Lawyers: Robredo ready to face impeachment complaint

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) - Vice President Leni Robredo is ready to face any impeachment complaint that could possibly be filed by President Rodrigo Duterte's allies against her.

"Kung iyon po yung nakikita nilang tamang gawin, wala po kaming magagawa kundi harapin po ito sa tamang pagkakataon," Robredo's spokesperson Georgina Hernandez said in an interview Monday.

[Translation: If that's what they see as the right thing to do, we can't do anything but to face it in due time.]

Robredo is facing a threat of impeachment by House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez, Duterte's staunch ally in the Lower House. Alvarez first revealed the matter to CNN Philippines on Friday.

Alvarez has said Robredo betrayed the public trust by criticizing President Duterte's war on drugs before the international community.

Robredo recently sent a video to the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs saying Filipinos are now feeling "hopeless and helpless" due to the rise in extra-judicial killings.

Related: EXCLUSIVE: Alvarez eyes impeachment rap vs. Robredo; OVP says it's 'baseless'

Interior and Local Government Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing also first told CNN Philippines, a group of lawyers has begun laying the groundwork for the possible filing of the complaint.

Related: Lawyers working on possible impeach rap vs. Robredo - DILG exec.

Solicitor General Jose Calida, meanwhile, is also "gladly" offering his legal services if Alvarez would initiate Robredo's impeachment.

No legal basis

Robredo's platoon of lawyers, however, said the Vice President's statements are not enough legal basis for the impeachment complaint.

"Napakadaming mga speeches na ginagawa ng iba [So many speeches have been made by others] but we don't see them as a crime committed against our country," Robredo's lawyer Romulo Macalintal told reporters in a forum in Quezon City Monday morning.

Macalintal added even Duterte himself has been delivering speeches about the country's drug problem and its resulting crimes, but this never became a ground for his impeachment.

For Atty. Barry Gutierrez, who is also a former spokesperson of the Liberal Party (LP), telling the truth is not an impeachable offense.

"Ang pagsasabi ng katotohanan, ang pagreiterate actually ng isang statistic na binanggit na hindi lang ng local media natin kundi ng lahat ng major news agencies sa mundo ay hindi isang impeachable offense," Gutierrez told reporters in a separate press conference in Quezon City Monday afternoon.

[Translation: Telling the truth, reiterating what's actually a statistic that was mentioned not only by the local media but also all of the major news agencies in the world is not an impeachable offense.]

Hernandez, meanwhile, said Alvarez's statement saying he still has to consult his pool of lawyers over the case only shows the complaint as baseless.

"Sa tingin po namin ay dapat na mas maging responsable rin po siya [Alvarez] sa paglalabas noong mga ganyang pahayag," Hernandez said.

[Translation: We believe he should be more responsible in making such statements.]

Numbers game

The Vice President's lawyers, however, admitted the impeachment process will always be a political game in the end.

And yes, it seems they are behind in the numbers game.

266 out of 292 members or nine out of 10 members in the Lower House are members of President Duterte's supermajority party Partido Demokratiko Pilipino - Lakas ng Bayan (PDP-Laban).

For the impeachment complaint to be elevated to the Senate, only a third or 97 lawmakers in the House must sign the complaint.

Moreover, Gutierrez said adding insult to injury is Alvarez's purported bias against Robredo.

"Hindi pa nagsisimula yung proseso, yung hepe, yung lider ng House eh mayroon nang pre-judgment eh talagang nakakabahala ng konti 'yung pangyayaring 'yun," Gutierrez said.

[Translation: The process hasn't even started yet, but the chief, the leader of the House already has pre-judgment, so that's really a bit disturbing.]

He added Alvarez's supposed pre-judgment is the reason why Robredo's legal team to taking the threat of impeachment seriously.

The lawyers, however, are still hoping lawmakers will base their vote on conscience instead of political affiliation.

No ambition

After all, they said Robredo has no plans of becoming President like Duterte.

This runs contrary to the Chief Executive's earlier statement that Robredo is in a rush to claim the Presidency.

"Mga kalaban ko…si Leni [Robredo] apurado masyado maging presidente," Duterte told the Filipino community in Nay Pyi Daw in Myanmar Sunday evening.

[Translation: My enemies.. Leni can't wait to become president.]

Hernandez responded by saying Robredo has only been focused on her programs aiming to alleviate poverty in the Philippines.

"Hindi po nagaapura si VP Leni sa kung anuman, kundi apurahin lang na tapusin ang lahat ng sinimulan namin na programa para sa anti-poverty programs," Hernandez said.

[Translation: VP Leni is not rushing into anything, except to quickly finish her work in the anti-poverty programs.]