Impeachment rumors vs. VP Duterte 'fake news' - House leaders

By Filane Mikee Cervantes

November 16, 2023, 8:47 pm

<p>House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe <em>(file photo) </em></p>

House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe (file photo) 

MANILA – House Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe on Thursday refuted that "House leaders are allegedly planning to file an impeachment complaint against Vice President Sara Duterte", claiming that such rumors are detrimental to political unity.

In a statement, Dalipe described the rumors regarding the alleged impeachment move against Duterte as "fake news", stressing these are mere attempts to sow discord between the Vice President and Speaker Martin Romualdez. "There is no truth in them," he said.

Dalipe further explained the stringent requirements for filing an impeachment complaint in Congress.

He said any complaint must be supported by substantial evidence and justifiable reasons in line with the constitutional process.

"While any Filipino citizen has the right to file a complaint, the process is rigorous and requires significant evidence for it to be considered by Congress," he said.

He affirmed that if Duterte has not committed any wrongdoing, there is no reason for concern about these baseless rumors.

He also called for adherence to truth and transparency in politics and urged the public to refrain from spreading rumors that could harm the democratic process and the unity of the nation's leaders.

Dalipe also denied claims that Romualdez was trying to discredit Duterte due to potential competition in the 2028 elections, noting that no decision has been made regarding a presidential bid.

"Speaker Romualdez has always shown respect towards the Vice President and such derogatory tactics are not part of his approach and his character," he said.

Deputy Majority Leader for Communications and ACT-CIS Party-list Rep. Erwin Tulfo also categorically denied any discussions or plans for the Vice President's impeachment over the controversial issue of confidential and intelligence funds (CIF), dismissing such notions as mere intrigue.

Tulfo said he reached out to key House leaders, including the Speaker himself, and confirmed that there was no substance to the purported impeachment claims.

“This morning, I reached out to leaders, including Cong. Zaldy (Co) and the Speaker, to address rumors circulating in Congress. However, there is no substance to these discussions; no such thing has been deliberated among party leaders or the House leadership,” Tulfo told reporters in an interview.

Co chairs the House Committee on Appropriations, which recently opted to redirect the CIF from certain civilian agencies, such as the Office of the Vice President and the Department of Education, to bolster the budgets of intelligence and security forces responsible for addressing escalating threats in the West Philippine Sea.

On Thursday, Deputy Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France Castro was quoted in media reports stating that discussions were circulating within the House regarding the potential impeachment of Vice President Duterte.

However, Castro quickly clarified that these talks were not being taken seriously as the purported discussions on impeachment were merely deliberations among certain congressmen and not a substantial move against the Vice President.

“I'm unsure where Cong. Castro got this information, and upon inquiry, the leadership was equally surprised. I confirmed with my superiors, and there's no such discussion," Tulfo said.

Tulfo argued that there is no impeachable offense attributed to the Vice President, and any future considerations would depend on the presence of valid grounds such as violation of the Constitution, treason, or loss of public trust.

Tulfo also rejected the idea of unity in the legislative chamber either against the Vice President or in favor of Speaker Romualdez.

“The unity is focused on moving the country forward, following the directive of President Marcos to stand together,” Tulfo said. (PNA)