MANILA (Mabuhay) – Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. on Tuesday shot down talk that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte could be ousted via impeachment under the 17th Congress.
Belmonte, a leader of Liberal Party, said he did not see any reason for such an attempt to succeed.
He said he was unaware where reports of Duterte’s possible impeachment were coming from.
“The chances of that is zero and nobody will even think of it,” he told reporters at the sidelines of the formal turnover of a bronze Jose Rizal sculpture and an original copy of the 1935 Constitution.
As a lawmaker who witnessed firsthand the progress of impeachment proceedings against former President Joseph Estrada in 2000, the late Chief Justice Renato Corona in December 2011 and the attempt against former Ombudsman Merceditas Gutierrez earlier that year, Belmonte said he did not see any reason for Duterte to worry about having a similar fate.
“Definitely I don’t see any reason whatsoever for the President to fear this, or to even include it in his thinking,” he said.
As to talk that LP could be planning to impeach Duterte so Vice President-elect Leni Robredo could succeed him, Belmonte said: “Malaking kalokohan naman ‘yan. ‘Yan ang number one intriga sa lahat.”
In his last speech as Davao City mayor on Monday, Duterte said he was unfazed about the prospect of impeachment over the policies he would implement to ensure he fulfilled his promises to the people.
“Impeachment? Go ahead! Walang problema sa akin. I will insist what I promise to the people,” he said.
Duterte has practically gained control of the 17th Congress, with Alvarez having the backing of at least 200 lawmakers in the 290-member lower chamber.
Another PDP-Laban stalwart, Senator Aquilino Pimentel IV, has secured the support of at least 16 senators in the race for Senate Presidency
Instead of talking about impeaching Duterte, Belmonte urged his colleagues and the public to give the President-elect a chance to run the country and fulfill his campaign promises.
He said the continued discussion on Duterte’s possible impeachment would a “big disservice” since the country has several challenges to face.
“We should think positively as people. Let’s look forward to having great achievements instead of talking about negative things like impeachment,” Belmonte said.(MNS)