Impeachment is not the answer.
This was Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III’s message to the critics of President Rodrigo Duterte who have threatened to impeach the President for various offenses.
In a radio interview last weekend, Pimentel said that the critics of the President had other alternatives if they wanted to raise or dig up issues against the Chief Executive.
“Hindi impeachment ang solusyon diyan. Kung gusto nating malaman iyon, impeachment ba ang kailangan doon?” asked Pimentel.
(Impeachment is not the solution. If we really want to get to the bottom of these issues, is impeachment really needed?)
On Thursday, mutineer-turned-legislator Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano filed an impeachment complaint against Duterte, accusing the President of culpably violating the Constitution, engaging in bribery, betraying public trust, committing graft and corruption, and other high crimes.
Pimentel, President of PDP-Laban, said that the President’s opponents should spare the country from a divisive political spectacle that would derail the government’s national development efforts.
The Mindanao-born legislator added that it was highly unlikely that any impeachment complaint against the President would be transmitted to the Senate, as this would require 100 votes.
Pimentel pointed out that the House of Representatives’ vote on the revival of the death penalty was a good barometer for the chances of Alejano to obtain the 100 votes needed to transmit the impeachment complaint.
“Kung titingnan mo sa death penalty, 54 ang nag No (if you look at the death penalty vote, 54 voted No),” explained Pimentel.
“I don’t know kung makaka 100 ang impeachment na iyan, kahit ligawan pa sila ng dalawang buwan.”
(I don’t know if they can get 100 votes for the impeachment complaint, even if they had two months to woo legislators for their support.)
The former Bar topnotcher also warned that it was unlikely that any allegations involving the President’s tenure as Davao Mayor could be used as basis for impeachment.
“Isa pang isyu iyan. (That’s one more issue.) Can you impeach a President [for crimes] while he is not a president at that time?”
Regardless of the improbability of the impeachment complaint reaching the Upper House, the Senate President said the Senate was ready to conduct an impeachment trial for any impeachable official since that was their duty.
“Duty po namin iyon. Maghihintay lang po kami kung may impeachment case. (It is our duty. We will wait and see if there is an impeachment case.)”