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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) Two Marcos loyalists President Ferdinand Marcos’ former lawyer and a perennial senatorial candidate of the late strongman’s Kilusang Bagong Lipunan party are seeking the removal of Vice President Leni Robredo from office.
Atty. Oliver Lozano and Melchor Chavez filed Monday a draft impeachment complaint against Robredo at the House of Representatives, calling her “the termite of Government.”
Robredo won the vice presidency in July 2016, narrowly beating former Sen. Bongbong Marcos, who is currently pursuing an electoral protest against her for alleged poll fraud.
Read: Supreme Court denies Robredo’s motion to dismiss Marcos’ electoral protest
The complaint comes after House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez first told CNN Philippines on Friday that he is thinking of filing an impeachment case against Robredo.
Read: EXCLUSIVE: Alvarez eyes impeachment rap vs. Robredo; OVP says it’s ‘baseless’
His statement comes a day after an impeachment complaint was filed against President Rodrigo Duterte.
Read: Duterte faces impeachment complaint over alleged killings, corruption
Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing told CNN Philippines on Saturday that a group of “topnotch” lawyers were already conducting a buildup for a possible impeachment complaint against Robredo to be filed by May.
Read: Lawyers working on possible impeach rap vs. Robredo – DILG exec.
Robredo’s camp said Monday that the Vice President is ready to face any impeachment complaint filed against her.
Read: Lawyers: Robredo ready to face impeachment complaint
Lozano and Chavez said Robredo’s video to the 60th annual meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, held last March 16th, constitutes a culpable violation of the Constitution and a betrayal of public trust. Both are impeachable offenses under the 1987 Constitution.
Read: Robredo: Warrantless searches, ‘palit-ulo’ scheme in anti-drug operations
Robredo a human-rights lawyer and a staunch critic of the Duterte administration alleged in the video that targets of police anti-drug operations are beaten up if they ask for a search warrant.
Or worse, policemen detain relatives of drug suspects as “collateral” if the suspect goes into hiding.
The latter practice, Robredo said, is called “palit-ulo” (literally meaning “exchange of heads,” but actually refers to an exchange of persons).
The Office of the Vice President’s media officer Divine Magno told CNN Philippines on Wednesday that victims of alleged police abuse in the guise of the war on drugs come to them with these stories and ask for help.
Robredo said more than 7,000 summary executions have occurred since the Duterte administration’s war on drugs commenced in July 2016.
She also said around 500 cases were filed at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in relation to victims of alleged human-rights violations during the anti-drug campaign.
Lozano and Chavez said Robredo “committed acts of injustice prejudicial to the nation and public welfare which constitutes culpable violation of the constitution.”
They called the 7,000 figure “fake news… maliciously fabricated by a low-level biased or incompetent researcher, and posted by the yellow and lazy editors ofrappler.com newsite on March 13, 2017.”
“This number has been repeated again and again by the yellow Cult, and even by uninformed media abroad,” they added, referring to supporters of the Liberal Party, of which Robredo is chairperson.
Lozano and Chavez said according to a February 16 update of “The Kill List,” which is published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, only 2,166 were killed in the anti-drug war and includes those killed by “unknown hitmen.”
“Indeed, the police has uncovered several instances in which those killed with anti-drug placards pinned on them, actually were executed by criminal, rival gangs themselves,” they said.
“The 2,166 figure is obviously so deffirent (sic), three times smaller than the 7,000 figure Robredo told the UN body, which would drastically change an assessment of Duterte’s anti-drugwar (sic),” they added.
Still on the ground of culpable violation of the Constitution, Lozano and Chavez slammed Robredo for supposedly making it appear that “the rule of law in our country has so totally broken down that victims of human rights violations are given no recourse.”
They said insiders told them that there are no “500 cases” filed at the CHR.
“This is simply because the commission has never even bothered to list and count such complaints,” they said. “The 500 figure is clearly one pulled out of the air by Robredo’s speech writer.”
Lozano and Chavez likewise attacked Robredo’s ‘palit-ulo’ claim.
“Robredo even shockingly draws from some mafia novel by claiming that the police have had a policy of arresting (a) suspetc’s (sic) wife or other relatives if he can’t be found,” they said. “Even calling it, in her attempt to get her lie to land on sensationalist tabloid front page, he (sic) “Palit-ulo scheme.”
Philippine National Police Chief Ronald Dela Rosa said Monday that the PNP does have a ‘palit-ulo’ scheme, but not in the way Robredo thinks.
Read: PNP Chief confirms ‘palit-ulo’ scheme, clarifies procedure
“Palit-ulo, wherein ikaw nahuli kita, may drugs, pusher ka… Palit-ulo,” he said in a media briefing. “Ilaglag mo kung sino ang supplier mo o drug lord na nasa taas. Kapag masabi mo ‘yan, hindi naman actually palalayain depende na kung for a lesser offense,” Dela Rosa said.
[Translation: Palit-ulo, wherein if you are a pusher or caught with drugs, you will reveal to the police the supplieror drug lord you are reporting to. If you reveal them to us, we will not necessarily let you go, but you may be chargedfor a lesser offense.]
On the ground of betrayal of public trust, Lozano and Chavez argued Robredo “betrayed the people by shaming the nation with her dishonest message to the United Nations.”
“The respondent is duty bound to act within the framework of the Constitution but her acts of dishonesty and moral bankrupty (sic) breached the bounds of the Fundamental Law,” they added.
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