PHOTO BY OFFICE OF THE VICE PRESIDENT
A COMPLAINT against Vice-President Maria Leonor G. Robredo accusing her of inciting to sedition was likely started to form a basis for her eventual impeachment, her spokesman said yesterday.
“There is clearly a political motivation behind all of this,” Barry Gutierrez, Ms. Robredo’s spokesman, told reporters at a briefing. “Impeachment is really the endgame here,” he added.
Mr. Gutierrez, a lawyer, also questioned the solicitor general’s role in drafting the complaint against the vice-president and other lawmakers, lawyers and Catholic Church leaders.
The Office of the Solicitor General, which allegedly helped draft the police complaint at the Ombudsman, in a statement said it is its duty to serve clients seeking legal advice.
Mr. Gutierrez noted that the solicitor has generally acted as the lawyer of government agencies before the courts.
“Helping prepare a complaint-affidavit that will initiate a criminal investigation by the Department of Justice falls way outside its mandate,” he added.
Police last week filed a complaint of inciting to sedition, cyberlibel, libel, estafa, harboring a criminal and obstruction of justice against Ms. Robredo and other people whom it accused of circulating a video linking President Rodrigo R. Duterte and his family to illegal drugs.
Also sued was Peter Joemel Advincula, the self-confessed drug dealer who was featured in the videos.
Mr. Advincula had sought legal assistance in filing charges against members of the drug syndicate he formerly belonged to. Later that month, he surrendered to police over estafa charges, and tagged the Liberal Party as behind the propaganda.
The Liberal Party has accused the government of political harassment and persecution, saying the complaint is based on lies.
Human Rights Watch on Wednesday said governments and donors should press the Duterte administration to end its persecution of critics of its “murderous war on drugs.” A conviction for incitement to sedition carries a maximum penalty of six years in jail. — Vince Angelo C. Ferreras