International relations grad credits Duterte’s political gambit in putting Robredo, LP in a difficult bind; Pimentel, then Marcos next VP?

Looking forward to see the end of Leni Robredo’s vice-presidential stint? Well, this article is for you.

In a Facebook post, a Dubai-based expat predicts the removal of Leni Robredo, the political demise of the Liberal Party,the appointment of Koko Pimentel as the interim Vice President, then Bongbong Marcos winning his PET case and eventual assumption as the new VP.

This is the scenario that the Liberal Party dreads because once Marcos assumes the vice-presidency, the enemies of Duterte has to choose between removing Duterte via regime change with the help of ICC and the international community and the prospect of dealing with Marcos as the new President if they succeeds in removing Duterte.

So without further adieu, let me direct your attention to the post below of Jun Avelino.

VP Robredo’s Impending Removal from Office and the Political Demise of LP
Duterte’s political gambit has worked effectively well as a result of a flawless execution of strategy. He did sacrifice a few moves earlier on and we now have the LP, VP Robredo and the entire opposition machinery trapped in a situation of nowhere to go. Check! Mate! Let me explain.

The impeachment case filed by the Magdalo group against Duterte is doomed to fail for sheer lack of number at the House of Representatives to support the move in order for the complaint to prosper at the lower house. But the filing of the impeachment case was more of a tactical move on the part of the Magdalo group. It is a token attempt of complying with or availing of a constitutional remedy to remove a sitting President whom they accused of committing crimes against humanity. They are aware that the complaint will be dismissed outright. And this will pave the way for the entire opposition machinery to focus on their main objective of bringing their case against Duterte before the International Criminal Court (ICC) which is their last hope of getting rid of him. But even getting the attention of the ICC on the matter, much less, commencing at the investigation stage level, will take substantial amount of time considering the numerous issues and cases brought to the court’s attention from far more problematic countries with internationally-sensationalized cases. If not archived, the complainants may have to queue and wait for a long time.

In the meantime, the opposition has recently put their strategy in peril with the impending impeachment case soon to be filed by no less that the Speaker of the House of Representatives himself against VP Robredo. Backed by more than 290 congressmen behind him in the super majority, all political analysts and experts are convinced that the VP will be impeached in the lower house upon the resumption of its session in May which requires only a 100 votes from the members thereof. The Speaker’s battery of lawyers and impeachment case experts are now carefully studying the lone charge of “betrayal of public trust” against VP Robredo for that “infamous video scandal message” attacking her own government before the UN Commission on Narcotics and Drugs. With the entire congressional resources at his disposal, Speaker Alvarez can put up a sure-win fight against VP Robredo in the Impeachment Court.

Once brought to the Senate, which will then convene itself as an Impeachment Court to try VP Robredo, only 16 votes are required to convict her and remove her from her office. Currently, she has a total of 6 Senators identified with her in the minority (Drilon, Pangilinan, De Lima, Trillanes, Bam Aquino and Hontiveros). The super majority on the other hand has 18 Senators which is more than the required number to oust her. Looking at the numbers alone, at this point in time, there is every reason for VP Robredo to be in panic mode. She is now facing the risk of losing the Vice Presidency and it takes only less than 6 months to happen considering that there will only be one charge and less testimonies to be considered in the impeachment proceedings. Right now, we can hear her camp banking on their belief that the Senators cannot be dictated. That is even a worst assumption to take. Using the Corona impeachment case as basis, we all know that the Senators then did not vote on the merits of the case. There were various considerations, foremost of which was the strong anti-Corona sentiment among the people then and coupled by the popularity of Pnoy, political alliances and the reported pork barrels by hundreds of Millions as gifts given to the Senators each who voted to convict Corona. We can recall only 2 Senators (aside from Bongbong) who voted based on merits of the case, acquitting Corona, in the persons of the late Senators Santiago and Joker Arroyo, whose knowledge and competence in the field of law is unquestioned and whose integrity is beyond reproach. In the end, Corona was removed from office for a mere failure to declare correctly his assets in the SALN. He was the first official to have suffered the brunt and cruelty of the political number’s game in the Senate.

What I am saying here is that Senators’ votes are influenced by many factors not only limited on the merits of the case. Sadly for VP Robredo in her impeachment case, all aspects, including the legality, political considerations and the strong sentiment of the majority of the Filipino people, seem to point to her removal from office. It should be noted that the President continues to enjoy an 80 percent approval rating. 8 out of 10 pinoys support Duterte. Only 1 is against while the other 1 is undecided. This factor will certainly influence the votes in the impeachment proceedings. So even before the ICC can commence entertaining the case against Duterte, we now have a new Vice President and on Duterte’s choice based on Article VIII Section 9 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which provides:

“Whenever there is a vacancy in the Office of the Vice-President during the term for which he was elected, the President shall nominate a Vice-President from among the Members of the Senate and the House of Representatives who shall assume office upon confirmation by a majority vote of all the Members of both Houses of the Congress, voting separately.

Of course, Koko Pimentel, being the Senate President, will most likely be Duterte’s pick, aside from the fact that both of them are from PDP Laban. This will deliver a fatal blow to the ultimate objective of the opposition to unseat Duterte and replace him with Robredo, the latter being eased out from the political scene within the next 6 months or so via impeachment. What is interesting is the likely scenario for Bongbong Marcos to be back in the political scene. After VP Robredo’s removal from office she will naturally resign from politics and will most likely be disinterested in defending her case filed by Bongbong Marcos before the Electoral Tribunal contesting the Vice Presidency, being a waste of time for her. Holy shit! We have Duterte as President and suddenly, Marcos as the Vice President. – Sanamagan!

Given this scenario, will the opposition still pursue their case against Duterte before ICC knowing that such act will result to giving the Presidency back to Marcos family like a manna from heaven? This is certainly a trap for the opposition – a dead end for their long and arduous journey to grab the presidency. Clearly, the opposition has succeeded in staging major destabilizing efforts to destroy this government but the way they execute their plan is wishy washy. As they indiscriminately fire their guns, no one holds the baton to ensure harmony in their machinations to make sure that they are heading to one clear direction. As a result, they are now faced with the grim reality of their own demise, a tragic end of their last chance and hope in perpetuating themselves to that power they cannot let go of.

Simply put, at the end of all these shenanigans, and with Marcos likely back in the scene, the opposition will be left with only two options to choose from, as to who should they be working with as opposition. It’s either Duterte or Duterte. But before they can make up their minds, Digong and the entire Filipino masses shall have marched away with the country’s progress leaving them behind like weeping dogs sniffing their own shit while sliding down the dust bin of the country’s history. What a tragedy for the LP! – JA

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Do you agree with Jun Avelino’s reading of the political situation? Please comment below.

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