MANILA, Philippines - Marcos loyalist lawyer Oliver Lozano has remained true to form, beating congressmen to the draw by filing an impeachment complaint against Vice President Leni Robredo.
Lozano, who became prominent for having the most number of impeachment cases filed, was joined by radio broadcaster Melchor Chavez, representing the Volunteers for Good Government, in filing the complaint late yesterday afternoon before the office of Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez.
The Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption (VACC) is also planning to file a petition to disbar Vice President Leni Robredo if she fails to apologize publicly over her statement on alleged extrajudicial killings and the “palit-ulo” (head switching) scheme amid the government’s war against illegal drugs.
Dante Jimenez, VACC chairman, stressed that Philippine lawyers like Robredo should “behave properly and be accountable for all their data and statements,” referring to the recent allegations made by the Vice President before the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, Austria.
Lozano and Chavez did not file their complaint before the office of House secretary general Cesar Pareja because this has to be endorsed by an incumbent congressman. They went directly to Alvarez’s office where they had it marked “received.”
They described Robredo as the “termite of the government” in their letter to Alvarez, and that “her unfaithfulness has extended to the betrayal of public trust and culpable violation of the Constitution.”
In the six-page complaint, Lozano claimed the former Camarines Sur congresswoman’s UN video regarding 7,000 victims of extrajudicial killings is “fake news” as this figure “has been repeated again and again by the Yellow Cult, and even by uninformed media abroad.”
“Rappler has even misled readers by claiming that the numbers are based on data from the Philippine National Police (PNP),” he wrote, insisting there has only been 2,166 people killed, which is “obviously so different, three times smaller than the figure Robredo told the UN body.”
Lozano also lifted a portion of an opinion column of former press secretary Rigoberto Tiglao criticizing Robredo’s claim about a “palit-ulo” scheme.
“She betrayed the people by shaming the nation with her dishonest message to the UN,” Lozano stressed, noting that the Vice President “doesn’t present any iota of evidence for her claims” of the human rights violations she alleges.
In an almost six-minute video message, Robredo told the UN commission that “since July last year, more than 7,000 people have been killed in summary executions” and that “people are told (by law enforcers) that they did not have the right to demand for search warrants because they were squatters and did not own the properties on which their houses were built.”
She also spoke of “palit-ulo,” a scheme where a wife, husband or relative of the person included in the drug list will be taken if the one listed could not be found.
While Philippine National Police chief Director General Ronald dela Rosa admitted that the scheme does exist, he clarified that it is not implemented as described by Robredo, pointing out that palit-ulo actually refers to the police practice of charging a suspected drug pusher with a lesser offense in exchange for the identification of their suppliers or a bigger drug lord.
“It’s not commonly practiced but it does happen... I deny the version of VP Robredo. The police would be so stupid to do that (arrest someone else for the offense of another person),” Dela Rosa said as he dared the Vice President to present such a policeman before him.
He also denied receiving a letter from Robredo asking the PNP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government to investigate the killings.
Jimenez, who believes Robredo’s statements were based on hearsay, said VACC wanted a public apology.
“With hearsay information, she is vilifying before the world her own government to which she was sworn to protect as elected Vice President,” Jimenez stressed. – With Ghio Ong, Cecille Suerte Felipe, Mayen Jaymalin