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Leni not duly elected vice president — Speaker
MANILA, Philippines - Doubtful of Vice President Leni Robredo’s election victory, Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez said he could not consider her the country’s second highest official but stressed he has no one in mind to replace her in case she gets ousted through impeachment.
In radio and television interviews over the weekend, Alvarez said he could not call Robredo vice president “because I’m not sure if she really won in the May 2016 elections.”
Robredo narrowly won the vice presidential election last May over former senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. The only son and namesake of the late dictator has a pending electoral protest against Robredo with the Supreme Court sitting as a presidential electoral tribunal.
Congress, which the Constitution empowers to count presidential and vice presidential votes, had proclaimed the former Camarines Sur congresswoman as the duly elected vice president.
The Marcoses are Duterte’s allies. The President once introduced Marcos to Chinese officials as the incoming vice president.
On insinuations that he wanted Robredo impeached so his choice for vice president could take over, Alvarez said the issue at hand was her having possibly betrayed public trust.
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“Let’s look at this objectively – has Leni Robredo committed any wrongdoing? That’s the issue here, no politics. I’m not planning to install anyone as vice president,” he said in Filipino.
Alvarez reiterated his contention that the Vice President betrayed public trust when she sent a video message to the United Nations criticizing extrajudicial killings and human rights violations in President Duterte’s war on drugs.
He said the video has put Duterte and the nation in a bad light before the international community.
“We have to hold her responsible for this. We want to ask her: where is your patriotism? Where is your love of country?” he said.
Earlier, Alvarez linked Robredo to the impeachment complaint filed against the President by Rep. Gary Alejano of party-list group Magdalo.
He said the Vice President is worried about the vote recount the Supreme Court might order in connection with the Marcos protest.
“She couldn’t wait to succeed the President,” he said. Duterte later repeated the accusation.
A day after Alejano filed his complaint, the Speaker threatened to have the House impeach Robredo.
In his interviews, he said he is considering endorsing the impeachment petition against Robredo left with his office by Marcos loyalist lawyer Oliver Lozano and former broadcaster Melchor Chavez. However, he admitted that he hasn’t read it.
The Lozano-Chavez petition remains a mere scrap of paper until endorsed by Alvarez or any House member.
The Speaker and several colleagues are on a 12-day inspection of the roll-on-roll-off nautical highway from Luzon to Mindanao.