan, Bam Aquino and Leila De Lima. The fifth LP senator is Sen. Ralph Recto, who is senate president pro tempore.
House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez last week said that he was studying the filing of an impeachment complaint against Robredo for supposedly tarnishing the country’s image before the eyes of the international community in a video message sent to a United Nations event. Robredo enumerated a list of alleged abuses in the message and criticized the conduct of the government’s efforts to eradicate illegal narcotics in the Philippines.
LP senators, however, defended Robredo and said that the vice president had the right to send such a video message as an elected official and citizen of the country.
“Vice President Leni Robredo’s video message to a United Nations event is within her prerogative as an elective official and citizen of the country. The video message showed the world that the Philippines enjoys democracy where dissent is respected,” the said. [source]