By Corina Oliquinoi
FilAm Star Correspondent
MANILA – Vice-president Leni Robredo’s office through spokesperson and lawyer Barry Gutierrez on July 13 told GMA News Online the threats against the VP over her support for a United Nations Human Rights Council probe on the Duterte administration’s war on drugs is “nothing new.”
“VP Leni has been threatened with impeachment before. This is nothing new or original,” Gutierrez said, noting the VP faced threats, fake news and harassment before and the most recent will not distract her from her “focus on helping uplift the lives of her fellow Filipinos, particularly the poor, or fulfilling the oath she took.”
“If someone once again wants to make headlines by floating yet another impeachment threat, let them. We’ve lived through worse, and we won’t lose sleep over it. Yung walang ginawang mali walang kailangang ikatakot,” Gutierrez added.
“Vice-president Robredo’s expression of support to the UNHRC resolution against the Philippine government may cause her to be impeached,” Presidential Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)
“For the nth time, she has made it appear that the government is guilty of human rights abuses, and that’s betrayal of public trust. It’s about time that she should be held to account for her political sins against the Filipino people,” Luna added.
Article XI Section 2 of the 1987 Constitution read: “The president, the vice-president, the members of the Supreme Court, the members of the Constitutional Commissions, and the ombudsman may be removed from office on impeachment for, and conviction of, culpable violation of the Constitution, treason, bribery, graft and corruption, other high crimes, or betrayal of public trust. All other public officers and employees may be removed from office as provided by law but not by impeachment.”
On July 12, Robredo in an interview with radio station DZMM, said she would welcome UN investigators when their review on the alleged human rights violations gets underway.
“Ako, oo. Ie-entertain sila, kasi miyembro tayo ng United Nations at mayroong mga procedures na sinusunod,” Robredo said.
In her weekly radio show, BISErbisyong Leni, Robredo urged the government to welcome the UN probe on the human rights situation in the country to prove the Duterte administration is not hiding something.
“Iyong sa atin lang, kung totoo na walang human rights violations dito, bakit sasalungatin natin iyong imbestigasion?” Robredo said.
“Mas mabuti ngang pinapakita natin na wala tayong tinatago kaysa haharangin natin,” she added despite the Department of Foreign Affairs’ rejection of the probe claiming the UN’s move would “undermine the Philippines’ judicial process.”
In another report by GMA News, Robredo claimed her office received requests for assistance from families of slain suspects, with other critics and human rights groups blaming the government’s war on drugs for the deaths of more than 5,000 suspects since 2016.
“Marami talagang mga human rights violations na nagaganap. Halimbawa, tayo dito (sa Office of the Vice-president), puntahan tayo ng mga pamilyang nawalan ng tatay, nawalan ng asawa, na parang walang kalaban-laban,” she said, noting the UN experts should be allowed entry to the country and do their jobs including doing intervention should the government fail to fulfill its mandate.
“Iyong assessment nila, maraming mga hindi maipaliwanag na pagkamatay ng mga Pilipino kaya gusto nilang mag-step in. Kung ako ang pamahalaan, kung wala naman akong tinatago, iwe-welcome ko iyon,” she said.
“Pagkakataon para malinis iyong pangalan na hindi naman totoo iyong sinasabi, hindi totoo iyong haka-haka na maraming human rights violations dito.”
“Nakakahiya naman yata na iba pa iyong nakapansin, iba pa iyong nagmamalasakit, iba pa iyong nababahala,” she said.
“Noong una kong nabasa iyon, parang nakakapanlumo na nakahilera na tayo—ilang bansa iyong kinall iyong attention doon. Ang mga kahilera na natin…Afghanistan, Sudan, ‘di ba, iyong mga bansa na kilalang-kilala sa mga human rights violations, kahilera na tayo,” the VP added.
18 countries voted to investigate PH’s war on drugs
On July 10, the UN voted to set up an investigation into thousands of killings into the Philippines’ war on illegal drugs.
The resolution was filed by Iceland, which joined the 47-member council last year following the United States’ withdrawal, and voted by 18 nations with 14 against, including China, with 15 abstentions, including Japan.
“We have put forward a balanced text with a very modest ask – simply requesting the High Commissioner to prepare a report for discussion by June next year,” Iceland’s Ambassador Harald Aspelund told GMA News.
President Duterte, on the other hand, blasted the vote, claiming Iceland does not understand the problems inflicting the country.
“Anong problema ng Iceland? Ice lang. That’s your problem, you have too much ice, and there is no clear day or night there… You can understand no crime, there is no policeman either and they just go about eating ice,” Duterte said.